I hope you all had a merry Christmas with your loved ones. We have had a quiet Christmas here at Pattypans pad, but I still have an awful lot to do. OH and I decided not to buy each other a present; but to spend the money available to us on food - that was our Christmas present to each other.
I am due back to work tomorrow after a very few extremely busy but enjoyable days over Christmas. I have billing to do tomorrow. I am back for two days and then off on Friday and Monday going back to work on the 3 January. Today has been the first time available to me to do as I pleased and I have had a very lazy day where sometimes I have found myself dribbling on the setee having "nodded off" and then woken up with a crick in the neck. I have also been planning and plotting, watching River Cottage repeats and nosing through my recipe books as well as my diary making an aide memoire and check list as well as plotting pertinent items to make at specific times such as the Christmas cake and Christmas puddings and home made Mincemeat, cider, beer, stout and lager.
I had had all sorts of plans to do this and that in readiness for Christmas, but unfortunately time and the lack of funds at a pertinent time got the better of me and I had to ditch the plans and go with the flow. But then by making mistakes is how we learn. However this coming year will be different I am very determined about that. I intend to set up if and when I have a few pounds spare an account purely for taking advantage of preserving foods when they are in season whether that entails a walk through the hedgerows or a trip to a fruit farm and also for buying kilner jars, jam jars and cordial/sauce bottles. At the minute I intend to do a lot more bottling than I have in previous years. Unusually, this year I also did not prepare a few things which have become household staples which also do double duty as a small Christmas present to a friend. I do not intend to repeat the mistake of not making these in the future I am particularly speaking about making crab apple jelly and apple chutney which everyone seems to love. One thing I would say is that when the fruit is in season if you do not have time to process it into jam or chutneys freeze it down and then make it when you have more time rather than miss out completely.
I am particularly keen to have a go at curing bacon and making my own sausages for which I will require meat and sausage casings - hence the idea of the preserving fund so that I can eventually have a play, but I want to do some more research on this first before dipping in the proverbial toe.
I intend also to have the sewing machine out on Friday. I bought the first batch of fleece material to make an inner curtain for the front door to keep draughts out and to make the house more cozy. It has taken me a while to save up as I needed 2 1/2 metres of fabric per door - it cost me £13 for just one door. I also intend to buy more fabric in the next few weeks or so to do the same for the back door. It should not take me long to do but now the dining room table is clear (yes you heard right) I am going to make the most of it.
I also need to make some ironing board covers, and some throws for the front room sofas - I have been collecting furnishing fabrics in set colours, like golds and reds and intend to do some patchwork style throws out of them. I have a lot of fabric upstairs begging to be used so I need to get a wriggle on and get cracking. The only thing I will need to buy is the backing fabric and the wadding/batting. I may have to pay a visit to Dunhelm to see if they have anything suitable like an appropriately coloured cotton sheet. I also need to get back to the rest of the UFO's and the blankets and throws and get the items completed. I have been very unsettled of late and not able to settle.
I had also hoped for a crafting day with my friend during the period I was off work - which for one reason or another did not happen. So we are going to start early and have crafting days through the year to make bits and bobs in readiness for next Christmas
I have mentioned that I have taught my friend how to cook in recent months. She made her first ever Christmas cake and Christmas pudding under my guidance. I am pleased to say that the cake turned out very well indeed. It was a recipe I had never made before, but which has turned out to be delicious and is a cake I will make myself in the future, not necessarily as a Christmas cake but it was delicious. Unusually you put chunks of marzipan into the mix. I also helped her make a "round" Christmas pudding which smells absolutely gorgeous although she has not road tested this yet. I am used to making Christmas puddings but this was the first time that I had made a "round one".
Will catch up later
Hope everyone is keeping well and that you have enjoyed the holidays