Christmas 2013

Christmas went by so fast this year but I still really enjoyed it. Our festivities kicked off on the 24th at 5.40pm when I finally got to lock the door behind me after a busy day in work. Luckily I had prepared as much as I could for all of the tasty delights the night before, so I didn't have too much work to do when I got home. Oh yes, just to clarify, Ian and I have his parents in for dinner on Christmas Eve and go to my mum's for Christmas Day. 

The first thing I did when I got home was assembled the mince pies, sprinkled them with sugar and baked them until golden brown.

I decided to go with a light meal, as Ian's dad has not been feeling 100% lately and his appetite was poor. I served a potato, red onion and goat's cheese tart with salad and brown bread.

The salad comprised of rocket, oven dried cherry tomatoes (made by Ian), artichokes, french beans and tomato oil and balsamic vinegar. 

The in-laws didn't stay too late. Think they left around 11pm. Ian and I were absolutely exhausted and I still had preparations for Christmas Day to do. I was in charge of dessert which was raspberry and white chocolate bread and butter pudding.

This was the first time I made any type of bread and butter pudding and I was surprised at how easy it was. The most tedious part was cutting the crusts off the bread. The custard was a doddle - 4 eggs beaten into 450ml of cream and 220ml of milk and 125g of caster sugar and then poured onto the prepared bread and raspberries. I covered the dish and allowed it to soak overnight in the fridge. I had also aimed to make eclairs but I got so tired that all I wanted to do was relax and hang out with my husband.

I got into my festive PJs and socks and poked around at the presents under the tree, putting them in piles to bring to my mum's house.

I whipped up a saucepan of hot drinking chocolate and cosied up with Ian on the sofa and just took in the Christmas feeling.

Two sleepy heads on Christmas morning. We got up at 8.45pm. Admittedly I had to drag myself out of bed but it was well worth it. We had made plans to open a present, drive to our local seaside village and go for a lovely long walk. Back for breakfast, shower and  get dressed up for the day ahead and be in my mum's for around lunchtime. Unfortunately our plans were unfulfilled but we had a brilliant morning anyway.

For breakfast Ian had leftover tart and brown bread while I had...

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes and maple syrup.

Ian donned his Christmas paraphernalia, packed the car and we headed to my mum's house for midday.

Stealing a little 'time out', away from all the chaos of Christmas cooking and present opening ......but we were found!!!

Ian playing with his hand held digital recording which Santa brought him.

For our starter we had delicious mushroom which was made by my sister-in-law. Nicest mushroom soup I ever had!!

Dinner, of course, was turkey and ham with all the trimmings. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it. 

My bread and butter pudding was a huge hit. I have converted my husband, siblings and even myself.

After dinner, one of my brothers, his partner and son left to visit her folks so Ian, mum, my other brother and I went on a tour of other houses' Christmas lights. When we came home we had a quiz, which we had planned. Each of us did a round and the quiz lasted a couple of hours. Of course, brainbox Ian won but unfortunately there was no prize!!

Ian wearing mum's very stretched and crooked reading glasses.

The following day we went to the 8th Annual Michael Hearne Memorial Swim where the proceeds go to the Solas Centre in Waterford city. There were around 50 swimmers (dippers) and I can honestly say the water was freezing. I couldn't feel my feet for about 20 minutes afterwards. We went for a drink in the local pub to meet with friends and family. 

When we got back to my mum's house, we ate turkey sandwiches and did the 'Christmas Dip', which is where we do a Secret Santa round of presents and my mum buys a couple of rounds of presents. They are just small items, usually cost €10 or so. All presents are placed in a massive Santa sack and we all take turns pulling out gifts and giving them to each other. Brilliant fun. 

So that was basically a rundown of the Hearne family Christmas sans my sister in France : (

Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable celebration with family and friends.

Merry Christmas.

With love,

Gem xx


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