Thursday 31 December 2015

Those Are For The Visitors!

 In Irish families in all the best stories, there was a strong-willed 'Mammy' who could quell you with just a look and who famously keep in the house, a room (the 'Front Parlour' or 'Best Room') which was only ever used for High days and Holy days plus visits from important people like the Priest. This house had one of course - the now 'Living Room' with the open fire and the fine fire-place which we now use quite a bit but which several locals who have come visiting have commented that they had been in the house many times but were never allowed in that room.

The Christmas cake is proving to be a moist and delicious
triumph. That recipe will definitely get used next year
Mammy would also keep a box or tin of good biscuits and tell all the children 'Hands Off!' because these biscuits were "for the visitors". Liz and her cohort can remember this vividly and have fond memories of the brands of biscuits involved, anything posh or with real chocolate; not the 'USA assortment' or buttered Marriettas Liz would normally get . Liz amused herself this year by buying such a box and showing it to me with the strict instruction that I must not open them or take any because "They are for visitors!" before immediately realising what she'd done and said and exclaiming "Arggggh! I am turning into my Mother!" Well, the box stayed intact till well into the gap between Christmas and New Year when we did finally receive some visitors and is now open and therefore 'fair game'.

The vac-packer about to do its stuff
We do a lot of freezing here, of veg-garden and fruit excesses, or portioned up poultry and of portions of left overs. Friends have recommended we treat ourselves to a vacuum packer to reduce the space taken up by these freezings but also to extend the life more. Santa needed no more prompting and a machine duly turned up on the 25th, so Liz has a new toy in the kitchen. 'Santa' was also advised to buy, at the same time, plenty of spare rolls of the bags as the supplier in question is famous for having these things in on a 'when its gone its gone' basis so if he didn't get bags then it might be many moons before his helpers could get more supplies. Santa knows good advice when he hears it.

Vacuum packed turkey wings
We have been trying this out on the turkey remains having decided that we could not really eat a whole 17 lb bird cold before it started to spoil, so we stripped the carcass ('Mammy' has asked for that for her famed soup-making  after the deep oil fryer Sparks used on her bird cooked the bones to a dark scorched-ness which gave her 'black soup' much to her horror) and divided it up between eat cold, freeze and 'New Year's Eve' curry. As an added bonus the vac-pak bags have a 'rough side' which, once sucked clean of air will easily take the nib of a 'Sharpie' pen, so we can easily 'label' them without need for a label. You can also use the vac-packed stuff for a bit of 'Sous-Vide' cookery if that appeals.

A lovely tote-bag. 
Our only other story this week as we run into New Year's (I cannot be bothered telling you about the latest named storm) is that some friends down the road have managed to disprove two tru-isms concerning the Irish property market. One is that "nothing is moving after the crash" and the other is that "nobody buys houses at Christmas". Our friends have been bounced by a rapid sale and a moving out date of 5th January, so efficient that they do not actually have a place they can move into yet and, after Christmas they are nowhere near packed in house, garden, yard, outbuildings or sheds. No pressure! We have volunteered our services and space, of course but we foresee a rather busy New Year. Tonight those friends have had to head for Dublin for a NY-Eve wedding (Ye Gods!) and we have other friends round for an epic curry meal and we generally try to stay up till midnight to First Foot the house. What ever you are up to as we finish off 2015 and look forward to 2016, I hope you will all enjoy a happy, prosperous and well housed New Year.

1 comment:

Anne Wilson said...

We have found that the vacuum sealer will work on most plastic bags, also on cellophane, I bought a roll of cellophane and made up bags for the herbs that I was selling at Christmas, it worked just fine.