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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Planning and Plotting for Christmas 2018

After a few days rest - Yes I know we have only just got this Christmas out of the way, but as things went a little awry this year for Christmas (having the flu/viral cold etc. certainly threw everything out of cinque and I had no energy to do some of the stuff I needed or planned to do). Not a happy bunny about this but there is nothing I could do but to let it go and just concentrate on the main bits. Still Christmas happened, not quite as I had planned but hey we had a Christmas and not a bad one at that.  We are truly blessed despite the blooming cold!

Whilst typing this I am actually getting to listen to my Christmas CDs so I am still very much in the festive mood.

Nevertheless it has made me even more determined to start Christmas 2018 from scratch.  I have much to do on the present front and I intend to be more organised on the preserving front as well.  I am intending to organise things to the nth degree and getting stuff out of the way with early and when I can.

In fact many of you will not be surprised that I have already started on the preserving front!  There is always something that can be done either for short term use or for long term keeping.

I managed to pick up some kumquats/cumquats whilst doing the Christmas shopping.  They are a rarity and something very different.  Prepared in syrup they are akin to stem ginger in syrup although tangy and orangey, (the skin is sweet and the flesh is sour) but still a nice accompaniment to the sweetmeats dish for the Christmas table. These Kumquats/cumquats will be gracing next year's Christmas table and hopefully I will be able to get fresh again just before Christmas for the year after and so on. In fact my darling Father was very fond of these.

If you would like the recipe it is here:

Glace Cumquats/Kumquats, in Syrup or just the bottled syrup

http://tarragonnthyme.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/glace-cumquats.html

There is every chance that also, after Christmas you may have some citrus fruit hanging around in the fruit bowl.  Rather than waste it why not turn it into curd or if you have mixed citrus why not mixed fruit marmalade.  There is always something that can be done either as a long keeping preserve or short term.

You have to plan ahead in many respects on a lot of things and when you have ingredients to hand its good to make a batch or two of things up ready for storage. Its even handier if you find the items at a reduced price.  In particular it is good to make chutney.  Chutney will last for a long time and always over a year and the older it gets the better the flavour. It therefore makes sense to make some in the quieter months. Predominantly with dried fruit at this time of the year but there are always alternatives. Sometimes I end up making different sorts of things twice or more a year.  Like curds they are not long lasting and so I tend to make about every three months or so and sometimes I put fruit up in the freezer so that I can make out of season as well.  i.e. blackcurrants, strawberries, mixed fruit, blackberries.  I also do the same with Seville Oranges.  I will shortly be making my yearly batch of Seville Orange Marmalade and also the Vin D'Orange for next Christmas.  There are recipes for both on the blog.

If you want more ideas with what to do with Cumquats/Kumquats there are a few more on this link:


http://www.foodpreserving.org/2013/06/canning-inspiration-kumquats-cumquats.html

I also intend to candy fruit throughout the year.  It is a time consuming process but it pays dividends at the end of the day.  Especially when at Christmas you can have a platter of candied fruits for picking at in the form of sweetmeats from the Christmas table.  Candying fruit you can finish in syrup, candied and hard and crystallised on the outside but whichever way you decide to use they will be totally different to the bought product.

I also have more Mincemeat to make.  I make Mincemeat twice a year.  Usually September and also January.  I use mincemeat a lot and there is nothing better than home made mincemeat.  It is used through the year although predominantly at Christmas.  I have some more dried fruit that needs using up and I do not like to waste anything.  So further Mincemeat is to be made - I have a couple of large other crocks for making this and/or for soaking my dried fruit for the Christmas cake etc.  They are a couple of pot bread crocks which have been re-utilised.

There is also dried fruit chutney to make:  Here is a link for a Storecupboard dried fruit chutney:
http://tarragonnthyme.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/storecupboard-chutney.html


There are many different recipes but all will be good for the Christmas 2018 stockpile.  I shall start with dried Apricots and make the Delia Smith Spiced Apricot and Orange Chutney from her original Delia Smith's Christmas.  One of the books I use year in year out.  We have found purely by chance that this particular recipe is best kept a year to let the flavours really mature.  Will pop up the recipe shortly for those of you who wish to have a go.  

