Thursday, 4 November 2010

Planning for Christmas 2010

Well I have  started to buy the odd bits and bobs primarily for The Pantry in readiness for Christmas.  I am still researching recipes and writing them down so that I have a "Christmas Recipe Book" all in one place and am not floundering around looking here there and everywhere for that recipe I saw a few weeks ago.  So  I am at least in theory attempting to be organised.  I also have some craft projects that I need to get sorted for Christmas presents and also for the house.  I have this urge to do some needlework and some general craft work in readiness for decorating the house, as well as accumulating a collection of candles  - I absolutely adore candlelight. I also have to make a couple of outdoor jackets for Missy as she feels the cold.

So far I haven't acquired very much, but a little bit here and there soon piles up and at the moment I am only picking up the bargains.  I intend to have a surge on baking ingredients like marzipan, ground almonds, mixed fruit, good quality chocolate, nuts dried fruits etc. etc. etc. so as to allow maximum choice of what I can bake myself.  Almonds I buy in big bags from my local Asian shop. Dried Apricots from M & S they are a little pricey but they are delicious. 

At dinner today I wandered through Marks and Spencers the Food store section just browsing, seeing whats new - looking for ideas for doing things myself which turned out very fortunate as I came across an idea for putting up fruit compotes in the freezer, by utilising the soup/stock bags/pouches that either Lakeland or the Pound Shop do, so it wasn't completely fruitless - excuse the pun, and not only that I will get more for my money to boot from fresh ingredients.  They are charging £2.69 per sachet; they had rhubarb, and black cherry in store whilst I was in there. They are always handy for filling cakes tarts or pies or using in quick puddings.  I like to have a variety of foods to hand preserved  by different methods which gives more choice.  Would ideally like to have my own veggie plot and just go shopping in the garden. Hopefully next year will get into gear, once the shed has been procured to help with my storage problem.

However I did pick up two bottles of Christmas Pudding Wine  from M & S which is a sweet muscat wine that goes very well with the Christmas pud and is a favourite as I have bought this before  It was on offer for £1.99  a bottle so I snaffled two bottles.

I am going to make some sweet chilli dipping sauce but needed some to use before I get this made, so I grabbed a bottle whilst in there and sat on the shelf next to it was a mango and chilli dipping sauce so have bought some of that as well. If its nice I might attempt a version of my own.

However whilst browsing I did note that M & S had the boudoir fingers and their version of amaretti for 99 pence a box and the use by dates were well into next year so will snaffle a couple of boxes of these towards the end of the week to put up for the Christmas box.  The Meringue cases are also reasonably priced and are always handy for a quick pudding.

The local pound shop has offers on Toblerone, Maltesers, Ice Cream wafer filled sticks, After Eights and lots of other goodies.  I also get 1.5 kgs of sugar from here as it is only £1 a bag and I get through a lot of sugar with the preserves I make.

The Coop also have different offers on.  They have the Thorntons large box of milk chocolate assortment on offer for £5 a box and the Elizabeth Shaw After Dinner mints for £1.60 a box.  They are also doing the caramel pouches large ones for £3.75

I also intend to do as much basic preparatory work as possible doing a little, week by week.  The plan  is to make a couple of batches of sausage rolls, mince pies, coconut cheesecakes etc and store them in the freezer in order that the basics are covered which will give me more time to play and do other things. Make things like ice cream christmas pudding/individual puddings, as well as prepare the Christmas Cake and other long term keeping fruit cakes].  I will try and do something a week which will put less strain on the pocket

So one week I might make  a couple  of  jars of pears bottled in cider, or a different variety of chutney, or a couple of pounds of sausage meat made into sausage rolls, and then frozen ready to be cooked straight from the freezer. I thought that if I maximised my time it would leave me more time to play and make things like home made rum truffles and Turkish Delight, Florentine biscuits etc nearer Christmas.  

I would also like to buy a Salmon and make my own Gravlax.  I have never made this before and wonder if you can make the Gravlax from frozen fish.  I thought I had read somewhere that at one time it was preferable to freeze the fish to make sure that any bugs were well and truly deaded.  If I can do this it would probably mean that I could buy a salmon when it was on offer and make into Gravlax a week before Christmas.  Or can you make it, cure it with the fresh herbs and freeze it. If any of you have any experience of this, please do share.  I am very partial to salmon dealt with this way and so is my mum.  

I also keep eyeing up Christmas Spiced Beef or "Bombed Beef" as it is also known.

What tends to happen here is that I cook Christmas Dinner and do all the baking and preparation work and then after that and Boxing Day dinner (my mum usually comes on Boxing Day) everyone just helps themselves to cold cuts pickles, chutneys etc.

Anyway, so far the preparations consist of/ I have acquired the following:-
Two boxes of After Eight Mints, 
2 boxes of Elizabeth Shaw After Dinner Mints 
2boxes Thorntons Milk Chocolates (currently on offer at £5 a box at the Coop 
2 tins Roses chocolates £11.99 for two tins at the CoOp 
4 boxes chocolate brazils 
4 boxes dried dates 
2 boxes natural juice jelliies 
2 boxes Cadbury Chocolate Fingers

Baking Goods/Cake Decorating
Chocolate vermicelli for decorating home made rum truffles 3 packs so far
pink glitzy sugar coating for cakes
4 boxes Tate & Lyle Fondant Icing Sugar

Box Jacobs Cheese Crackers

2 bottles of Christmas Pudding Wine
Box of Crabbies Ginger Beer

Apple and Mint Relish
2 jars silverskin pickled onions
Tartare Sauce


Gooseberry Preserve
Lemon n Lime Curd
Apricot Preserve with Chestnut Liqueur
Gold and Silver pens for writing cards and gift tags (were on offer 2 packs for £1 (6 pens in all 3 of gold and 3 of silver.
Pack of Christmas cards
Christmas wrapping paper

Christmas Decorations/Including home made versions

Christmas Snow Globe with Santa in his sleigh on a light base
4 crackle glaze glass gold coloured candle holders
2 boxes of pink and green candy canes for the Christmas tree. 
Reindeer Table centre
Small tree stockings
2 tree owls
1 Robin tree decoration

Home Made Food Items for Christmas whether it be stored in the Pantry or the Freezer
Including items already made and in the Put Down 20104
Apricot and Amaretto Liqueur
Glace Fruit Ice Cream Christmas Bombe

Basic Meat Pack from the Butchers

Ours has come from Willowbrook Farm for the princely sum of £50 we will receive the following:

10lb fresh Turkey (may be a little more weight than this)
2lb joint of meat (can be Pork, Beef or Lamb)
2lb joint of gammon
1lb Streaky Bacon
1lb Smoky Bacon
1lb Chipolatas
1lb Sausagemeat

(That's what other half can remember).  We have had this pack for the past couple of years from here.  Been more than very good. 

And at least its a start.

More to follow as and when



last updated 06 December  2010


  1. It sounds as though you are well on the way! I like your snow globe, it's very pretty. Im fairly organized and like to have most things done/ bought by the beginning of December as I hate crowds. December is just baking/cooking for the freezer and doing the decorating - fun stuff.

  2. That's what I am aiming to do this time round - there have been too many years where I have been rushing around and not enjoying what I have been doing as a result of the rush. I am determined to get it right this year so that I can play with the cooking somewhat and also with the decorations. Its the part I like best and there is much that I would like to try as new projects. Hope you are keeping well and hope that the wrist is recovering well. Take care




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