It’s Christmas Time

Dried fruit and mixed peel

At long last! Are you excited? I’m excited.

There are lots of ‘best things’ about Christmas, but my favourite thing at the moment is the cooking. I started at the beginning of November, with a lovely christmas cake which is currently chilling out on the top of my cupboards. I’m supposed to ‘feed’ it with alcohol, but I don’t like doing that. The cake tastes so lovely without the booze, and it doesn’t dry out at all! Even if it does, I eat so much cream on Christmas day that it really doesn’t matter.

The next thing I made, a few weeks later, was the christmas pudding. I’ve never made christmas pudding before, and to be honest I’m very worried about it. It doesn’t look like the pictures on the M&S adverts – too sticky, not quite cooked. I’ve never made nor eaten christmas pudding before, so I don’t really know what it’s supposed to be like. Any thoughts?

Either way, that is also chilling out in my flat – in this case, on the floor next to my TV.

My final bit of pre-Christmas prep is the cranberry sauce, heavily adapted from this recipe because I don’t have any fresh cranberries. I soaked the dried cranberries in orange and lemon juice for about a week before I started, and then boiled it for around 20 minutes until it was properly broken down. I popped it in a clean Kilner jar and hopefully none of us will get botulism.

Now it is December, the real prep can begin. First, the mince pies. I have mince left over from last year in the freezer, and this year I am back on the gluten! This means no weird flours for my pastry, just normal plain flour, butter and water. I usually make excessive amounts of mince pies, freeze half of them and take them about with me for the whole month.

Second, the apple pie. ‘Apple pie isn’t Christmas good’ I hear you cry, and you may be right but my mum loves it so there. I’m in a bit of a rut with my apple pies – if you cook the apple before putting it in the pie then it loses it’s bite, but if you don’t cook it there is far too much bite. I’ll see where the wind takes me, I guess. I’ll make a nice holly leaf motif for the top, cook it once and pop it in the freezer ready for the big day.

After that, there is a lull before the Christmas-week excitement. The supermarket delivery arrives, and then it’s prepping sprouts, peeling potatoes, stuffing turkeys, wrapping sausages in bacon, blending bread for the sauce and slicing carrots. On the actual day, the classic battle between getting drunk at breakfast and being sober enough to toss the veg in the molten goose fat. The day after, my dad takes over and microwaves the leftovers.

Wish me luck!



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