Welcome to the rewind of the series from 2018 which features not only the food and traditions of Christmas but also some special guests who it would be lovely to share Christmas dinner with in person. In the series my guests shared their best Christmas gift ever…and there will be food drink and of course music and to get you into the spirit of the season.
Welcome to the tenth day of Christmas and my guests today are writer and editor Alison Williams and author Patty Fletcher, sharing their most favourite Christmas gifts of all time.
First some festive music to get the party started….I am a huge fan of Chris Rea .. and here is his Driving Home for Christmas. You can buy his music Amazon
Festive Pet food for Christmas Dinner.
We could not talk about Christmas without preparing something for the pets in the family. In the old days, and that was in fact only about 30 years ago, pets were fed on scraps as they had been for the thousands of years as our companions. I appreciate that most of the animal foods available today may be rich in nutrients and full of vitality but I am afraid that I steer clear of dried food and prefer to go the natural route.
It is tempting to give pets the same treats that we enjoy but I am afraid that at Christmas treats like human chocolate are extremely dangerous. Chocolate is poison to dogs and can cause them to fit. Too many high fat, salty and sugary tit bits can also have a detrimental effect on a dog and cat’s digestion – and their first instinct is to vomit before producing rather evil smelling poop. It is important not to give you pets processed meats which contain a lot of salt or the turkey or chicken that you have prepared for your Christmas dinner because it too will have been spiced and seasoned.
Spread the food over a couple of days, as you can store cooked Turkey or chicken for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Give your pets a small amount on day one; say Christmas Eve, a little more on Christmas day and Boxing Day.
Sam our Collie established as soon as he came through the front door at 8 weeks old that the pellets that had been supplied by his breeder were inferior and he was now prepared for the good stuff. He never did take to dried food. He finally settled on Basmati rice (anything that did not have that distinctive aroma was rejected) chopped cooked chicken and giblets, some carrots and green veg with a little salt free juice from the chicken. I know some may say he was spoiled rotten but he was bright, intelligent and healthy his entire life and he always politely waited until we had started our meals before beginning his. A perfect dinner guest.
Here are a couple of favourites that we prepared for Christmas – we fostered some cats in our time and had a small feral family in our garden in Ireland that also partook during the festivities as payment for the rats caught and left on my doorstep! Sam loved Christmas and threw himself into the celebrations with great gusto…
Christmas Turkey or chicken Loaf for the Dog
Enough for 6 servings for a small dog and 4 servings for a large dog.
- 2 lbs. of minced turkey.
- 4 oz. of cooked and minced mixed vegetables (unseasoned) Sweet potato is a good choice.
- 8 oz. of oats
- 3 oz. of cooked basmati rice
- A dessert spoon of cottage cheese to top it off
Mix the turkey or chicken, vegetables, garlic, egg, rice and oats together thoroughly. Put into a greased pan (use a little butter) and pat down the mixture until level. Stand in a roasting dish of water in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook for around 1 to 1½ hours and then cool. Cut into portions and serve with a little salt free gravy. You will probably be asked for second helpings and third with a small piece of cheese to finish off!
Turkey Surprise – For the Cat
(The cat is likely to be very surprised if it is not out of a tin!)
Should provide 4 servings if you can hide from the cat. If not it will probably disappear very quickly.
- 1/2 fresh unseasoned turkey breast or one chicken breast cooked and finely chopped.
- 3 oz. of cooked carrots finely diced.
- 2 oz. of finely chopped cooked spinach
- 3 oz. of finely chopped green beans
- 6 oz. cooked basmati rice
- Unsalted chicken broth.
Mix everything together with enough chicken broth to bind the ingredients. Serve when lukewarm and watch your fingers.
My feral cats in Ireland waiting for dinner to be served…
Day 10 (3rd January): Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This remembers when Jesus was officially ‘named’ in the Jewish Temple. It’s celebrated by different churches on a wide number of different dates!
Today we have ten lords a leaping and in line with the previous mentioned use of the song to memorise catholic tenets during the years of persecution, this would refer to the Ten Commandments. However, it is recognised that as this song was sung by children and the penalty for practicing the Catholic faith was usually death during that time, most experts believe that it was not used for that purpose and that the 10 lords were really just leaping…because it fitted into the wording…
Time to welcome my first guest today.. writer and editor Alison Williams who will be sharing her most favourite Christmas gift…
I trained as a journalist and currently work as a freelance editor and writer, with articles published both online and in a variety of print publications. I have edited books in a variety of genres including dystopian, memoir, erotica, YA, fantasy, short stories, poetry and business and have worked on over three hundred projects. I have worked on a freelance basis for US clients and am happy to edit in either UK or US English. I have previously worked on a freelance basis for several academic writing companies, writing model essays, proofreading essays and dissertations and editing and improving academic work at all levels from foundation to Ph.D. standard. I have taught creative writing with a focus on grammar, punctuation, creativity, voice and expression. Find out more about my editing services.
