With the festive season almost upon us, we sat down with our Brand Ambassador Ruth Langsford to talk about all things Christmas. Find out how Ruth spends the day with her family and what she’s looking forward to finding under the tree…
RL: Christmas for me is a time for family. Occasionally we’ve gone out for Christmas lunch, which is wonderful and it means no stress in the kitchen and no washing up – however, weirdly I quite missed all that. My mum and I always peel the veg the night before, it’s our little Christmas Eve tradition. We sit at the kitchen table with a glass of sherry and the Christmas carols on, and we chat as she peels the sprouts and I do the carrots. I love the little rituals everyone has in their own family.
I’ve always loved the smell of the turkey cooking, and even as a kid, I remember, my mum busy in the kitchen, and my grandmother being there, with us all helping out.
QG: Do you have a favourite festive recipe?
RL: Well, I’m the gravy maker in my family. It’s a gravy that’s evolved over the years to my own recipe. I make a proper one from scratch, using the tray that the meat is roasted in, with a flour roux, and at Christmas I’ll add some port to it. The hardest thing for me is keeping everything hot before serving the lunch, so I a few years ago a chef told me that all I needed was for the gravy to be red-hot. It’s got to be bubbling away on the stove and the last thing you do. I now pour my gravy into insulated jugs while everyone is plating up and then the gravy just re-heats the food.
If I’m really on it, I’ll buy a small turkey a few weeks before Christmas and we’ll just have it for Sunday lunch, then I’ll use the bones to make stock for the gravy, but that hasn’t happened for a while, because I’m usually working near Christmas.
QG: What’s Christmas Day like?
RL: Christmas morning is usually a grab and go breakfast with croissants and tea in special Christmas mugs. Because I lay my table the night before, nobody is then allowed to sit at the table. I love doing a Christmas table and I take a lot of time and effort with it, because it’s just too stressful on Christmas Day. I came up with the idea of doing it the night before a few years ago, and now I look forward to it, it’s a part of Christmas Eve.
I’m quite territorial and precise about it though, so everything has to be very neat and tidy. I have a Christmas cupboard, with a white tablecloth and a red runner, red-handled cutlery that I only use for Christmas, with big red glass wine goblets that I bought years ago – I had 12 but unfortunately I only have 10 left. I might change the colour scheme sometimes with white silver and green, or red and purple, but my plates are white and go with everything. I like doing little place names, and I’ll buy something like little truffles for every setting, but it’s all very time-consuming. Some years are better than others, but this year I’ll be working right up to the 23rd of December.
We all love cooking in my family, and my mum and sister are both very good cooks, but every year, we always forget to put one thing on the table. So, as we’re washing up, I’ll suddenly remember the cauliflower cheese still in the bottom of the oven – it’s almost become a tradition! We’re also always trying to come up with something a little different each year. So I did parsnips with a Parmesan crust last year. Everyone always appreciates all the effort, which is nice.
Lunch is never when you say it is – I’ll say that we’ll eat at about half one or 2pm, but then the Prosecco and Champagne gets opened and lunch gets later and later, but that’s fine. We’re a great family of chatters, so lunch is always a long one as we don’t like to rush food. Sometimes we even take a break before Christmas pudding, because we’re so full. Often we don’t get around to opening presents until about 6pm! Then, all too soon it’s time for people to go, unless they’re staying, which I quite like. Although it can be hard work blowing up camp beds and finding extra duvets. But when everyone’s gone and I shut the door – I do look at my house and think, good grief, it looks like I’ve been burgled! Then I spend two days clearing up – but that to me is all part of Christmas and I love it all.
QG: What was Christmas like growing up?
RL: In my family, we always open Christmas stockings in the morning, but presents under the tree get opened after lunch. My dad introduced this when we were little, because we used to open them as soon as we came down, but my mum would miss a lot of it because she was in and out of the kitchen, and he didn’t think it was right that she missed out on sitting and watching us open our presents. It’s lovely now, but for two small girls back then, it was just torture – you’ve never seen two kids eat so fast. But then after Christmas dinner my dad would say we had to wash up while mum sat down with a nice cup of tea, so we were like Speedy Gonzalez!
Growing up, my grandparents would want to watch the Queen’s speech, but we didn’t really watch a lot of TV. We used to play games, so all the board games would come out – and I love all that still.
QG: What’s the worst present you’ve received?
RL: A steam iron from a boyfriend, who then very quickly became not my boyfriend.
QG: And the best?
RL: My eternity ring that Eamon bought me. He had actually taken me to buy a watch, so I was choosing one at the jewellers, and then he asked to look at their eternity rings. I’ve had it since before Jack was born and I always, always wear it. I love it because it was so spontaneous – it’s very special to me.
QG: What’s on your wish list this year?
RL: I was just telling Eamon the other day, that I would like an iPad pro. I use my iPad a lot because I don’t have a laptop, so I would love one!
RL: Merry Christmas everyone!
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas Ruth! We’ll be back with more from Ruth very soon, meanwhile take a look at her stylish fashion range.