Oh I wish it could be Christmas every day … well, actually I don’t. I love Christmas, I really do. But if I ate, drank and made merry like this every day then I would be the size of a house. And not just a 3 bedroom mid-terrace as of today, but a stately home or small castle.
It’s not just the work drinks, catch ups with friends, lunches, dinners and no time to go gymming … but the Ferrero Rochers, Lindt balls, advent calendar chocolates, Twiglets, Baileys, Port, cheese, etc etc, which are surrounding me at home and at work. And at this time of year, my resistance levels and willpower is NIL!
But it’s all good fun – if you can’t do it at Christmas, when can you? And so that’s why Charlotte, Jo and I decided for the letter C in our alphabet adventures we would celebrate Christmas with a traditional dinner in a proper pub. In fact, it was Charlotte’s idea, and she chose brilliantly with The Ship Tavern in Holborn. And we needed something good after the mediocre experience which was our Burmese adventure (I still have nightmares about both the toilet and the stale noodle and milk pudding disaster).
Jo had this time had a decent night’s sleep and was full of Christmas spirit (and gin!); Charlotte was not only blooming but looking fabulous in the best Christmas jumper I have ever seen (and which I was immediately jealous of); and I was super excited to see our table festooned with crackers, which we immediately pulled (no present for Charlotte – boo – but I did get a rather splendid – not really – ball-bearing game, and Jo was lucky enough to get a tape measure – wowee!). The jokes were typically crap, so we decided to tell our own. This was not massively successful since Jo has the habit of telling the punchline first, and I keep forgetting the jokes so only tell a tiny bit of them. Whoops. We still managed to entertain ourselves though, especially as the delicious red wine was flowing (not sure what Charlotte’s excuse was … maybe she was just full of the joys of the season).
We had to choose our menu in advance. Jo and I both had fig and stilton salad – a lovely idea but it came on a mountain of rocket which I HATE! Still, what would Christmas be if you didn’t get dished up something where you had to pick out the bits you didn’t like? Speaking of which, Charlotte had mushrooms (YUCK!!!) on toast, but she liked them.
For main course, Jo had the biggest lamb shank I have ever seen on a huge pile of butternut squash mash, with loads of gravy. Charlotte and I had chosen the Christmas dinner: turkey, stuffing, pigs in blanket, roast potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, carrots and sprouts. I don’t really like parsnips or sprouts (and I am not even a massive fan of turkey), but they are the kind of things my mum used to force me to eat at Christmas so I choked them down. I explained my strategy to Charlotte and Jo: always eating the things I dislike most first, finishing up with the bits of the dinner I actually like (usually roast potatoes and pigs in blanket). I was gutted to cut the sausage and accidentally flick it off the edge of my plate onto the floor. Sad face.
For our pudding, Jo and I had ordered the Christmas pudding (again, I am not a fan, but you have to do it once every year), and Charlotte had the crumble. All were nice, but the pudding came with custard and chocolate sauce, which was not my favourite combination.
Tea and coffee came with mince pies (also not my favourites, but a lump of pastry will improve almost anything – even sugary mincemeat), and we completed our meal in the same way that all Christmas meals should be completed – full to the brim with good food and tasty booze, surrounded by special friends who you are already looking forward to seeing again.
So thanks to Charlotte and Jo for letting me write about our little foodie adventures and for being such great friends … we’ll have to take a break in 2014 when Charlotte becomes a mummy, but we’re sure we’ll be able to have a few more adventures in 2014 … next stop D is for Denmark (probably!).
Merry Christmas everyone!