4am Christmas eve

What a stupid time to up and around!!!!  The forecast snow for yesterday never materialised and we are above freezing this morning.  We set off for the shops bright and early and got the meat from the butcher and extra milk and potatoes from Tesco.  Parking outside the butcher was not a problem but Tesco had marshals in the car park directing traffic.  Thank goodness, I only had a couple of items to buy as it was total bedlam in there.  We then took the dogs for a run on the way home but Basso was a little sod and refused to come back until HE had had enough fun!!!  This has to be one of the most difficult things in dog training.  When the dog eventually comes back you must be pleased and not beat him to within an inch of his life, which is what you feel like doing.  However, he is going to find himself on a lead today and we will be doing plenty of recalls just to reinforce the fact that when I say come back that is exactly what I mean and it is not up to him to decide if and when to return....

Once home the beef was put in the garage but will need at least 24 hours in the kitchen to reach room temperature.  The turkey is swimming in its brine bath and will be cooked this morning and then cooled and put outside ready for boxing day.  I also have the trifle to make today which in not difficult but tedious.  The arranged present swap with Elaine did not take place instead her husband and kids dropped by as she has gone over with the dreaded cold and was tucked in bed.  It seems like everyone is suffering at the moment.  I am sure that all the stress of Christmas and the snow have sapped immune systems and tired worn out housewives are now suffering.  Touch wood, Mike and I are fine at the moment so lets hope it lasts.

I had a nice discussion with my chef friend with regard to the beef and roughly how long it will take to cook and at what temperature.  There is 11lbs of beef on the three ribs and I have timings ranging for one and a half hours to three.  I think I am going to go for a compromise and start it blindingly hot then go to low and slow for the remainder of the time.  Lunch will have to be when the meat is ready.  The half hour standing time will give me time for the vegetables, gravy and Yorkshire.  In the interim we can get stuck into the smoked salmon and champagne.

I think I will occupy some time this morning writing out a list so that I don't forget to take things out of the freezer at appropriate times.  The dogs have already started their feast as they had the giblets from the turkey stock I made yesterday.  Mike is going to have the liver on toast for brunch this morning.  The hens got a good clean out yesterday so will only need food and water and with the thaw I managed to get the rat out of the trap and reset it.  I was looking for some bait for the trap when I discovered that the rats have broken into the bag of poison bait and eaten it all.....With any luck we may be rat free for a while but I am sure another family will move in in time...I must admit that all the time they are confined to the end shed I am not too bothered...

On that happy note I wish you all a fruitful day and may all your preparations be successful.
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