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Hi there!

I'm glad you've come to read my blog, but unfortunately I don't live here any more!

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Catherine Ann x

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Blogmas #1: Christmas Baking

My family is pretty traditional, and as a result my mum's always done her own Christmas baking: the steamed Christmas puddings, mince pies, the cake...

When I was younger, she'd do three Christmas cakes: one for the day, one for dad's birthday in January and one for a friend of the family. Now, she's narrowed it down to one and she'll perhaps do a Dundee cake for dad's birthday or I do a sponge with his favourite thing ever: cholesterol  er, whipped cream. Nobody in my family can bring themselves to eat a shop-bought mince pie, and when I'm walking round the supermarket and I see a pathetic little Christmas cake made in a factory, it just makes me sad. 

In short, we're spoiled. 

The events I'm about to tell you about actually took place about a month ago, during half term (mid term) and the week after, but I'd heard so many people complain about "Christmas coming too early" (if there is such thing) that I decided to wait and post them in December. However, though my Christmas officially started last night,  preparations started back then. This wasn't due to "corporate greed" or "the conformity of modern such-and-such", but because much like any teenage boy, it takes a good Christmas cake a very long time to mature...

My mum makes two puddings, one to be eaten on the day and one for sometime during the year, usually Easter. It's always such a magical moment when we finish our Christmas dinner and the pudding is brought out. All the lights are turned off, brandy is poured on the pudding and its set alight. We all watch the blue flames dance for a fleeting instant before the alcohol burns up and it's time to dig in, with cream or even milk on top. 

The pudding mix is made, Delia's recipe of course, is placed in two pyrex basins, wrapped in greaseproof paper and an old tea towel and string, and must be steamed for a total of eight hours. This is done in a saucepan on top of an upside down saucer. Mum does two the day she makes it, four at some other point, and two on the day it's eaten. 

(This ancient tea towel may have a Sainsbury's label, but others are available from all good retailers... sorry, I've gone all BBC...)

The pudding after two hours in the pot...

A few days after this, we had the day off school and I got to work on the Christmas cake. I may as well tell this story in pictures... I only wish one could blog smells, too! 

Set up the dining table to work on, with the most beautiful view... Christmas was in the air already! 

We always use the recipe.... 

...from this ancient Good Housekeeping book.

Got all my ingredients together...

(But look at the glacé cherries before I cut them... they're like little jewels!)
The smell of lemon zest, freshly-grated nutmeg and cinnamon always reminds me of Christmas

Wet ingredients have gone in....

Every member of the family must stir the cake for luck...
And now to put my feet up... (Tea for me, brandy for cake...)

And you can see the finished cake in a later post!

Happy advent, boys and girls! 



  1. I love the lead up to Christmas...each year I always plan to try to make my own Christmas pudding and cake...but each year so far I have always left it too late and enjoy my Mum's baking instead (which, let's face it, is always going to be tastier than mine!). Happy advent!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I think you're right... I don't know what I'll do when the day comes for me to do the baking all myself! Have a lovely Christmas, Hannah! By the way, I love your blog! :) xxx

  3. I am IN LOVE with the view from your dinning window CatherineAnn!!! I feels like Christmas at your home :)

    Merry Xmas!


    1. Thanks, Heidi! I love it, too! My dad went to huge lengths to preserve the big window when we moved in: he had to hunt round for companies who'd repair it without splitting it in two! It's lovely to see the seasons come and go, and always be cosy in the dining room... I try to cook there whenever I can!

      Happy Christmas! xx


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