Frozen toez

Lunch went very well yesterday.  A socking great 16 lb rib of beef, with all that goes with it, and the pudding was a hit too.  I decided on Queen of puddings – most of you will know it, it’s a Victorian recipe I  think.  Not that even I quite recall it from those days.  For those who don’t know it, you heat milk, add breadcrumbs, a little sugar and lemon zest and, when it’s cool, egg yolks and then bake it like egg custard.  When set, you top it with warm jam and, when you’re about to start your meal, whip up the egg whites with sugar – less sugar than for regular meringues – spread on top and bake gently again.  I did a double quantity and it all went.  Squiffany had a second helping, which was a rarity and, when Zerlina was asked if she liked it, she didn’t stop eating long enough to reply but just nodded.

I cooked the beef for ten minutes to the pound, which was rather guesswork but which was fine.  Most of us like it on the rare side.  There’s some of it left, but everything else vanished except half a dozen sprouts – though even Pugsley has decided he likes sprouts now.

Zerlina has been enjoying Christmas.  She loved the idea of an Advent calendar – Weeza has a chest of drawers for Advent, and she puts a little present in each, she did it first for Squiffany and Pugsley one year.  Just a balloon, hairclip, sweet or suchlike – but with that, and doing the rounds of the family for several days, the first day with no parcels to open came as a disappointment to her.  When we were over there, each present offered to her was opened with a hopeful “Might be chocolate?” – fortunately, there were some chocolate coins, so she wasn’t disappointed.

Something always breaks down at Christmas time, so we were more disappointed than surprised when it turned out to be our new electric blanket, which was only three weeks old.  £65, it cost, bought online from John Lewis.  I was glad that I’d bought it online, as it meant I didn’t have to trail back to the shop with it, but could email.  The blanket itself seems to be all right, it has dual controls and it’s one of the leads that has stopped working.  The one on my side of the bed.  I snuggled up very affectionately to the Sage to keep warm, but after warming me up thoroughly, he insisted on us swapping sides and taking the cold side himself.  A gentleman, he is.  I emailed John Lewis customer services department last night.  I was surprised and gratified to receive a reply first thing this morning – it being a bank holiday, I hadn’t really expected one until tomorrow.  I was less happy that, with apologies, they said it was out of stock so they couldn’t replace it at present, but offered a full refund with no need to return the blanket.  They also gave me two London branches that, at the time of writing, still had some in stock.  I haven’t followed this up, as I have now put on a blanket from the spare bed.  I’ll see if the local electrician can do anything with the lead – the working lead is fine either side of the bed, so it isn’t the blanket itself.  If not, I’ll replace it when stocks come in again.  Though, presumably, at a higher price as VAT will have risen by then.

14 comments on “Frozen toez

  1. Roses

    My ex-MIL used to make Queen of Puddings and it was yummy. You’ve made me homesick for her and her cooking.

    What a bummer about the electric blanket. When I was married we didn’t have proper central heating and that was the only reason we made it through the winters. Crawling into a lovely warm bed…bliss.

  2. Z

    It was a speciality of my mother in law too, so I knew it would particularly please the Sage and Weeza. I was able to make it all but the meringue topping the day before, which was part of its appeal for me. Dora had never had it before, but that’s not surprising as her parents are Bengali, so traditional English cookery isn’t what she was brought up on.

    We should have changed the blanket right away, but it was midnight when we discovered it wasn’t working and the thought of bed-changing right then wasn’t on the cards. Actually, it would have been quickest to take duvet and pillows and sleep in the spare room. Bit late to say that now.

  3. Dave

    I left a comment here earlier (not easy with the computer I’m using) and now it’s gone.

    It was just to say that we had beef at my brother’s yesteday, which I ate with lots of vegetables – and in a demonstration of me entering into the season, one sprout.

  4. Z

    We always have beef for Christmas, John, by popular vote. And the Yorkshire pudding rose so well this year that I had difficulty persuading it out of the oven.

    It didn’t appear here or in my email, Dave, I’m afraid. Assuming you’re not Kristina, whose link I’m nervous of following.

    I applaud the sprout eating. Admirable. I’m going to eat a chocolate in a spirit of support.

  5. 63mago

    I have no idea what “Kristina” is. I came to the opening screen of the blog “You and I” and found the use of crosses, crowns and Iron Crosses a bid peculiar. I was expected to click onward, what I did not and left for good.

  6. Z

    You were quite brave enough, Mago. If someone leaves a comment, I’ll go and have a look at their blog and, if I like it, bookmark it and visit again. But in this case, ‘Kristina’ didn’t comment on the post, so I assume it’s spam.

  7. Mike and Ann

    Dear Z, the following comment is for Dave’s benefit. In the past I have always eaten TWO sprouts at Christmas, partly because I’m a traditionalist and partly to prove to the children and grandchildren that it can be done. On the run up to this Christmas I had a mild attack of gout (to which I am subject – funny in a Gilray cartoon – NOT in fact). I was presented with a sheet of instructions on what foods to avoid. One of them was Brussell Sprouts. Please warn Dave of the risks he is running in persisting in eating a yearly Brussell sprout. Like me, he can now avoid the ghastly things with a clear conscience and on medical advice.

  8. Z

    Dave will be glad of your advice, Mike. in fact, he is already warned to be wary of green vegetables because he suffers from kidney stones. He is also advised against meat, which pleases him less. So he rarely touches any veg but carrots. And chips.

  9. Z

    I am glad, then, that I didn’t say an unsupportive word. One sprout a year shows genuine courage. Spinach would be genuinely foolhardy and I trust you will never touch it.


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