Eating it, cooking it, thinking about it

Either eating it, cooking it or plotting it

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Mulling it all over

It's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas ! Snow on the ground in Glossop this weekend, apparently minus 3 outdoors today, and the town Xmas lights have been switched on ( I don't know who switched them on this year though ? It was Ricky Hatton one year) . Oh, and (not festive related, but) that coffee and pancake place I was talking about the other week is open now too, though I haven't had chance to go in yet (though on a stride past, I saw 3 Youths sat in there, making as decent a fist as possible of looking as Street as they could in what is essentially a Pleasant Tea Shoppe). Anyways, I've had my first couple of gingerbread lattes, mulled a cider and I've seen the Coca Cola Christmas ad, so for me, the season is well underway. Even if I do have a feeling of things slipping away before they've begun - but I suspect this is because I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet and I keep seeing Other People hoying bulky shopping bags around with them. I'll be putting my decorations up tomorrow so that'll help me wrest control back. Funny, the pressures we put ourselves under ...I forget frequently that LifeStyle magazines and telly programs are mainly void stuffing throwaway fluff, replaced by some upbeat new fad just the week after and that there really is no pressing need for me to make ginger biscuits to hang on the Christmas tree or Get Ahead for Christmas Dinner by parboiling parsnips now etc. But I still think about Doing It All. I have a vision of presenting family and friends with great gleaming jars of homemade fresh crisp piccalilli, or beautifully matured limoncello and sloe gin, all tastefully wrapped in brown paper and tied with jaunty flowing tartan ribbon. I made hokey pokey, truffles and fudge as some gifts last year, to some success, but for some reason this year, I'm on a savoury bent. Quite possibly because I've spend so much time in the pursuit of sweet stuff this year already ( and particularly so over the last couple of weeks, many cupcakes have been baked, including 100 for a wedding, plus wedding cake) so at the moment, I'm dreaming of terrines, chutneys, bread sauce and stilton. Though I've had a lovely time getting my Christmas cupcakes ready for the shop - I've gone the way of cranberry and clementine cupcakes , and mincemeat and orange zest cupcakes, all decorated in a festive stylee. I'll be doing some chocolate Rudolph ones soon, will try and post a pic when I have a min. There's also gingerbread cupcakes, topped with lemon frosting and gingerbread men (recipe to follow), and I'm thinking of some kind of mulled spice cupcake too. I love mulled wine, but I think I prefer hot mulled cider. I've also considered mulling cranberry and apple juice, and some kind of mulled cider sorbet. Isn't chai tea just mulled tea ?  I think I just like having cinnamon sticks and star anise floating around in a deep pan. So ancient and so exotic. Had a terrible hot cherry mulled wine at the Manchester xmas markets the other evening by the way, a real eye popping throat rasper. Soothed self immediately with a standard mulled wine and order was restored. And then went on to have a meal at Zouk, the recently much lauded new-ish Indian restaurant on Chester St in Manchester. Recommended - spanking fresh food, unobtrusive decor and fairly priced. Excellent wine prices too. They also run a cookery school which I quite fancy a day at - you know, just as soon as I've made the piccalilli, finished ( finished - who am I kidding ? started ) the xmas shopping, and woven tartan ribbon to wrap it all in. Hope your plans are coming on apace...Next post -  a recipe for gingerbread biscuits (ready for you to hang on the tree, naturally. And not snarf down 3 at a time with gingerbread latte. No sirree. Not me)

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