So much for Halloween, I did briefly consider posting a picture of all the appropriate books I didn't get round to reading but I'm feeling something of a reaction to how much of a thing, and especially how much of a retail thing, it's become so I didn't. Instead on the warmest November day since records began (it really was glorious) when it didn't feel terribly seasonal to be making Christmas puddings, that's what I've been doing. That and baking a couple of Christmas cakes, buying some Christmas decorations, and generally bargain hunting around town. I hope it's not to soon to mention Christmas...
This bit, the time for making and baking, is my favourite part of Christmas. I find when it actually arrives I'm to exhausted by work to really care about what's going on around me, that and after what amounts to a quarter of the year spent preparing for little else the tinsel has really lost its sparkle. Now though, when there's still plenty of time, and the long baking or steaming hours that cake and pudding demand impose a dawdling pace to the day, I can enjoy the moment. It's a process of collecting together good things which makes me relish the thought of winter cold and dark nights to come too.
Those long cooking hours also meant a couple of hours free to sneak into town whilst the cake did its thing. I, in turn, did mine and got carried away in The Works (bargain book chain for non UK readers). They have some excellent cookbooks at the moment, almost all of which I paid full price for not so long ago. I did pick up Tamasin Day-Lewis' 'Food You Can't Say No To' after it passed the flick test in style by offering up a recipe for Torta Della Nonna. Someone fed me this a couple of years ago, it was wonderfully good, and I've wanted to make it ever since. This is clearly a hint to get on with it, and there are other good looking things in here too. For a mere £5 it was a proper bargain.
Mima Sinclair's 'Gingerbread Wonderland' was another bargain at £3. I picked it up with the intention of giving it to a friend, but think I'll have to get her another copy. It's a cute little thing with some nice ideas in it, not a book I'd have bought full price, but for not much more than a cup of coffee it's worth having.
I also bought Magnus Nilsson's monumental 'The Nordic Cookbook' (from Waterstones this time, and with the aid of loyalty points). I should probably have left this on my wish list until after Christmas (or begged my sister for it) but I didn't have the patience. It's such a beautiful thing, and promises to be a thoroughly interesting book to read, that I had to have it today. It's just a shame that I'm back at work tomorrow when staying at home to read and cook is so much more attractive.