Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Tag

Merry Christmas 2014   Leave a comment

Peking Duck 1

Okay, it’s the evening and I’m piecing this together from photos.  So, this morning I had a lie in (usually up at 4 to 4:30, today it was 8:45), then we had a leisurely coffee until Jackie suggested, “I feel a bit weak from last night…fancy a port?” “No, how about a rum?”

And with that the kettle was on and two shots each were in the mugs with some brown sugar and butter and soon we were medicating.  Happy Christmas.

Peking Duck 2

I started the duck the day before which involved scalding the bird 5 times in a boiling water and malt vinegar bath, internally coating with five spices, then cooling and drying overnight before coating with a maltose, soy, and rice vinegar and baking slowly for fucking ever.


Along the way, I fitted in a run around the buurt and broke a real sweat and somehow got the sugar equilibrium back under me before drawing a hot bath and putting on some Christmas radio.  It was a sunny, if cool, day so the bath was going to be relaxing looking out on the world…even more relaxing since Jac noticed her glass of sloe gin left just a shot of our precious fluid for me to carry in with me.  A delight.

post run sloe gin no fizz

She wasn’t expecting the dinner to take so long (I already had the cornbread for the southern style dressing done and was awaiting the crust for the sweet potato pie while the tub filled).  So, I had her set out a bit of runny brie and open a grand bottle of old St Emilion to breathe.  It was lovely but I needed to come up with something for the dinner.

The Lussac St Emilion was perfect and the dinner was Christmasy enough (Jewish Christmas, like the link in the previous post but Christmas nonetheless) considering the punk classics we were playing instead of carols (we had enough of that up to that point).  We finished up with some pie and the last of the port (farewell, old friend).

Lussac Saint Emilion

Somehow, we had the sense to realise that the booze was rapidly depleting and opted for a bottle of fizz — a prosecco we’ve been sitting on for weeks — which should have been plenty but as it was only 5:30 pm we had to soldier on: Christmas is not for the weak hearted or the soft-livered.

And, so here I am…Merry Christmas…both of us having fun…here’s to tomorrow and the hangover to come.  And. another run tomorrow.  And an off license trip ’cause we are out of beverage.  Almost.

port and sweet potato pie

DT #359, 25 December 2014 (Chateau Simard 1996 and Runny Brie)   3 comments

chateau simard 1996 and runny brie

Each had this question:
Whose family have I got
Fixed between my sights?

Name: Chateau Simard 1996
Type: red wine
Menu: Five hour duck done Peking duck style, some cornbread dressing, asparagus and sweet potato pie
Venue: house

Review/notes: Wine was absolutely spectacular but we should have decanted (a bit of sediment).  Writing up the meal a bit later which will include the run, the rum, the slow gin, the other bottles of wine, the pie, the Peking duck (2 days worth of prep), some bubbly and the rest of Christmas too-much.  Sleepy, now, and Eastenders is on.

The Haiku: This wasn’t as big an event to folks in the States as it was to folks here (and, I would imagine, Germany).  Like most Americans, I came to know of the Christmas Truce from the song Christmas In The Trenches. It would be churlish of me to try to explain it here.  If you’re familiar with it, the link takes you to a recording: Christmas In The Trenches.  If you’re clueless why I’m banging on about it, give it a listen.   Or, for a more upbeat tune, try Santa’s Out of Rehab by Christmas (an Athens GA cut); and, to go with the Chinese duck meal there’s Christmastime For The Jews.  Merry Christmas.

Stolen from Flying Booger's  hashing blog

Stolen from Flying Booger’s hashing blog

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

DT #358, 24 December 2014 (De Vallois)   2 comments

De Vallois and Charlie Brown

Linus says, “Charlie 

“Brown, I know the  true meaning

“Of Christmas. Lights, please.”

Name: De Vallois

Type: champagne
Menu: a Thai prawn green curry tonight
Venue: house

Review/notes: I’m barely older than the Charlie Brown Christmas, but it has been there as long as I can remember and we always put it on Christmas Eve if we have a telly.  We’ve also had champagne every Christmas Eve, even when we couldn’t really afford it (this one was a Christmas gift from my boss).

