What an amazing invention! My second favourite food of all time wrapped in my first favourite food of all time! It's hard to even begin to describe the levels of excitement this generates in me. If you can imagine finding the two most attractive people you have ever fancied in your life all wrapped up in a Christmas stocking on the end of your bed on Christmas morning and you might be somewhere near approaching it.
Pigs in blankets have grown in popularity over the years and I don't recall them being as popular in my youth and certainly not as readily available as they are now. Like various other components of the Christmas dinner such as stuffing balls, you can now buy them all ready made in handy little packs of 8 or 12 in all major supermarkets.
Whilst I can see the advantages for a stressed cook on Christmas Day of having a lot of this stuff done for you, personally I think it's a bad idea. Not only is it an expensive way of doing things - e..g. eight stuffing balls for £1.99 which you could make with a packet of Paxo for 49p, but it also takes a lot of the fun out of it. If you can't find the time to make the effort on Christmas Day to do it all from scratch, when can you? I admit the last two years it has been quite a challenge. Claire was working on the morning of Christmas Day so with the kids clamouring for help assembling their new toys not to mention fighting over them it's been a lively old state of affairs. Of course, as ever, Super Dad has come through it with flying colours, admittedly with bits of stuffing in my hair, melted chocolate ground stuck to my socks and an extremely painful foot from standing on a piece of lego, but we'll gloss over those minor issues.
Then there is also the issue, as any glutton (i.e. half of Britain) will tell you, shop bought pigs in blankets are way too small! A chipolata with a quarter of a rasher of streaky bacon around it is woefully insufficient, it doesn't even touch the sides. You would need to put two in at a time to get the sort of decent satisfaction you want from the lovely piggy goodness rolling around the whole of your mouth. This simply isn't good enough. As any woman knows, when it come to sausages, size is all important and a chipolata just won't do. Length and girth are what's needed so I make my own, as follows:
Get some decent sized sausages. I'm not going so far as to suggest Jumbo as an option, normal sized sausages should suffice. You can use any standard brand from a supermarket, or go upmarket if you like and get some high quality ones - if it's got a red tractor on the pack you know you've got a good sausage. Equally get some decent bacon - proper back bacon, and wrap at least two rashers around each sausages. So it's pigs in two blankets really, which is not a problem, it is winter after all. Now that is a proper pig in a blanket and a fitting accompaniment to any plate.
|Shop bought pigs in blankets.|
|Much more like it - though I am still aiming bigger.|
And I prefer normal bacon to streaky.
I probably spend more time deciding which sausages and bacon to get for Christmas dinner than I do deciding on what turkey to get. I shall not elaborate on the turkey issue as I covered it all in great detail last year (see my book, Austerity Dad) suffice to say, it will be a crown again but from where, I cannot yet say.
We have got most of our Christmas shopping in already, other than the last few perishables. We went to Morrisons yesterday to do the big shop. Normally the big Christmas shop comes to somewhere between £150 and £200 but this year it was just £77. Why? Well it's now a whole month since I last touched a drop of alcohol and with plenty left in the house should I fancy a drink over Christmas, there is no need to buy any in. It's amazing how much difference not drinking makes to your bank balance.
I'm pleased to have been able to go a month without alcohol without any cravings for a drink because it has reassured me in my mind that I am not an alcoholic. I am sure we all ask ourselves that question from time to time, most of us aren't but until you try and stop you don't know. It's worked wonders for my health, I know that much. I have decided that I don't want to be completely teetotal so I am going to re-introduce alcohol gradually as a social pleasure in the future - a nice bottle of wine when we go out for a meal, maybe a drink on a Friday or a Saturday night, but that's it. I've proved I don't need alcohol so now I can allow myself to have some. Quite honestly though, I just don't fancy it at all right now.
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