Monday, 19 March 2012

The Trouble with Family Get-Togethers and how my Mum's got it all wrong...

There's a nice controversial sounding title, eh?

Sunday, we were cooking lunch for my Mum, Dad and brother (my poor sister was hard at it organising her company's annual 'do' and awards ceremony, so couldn't be with us sadly).   

Coq au Vin was on the menu, which nearly resulted in a call to the Hampshire Fire Brigade...

...when Mr U-t-B's hand 'slipped' with the brandy, before I set it alight.  Those flames kept going for a full five minutes (well, it felt like that, but may have been a wee bit shorter) whilst I looked on waiting for the cooker hood to melt! I suppose a wet tea towel at the ready might be a good idea next time!

My Mum said she'd bring a pudding, and mentioned meringues, which are Miss U-t-B's absolute favourite.  
I was going to make the 'deconstructed' (ie thrown at a plate) version of trifle that goes down very well and doesn't take too long to make, being merely sliced up Madeira cake (perhaps soused in something alcoholic, though after the brandy incident, I was definitely not going to let Mr U-t-B do that bit!), whipped cream with some lemon curd marbled through and red berries on top.  

But when I noted the bag of milk that was about to go out of date and the huge pile of oranges that had accumulated because Miss U-t-B was going through a phase of eating lots, then stopped (and much as I love them, they do me no good at all), and remembering my dad's fondness for rice pudding, I changed my mind and made 'Vanilla Chilled Risotto' and 'Oranges in Grand Marnier'.  And then because I'd bought all the berries, I tumbled them into a bit of hot syrup so people could have them either with their risotto, or with the meringues.

So, very uncontroversially, the trouble with family get-togethers is this...

Six people for lunch - six bowls of pudding!  Because my Mum, generous and lovely as she is (and a great cook to boot) brought a chocolate tart too (which was as delicious as it looks), and some Bitter Orange Ice-Cream, as well as some meringues!

We did our best, but did not manage to obliterate it all!  Everyone set forth from our house with doggie bags, and we will still be enjoying pudding for the next few days. The trials we suffer...

Here's what I made for my Mum for a present...

 A little, monogrammed lavender cushion with an old, gold brooch, bearing the word 'Mother'. 

Vintage French fabric on the back, and ric-rac edging.

But here's where my Mum got it wrong, because she brought me this...

It was Mother's Day, not daughters! 
Wasn't I lucky - a beautiful tea set for six!

It looks Edwardian to me, so perfect for our house.

Everything is such a pretty shape.

I love the bulbous bits!

The yellow and deep purpley-pink poppies are gorgeous.

Delicate little handles...

The stamp on the back says 'Caulfield &Co - Glasgow and Branches'.  The only reference I can find on the internet suggests Caulfield & Co were a retailer, rather than a manufacturer of china, and that they may have been on Jamaica Street in Glasgow.  

Did you spot the pretty tablecloth too? 

That was also from my Mum a while back.  I actually bought it in a bundle of stuff from the Maltings.  It was about three-quarters done, in the most beautiful stitching, in such vibrant colours.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it justice, finishing it off, as my embroidery of printed designs is not great.  But my Mum kindly offered to finish it off, and I really can't tell which is the original stitching, and which is hers, so she was clearly the lady for the job!

Pretty, pretty, pretty!

Just a little reminder (you know this is how it's going to be all week!) that I'm having a giveaway.  Here's one of the prizes (thanks for the complimentary comments about my little brooch!)


  1. Everything looks soo pretty Alix,and those puddings are to die for (I'm a sufferer of a very sweet tooth :)
    XX Manda XX

  2. Your Mum sounds lovely! The tea set and tablecloth are just gorgeous!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  3. What a beautiful tea set, and as for those puddings, we could certainly have helped you polish them off, such a shame we are too far away.

  4. Gosh what a fabulous pressie from your mum! I'm not normally a lover of floral crockery but I do love the shape of yours

  5. What a pretty post! You lucky lucky thing! Firstly pudding - yum. I'm such a pudding girl and if I had my way would eat nothing but. Secondly your tablecloth is to die for, i just love it and then that tea set is beautiful. I'm currently looking at my poor old tablecloth that Charlie has just covered in yoghurt... sigh. Not pretty, not embroidered and now it's all grubby. Love Katie xxx

  6. What a clever Mum!
    This time of year I miss my Mum so much - she died 12 years ago!

    1. It must be a hard day for those who have lost their Mums - I always think how lucky I am...

  7. Oooh, those puds look good! Love the pretty teaset and cloth. M x

  8. What a lucky girl you are - however, you deserve it, you are obviously a very good daughter to your Mum.

  9. Woweeee.....those deserts looks AMAZING!
    and what a sweet mum you have...all gorgeous x
    i bet she was thrilled with your get too
    love jooles x

  10. The tea set is gorgeous. It's very pretty and delicate and perfect for a family tea. So lovely of your mum to give it to you on Mothering Sunday.

  11. I love having lots of left over puddings after a party but shouldn't !
    Sweet tea service that your mum gave you.

  12. Lovely deserts, making my mouth water! You made such a beautiful gift for your Mum, I'm sure she loved it.
    Your new tea set is stunning as is the embroidered tablecloth, clever, generous Mum!
    Carol xx

  13. What a lovely Mum you have! The tea set is beautiful, I love hte shapes and the soft delicate florals, just absolutley gorgeous!
    But she will treasure her gift as you made it, as well as its being lovely too!
    And what a load of scrummy puds - what to choose must have been the issue if the day.
    Love your little felt embroidered brooch.

    Sounds like you had a great day despite the fiery interlude!