Christmas Hoarding 2013

Well I have started the Christmas Food Hoarding.  Most of the dates on the goodies located so far have dates into April 2014 which suits me and gives me a bit more flexibility on time frame which is  a good thing.  These are destined for under the stairs out of the way.  I want to get as much as I can sorted earlier than I did last year so that I can get on when I need to do certain things which are fiddly and need a bit of time spending on them.

Just a few things for starters but the list will increase as I acquire things.  I really should have started with cake ingredients like fruit for the Christmas Cake and Christmas Puddings but hey its about nabbing things whilst I can and whilst things are on offer and more importantly when pennies will allow.  I also have to sort out the Pantry and the Freezer with goodies as well, but that will come in due course.  I am planning on making whatever I can from scratch However I am aiming to get what I can get done so that I am ahead of the game.  Getting the basics done and dusted will help out on time restraints as well which seem to be getting more and more - such is the way when you work full time and have family responsibilities as well as extended family responsibilities as well.  There will be weeks where nothing at all is bought but that is how the cookie crumbles - its a no pressure way of stocking up and equally some weeks there will not be the bargains about in which case I keep the pennies saved to one side until something comes up that I fancy adding to the stash. I thought I would keep a running total of what I acquire and how much I have paid week by week.

So far I have acquired:

Week 1
  1. Box of Crawfords Mixed Family Assortment Biscuits. £3.00
  2. 2 Bags of Cadbury Wishes (profits go to Make a Wish Foundation). £1 for two bags.
  3. 2 Bars of Fairtrade Ghanian Dark Chocolate with Orange and spices. £1.56 bar. £3.12 
  4. 2 Boxes After Eight Mints. £2.00 per box. £4.00
  5. 2 Tubes Pringles (buy 2 for £2.59)
  6. 2 bags x 7 Original Mini Cheddars (£1.89)
  7. 2 x 4 x 2 Packs of Bounty £1.00 per pack = £2.00 
  8. 2 x 3 Packs of Mars Bars @ £1.00 per pack = £2.00
  9. 2 bags mini cheese petit fous @ £1.00 per bag= £2.00
Sub Total £21.48

Will updated again shortly.




Well not strictly speaking Christmas Hoarding but part of it will go towards the Christmas stockpile in any event.  At times of celebration it is always good to have a choice of ingredients to use.

Despite the upset and I have been terribly upset as has poor Molly (they say animals do not mourn but she has been calling for her kittens on and off all night);  it has been quite heart rending and  she has for the best part been cuddled up next to me.  Demetri and Squeak seem to have decamped downstairs for the time being. The antibiotics seem to have kicked in and her temperature is down which I am quite pleased about as that was what was concerning me most.  I would also like to thank you all for your kind comments and support during this difficult time. I am trying to keep myself busy as when I stop that is when I end up getting all upset. 

Anyway back to the the Christmas Hoarding.  It would seem that we have about 15 weeks before Christmas.  I haven't bought anything this week.  However I have managed to put away all those goodies I have already acquired in the big red box under the stairs.  I have been busy in the kitchen processing ingredients and preserving them for the winter months.  This week I have managed to get Gooseberry Jam, and Victoria Plum jam, as well as Victoria Plums preserved in syrup; blueberries in syrup,  and pickled cabbage dealt with.  I still have nectarines (in syrup and maybe some chutney), tomatoes (ketchup and passata) and shallots  and Apples (pickled shallots and maybe some brown sauce and some chutney) to process in between setting to with the housework.  I am also hoping to be able to get some blackberries picked and some more preserves made.  

The Christmas cake needs to be started as well so that it has time to be fed and mature nicely.  I want to get as much done as I can.  I also want to get some presents made and some crafty stuff dealt with and I have a lot of outings coming up and my mum to keep an eye on.  I also have plans for a sweet and sour sauce and a barbecue sauce for the pantry shelf as well as some home made plum sauce which is simply divine coating a rack of ribs and brushing on plenty of sauce leaving for so long in the oven pasting more sauce on until the whole jar is used and by golly was it delicious.  Sauces are expensive to buy, but if you make them yourself then you get more for your money in the long run.

