Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Advent Tour

This time last year the view from my study window looked something like this:

Dreaming of a white Christmas, hey? Bah, humbug! Not if it would mean another decidedly scary drive to pick Margaret up from the back of beyond where she was very nearly snowed in last year. Well, that's not likely to happen this time. But Ben, our son, will be flying home from Andalucia in Spain on Christmas Eve. He's a teacher in a college out there and we haven't seen him since the summer so the Christmas hol will be a special treat for us all. So here's hoping for no distruptive weather during this second half of Advent!

I'm looking back over the year's reads and forward to the coming year's treats. Last Christmas, I spent a little of my gift money on a book I'd been promising to track down for years – Beatrice Tunstall's The Shiny Night. That was a real treat – unputdownable.  It has to be the highlight of my reading year. Then I got bogged down in some heavy stuff. Emile Zola's Lourdes, A gripping read but an all too real portrayal of the insalubrious pilgrimage of healthless crowds. I followed it up with Camus's  La Peste  - maybe not the best bit of reading planning I've ever done! 

So Christmas this year will lift my reading a different level starting with... I don't know yet. But a book which is definitely on my list as a present for someone – after I have read it myself - will be Richard Dawkins's The Magic of Reality. I've read a couple of excerpts and it looks very promising. Must see for myself how this guy approaches science for kids.

And now a recipe for when the festivities are over and good plain food is so appealing:
Rolled brisket done in slow cooker. Friday evening prepare marinade with a can of dark beer poured over a large finely chopped onion. Add a fair old dollop of Worcester sauce. Put brisket in jug and cover with marinade. Poke and prod it at intervals on Saturday. Sunday morning, put the beef and marinade into a large saucepan. Add beef stock as necessary. Chuck in some chopped root vegetables, leeks, onions, whatever you fancy. Bring it all up to temperature and then transfer to the slow cooker. Leave it all day. Serve in the evening with jacket potatoes and veg. All leftover veg and any extras can go through the blender with the marinade to make a tasty soup.


Patsy said...

I knew it! I've always maintained that poking and prodding at intervals is a proper cookery technique, but Gary is yet to be convinced. Thanks for proving me right ;-)

Teddyree said...

Family coming home for Christmas is always special. I'll keep my fingers crossed for good weather, although the only thing we worry about in Australia at this time of the year is heat stroke :)

I'm drooling over the recipe, one I'll definitely save for winter when my slow cooker makes an appearance.

If you'd like to see our family traditions in Australia pop by http://teddyree-theeclecticreader.blogspot.com/2011/12/virtual-advent-tour-christmas.html

That corgi :) said...

The brisket recipe sounds delicious!! I do know you will enjoy your visit with your son; safe travels to him!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Marg said...

Like Teddyree said it's unlikely we will get a view like that for Christmas. I do remember having just a dusting of snow when I lived in the UK.

It will be so exciting to see your son and have your family together.

Thanks for participating in the tour again this year!

sprite said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for good weather for your son's visit. I hope you enjoy having him home.

Tami said...

Always exciting to get the kid(s) home for holidays - or any day. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas together. The brisket sounds wonderful, as do your reading choices. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Reading Year.

Rob Crompton said...

Thanks, all, for dropping by. And yes, poking and prodding is a time-honoured technique in cooking. Applied vigorously to an omelette, for example, it results in a kind of scrambled egg. Ok, pretty awful scrambled egg, but certainly not omelette. :)

Court said...

Sounds like it will definitely be a special Christmas with your son flying back home! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

And that rolled brisket sounds awfully tasty!