I have a first degree in English Language and Literature and a master’s degree in creative writing. I am fascinated by history – but not so much the kings and queens, the emperors, the military heroes or the great leaders. More the ordinary people whose lives were touched by the decisions, the beliefs and the whims of those who had power over them and who now fill our history books. It is their stories that I want to tell.
Read testimonials from clients.
As part of my Master’s degree I wrote my first historical novel ‘The Black Hours’ based on the notorious Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. I have also written a novella ‘Blackwater’. I am currently working on my next full length novel.
Alison shares a very memorable Christmas with Great Expectations.
Books and stories have always been a huge part of my life. As the youngest of five children, Christmas always seemed magical, and I didn’t really appreciate that my parents found the whole thing a huge headache due to lack of money. My dad was a milkman and in those days had to work on Christmas morning, so he would be home and waiting downstairs when we all got up. He used to make us wait for ages before we were allowed to go into the lounge where our presents were – one more cup of tea, one more cigarette (this was the seventies!), until we were all hopping about in frustration.
We all had (what seemed like) a huge plastic sack full of gifts and I remember being around seven and pulling out a hardback copy of ’Great Expectations’. It was a ‘proper’ book and I can still remember how excited I was that it was all mine. I can remember sitting there reading those first lines over and over, with the Christmas lights sparkling (we were only allowed to switch them on on Christmas Eve).
It was one of the Bancroft Classics, an abridged version, a series of classics for children. One of my sisters had ‘Jane Eyre’ which I inherited later, and which began my love of the Brontës.
It was a long time until I read the unabridged version of ‘Great Expectations’, but that first copy did mark the beginning of a real love of reading and literature and an admiration of how books and writing and creativity can shine a light on the world and society and people. I’ve read a lot of Dickens, but not enough, and I’m always struck by his ability to show the truth about society. Writers have a huge role to play – and we could do with a few more like him at the moment.
I did a quick search online to see if I could find a copy and was so pleased to see it:
There was a list of all the books in the collection on the back:
I spent many a dreary afternoon reading the list of titles and dreaming about reading them all – I was a rather odd child! I’m pleased to say that at nearly fifty, I have got round to most of them.
Read the reviews and buy The Black Hours: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Connect to Alison Williams: Website/Blog: Alison Williams WordPress – Facebook: Alison Williams Writing – Twitter: @AlisonW_Editor
I thought that Alison might enjoy my virtual Christmas gift… the trailer for the 2013 version of Great Expectations.. I did see and it was very good.
The carol today is the wonderful In the Bleak Midwinter sung by The Choirboys courtesy of The Choirboys – Topic
“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti. The poem was published, under the title “A Christmas Carol”, in the January 1872 issue of Scribner’s Monthly. The poem first appeared set to music in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Gustav Holst. Harold Darke’s anthem setting of 1911 is more complex and was named the best Christmas carol in a poll of some of the world’s leading choirmasters and choral experts in 2008.
My next guest is author Patty Fletcher… Patty works with other sight impaired writers and is a very supportive blogger to all of us.
About Patty Fletcher
Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020 she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020 King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. It is her hope to one day return to The Seeing Eye® for a successor guide.
Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.
Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn. She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business
Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled.
Patty shares her most special Christmas moment.
I loved typing because it enabled me to write stories and share them with my sighted friends.
I leapt around with joy when I opened that typewriter and after dinner, I sat it up and typed my first story. While I’m sure it was filled with unseemly blunders, I’ll never forget my joy when mom hung it on the fridge for all to read.
She always knew that one day I would write books.
She didn’t live to see my first one published, but I like to think she’d have been proud.
Patty is always very busy and I hope that she will enjoy one of my favourite songs from the film working 9 to 5 with Dolly Parton….
Books by Patty Fletcher
Christmas food – Stollen
We have always enjoyed Stollen or Christstollen for Christmas with its soft centre of marzipan and luckily we can obtain here at this time of year. Stollen in various forms has been made since the 14th Century in Germany.
The original recipe for Stollen however was very much more austere originally as they were made very simply with just water and flour. This was because during Advent butter and milk were not permitted to be consumed. It was not until about 1650 that the then Pope was petitioned to allow Stollen bakers to add these more flavoursome ingredients to make the bread more palatable.
Eventually over the centuries the dried fruit, nuts and candied peel have been added along with wonderful spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. There are also versions that include brandy or rum and of course the melt in the mouth marzipan that runs along the centre of the loaf.
Legend says that the Stollen in its typical shape with the white layer of icing sugar symbolized the Christ Child wrapped in diapers.
Dry Martini – Shaken not Stirred
We often kick off a with Dry Martinis – and since there is a lot of sugar around over the holidays it is wonderful to have some slightly less sweet to clear the palate. However some people get very creative with the recipes and here is a link to 10 Festive Martinis
If you would like to make the authentic James Bond Martini….. the lads will show you how.
For ours you just need the following per martini…and the real martini glasses do add a little class to the beverage…
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 3/4 oz dry vermouth
Shake vodka and vermouth together with several ice cubes in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with an olive or a twist of lemon peel and serve.
I hope you have enjoyed today’s get together and if you have a special Christmas memory please share in the comments…we would love to hear it. Thanks Sally