Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ho Ho Ho......It's Christmas!

Finally managed to shake the fever and all the symptoms except the hacking cough....thank god for man sized drugs is all I can say!

So Christmas is here in ooh about 4 minutes time and then away to the Palace for the festive activities. I know I promised I tell you what we were going to cook, but I'm a half-wit and I left the list at work when I went in to receive the food deliveries the other day!?!?
Still, I'm sure that you can guess the sorts of things it'll be....the same old same old really....2 meals each day, sit down to eat at 3.30 p.m....yada yada yada.

Now don't get me wrong, I still enjoy doing this, but I do find these 'meal' events less challenging than the experimental ones.....still, better get used to it because that's probably what we'll be doing more of next year than anything least we can fiddle with and experiment with the interpretation of the meals I suppose, even if we can't get away with much more.

When I've finally written up last weekends work I'll let you all in on what we did then.......we'll also be aiming to finish off what we started in December for the February weekend as well, so there's plenty of time to cover all of that as well as plans for the coming year.

I'm not to hopeful for much posting over the Christmas week.....I'll probably be limited to using the mobile phone for that, so don't expect tons and tons of typing from me. I'm not too sure how we'll do for pictures either as it's so dark in the kitchens at this time of year it makes taking pictures really hard without using a flash.....and we try to shy away from that as it can wipe out the detail too easily, still fingers crossed eh!

That's it for now then, just time now to say

I hope Santa brings you what you asked for!!


Thursday, 18 December 2008


Just an update....won't be anything meaningful posted for a while as I'm stricken with a viral infection resulting in stupidly high temperatures, aches and sweating fits!?!

The doctor has prescribed a course of anti-biotics to keep any secondary infection at bay....I swear to God they'e the size of chocolate Yule logs!! well as some man sized pain killers to abate the stupifying headaches.

As soon as I can shift this things will be back to normal.....or as normal as can be expected.


Sunday, 14 December 2008

Remember, Remember......

...the 1st and 2nd of November? No me neither to be honest!
I've just sent Roberts pictures from the November weekend over to Flickr for all to see (not much re-touching.....just straightening them out and hiding the faces of the innocent).

So apart from the fantastic fireworks...

fireworks at Hampton Court

...just what did we do that weekend? Well it happened to coincide with the end of the school half term holidays over which Hampton Court ran its once yearly promotion 'Kids go Free'. During this time children aren't charged admission (up to 4 per accompanying adult) and the visitor numbers go through the roof! Loads of stuff for kids and families to do and we were told NOT to be the what did we do?
Well the usual spit turning with Ross was a 'given'....although it turned out to be more of a chore than we thought...but what else could we do? After much thought we decided on having Barry and Barry grinding bread-crumbs and making butter, Dave would do his usual thing, Robert would be assisted by Jorge in enthralling people with tales of the office whilst the main area of the kitchen would do all the normal sort of thing PLUS one massive new test run.....we'd let people have a go at cooking themselves!!

First let-down of the weekend was somewhat of a potato potahto moment when once again the wrong flanks of meat turned up..

the wrong flanks....again!

so, loads of picking at it later and we had enough meat to 'create' roasting joints for people to turn and absolutely tons of fat to render out for cooking at other weekends.

The butter wasn't quite as successful.....the guys made plenty of it, but it was really hard going, still that's one reason why people didn't make butter in the winter (apart from the lack of milk, the cold really works against the cream turning to butter). Not that it mattered too much as all the public seemed to like it. The breadcrumbs on the other hand were an out and out winner.....I don't think I actually saw Carter do any physical labour all weekend as there was a near constant queue of kids wanting a turn at making breadcrumbs....again, all to put into store for use at Christmas and other weekends. I would never have believed that such a simple task would have proved so popular!

As I said, Dave did his usual 'thing'...I'm not quite sure what it was, but kids loved it..

Dave does his thing

So that just leaves the 'hands on cookery' to tell you about. We were going to try to be fair about it and take turns so that we didn't go ga-ga, but in the end Robin stepped up and did it all as he was trying out some ideas for future education sessions at the same time.
We'd plumped for ryschews close & fryez as the recipe to try, not least because we had a bag load of the filling already made and in the freezer, but also because the various processes involved lend themselves to this sort of 'have a go' event.

