Sunday 8 December 2019

Early Christmas Meal

With the onset of the cold weather and the short days, I realised that my mood was starting to plummet. I am generally rather upbeat and indeed a friend remarked that I would have to be, having taken on the restoration of a vast ruined edifice. However, when it is dark most of the time and one is living with no heating, I defy anyone to not have a wibble. I am pretty cold-hardy but when the pain starts in my hands and feet, enough is enough. As I write this blog entry, I currently have an electric fan heater playing over my feet. At other times I direct the fan heater to blow over my fingers, so these do not seize up while typing.

Anyhow, my solution to improve my mood this winter is to have a dinner party every month throughout the season. The first dinner party was at Halloween, and this really cheered me up. The second, which has just taken place, was on the 6th December and again this did its magic. I was too hysterical with the cleaning and catering to take any photographs, but thankfully the friends who attended obliged, and the photos in this blog entry are theirs. I have noticed that in the throws of catering hysteria, one does not feel the cold at all. I suspect it is due to the high adrenaline levels, so there are unexpected beneficial side effects of winter dinner parties.

The Christmas tree and table decoration are courtesy of an accomplished friend of Balintore. This delegation allowed me to focus on the catering. If you wish to recreate this dinner party in the comfort of your own home, you can find the recipes as links in the picture captions below. All the recipes are foolproof - I do not attempt anything that is not. :-) The "yin and yang" poached pear dessert is my original creation. The Victorian dinner service mentioned in a previous blog entry here, had its first proper outing!

Many thanks to the attendees for their wonderfully therapeutic company, their gifts and their assistance. You can even catch a rare glimpse of the Laird of Balintore in the photos. :-) The observant will notice that I forgot to defrost my prawns for the starter and had to improvise with a fortuitously donated avocado.

table decked for early Christmas meal

smoked salmon in lime and honey dressing starter
the guests take their places

venison in red wine casserole

pears poached in red wine & pears poached in white wine

Christmas table decoration


  1. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful dinner set - how appropriate for it to make it's entertainment debut at a Christram-cheeer-and-warm-me-up dinner party! Sitting in the middle of Australian summer heat, I cannot begin to imagine how cold it must be in Balintore with only a wee blow heater as company.
    Warm wishes,

    1. I could definitely do with some Australian summer heat at the moment! It is around 4C at night in the castle so not too bad. However, sit at a computer for some time and the cold will catch up with you. The worst winter I've experienced here is -15 C. Thankfully, the dining area has a large wood burner and central heating.