For dinner, we had planned a Thai green curry with prawns but I needed a bunch of shit to go in it (lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, some green curry paste) so I did the holiday run streak effort as an arc to the Waitrose in Wichelstowe.  It takes a poncy store when you have a bunch of non-standard ingredients to gather.

Charlie Brown, what a block head.  Charlie don’t surf, but we think he should.

2014-12-24 Waitrose Dash

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

DT #356, 22 December 2014 (Hobsons Postman’s Knock)   Leave a comment

Hobsons Postman's Knock


Oh, Mister Postman
Look and see. Is there porter
In your bag for me?

Name: Hobsons Postman’s Knock
Type: porter
Venue: house

Review/notes: No one sends Christmas cards from the States.  We got five in 2009, three in each of 2010-2012, and one last year (which arrived in mid-January this year).  We get a few from folks in England, Holland, and Germany and I got a ‘cancer-is-all-clear/no-more-surgery’ letter from the NHS which counts for a lot; but, a stamp and a note from far away would be nice, too. Bah, no one writes anymore.

CORRECTION: One card this year (in the postbox on Jackie’s arrival home, of course) from our Debra…you can always count on Debra:

2014-12-22 deb's card arrives

There’s hardly anyone in the lab now but we are still about ½ staffed when you pass the group office.  There were a couple of minor issues to sort this morning but I feel like I had time to work on my camera repair (and could kick myself for not bringing it with me).  The weather was mild but windy and I was a bit tired after the 27 mile weekend (more Friday-Sunday than I had been doing in a week since mid-October).  Today, it was a minimalist run down the Mesopotamia Walk and through the University Parks, for me:

2014-12-22 Mesopotamian Minimalist Meander

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

Please Join This And Help Ruin It For The ‘Winners’   3 comments

I use Map My Run because it works with the GPS chip in the smart phone I bought off a junkie in Amsterdam.  Others do as well, but I’ve become accustomed to MMR.  I came up with my own personal challenge to run 3 or more miles every day in the holiday season two days before the start of their Holiday Marathon Challenge.  You get credit for your logged runs toward the distance of a full marathon and there are random draws for prizes for participants…none for farthest or fastest or largest number of runs, just participants (although to get in the grand prize draw you have to complete the virtual marathon).

One caveat: you must live within the 50 United States or Puerto Rico or a sovereign territory or the USA, which leaves me out of the prizes.  Still, I’m rather enjoying the wee game so it might come as a surprise that I am calling on my brethren jackasses to crash the system while I continue –completely out of character — to play by the rules.

Why? Take a look at Day 5 as screen-captured at 4 pm GMT:

Day 5 of the MMR Holiday Marathon

There I am with my puny 5 runs, one per day, averaging 4.4 miles per run at about 8 minutes per mile.  Nothing to be proud of nor, indeed, to be ashamed of considering these have all been done on a broken toe and several whilst dead drunk. But, I have to hang my head beneath the “achievements” of the Top 3.  Let’s parse their numbers, all self reported as can be your own:

“Lukas J” has run 195.8 miles in 26h 56m, or 39.16 miles per day averaging 8:15/mile throughout although, granted, this is spread out over 4 or 5 runs per day.  Who can compete with this?

Perhaps “Tony M,” who is similarly impressive, fitting in 8 runs per day averaging 32 minutes per run of about 3.2 miles.  That’s 8 runs over a ½ hour each every 24 hour day for the last 5…let’s hope he picks up the pace a bit.

The top female in this Cavalcade of Gods is “stacie g” who may be the most impressive, yet, with 2 runs per day averaging over 11.7 miles per run at an 8:04/mile pace.  Marvellous.

So, I would ask that you lot register with Map My Run (if there is a ‘Tell Us How You Heard About Us’ part to the registration, mention this post) and submit similarly bogus efforts.  Maybe record a run whilst driving 80 mph down the motorway, or a 24 hour long run every two days keeping a 6 minutes per mile pace…be creative.  I’ll be slogging along, stopping at pubs every hour or so (maybe more frequently), and watching your efforts with earnest interest.