¶Ryschewys close & Fryez.
¶Take Fygys, & grynd hem smal in a mortere with a lytil Oyle, & grynd with hym clowys & Maces; & þan take it vppe in-to a vesselle, & cast þer-to Pynez, Saundrys, & Roysonys of Coraunce, & mencyd Datys, Pouder Pepir, Canel, Salt, Safroun; þan take fyne past of flowre an water, Sugre, Safroun, & Salt, & make fayre cakys þer-of; þan rolle þin stuf in þin hond, & couche it in þe cakys, & kyt it, & folde hym as Ruschewys, & frye hem vppe in Oyle; and serue forth hote.

The biggest question was how to cope with the cookery part??.....should we cook them there and then or what? Fortunately the solution came from the boss, Chris when he suggested that we let people make them at the Palace then take them home to cook them...bag them up and include instructions then hopefully everyone would be happy.

So we made up the paste and filling then all people had to do was roll out a small amount, cut out a circle, wet the edge with water, pop in some fruity filling, then fold and seal before Robin popped the finished item in a bag with ingredients list and went down a storm, especially with the family who were first to try. They'd waited and waited and come back several times for this all to be set up and when they'd finally finished and the kids had their bags in their hands, Robin pointed out that they were the first people who weren't us or 'off the telly' to have cooked in the kitchen for many many years they were really quite chuffed...loads of pictures for the school projects ensued and they went away with beaming smiles....and that seemed to be the results for the rest of the weekend, from both young...

having a go

..and old alike...

anyone could have a try

Now all I have to do is cover last weekend and we should be square.....perhaps not tonight remeber to have a look at all the other picture I've put up at me they're a lot more interesting than this past weekend bunch will be...but that's for another time!


Saturday, 13 December 2008

Clearing The Backlog!

Not that there's much of a backlog to clear though. I've just put some pictures up at Flickr that I took on the November weekend.....don't get too excited though, they're nothing to do with the cookery.
There was a rather large function on on the Saturday evening and thankfully for them and us, the heavens cleared up long enough to allow for the MASSIVE fireworks display to take place. It lasted a good half an hour, all well set to music with a cracking finale.....shame that the pictures don't really do it justice, but we can't have everything can we?

fireworks at the East front

fireworks at the East front

fireworks at the East front

should give you an idea of what you can see over at Flickr...there are 11 images in total so far, but I have to confess I haven't gone through Roberts images yet so there will be more to come....and he even managed to take pictures of the cookery too, nothing too spectacular, but I expect you'll find them of interest......better go and find the disc with them on and get sorting eh?

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Just To Show..... things are progressing with the Base Court paving. It came as quite a shock to look out of the windows of the Buttery and see how they're getting on.

Base Court Paving

I've not been paying too much attention to the work and the last I saw, it was a muddy wet hole ridden space that was home to diggers and archaeologists. I think it's looking pretty good and should really look the business when it's well as completely altering the dynamic of how people walk through the courtyard.

another view of the paving

I've just submitted the shopping lists for the Christmas cookery, now it's off to bed time and I'll post up the menus next time along with a few pictures from the weekends that disappeared into the ether from a blogging perspective!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Ask Me No Questions....

....and I'll tell you no lies!

Yes, I've got my finger out and am back in business!!!

First off a MASSIVE APOLOGY to all the 'regulars', especially those of you who have expressed concern for my well being.....I was VERY rude not to get back to you, but you'll just have to believe me when I say that I had my reasons for the rather long period of silence. Suffice to say that this blog has always aimed to be positive in its outlook and there hasn't been much of a positive nature for me of late.

However, that all changes now especially after the really successful weekend of cookery that's just passed.....lots of top stuff undertaken and probably quite a few pictures as well. It'll take a couple of days for me to process the information that we gathered, all of which I'll need to write up....then pass over to Marc H to cast his eye over and add to.....hell it's almost like doing real work!?

Before all of that though I'm pushed for time to plan the Christmas menu and shopping lists, so after recovering from the very chilly weekend in the kitchen I'll do that then let you all know the plans.