Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Dinner

So, do you remember me telling you about the charity auction we went to, where we bid for a chef to come and cook for a dinner party of ours? Well, we had the dinner on Saturday night. It was just Heaven on Earth. As one of the guests pointed out, it was like flying First Class for the first time. The sad thing about having flown First Class is the depression of having to go back to economy. I feel that now I've had someone do all the cooking AND grocery shopping for my dinner - having to do it all myself next time is going to be just like going back to economy after the absolute luxury of First Class. Tricky!
So, I woke up on Saturday morning like a child on Christmas, I had a relaxed coffee in bed whilst I planned the evening ahead. I could finally do all the fun things that I normally want to do but always run out of steam or time. Things like, making up delicious cocktails, doing beautiful flowers and spending some time on the table decoration. All the fun things really. So I made my list, I love a list. First stop, the bottle store.
Even the bottle store was fun and festive. Who would have thought. The Grand Marnier was the reason I was there. More on that later.

Second stop, Adderley Street flower market. Just my best.

I tried to choose Christmasy flowers (well, my made up version of Christmas flowers) I did not want to be too predictable.

The brilliant Lindsy and Portia doing the prep. Are those little blinis I see!

The table.

The table is not quite done yet, but I had the sudden brain wave to cut branches off our conifer tree and lay them down the centre of the table scattered with Christmas balls and red glass votives. It made for a sort of horizontal Christmas tree.

I tied red satin ribbons around gold candle holders.

I had the mantra of Wallis Simpson (or it could have been Diana Vreeland, can't remember)) going around in my head.
"Decoration should be low, low, low, glasses cold, cold, cold and plates hot,hot,hot!"

Oops, the table cloth looks is in a bit of disarray. That's because I was standing on it hanging branches and balls from the overhead light. Clearly way too much time on my hands! It looked a bit amateur to be honest - so not entirely worth it. It did look better at night however, when all you saw where twinkling lights overhead.
The sideboard waiting to be laden with turkey and vegetables. Again, I just cut a few sprigs from another tree - outside the dining room window in fact. It has variegated leaves which I thought for whatever reason looked like Christmas. I layered the same type of branches along the top of our mantle piece along with pine cones and fairy light and red bows.

Then I started my flower arranging. Quite bizarre what came out really. I was seriously getting into full swing!

This is like "Messy Christmas"

Not bad.

I was quite smug about the berries.

Then finally I was pulling it together.

Am pleased.

Then I lost it again. I think staying in a resort in Mexico influenced me on this one. I'm obviously having with drawls. I had two green leaves left over so I picked some pink roses from the garden. This was arrangement was not part of my Christmas contingent, instead I put them in the guest loo.

Quite pretty.

Flowers on my desk.

The crazy arrangement with the drinks table, quite apt.

The tidy sitting room waiting for a party.

I like this this one here.
I also like my mini white tree with fairy lights.
Now for the cocktail!
I call it 'Christmas Breeze' ha ha a bit of tack.
You need:
Grand Marnier
Cranberry Juice
Fresh Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Fresh Rosemary Needles

In a tall mixing glass muddle 10-12 rosemary leaves lightly with simple syrup. (simple syrup we made from just mixing a bit of water with madeira cane sugar over the stove until syrupy)
Add remaining ingredients then add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into glass with ice. garnish with rosemary sprig.

You see above the table laid out for prep. The rosemary leaves and an antique marrow spoon that we got given as a wedding present. Which we love, but sadly are not quite Tudoresque enough to be digging around in bones in search of marrows as often as we would like to. However, we have found that it does make for an excellent cocktail stirrer!
The rosemary sprigs did let me down somewhat. They weren't as robust as I would have had them be. It should look like a mini Christmas tree in your glass, but never mind they were absolutely delicious and set the party off to a roaring start.
One last final look
And finally Darling in his dj pouring me a drink. Hooray!


  1. GIG!! I am blown away by your general Christmas fervour! And the beauty of your decorations - ooh I would also be smug about the berries. And I love a bit of Mexico (even if it does get relegated to the guest loo). Could do with a bit of Christmas Breeze myself right now.x Ness

  2. Oh my god, what a lovely house, the stuff, people flower and everything is perfect for Christmas.

    Just like to share with you a quote...

    "Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk." - J.C. Penney

    You can get more quotes at

  3. Scrumptious-looking cocktail!