UPDATE: 20 minutes after the above screen capture, “Lukas J” logged 2 more runs adding another 10.4 miles.  Awesome, or more accurately unbelievable.  You all have a lot of bogus mileage to log if you are going to catch up:

Day 5 of the MMR Holiday Marathon twenty minutes later

 UPDATE: At the end of 5 days, “stacie g” has gotten lazy and was displaced but I find myself most impressed by “Charles C” who is averaging 8 hours 49 minutes per day running, in 4h 52m chunks (obviously he has to take a break every now and then to charge his Garmin battery):

Holiday Marathon Challenge liars 2014-11-29 end of day 5

 UPDATE: Well into day 6 (30th of November), our winner for most ludicrous entry of the day goes to ‘Brad L’ with 105.5 miles at a 4m 35s pace.  I hope he’s one of my saboteurs:

2014-11-30 blog update 4-35 miles

Sweet potato pie Christmas 2013   Leave a comment

sweet potatoe pie

This was the pudding, a sweet potato pie like you might get down south in the States (except the crust was almonds and soy flour).  No recipe, just a pretty picture.  Not bragging, as this was the second effort of the day (Christmas drinkies helped with pie crust #1):

pie crust fail

Posted 2013/12/25 by Drunken Bunny in food

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Christmas Cassoulet 2013   3 comments

Instead of one giant Christmas meal that results in leftovers lasting days we have parsed the feasting to smaller bits (still with leftovers, mind) with the plan of having the annual cassoulet on the Day.  So, Sunday was roast pheasant (which left a whole bird and the leg quarters of another) to strip for part of the stew.  To the right, the duck offal can be seen boiling into a nice broth for part of the cassoulet effort:

cassoulet pheasant and duck offal broth

Monday we had a Tuscan style pasta (due to our Franco and Anna shopping) with some fennel sausages, a spinach a broth substitute for escarole soup, cannelini, tomatoes, and a shitpot full of garlic.  Amazingly, there is a small portion of this leftover but it wasn’t to be part of the cassoulet (although it could have been).  Tuesday, it was to be duck cooked as the ‘Amazing Five hour duck.’  Essentially, you put it in a 140° C oven turning and piercing hourly for 4 hours then brown it up at 170° C the last hour.We took the breasts and I freed the flesh from the rest for another stew layer.

cassoulet beans and offal in broth

I promised no lamb this year but that is traditional (both promising to leave it out and eventually putting it in — go ahead, there is a juvenile chuckle in there for you).  We always have some lamb and it is always a good part of the stew.  But, I have given up on finding the garlic sausage I want and this year just got a couple of smoked gammon steaks to chop into a layer instead of the sausages.

cassoulet duck carcass

The white beans soaked in the fridge overnight and went on the stove at breakfast to soften.  This year I went for fresh tomatoes, too.  The veg was a leek, some carrots, and celery cooked slowly till not-quite-soft in the fat of some pancetta (chopped and left in) and a blob of the duck fat.

cassoulet 4 pancetta  cassoulet 5 veg

And, the lamb sat in some salt and coarsely broken garlic until just before layering, then these were cooked quickly in the remaining fat from the veg effort.

cassoulet 6 garlic  cassoulet 7 lamb

The layering goes thus… tomatoes/spices/lamb-garlic/veg:

cassoulet layers 1  cassoulet layers 2  cassoulet layers 3  cassoulet layers 4

Then, duck/tomatoes/beans/sausage (I used smoked gammon instead):

cassoulet layers 5  cassoulet layers 6  cassoulet layers 7  cassoulet layers 8

And, the rest of the veg, more duck and the pheasant, the last of the beans, and more tomatoes:

cassoulet layers 9  cassoulet layers 10  cassoulet layers 11  cassoulet layers 12

And finish off with half a bottle of a decent white wine:

cassoulet layers 13

This should bake, covered, for an hour after it starts bubbling in a 180º C oven, then get pulled to cover with a mixture of bread crumbs, butter and parmesan cheese before going back in, uncovered until brown.  Eat until you pop open.

cassoulet served

Posted 2013/12/25 by Drunken Bunny in food

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