Christmas Preserves

Not firing on all pistons today. Has been one of those days.  Things planned have gone to pot.  Need to pick myself up and dust myself down and start all over again.

Been a brighter day to here, a little colder, and several light showers but a lot better than the wind and rain we have experienced for the past few days. So what was planned for today has been re-convened for tomorrow.  It is now raining again, although the forecast said it was finished with the rain for today and that it is supposed to be a drier day tomorrow.

I have though managed to finish the chutney I started yesterday.  It is the Delia Smith Apricot and Orange Chutney from her Christmas Book, which I started as a result of some dried fruit being left on the floor in a box and the bottom got a bit soggy from the washing machine flooding.  So I decided to use up the fruit and get it out the way with.  

So technically this is my first item being made specifically for Christmas. Other items are planned, including the Christmas cake and the Christmas puddings.   The second Sunday in December I will also make my Nan's Fruit bread (which is a tea loaf) and we serve it with butter and a good cheddar and apple)  It is allowed a week to "give" and it does keep for some considerable while, well wrapped in greaseproof and tin foil and kept in a tin.

I part prepped the chutney yesterday. It only makes a couple of jars but as this one is not destined for being given out as a pressie that is okay.  This is another chutney that I particularly like.  However I did not have all the ingredients and have made a couple of substitutions and kept notes on what I have done, so that if I like it I can make it again.  This is why it is always imperative to make notes on any change ups you do to a recipe in order that you can replicate it again.  Memory alone will not do, and I am speaking from experience on this.  

That is a further 2 1/4 jars for the Pantry shelf.  Cannot touch this one for 6 weeks. Have kept the 1/4 jar so that we can try it once the six weeks are up.  Might have to make some more of this one, not tasting bad at the  moment, very sweet and sour.

I have lots of other preserves to make as well, although not specifically for Christmas although they are used then.  I have shallots and pickled onions to locate too, to get them out of the way with as soon as possible.

I plan one day this week to wash my dried fruit and then leave it to soak for a few days before actually making the cake. Whisky will definitely be going in the dried fruit and be used to feed it this year.  The Christmas puddings may be the week after, will see how I get on with other projects that are also identified to be made next week as well as other projects which I have in hand. Some take precedence because of other time limits.  The Christmas cake and the Christmas puddings though I store in the Pantry once cooked, the cake wrapped and in a tin and the puddings in their large ceramic bowls and well wrapped with foil.  They last a long time this way and I have eaten Christmas puddings made this way a year to two years after I have made them. You cannot beat a homemade Christmas cake or Christmas puddings.

We have also had a talk about what we are going for, for Christmas dinner this year all being well.  No Turkey again.  Roast Beef is planned.  Try and have a sense of direction of what will be going for although it will be another low key Christmas out of necessity like so many other families at this time.

My logic is that if the cakes and puddings are done this week I can focus on other areas and just make sure that they are fed regularly.  Then it will be a case of decorating at the beginning of December for the cake in any event. That element can the be forgotten about apart from the finishing touches.  Mincemeat also needs to be made. I use this throughout the year as well.

I have also checked on the Fermented Bramble syrup as well.  That is coming along nicely.  Still bubbling so still a way to go before can use. Still have not managed to get out foraging but hopefully this week.  Hopefully the weather will give me a break this week.

Once the rain has stopped I am hoping to pick a lot of mint. It has grown a heck of a lot since the last pickings and drying for tea.  I am anxious to make the most of it. Mint vinegar, mint sauce, mint sugar and mint syrup are on the cards.

Tea was a duplicate of last night and went down very well again.

Hope you have a lovely evening.

Catch you soon.




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