We are finally getting there! Stage by stage.

 The photo to the left was taken just after we put the front window in. And this is how it looks now. Nearly there - just coffee and stock to arrive...

Thank you to everyone who has  looked at the blog and given encouragement. 

And for all the feedback into which products will go best and where to get them.

The chillers and freezers are in, and the remaining pieces of till arrive tomorrow. Our best wishes to Pat who was helping me set  the till up and has just had a wee babe with his beautiful Peruvian wife.

The shop is tiny, just tiny. But I want it to bulge with treasures. I have ordered all the Italian cheeses. I will run some reasonably priced pieces, and rotate the exquisite, so there is a chance to try a variety.The artisan cheeses from Waikouaiti will give me a good range for people to choose for everyday . I have ordered a farm house brie, a blue, a smoke and a sage which is aid to be gorgeous with salmon. 

Sally has been up with more elderflower cordial, and orange preserve to go on the ham. She has drawn the most beautiful design on my front of shop, taken from a painting she has in the Wanganui Gallery. I love it!

I wonder if we could make some cards from the images...

And so to Christmas...Christmas Eve, we will cut the ham. I had no grapefruit marmalade or mustard (quelle horreur) at the moment I needed to glaze the ham so improvised with a very good orange marmalade spiked with some Angostura bitters. I am very pleased with the result, spicy, bitter and just a little exotic. The bitters will stay.

Christmas Day,  we will start with a recipe adapted from one of Jamie Oliver's for red mullet with pomegranate. I found it earlier in the year, and thought it was so festive, but perfect for our hot southern Christmas, and the limes are falling off our hedge.

but I am going to use whatever firm white fish is good on the day, and squeeze the juice out of plenty of grated ginger to mix with the lime zest and juice, olive oil and salt. And I want to put atouch of wasabi in as well to make a dressing, before the sprinkling of pomegranate and basil leaves.

Then duck, as always,  but this year I am boning it out to stuff with seasoned chicken mince, pistachios and some fresh cranberries I have bought for the shop. The head, feet and carcass will go in a pot for a thin but flavourful jus. Peas, green salad with mint and new potatoes out of the garden. Perfect

Dessert will be baba au rhum made by my father, and it will be the best he has ever made again this year. Then a good Italian cheese and perhaps a little more bubbly.

I am so committed with Spencer's this year there will be no frills, but there will be time with family, phone calls to distant friends I have not spoken to for some time, and plenty of laughter. What more do we need?

Best wishes to you all for a blessed Christmas and a safe and happy New Year


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