Monday, 18 June 2007

What a weekend!

A 'big' weekend always leaves a lot of tidying up and things, but this weekend we had James' christening, so it was a really big one.

On Friday night, my brother and his girlfriend stayed, before heading to a B&B for Saturday night. I cooked a version of Nigella Lawson's One-Pan Sage-and-Onion Chicken and Sausage from her book 'Feast'. I used a mixture of chicken thighs and drumsticks, marinaded them, along with some wedges of onion, using olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon, fresh sage from the garden. I added the sausages just before cooking, giving them about an hour at 200°c. Some baked potatoes and cabbage was a nice simple accompaniment to a really good supper. We drank (rather a lot of) white wine and played Trivial Pursuit.

On Saturday the real work started. We were expecting about 30 people at the house for drinks and a buffet after the service on Sunday, so I tried to keep things quite simple. I made some pastry and lined two tart tins, plus I fried bacon, cooked leeks and chopped up cheese ready for the fillings. I wanted to assemble and bake the tarts fresh on Sunday morning, as I don't think they are at their best when they've been refrigerated. I also got the pâté that I prepared in advance a few weeks back out of the freezer to defrost.

On Saturday evening we had a takeaway and played Scrabble before I drove my parents, my brother and his girlfriend back to their B&B, then came home to get the house ready for Sunday. We crashed into bed just before midnight, then James woke us up again at 5. Thanks, James! I lay in bed trying to sleep for an hour or so, then gave up and left JD doizing with his Dad while I got on with it all.

I cooked the tarts; cheese & bacon and leek & caerphilly and put together a large platter of cold meats. A cheeseboard of Welsh cheeses and a basket of small granary rolls supplemented the home-made dishes, along with the usual suspects like sausage rolls, pork pies, crisps and crudités.

James' godparents arrived early to help out. We got them on babysitting duty while Hubby and I showered and got ready. Karl drove down to the shop in the village to fetch the ice we'd ordered. We filled an empty plastic toy trug with the ice, and put the wine in to chill while we were at church. There's never enough space in the fridge at parties, is there? So this was a great wheeze. The service was lovely and James was really well-behaved. I'm used enough to the bilingual services now to sing along with the Welsh-language hymns, even if I don't always know what I'm singing about!

After the service we all trooped back up to our house, squeezing everyone in. Drinks were handed round, with tea or coffee, plus sparkling water and orange juice to supplement the sparkling wine that my parents had very kindly provided. After everyone had eaten and drunk, we opened all James' lovely gifts with him, plus Christopher opened the presents that people had generously brought for him, lest he feel left out. We toasted James' health and then cut his christening cake, which went down very well. All in all, a brilliant day. I could sleep for a week now, mind, shame I can't...

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