20 December, 2006

rewind, somebody push play, and... the tree is here!



















Ooof, the old tree has been soundly kissed goodnight and disposed of, with the help of our saint Porter, Laurie, and his saw. John has an awful cold, but rose to the occasion to render the old tree ready to take outside, and the construction workers across the way kindly agreed to take the detritus. Thence I sent John to rest, while Avery and I hoovered up and swept up the gatrillions of needles from the floor in the reception room, and, painfully, the carpeted foyer. Ouch. Thousands of them! Pricks to all exposed skin, needles buried in the carpet, kitties scared to death. Finally done.

Off we were to Tesco to get chicken soup ingredients (since the ambrosia virtually cured Grandpa Jack of the cold he had while he was here), then to get Tree The Second. He's lovely as you can see, much smaller than his earlier brother, but smelling divine. As much as the kitties jumped about the sofa chasing the ornaments as I removed them from Tree the First, nothing was broken. So we got home with the tree, I put a chicken in to roast (a bed of slightly wilting fresh thyme from the weekend's soup did not go astray) with wine and stock poured on, and onions all round, and set to work. Several hours later all was in readiness: tree decorated, more needles hoovered up, chicken roasted nicely and here's a thought: separate the whole breast for sandwiches, and put the legs and rib bones straight into a pot for soup. I added several carrots and a couple of stalks of celery, and John had a very nice bowl of restorative soup to help him mend. Meanwhile, the tree looks and smells lovely. I am BEAT! But here's a great and festive-looking side dish that cooks itself, along with your chicken:

Oven-roasted tomatoes with a kick

1 dozen small tomatoes on the vine
olive oil to drizzle
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chili pepper, minced
1 tbsp rosemary, minced
sea salt to sprinkle

Simply halve the tomatoes and lay in a glass dish, nonstick-sprayed of course. Then drizzle on olive oil, sprinkle on the glorious Christmas-colored garlic, pepper and rosemary, sprinkle on salt, and roast with chicken, for at least an hour and a half. The tomatoes will be wrinkly and soft, perfect to pile on a sandwich of sliced chicken breast, cheddar cheese, red onion and mayo. Now we're collapsing and letting Avery read to us. What a dear girl.

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