This year I intend to start working making things such as Christmas decorations and Christmas presents from the 1 January 2015. I will start with or at least the preparation so that I can get as much as I can done whether that be craft wise or cooking wise.
Too early you scream but as I am getting older I am slowing down and therefore need the extra time to prepare things properly. My purse also needs to support this and I am thinking heirloom style gifts here ones that will come out year after year, pressies that money just cannot buy and created from the heart. I intend to show patterns and/or give links but not my finished items as I want the recipients to have a "surprise" when they open the pressie up. I do not want to spend a lot either- during the year - on good quality materials yes, but not necessarily on kits, I intend to use the Internet as well as the stockpile of books and magazines I have to hand with the occasional new book here and there and I intend to embrace a number of crafts.
When I first started writing this blog my aim was practical and to learn to make things from scratch myself have a go at several different ways of preserving and that it was very much an experimental process for me a learning curve. One of my key areas of interest was the preservation of meat and fish and my first foray into this was with the Gravadlax at Christmas. Which has totally excited me - it was not as difficult as I thought and has produced a very good product (even if I do say so myself). I have since gone on to find several more curing recipes for Salmon - each recipe being different. The recipe I used for the Gravadlax was ideal for winter but I have since gone on to find one that is emminently suitable for the summer. I collect recipes.
Yesterday when I prepared the Pork Bellies I was going to have a go at curing my own streaky bacon but in the end I have had to defer this until the end of the month as I did not have enough natural sea salt/rock salt to hand which was a little disappointing but in curing such as this it is very important that everything is absolutely spotless and that the right consumables are being used. Salt is a natural preservative and no Saltpetre is being used in the particular recipe I am going to be using. I really would like to have a go at making my own Pastrami and my own Salami and Chorizo. I already make my own pates and I have experimented with soft cheese.
Generally in real life I really want to get back to the uncommercialised side of living - I cannot opt out as I do not have the wherewithal at the moment but I can do something with what is available to me and get the practice I need to make things to the best of my ability. Christmas for me is more about the traditions and rituals of doing it yourself and to get as much pleasure out of what I am actually doing. That kind of love does not come bottled but is more about who we are and how we share. You do not need to spend a lot but I think it is important to connect with who we are, where we are from and that we do not need to be reliant solely upon the supermarkets. I use supermarkets but I am selective as to what I buy from them. A lot of the time I do not buy prepared products I buy the ingredients and then make things from scratch.
This is one of the reasons why I tend to have sessions of cooking for the freezer or for the Bottle Store i.e. jams, chutneys, jellies etc. This maximises output and saves me time during the working week and the plus side is that we are still eating well.
Part of my journey is finding recipes that I like and which work for our household and that we are going to use and are not just looking pretty on the shelves and of finding new ways in which to use those ingredients. So there is a lot to do this year. I am also hopeful that this is the year I will achieve my aim of obtaining an Excalibur Dehydrator which I have had my eye on for the last five years. One can hope. we will have to see what happens. So I have a lot of plans a lot to try and achieve as usual. In reality some of it will work and others will not but it will all happen when it is meant to happen I am sure of that and lessons will be learned along the way.
I am excited with what lays ahead in this the unwritten page for 2015 and of the foodie journeys and experiments ahead. It should be interesting.
Catch you soon