So, once again Christmas is rushing up to meet us. Is it just me, or even though we know its coming, do we always feel just a little bit caught out by it? Three more days at school for me (kids think that they are the only ones counting down to the holidays - what do they know!). I've wrapped all the presents that I've bought so far. Still got a couple to buy, but that's because I haven't a clue what to get. Hope inspiration strikes soon!
The crowd that normally descends on my house for Christmas Day is going to be much smaller than usual, due to a serious ongoing illness in the family. I must say, my own interest in the excesses of the season has been diminished this year, but I still believe that celebrating is important. The birth of Christ is, for me, an event worth rejoicing over, and I also know that during times of difficulty the drawing together of family is more important than ever.
For me, feasting is an important component in the Christmas celebration. Not greed, you understand, but enjoying seasonal foods that evoke memories and emotions. I have a good deal of the food for Christmas already stashed away. I've never made a Christmas pudding and I probably never will, but I bought one quite a few weeks ago, and that is waiting in my cupboard. In the freezer, a vanilla flavoured cheesecake awaits. My mum will be bringing along a trifle. A fruit cake sits in the cupboard next to te pudding. In the fridge, there are a number of tubs of long life cream. I don't think I'll bother with brandy sauce this year. I have ordered my meat from my local butcher. A turkey crown, a ham, some pork and some sausage meat. I could probably have found some cheaper meat, although my butcher is competitively priced. However, I like knowing that I'm supporting a much valued local business, and I was able to order and pay in full for my meat at the start of the month. I have a bottle of ginger beer and a jar of ginger preserve, ready to make my signature ginger ham (based on a Nigella recipe, I cook it every Christmas and it never fails). A while ago I bought some ridiculously cheap organic red cabbage from Asda at the end of the day. I cooked this and froze it, so that s ready to add a burst of seasonal colour to the table. I've got some cheap packets of stuffing mix, which I shall tart up with the aid of the sausage meat, and herbs from my cupboard, not to mention eggs to bind and enrich. I have a packet of vacuum packed chestnuts in the cupboard. Not sure what to do with these yet. Maybe they could go into some chocolate brownies? Or maybe into the stuffing? I have sausages and bacon in the freezer, ready to make the essential pigs in blankets.
All in all, I am feeling well prepared for Christmas. Only some last minutes bits to get nearer the big day, and then I can enjoy!