Sunday, 16 November 2008

Odi et amo

I have had some emotional trauma this week (hence the title. Latin GCSE, anyone? I actually really like Catullus poetry.) I have mentioned before my love of Nigella Lawson, and therefore bought her Christmas book, as soon as it came out. And then this Thursday, I was crestfallen.

I go to a knitting group, when I can, who meet in the basement cafe of Waterstones in Piccadilly. So I wander up there last Thursday, having tried to adjust my karma by being a good person in the Japan Centre next door (paid with a ten pound note, girl at till thought it was a twenty, and gave too much change, I handed it right back to her.) Then off to look around Waterstones, before tea and knitting. Then I saw the sign outside...

Nigella was signing copies of her Christmas book, whilst sat on a sleigh in the front of the bookshop. I was torn, and had to call my Dad for advice! He's training for the CAB so should be good on trauma. Could I justify buying a second copy, but get the chance to meet her, and get my book signed? I paid £15 online, and it would have been another £25. That's a lot for a cookbook, even if it is signed. He convinced me that it would have been too much. So I loitered for a while, and went and bought myself a nice cake to go with my tea, to make myself feel better. Hate sensible practical advice. But love the book still!

Continuing from my love of the aforementioned book, and Christmas in general, I have made the cake today!!
It's in the oven at the moment, and will be for a total of two and three quater hours. I have cut corners before with baking, and know my own tastes (butter is sometimes too rich, lining a tin can be skipped if you grease and flour it) but for this, THE christmas cake, it was all by the book. Pre-soaked fruit (in 30cl of Jack Daniels!) double lined tin, with a brown paper wrapping on the outside, and all mixed well by hand. I've got the marzipan and icing to pop on it later in the month, and now just need to work out what sort of design I'll do. I'm thinking a plain white, with some stars stuck on. Has anyone tried the edible gold stuff you can paint/dust on, or edible glitter? I like the look, but don't want to ruin the cake!

We are in the run up to Christmas in my family. The lists have to be submitted for review by this Friday. Each year, my mum sends out lists, just to immediate family really, that have to be completed and returned by a certain date in November. It may seem to take some of the fun out, but since she started, we've not had that moment of "what the $*%& do I buy her?!!" or "That's um...unusual-where did you get it from? So you have the receipt still...?" We all list what we want. My mum splits the items into who's buying for who, what's not allowed. (no kittens or time machines are allowed, apparently. They got special mention as being unavailable the second year of the lists.) Then me and her go out one day in early December and go into town, and buy stuff. A lot of stuff. It means we don't get the surprise on the day so much, but everyone else does, as although they don't know what from their list will be bought, they know they'll like all they get.

Now off to dye my hair, do some more knitting for Isla, and prep some ingredients to make gingerbread this afternoon. Its a really good recipe, I highly recommend it. But I am adding more ginger this time.

May post later, once the cake is cooked!

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