Let's get cooking.....
Can anyone tell me where the past 10 days have gone? I waved my husband off at the station on his way to a conference in the US and headed home to a long list of things I was going to get done before he comes home on the 21st. List ... what list? Oh that list!
First up was make a Christmas cake - yes I know I have left it a bit late, but I now have three! and some bird cake!
At the end of my garden there is a lane, owned by one neighbour, giving back access to my other neighbour in the middle terrace. Overgrown and unloved, the large bramble 'pile' in the corner is populated by hundreds of tree sparrows and a loved up pair of pigeons. And possibly a pair of blackbirds who seem to always have a cuckoo chick in tow. And magpies when the crows destroy their nest in the Horse Chestnut tree. An avian high-rise!
In January I took part in a challenge on a craft forum to create recycled bird feeders and these have been reused yet again for bird cake. They are now in-situ and proving very popular with the local residents and a passing robin.
So, that's them fed, what about us?
I have a boiled fruit cake recipe that forms the basis of all my fruit cakes. Whatever I have also goes in, and yesterday was no exception. I've added extra glacé morello cherries (the ones I didn't eat), chopped dates, almonds, ground almonds, a bit of a bar of white chocolate, a jar of gooseberry conserve and a large jar of cherry conserve (we aren't jam eaters, just jam receivers). Of course all this extra throws the recipe out of the window so I go for 3 eggs, perhaps more if I can get the whole lot in the Kenwood Chef bowl and still mix at fast speed as the boiled recipe is still hot and cold eggs, hot fruit = scrambled eggs if you don't get your skates on. Not the prettiest cakes, but, judging by the Chef's Perks in the bowl, pretty tasty.
Of course, you can line your cake tin as Mary Berry would, but I have gone for speed and taste over presentation.
And the prize for 'can you eat it? No you can't :( goes to one of my mother-in-law's cyclamen.
Visitors always gave her plants - she gave chocolates and biscuits away, preferring to be malnourished (medically confirmed). After she had a stroke in May and ended up in hospital for months on end, we were left with her home to care for, and the plants! My husband didn't want them to die, I think it was sort of wishful thinking if they were there she might come home although in his heart of hearts he knew this would never be the case. So when I did the house clearance (saving him the pain) I put two of these to one side in case I could resurrect from the slimy mess they had become to a plant we could take to her. I kept cutting the really long leaves off, far too long and leggy and the cats kept pulling the plants off the window ledge, but I've now got some sturdy growth and flowers - they'll soon be ready to go back to her care home room and I'll take back whatever else looks like it needs a trip to A&E.
So, are you ready for Christmas? No, me neither!