Sunday, December 1, 2013

December is here...

It might not look that good but it looks so much better than the last lot
And I'm having another go at making my own mincemeat. I last had a go back in 2009, it wasn't really a success - the recipe was an Elizabeth David one which turned out to use such vast quantities of ingredients it overflowed from the largest mixing bowl I could find. After that it sat in jars looking immensely unappetizing and sort of oozing a bit (and I think we can all agree that oozing isn't really a good look). Unfortunately it didn't actually go bad so I've been dutifully using it (mixed with far more appealing shop bought mincemeat) ever since, there's still a jar left but after 4 years I think I can bin it with a clear conscience.

The recipe I tried today is from Fiona Cairns 'Seasonal Baking' it undoubtedly looks and smells better than the Elizabeth David version and is measured in much more manageable quantities, it's fig and almond so will be a little bit different. I'm hopeful that it'll turn out well but I have a large jar of Waitrose's most reliable to see me through just in case.

December is an odd time of the year in so many ways. Working in retail makes it quite stressful - it only takes one rude customer to ruin a day and if you only get one you're doing well. Sadly only one pleasant customer doesn't have the same effect - though happily there are dozens more nice people than nasty. It also shocks me how much people spend, the more so this year because we're organising a food bank later in the month. That food banks should be necessary in a country as rich as the UK is frankly disgusting, and though it puts my own problems into some sort of perspective - well sometimes you just don't want that much perspective do you.

On a happier note it's been one of those beautiful blue and gold winter days when it's impossible to feel
anything but festive. My friend R and I ventured out into the villages in search of craft fairs and bric-a-brac. We did well finding lots of good stuff including Elaine of Random Jottings, a conversation with Elaine is always a joy and today I'm very grateful that she reminded me that Frances Hodgeson Burnett's works are mostly free for kindles. I don't have a kindle but I do have an app on my phone and now I have what I hope will be some fun light reading for the next few weeks. The day also yielded some fantastic Christmassy tea towels from good old M&S and the first batch of mince pies of the season (shame on me though, I bought shortcrust pastry which feels quite odd compared to my home made sort). Now the next challenge will be to make myself write Christmas cards (love getting them, don't exactly love writing them, but feel strongly that it's a tradition that should be kept alive.)

Finally keep an eye on Reading Matters who's running a book bloggers advent calender - there will be lots of bookish inspiration. 

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