Saturday, 19 December 2009

Cranberry sauce and winter hats

I like my Christmas food traditional in the main, but I do like cranberry sauce with turkey, and make it every year; apart from last year when I couldn;t get cranberries for love nor money for some reason. Anyhow, I got mine early this year to make sure I had some, and have just made the sauce. Nice and simple, letting the fruit's sharpness shine through - perfect with turkey, I think.

8 oz or so of fresh cranberries
juice of two oranges
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
small knob of butter

Rinse cranberries and place in a pan with the orange juice; put pan over a lowish heat, cover, and leave until the cranberries pop and soften to a puree. Add seasoning to taste and the butter and enough sugar just to take the edge off the sharpness. Add more juice if you like a softer consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then leave to cool. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week or so, or you can freeze it until required.

Now - hats.
I finished the second of these this morning, and they are now on their way to Inverness as presents for my nieces. They are knitted from the Hat Trick kit available from Alice Starmore's Virtual Yarns ( The yarn is pure wool, produced in the UK in the most enchanting set of colours, with evocative names such as Solan Goose, Bog Bean, Kittiwake, Driftwood.......... The quality of the wool and pattern are absolutely top notch, and I can recommend the company to everyone. I now need to order another set, as both Bean and I want one, and MrL has ordered one in a manly style. I certainly won't mind knitting these again, they were a pleasure to work up.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Making the cards

One of my favourite parts of the Christmas preparations is making the cards; I usually do a whole run of one design, but this year I had lots of very lovely bits and bpieces to use up, so made a varied selection. 102 I counted, I think! I spent a happy couple of hours at the kitchen table, taking my time, warmed by the Rayburn and a big mug of hot fruity cordial. I'll get them written this afternoon, ready for posting tomorrow; a bit later than usual, but that's only to be expected. I'm already planning next year's

This one is a bit of fun - not my idea, but I got it from the wonderful, and I borrowed his idea, but made them pink! It makes me smile just to look at them!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Slow Christmas..................

I'm not one for rushing around, but especially so at Christmas - I refuse to be caught up in the rush and hurry, the greediness, the fraught "shopping" binges, the perceived pressure, the competitiveness of it all...........So, here we are at the 16th December, and it's time to start the preparations for next week - ample time in my book, it's the way we like it. I have bought most of the presents, and made the cake and Christmas pudding and mincemeat, but that's it. This afternoon is devoted to making the cards and writing them, along with the annual letter for those we don't see/speak to often. I'll make the front door wreath too, and probably get the cranberry sauce made. Tomorrow I'll be sorting out the decorations for the house - MrL has got the box down from the loft so I can go through them at my leisure; we'll get a tree at the weekend. By the end of the weekend, the house will be decorated, and the wrapping and posting done, preparations for food and drink will be well in hand by then too.
I refuse to rush, to spoil what for me is a big part of it all- the making, the talking to friends, watching the sky for snow ( we had a bit yesterday!), sharing, taking time to enjoy it all, not just the three days holiday. I enjoy taking time to wrap up and wander around the garden for my own greenery - although I did buy a lovely big piece of mistletoe at the market - and use that; find ourselves a Yule log too, in the woods and bring it on home; take time with a hot drink or two to wrap presents and write cards, enjoying the process, not just the results, which is what life should be about really.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

I'm back.................

Thankyou all so much for all your good wishes and kind thoughts, it's very much appreciated.
I've been in hospital for a few days, unfortunately having had to have surgery for a very badly infected and about-to-butst- gall bladder. Op was difficult and "challenging" but luckily the surgeon didn't tell me that until afterwards!
Anyhow, I'm back home with armfuls of painkillers and a few weeks of good rest ahead of me.
I'll be back later.