Christmas preparations and other stories

I must confess to, of late, having been rather too busy to find time to write here; not, that is to say, that I haven’t wished to, for I have eaten and cooked much I consider of note. To, in part, therefore, rectify the situation, I shall endeavour to post some of the culinary highlights of the past six months over the coming days and weeks.

To begin, though, I shall start with some of the more recent endeavours, all of which are to be considered as ‘works in progress’ for the next week or two. I refer, of course, to the preparations for Christmas here at home. The goose has been ordered (I, once again, triumphed in the goose-or-turkey debate) and shall be accompanied by the usual trimings – more of which another time. Christmas puddings have been made by my father and are maturing in the spare room. The excess mixture made a small pudding which was consumed before maturation; it was, however, delicious, and a hopeful indication of things to come.

I made Christmas cake and refined my previous modifications – this time, I substituted some of the flour for ground almonds. As always, there was more brandy in the soaking stage than the recipe demands. The cake has joined the puddings for maturation in the spare room, but is fed once a week with more brandy. Definitely not a cake to be consumed by those considering driving.


A new addition, for me, to the Christmas preparations has been mincemeat. I followed Delia’s recipe, which slowly-cooks the mixture in a low oven to ensure all the components are coated in suet. It too, has been maturing, and will be gracing pies before too long. I’ve also engaged in a little mince-meat exchange with a colleague – a jar of mine for a jar of his traditional mincemeat; the usual spices, apple, suet, and currants are married with beef. That, too, will be tasted soon; I must, of course, take care, for it contains partially cooked meat that has been stored at room-temperature. The suet should prevent it becoming dangerous in storage, but it must be cooked thoroughly when used! Watch this space for updates on the taste.