Always have a PLAN B – and if not, make the most of what you have.

Well here we are, the first day of 2013, and last night the inspiration for this blog occurred.

 Here is my last Facebook status update for 2012.

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Here is the story behind the post.

 Plan A

This is the plan, and also a bit of a tradition. Having Scottish heritage, Hogmanay is a big event for my family and me. H is a superb host and an excellent cook and enjoys hosting our annual Hogmanay dinner, and I love being with H and her hubby S to bring the New Year in.

30th December: Head to big sisters (H), have a date night with hubby (J) while H looks after C.

31st December: have a leisurely day with sis – a little retail therapy, have a bath, do nails, get glammed up ready to see in the new year.

1st January – do nothing apart from eat, if you can find the room.

2nd January, think about heading home (this can be quite difficult as H and S make you so welcome and comfortable that you don’t want to go).

Well that was the plan, until H gets sick, and I mean really sick, H does not do sick, I have never known her to take a day off or cancel anything; she is a fighter and soldiers on, but not this time, whatever has got her, has got her good and hubby and I decide that we will leave her in peace and head home, so with a double check that she does not need anything (and her hubby S on standby) we jump in the car for the journey home, carrying a third of the pork shoulder that H was going to cook us for supper and a punnet of fresh raspberries. My sister has a very good heart, and was worried about those who had been invited (hubby and me and two other couples) so asked S to split the meat and give us each a portion to cook at home. I wish I could be that thoughtful when feeling that ill.

So J and I arrive home with little man C, who after hearing us talk about it for weeks, wants a Hogmanay Party … he is only 4 and this is the first time he has been aware of New Year, and Old Father Time and I would like to celebrate too, this will be my first ever New Year at home.  J and I just stare at each other, OK what do we do? We have very little food in the house (I don’t grocery shop for Christmas and New Year as we are away most of it) and NO PLAN B!

Do not despair, all is not lost – we have a shoulder of pork, raspberries, carrots, apples, onions and half a bag of Aunt Bessie Roast Potatoes … we also have a Co-op store around the corner. Ha ha, plan B is taking shape.

OK, I have never cooked a pork shoulder so first things first … Google Pork Shoulder Recipes, after looking at a few and realising that for each one I was a couple of ingredients missing I decided to do a combination of the recipes – herb combo from one, butter glaze from another, and apples from another … a new dish is born Sharon’s Caramelised Butter Pork and Vedg Roast – ok you can read caramelised as burnt if you want – with roast potatoes and carrots.
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Ready for the Oven

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Cooked and resting.

OK not much of a New Years Eve feast but it’s a start.

Now my favourite part of any meal is Dessert! Hubby suggested Eton mess as I always have cream and meringues in the pantry, and although I like it, I much prefer a chocolate dessert on a special occasion. So hubby kindly offered to go to the co-op and see if they had any of the gorgeous brandy profiteroles that they do, alas they didn’t, however, they did have a key lime cheesecake and hubby also bought a rather expensive bottle of Pinot Grigio to make up for the lack of chocolate (God I love that man)

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Great we now have two courses, but no dining table as it is currently hosting a crafting project of J’s and now I am in the mood I want this to be special and different for C than a normal supper, and to be honest I really want to make an effort for and with myself too, so with 15 minutes on the oven timer before I have to put the potatoes in I jump in the shower and put my party dress on (no time to dry and straighten my hair) then back into the kitchen.

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A delve in the fridge, looking for the carrots, unearths a small Camembert cheese, ha inspiration hits, and on investigation C’s snack box still contains some mini bread sticks – that will be our starter then. So bread sticks get poured into a bowl and the Camembert gets shoved in the oven.

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I am on a roll so start hunting out anything that will make the table look special, I find a white table cloth in a drawer but on its own it looks to stark, not a problem, I bought a red linen effect table cloth for my Mums party a couple of weeks ago and cut a length off as it was too big for the table, its not in the best shape, but is sufficient enough to act as table runner for my impromptu dinner party. As a bonus I also find three lonely Christmas crackers left over from the party and some mini sparklers – crackers for the table, sparklers for the desserts – I am a happy girl.

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OK what else do I need to make this table pretty, simple, a few wine glasses, a few baubles and a few tea lights, an idea inspired by the hours spent on Pinterest, put them together and you have a table centre – or in our case and off centre as little hands tend to grab.

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We are ready to ‘rock and roll; dinner is served.

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Well, I really feel like I achieved something – I managed to turn around what could have been a miserable evening with a take-a-way into a fun one, with a nice dinner (not as good as my sisters though) – what great way to end the year.

All it leaves is for me to say

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU

And just remember for every problem there is a solution, you just need to find it.

PS My big sister H taught me (nearly) everything I know, especially how to smile through pain or disappointment and more importantly how to make the best of your  circumstances and what you have. Get well soon H, I love you.

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