Unlike others, at this time of year, my jubilation does not reside under a tree wrapped in silver and gold, it does not stand expectantly beneath the mistletoe. It lives in Kilner jars, truffle cases and star shaped cookie cutters! The time has come to inhabit my kitchen for more than my nightly supper assembly; I now have an excuse to be in it for hours on end making jams, chutneys, truffles and biscuits for my nearest and dearest. The question is; who is really getting a gift here? Is it the recipients or me: pottering around my kitchen chopping, stirring, tasting and making cute labels to stick on jars of apple and cranberry chutney? I know what my answer is.
Around about this time of year I am hoping that my friends and family are eagerly waiting the moment I hand them a basket filled with jars and boxes, as I do each year, for them to feast upon over the festive period. I am also banking on some of them dutifully returning the jars from last year so that I may fill them before returning to their rightful owners; that part is not always as reliable.
The main reason my enthusiasm is reaching boiling point is down, in part, to my choice of bed-time reading. I decided, last night, that it was time to flick through one of the several foodie magazines I had already purchased this month and came across a Danish recipe for butter cookies, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar - I will be trying these out in a week or two and will, of course, post the recipe here. Also nestled within the pages were recipes for butternut squash pithivier's (French puff pastry pies; I will be having one for my Christmas Day lunch), ice-cream spiced with cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg and calvados mixed with spiced apples for a twist on mulled wine. I had to put the magazine down at this point, it was 1am, my head was spinning with ideas and I was approximately 2 recipes away from getting my notebook out and planning my (and my family’s) meals for the next 4 weeks!
So yes, yes, I know, I am in the grip of Christmas Food frenzy. I can’t help it, it happens every year -and many times throughout the year; it only takes a friend’s Birthday or a wander around a farmers market to set me off yet there’s something all consuming about food at Christmas. Whether it is to do with the fact that you have more time to linger over it or that it’s more ceremonial and luxurious than any other time of year is something to ponder.
One thing that is important to remember, though, is not to waste pity on veggies at this time of year. Over the coming posts I intend to show you that we can get as stuck in and gain the same 7, ok 10, lbs as everyone else this time of year and have a damn good time in the process!