After a late start, at 11am, I knew I had my work cut out. To be honest the first three hours are a blur. I peeled carrots, made an agave and ginger glaze, I stuffed and roasted a goose, cooked off the game sausages I made, made a rich oh-so-rich cauli cheese, crisped up some bacon to go on top, chopped to scallions to top the cauli too, sliced and dressed parsnips, cleaned the house, washed my head, tapped the fat from the goose to make some uber-crispy roast potatoes, wrapped dates in bacon for cocktail-hour nibbles, creamed some spud for the venison and elk shepherds pie and then nipped down the road for a quick pint with my boss and sprinted back for 3.30pm to greet my hungry guests. Talk about full-on. I thought I might be able to chill for a few minutes, but the Cunninghams turned up super-puncutally, and the game was on, again. Good job they turned up clutching a bottle of bubbles and four bottles of delicious Burgundy, I was in need of some bubbles to maintain my stamina. I did have time to mix a promising martini, which I gulped down feverishly, and two by two the others guests began to show up. All brining enormous quantities of wine, beer and spirits. Fantastic.
After the gulped vodka and the glass of bubbles, my nerves were soothed and I was able to relax somewhat and think about my serving strategy. Mike had made a creamy apple and celeriac soup, which he would annoint with truffle oil, and all I had to do was cut some bread for toast. The devils on horseback were passed around (some lucky sods got two bites of the prune), the soup was served, and all the dishes were placed in a low oven to come up to serving temperature.
At around 8.30pm, some twit suggested 'creme anglaise martinis' (maybe that was me) and the rest of the evening is a bit hazy, but pictures speak a thousands of words. Don't they?
Max assumed his rightful position at the lappy to play computer games:
Guests start to feel the Burgundy:
And the vodka:
My Thursday Clubbers did me proud:
Beerman cracks a filthy joke:
The guest of honour, crisped to a tee and juicier than a direct hit on a Del Monte factory:
Cauli cheese, flanked by the game bangers:
It's all about the nippers on Christmas Day:
The missus considers drinking her new perfume:
JC has his own ideas about dessert:
The wife passes out at 9.30pm:
I think about cleaning up:
And I consider the path all this food is about to take: