Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Feasts’

Please accept my apologies for the silence of the last three days; I went away for a much-needed wee holiday, and it was wonderful. I did take the computer, but decided to leave it switched off in favour of long walks through unexpected snow, beautiful scenery, and good food. Because I bought myself a humble abode earlier this year, I didn’t have a long holiday, so decided to treat myself. Now suddenly it’s Hogmanay. I’ve not done much today, just a bit of cooking, of one of my favourite dishes, a red cabbage-based delight. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Who else in the UK watched episode 1 of  The Miniaturist on BBC1 last night? I thought it was a great adaptation of Jessie Burton’s first novel. I won’t see episode 2 for a few days, so please don’t spoil it for me!

My favourite thing about the programme is its colour palette. It looks like a Dutch painting in its own right, perhaps by Vermeer.

Family prayers in “The Miniaturist”

The dollhouse at the centre of the plot is particularly beautiful, and it was the reason why I read the book in the first place. I really would love to see the original house owned by Petronella Oortman, in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

But with one eye always on a possible subject for the next blog post in the Christmas Feasts series, I remembered Nella’s love of marzipan (a sweet taste we both love). The book goes into more detail about the importance of marzipan in her memories of her home:

‘My mother used to roll it into shapes’. There was always marzipan in the pantry, the only predilection for indulgence in which Mrs Oortman echoed her husband. Mermaids, ships and necklaces of sugared jewels, that almond doughiness melting in their mouths. I no longer belong to my mother, Nella thinks. One day I will roll sugar shapes for otber little clammy hands, voices baying for treats. (p.15)

This takes me back to one of my earlier posts in this series, about marchpane sculptures, inspired by E. T. A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. I wonder if Petronella’s mother ever created such works of art, and if Petronella herself has the talent and patience to do so.  

Read Full Post »

Doesn’t that post title sound ominous? It’s not supposed to, really, but when I tried to find another phrase, all the possibilities sounded that wee bit sinister as well. So, “aftermath” it is. But I promise that everybody lives. “Just this once, everybody lives”. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Today has, happily, been a much more relaxed day than the last few. It has been mostly loud and chaotic, but happy.  The centrepiece of the day was our meal (thanks to the chef and to the hosts, again, if they read this post).  To keep in today’s spirit of relaxation and not sitting silently behind individual screens, this post is brief and mostly comprised of photos of today’s Christmas feast.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

From the moment I got up yesterday, I was busy, busy, busy, and there wasn’t a moment to even think about blogging until the early hours of Christmas Day, at which point: hello, my bed, o how I love you. Cook the turkey, Cinderelly; make the stuffing, Cinderelly; wrap the presents, Cinderelly; finish the Christmas trees, Cinderelly! (just kidding; it’s manic, but enjoyable). (more…)

Read Full Post »

When the snows are lying deep,
When the field has gone to sleep,
When the blackthorn turns to white,
And frosty stars bejewel the night,
When summer streams are turned to ice,
A Snow Ball warms the heart of mice

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I have really struggled to find a subject for today’s feast. It’s entirely possible that the final afternoon of Christmas shopping may have stunned my imagination and ability to write into shock. All I wanted by the time I returned home was a cup hot chocolate, as thick and rich and chocolatey as possible; the perfect hot chocolate is a feast in itself, with cream and lots of spices.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Wassail

Wassail, by Leah Palmer Preiss

Today is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. You might already know that. It seems appropriate that I spent the daylight hours stocking up on food and drink for the feasts to come next week. As I said in my Yule-themed blogpost in 2014, I have never really celebrated today on its own, because there is always so much else going on.

Were I able to celebrate today’s Winter Solstice properly, I would currently be sitting with a flagon of wassail.
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Today, the schools in Glasgow broke up for the Christmas holidays. The screams you can hear resounding through the city tonight are a combination of teachers, librarians, technicians, and so on screaming in joy, and parents screaming in horror. It’s been a very busy term, even without the extra problems created by broken bones, and a mostly enjoyable one. I’m very happy to be having two weeks off. The next few days will be dedicated to Christmas preparations – cake decorating, present wrapping (actually, present buying, given I didn’t get everything this evening on the way home, then present wrapping), sending the Christmas cards which will inevitably arrive late (just to let you know, so that you can sit on tenterhooks wondering if you will or will not get one), and a million more tasks which await, but mostly, just trying to keep my ankle rested and not in pain.  But first, an early night tonight, and a lie-in tomorrow morning. I intend to marinade myself in a thick, warm duvet, and heaps of pillows, with books, and chocolate.

Or, as John Keats puts it:

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

Today’s feast then, is a feast of sleep. Just call me Sleeping Beauty, without the thorny hedge around the old abode.

The_Rose_Bower_Buscot_Park

Edward Burne-Jones, The Rose Bower, the 4th painting in the Briar Rose series, located at Buscot Park, Oxfordshire. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Good night, sweet [readers],
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2,  lines 358-9

Until tomorrow.

Read Full Post »

Hetty Feather

Hetty Feather, by Nick Sharratt. Source: Jacqueline Wilson Wiki.

This is the blog post that I would have written yesterday had I not been out seeing The Last Jedi until rather late. Do not fear, you can keep reading; there are no spoilers here. I really ought to write another post about said film, but probably won’t be able to get to it until after Christmas, as tomorrow is our last day at school, and then there’s a lot to do before Monday. 6 more sleeps! Eeep. For now, I will say that the film is great, and you should all go and see it. Right now. I will definitely be going to see it again, both because it’s great and because I want to take a closer look at some scenes and characters in particular.

Yesterday was children’s author Jacqueline Wilson‘s 72nd birthday.  Until I began working as a school librarian, I had never read any of her books, but made a particular effort to do so following a campaign by two first years, who couldn’t stop recommending her books, in particular those following the life and times of one Hetty Feather. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »