Just Like a Long Lazy Sunday....




Back in December, Christmas rolled out before us smooth and crisp as a fresh banknote. As the days drew in and each night came a few minutes earlier than the last, a delicious fluttering of anticipation accompanied everything I did. Two blackbirds feasted on berries in front of the window, jet eyes blinking in readiness for next door's cat while I dreamily washed the dishes. I hesitantly sipped each breath of sharp toothed air, but my cosy home sighed warmly and twinkled with fairy lights.

This year we were hibernating, just the three of us and the wind blown Christmas branch. Christmas eve found us relaxed and happy, surrounded by clouds of jewel coloured tissue as we wrapped the contents of Fin's stocking under the watchful eye of several decorative robins. Each paperish rustle and sellotape snap made my heart leap with pure festive joy as the air condensed around my holiday Manhattan and the world outside receded further and further.

In the morning Fin managed to read for a whole hour with his stocking hung inches away from his bed, until the magic chime of 7am bought him brimming with hushed excitement to the bedside to disgorge the contents of his stocking over the covers and ease himself in between us for the fun to commence.

The real magic for me is in the lack of obligation. We had licence to eat when we wanted, wear what we liked and do exactly as we pleased. Other than a little walk with some dear friends, the day unfolded with blissful unawareness of time passing. For this reason I decided that our modest leg of lamb would be roasted rare and carved thinly - done in less than an hour and tender as you like. Giving us just enough time to rustle up some salads, fragrant with herbs and creamy with homemade mayonnaise. We had planned to roast vegetables and make more of a performance of the meal, but when it came to it, salads were the very thing we fancied.

For dessert I made hazelnut semifreddo, light with Italian meringue and satisfyingly textured by a vein of hazelnut praline folded through just before freezing. It was a delicious end to a light and savoury meal - who needs to eat enough for a week in one sitting?

The rest of Christmas? Well it just drifted by in woodland walks, board games and snuggling on the sofa with my boys. I can't think of a better way to spend a few days! When the time came to pack some things and jump in the car to visit Nicks' parents I was as languid as a sun warmed cat - I may even have purred a little.

New Year drew ever closer, so I began to think about the things that bring good luck and what of 2008 I wanted to wrap up and post to 2009 for safekeeping. But that my lovely readers, is a whole other post. x x x