However there are also a couple of other recipes for Apricots to start at this time of year also.  One a wine recipe and the other a chutney made from the pulp so you get double whammy out of one batch of apricots.  That to me is being frugal and getting the most out of things.

The link for this is here: http://tarragonnthyme.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/dried-apricots.html

So even though it is not quite the New Year there is always something to be done and something to be squirrelled away into the pantry for either Christmas or future use.  It will be handy to get ahead and to make stuff for next Year's home made Christmas hampers.

Just before Christmas OH had managed to use up the last of the Piccalilli I had made despite my best attempts.  So i bought him an expensive bottle of it for him to use over Christmas.  He is not impressed and says that it does not taste right!  He much prefers my efforts  so it looks as though I am going to be have to be more devious when I do the piccalilli this year.  I may even have to make an extra batch and hide the lot.

The point of this post is that there is always something that can be done for the pantry shelf even in the colder months those months less associated with making things.

I also intend to start some Ginger wine off ready for next year as it needs time to mature.  Proper Ginger wine is a lovely winter warmer.  

Right I am off to potter.

Pattypan

x



6 comments:

  1. I am sorry you were ill over Christmas. The evil flu/bug/virus also visited us and knocked us for six! Oh well, as you say you just have to give in but my poor husband has done a fabulous job of keeping everything going.
    I am feeling that I want to start preparing for next Christmas straight away and have even more homemade/from scratch food and gifts next year. Your blog is interesting and inspiring, thank you.
    I hope you are soon fully recovered.

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    1. Hi Debbie, its not been too good on the cold front. Sorry it also caught you for six as well. We have stayed away from everyone on purpose so that we do not pass it on. At least your husband stepped up to help that's worth an awful lot. Things can always be worse than they actually are. I try and make use of whatever comes my way and if it means something for the pantry shelf all the better. I also make a lot of preserves and give them away to family and friends. OH and I do not eat them all although we eat a fair few. Thank you for your kind words and am glad that you find the blog interesting and inspiring - that helps me an awful lot. Am getting there with the cold although these days colds always knock me for six. Hope you feel better too soon. Take care. Pattypanxx

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  2. Hi patty, as usual I am loving your posts since Christmas and hearing about your celebrations. We had a lovely dinner round my mum's and then went to Newcastle to watch a pantomime yesterday which was fun. People might think it strange, but I love reading about your plans for christmas 2018 even though 2017 isn't finished yet. Lots of love fluffy x

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    1. Hi Fluffy

      Glad you had a good Christmas at your mums. Pantomimes I love having seen my first live pantomime at the age of four in Coventry. It was mesmerising. I hope you and the kiddies really enjoyed it. As usual I have to keep myself busy and if there are things to put down in the pantry or stuff to do I am going to get on and do it as it is all part and parcel of the seasonal preparations which I do bit by bit during the year and dive into during the year as well if I have to. My pantry is a yearly store cupboard but I do try and keep the cream of the preserves for use over the Christmas period as it gives you more choice of ingredients and a wider scope of dishes. Are you still crafting - I hope so and how is little Miss getting on with her sewing? Take care petal xx

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  3. Long time (years) reader of your blog. I finally set-up an account so I can reply.

    Glad to hear that I am not the only one planning ahead for Christmas 2018. As the years go by, I am trying to keep things simple - gifting, food, and decorating. I am single without kids, but siblings and their families to think and do for. For now I am making my lists for making gifts (knitting, food, sewing, etc.)with the plan to have all gifts taken care of by early November 2018.

    Best to you in the coming year.

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  4. Hello Riverwoman you are most welcome. Its nice to find a kindred spirit. I do not have any children; live with my partner we are not married have been together for 30 years; have an extended family but I just love the seasonality, the making and the doing and getting as much as I can for my money. I also think simple is best but I also like to try new things and to dabble a bit. You have to play a bit to find out what you do and do not like. I am glad you signed up to comment and I look forward to reading further comments from you in the future. Pleased to meet you and best wishes to you and yours for the coming New Year. Kind regards. Tricia aka Pattypan x

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Thank you for popping by. I love to receive comments and to make new friends so please say Hi. Pattypan

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