Hello all! I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been up to over the run-up to Christmas. It’s always a bit of a fraught time for me, this year especially so as a member of my family was really unwell earlier in the year (thankfully doing much better now though). It was nice to spend the day with my family (though not my other half of 10 years, but that’s another story that is far to boring to share with the world), and have some lush home-cooked food (prepared by someone who’s not me!!). My ma put on a fab spread of turkey, gammon, pigs-in-blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon, om nom nom nom), honey roasted parsnips, brussel sprouts (for which I’m still suffering, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without them!), stuffing, carrots and devil on horse back (prunes wrapped in bacon – honestly the food of gods!). There was pudding but I was so stuffed after the main that I passed on pudding, which is just as well because I got so much chocolate I’m not entirely sure I’ll get through it all this year!Being a student nurse, I am absolutely broke. So, this year I was a bit more creative with some of my gifts, particularly with the one for my little sister (she’s 23 now, and taller than me, but she will always be my little sister!). We were in a well known department store Christmas shopping when she saw a gingerbread house that I must say was magnificent. I thought ‘ooo maybe I could get her one for Christmas…. How expensive could it be?’ £75 was how expensive it could be so I thought sod that I’ll make one…… so I did!! It was a tad on the wonkey side, but it did hold its own, it stayed in one piece, and it even tasted pretty good. I can kind of appreciate the price tag though – the ingredients didn’t cost all that much, but I spent all of the day before Christmas eve baking, and most of that was taken up with her gingerbread house! I did plan ahead though: I used my normal gingerbread recipe (I’m not a mum and I love netmums, so easy and yet good for you at the same time!!), and a Martha Stewart template (I googled ‘gingerbread house templates’ and this was my favourite) and prepped it about a week before I baked it – basically rolling the dough and cutting it into all the pieces and froze it raw, taking it out of the freezer the day before baking to defrost, then I could bake it from cold (that’s what a lot of the gingerbread house recipes suggest). I even managed to make windows by popping in some broken up boiled sweets in the window holes just before the gingerbread was fully baked. As you can see, I abandoned the chimney (I ate it in the end!) but all in all, I was pretty happy with the outcome, and my sister loved it.
My mum asked me a little while ago if I wouldn’t mind making some macarons and florentines for the Christmas tea table, so the rest of my day before Christmas eve was spent making these. Now, my macarons are not the best looking things (I have little patience sometimes, and after having already spent 5 hours in the kitchen making the house and some gingerbread star trees, finishing with the macarons was not the best idea I’ve ever had…), but they were pretty tasty – needless to say I made sure there were a few ‘rejects’…….
I have to admit I’m not as fond of Christmas as I used to be – the bf isn’t a great fan, and I suppose over the years it has rubbed off on me a bit. But I do love the food and the time I get to spend with my family, and it’s just the kick-start I need to get back into blogging……. What festive treats did you get to enjoy this year?