Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Eggnog (a.k.a. booze custard)

So, we moved house. We moved house, and it was utterly horrendous.

In the month's preceding the move, everyone took great pleasure in telling me how it would be the most stressful experience of my life. "Ha", I laughed in their faces, "you pussies obviously haven't done A LEVELS! Don't harsh my moving vibes, man!". I concluded, with joyful optimism, that they were mistaken, that they were all overreacting pessimists. Yes, of course I expected it to be exhausting. I expected the heart palpitations which came with spending more money than I've ever even seen. I expected to want to slam Ben's head against a wall repeatedly throughout the whole experience. And I expected that I would roll out the "I've actually got a curved spine" line more than once. That's all par for the course. But what I didn't expect was:

- That the woman who previously owned the house wouldn't actually move out of it on the day of completion, despite the whole legally binding contract thing
- That the woman who previously owned the house would leave it full of dirt and rubbish and a load of stuff her removal men 'forgot' to collect
- That all that stuff would still be sitting in my shed, waiting for her friend - who occasionally pops round to tell us when he can't come and collect it - to come and collect it
- That the woman who previously owned the house would leave the key to the side gate in the lock of the side gate and not tell us till three days later, by which time it had gone
- That the woman who previously owned the house apparently consumed nothing but fish for the 16 years she lived here and it would take two weeks to get the smell of mackerel out of the walls
- Spiders. So many spiders
- That the woman who previously owned the house would entirely fill the bins with the wrong stuff so the bin men wouldn't take it away and subsequently we've not had our rubbish picked up for 3 weeks.  And that someone would then steal our bin...

I don't think all those things happened when you moved house, did they?  No.

What with all that palaver going on, I am not feeling very Christmassy. This is a problem because I LOVE christmas. I feel that Professional Christmas Celebration might be my true calling in life, if only I had a big enough kitchen, adorable children and an extensive selection of craft materials.  But at the moment this is how Christmas is going down in our house.

Whilst I could pretend that my stepladder tree is me being terribly avant-garde, I am in fact quite distraught at the lack of spruce and sparkles in my life. I want to make my own wreath; I want to make a Christmas cake that nobody will eat; I want to have remembered to send my Dad in Cyprus a card before it's so late that it won't get there till Easter. To be honest I'd settle for having bought a single fucking present. But I've done none of that. Instead I've sanded and scrubbed and pained, I've looked at 7001 wallpaper samples, I've cleared out my garage and ended up crying in the middle of the street because it turns out my bike won't fit in my car and I have now broken my car. Home-ownership sucks festive balls.

So, to try and rectify all this unintentional bah-humbuggery, I invited my friend Ruby round last weekend for eggnog and Christmas films. To be honest I had no idea what I was letting myself in for as I'd never actually had eggnog before, but it sounded appropriate. Until that point, the thought of egg in a drink had conjured up images of protein shakes and hangover cures, but what the world had neglected to tell me is that eggnog is basically BOOZE CUSTARD. Why had I not realised this sooner? Well, I got drunk on pudding and it was the best day of my life.

Kirstie Allsop is going to have to watch her back from now on - as I am going to be fucking ON IT for Christmas 2013 - but for now, for this year, I am going to sit back and get sloshed on custard. 

Eggnog (serves 4)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup double cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves
BOOZE (I used about two shots of Dissarono as I'm a girl, but you could use brandy or rum, which I think is more traditional)
Sprinkling of grated nutmeg

Whisk your egg yolks together with the sugar, till glossy and sticky, and put to one side. In a saucepan heat the milk, cream, cinnamon and cloves until it is just about to boil. Remove from the heat, and gradually pour onto the eggs, whisking as you go. Don't add too much at a time, or the eggs may scramble. Then return the mix to the heat for a couple of minutes to heat through again.  At this point the bastard stuff will probably curdle - because that's what custard does - but do not fear, just give it quick whizz in a blender (remember to remove the cloves) and it should be fine. Turn off the heat again and add booze, to your taste. Sprinkle on a little nutmeg with each serving. I believe the done thing is to then chill it and consume cold, but that requires some degree of patience....

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