Saturday, December 31, 2011


We had a great Christmas. We put the tree up a few days before (we leave it up until 6th January), and also had a poinsettia that a friend had given us.

The nativity scene was a little dwarfed by the knitted wedding figures on the mantelpiece. Obviously there were giant knitted wedding figures at the birth of Christ, not to forget the giant knitted robin too.

And I did get the Christmas cake finished on time! I took a day off work the week before, when I got the marzipan put on, then did the icing just before Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't realise until the last minute that we don't own a holly shaped cutter, so this is my attempt at cutting out holly shapes with a knife (much to the amusement of the OH and my Mum). There were also rude comments about my anaemic green holly leaves and "pink" holly berries. Next year we'll go for e numbers rather than the "natural" food colouring...

Someone in the US wanted to know what mince pies are. So this is the batch I made to take into work (I decided to make mince pies for everyone instead of doing Christmas cards).
 This is just normal shortcrust pastry, made with flour and fat, which has sat in the fridge for a few hours, then rolled out. I didn't make my own mincemeat, so this came in a jar from the supermarket. Mince meat (which used to be savoury with actual meat in it) is a mixture of dried fruit, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, suet and booze. This sort uses vegetable suet so it's vegetarian.

 You cut the pastry into rounds of two different sizes, and put the bigger ones into a greased Yorkshire pudding tin, then fill with mincemeat and put the smaller round on the top, after wetting the edges of the bottom with water.

 Then bake in the oven. I usually put a cross in the top as well, to let the steam escape, but I forgot this time.

I got the Christmas presents I was making done in time. This is part of a batch of lemon curd.

And a laptop case for Mum's laptop. I made the pattern up as I went along, the yarn is King Cole Riot Chunky, bought when we were on holiday in York. I was a bit worried about whether it would fit, as her laptop is bigger than mine, but, as you can see, it fitted perfectly!

 I lined the case with cat fabric, purchased at Gillie's Fabrics in York.

And what did I receive? Some really cool presents. These ones are shared with the OH - a gravy boat to match our crockery (amusingly we opened presents after Christmas lunch, when we'd had to use the milk jug for the gravy. If only we'd opened the presents earlier we could have used the gravy boat!). Some chocolate. And a kit to make raisin bread, with the dry ingredients, homemade marmalade, a bread tin and recipe included.

 And, for me, some gardening things, including Alan Titchmarsh's The kitchen gardener which I'd been wanting to read. A magic tool for making little pots for seedlings out of newspaper and some seeds.

 And this is my present from the secret santa at knitting group - a set of Chibi needles and some locking stitch markers. Cool or what?!

The on Boxing Day we went for a walk on Staines Moor, which looked suitably desolate and windswept, despite being so close to both Heathrow and the M25! Bit of a contrast with last year when it was so icy we didn't dare leave the house.

Hope you all had a great Christmas too!


Anonymous said...

Everything looks great! The presents seem to suit you perfectly. :) Let me know how the kitchen gardener book is--it looks like an interesting read.

Thanks for sharing about the mince pies. :) They look tasty!

Mary Anne said...

Yay for mince pies! My granny and mom made them every Christmas and they were so yummy.

so a very happy Christmas and a nice walk on an atmospheric moor, it sounds like a perfect time.