Right I am going to get a wriggle on as I have not achieved as much as I would have liked, but then I have been otherwise preoccupied.

Thank you once again for your love and support.



This week I have bought a few little extras to ostensibly add to the Christmas Hoard but which in practice will go into the general pantry too. There is not a lot but what I could afford to do this week, but it is probably more than someone else has been able to do.  I know I am very lucky compared to some, and I just do what I can do, paying for it a little at a time  going without other things in an effort to have the ingredients available when I come to bake instead of having to run around ragged come Christmas trying to find ingredients in the melee of the Christmas rush.  I have done that been there and worn the sweatshirt these days I want more balance in my life so I try and do a bit at a time.   As I have indicated before I tend to actually make the bulk of stuff myself so therefore somewhere along the line you do have to have the basics already in or to just top up those items that you would normally readily have to hand.  

This week I have purchased:
  • 2 Packets of Hovis Digestive Biscuits.
  • 1 jar of Chinese Stem Ginger in Syrup.(plan to get some more)
  • 1 jar of Beef Dripping.
  • 2 packets of blanched hazlenuts. (plan to get some more).
  • 1 packet x 15 leaves sets up to two pints of liquid of leaf gelatine (plan to get some more).
  • 1 Packet of pretty muffin cases.
  • 2 Bottles of light olive oil.

The Hovis Digestive biscuits we use as a cracker for cheese and pickle.  They are shaped like little mini Hovis loaves and they are delicious.

Stem Ginger in syrup I use this for puddings and baking as well as in Stir fries.  Wherever you would use ginger and you can use the syrup too.

The beef dripping will come in useful for chips and crisps, and making pastry for pasties and meat pies..

Blanched Hazlenuts for baking, cookies, making praline adding to chocolate or home made sweets and ice cream, making your own chocolate and hazlenut spread. I love nuts of all descriptions.

I usually try and keep leaf gelatine in as it comes in so handy for making your own jellies, panacottas which come Christmas are simple to prepare but which look simple and stunning on the table when entertaining; when you have a lot to do 

Pretty Muffin cases to use when making

Two bottles of light olive oil for use in salads and general cooking.

I have also been eyeing up the dried fruit as I want this not only for baking and the Christmas Cake and the Christmas pudding  but also for making my own breakfast cereal combinations like muesli and granola as well as the ever old faithful home made porridge.  They are simple to make and you get a lot more for you money than the store bought versions and they charge a lot for them in the shops, but equally it can make a nice pressie for a friend for Christmas especially if you package it with a nice breakfast tea and a marmalade.

Right I have to get on I have a bag of elderberries to prepare.

Catch up again soon.




Christmas Hoarding covers a multitude of sins for me as I am ever on the look out for bits and bobs for presenting food on; and this morning on a foray to the charity shop I came up with a narrow white thin mirror edged in white with some gold decoration and a lovely cobalt blue cake stand that reminded me slightly of icicles and some Christmas baubles.  And there you are thinking she really has lost the plot this is about Christmas Hoarding putting food up  and making food up so that you have a wider scope of ingredients to work from and then thus have a bigger choice of recipes to actually make.  Well for me its a bit about everything - the word "hoarding" means literally putting by so anything that is put by for the Christmas season for me comes under the category of "hoarding" or purely in respect of food items that I have made "The Put Down".

I spotted the cake stand first; cake stands of any description are a serious weakness with me and I have several. They can be used individually or stacked together and filled with food or with tea lights to create a lovely display on your Christmas table. I was quite taken with the cake stand from the first and I thought it would be the ideal cake stand to actually show off a cake/dessert which tin I purchased last year from Lakeland in the shape of a star and which you can use in the oven or the freezer or alternatively the star cake tin that I also purchased last year.  So there is a method in my madness somewhere.

Now what does she want with the mirror;  Well this is required as a centre piece for my large pine table.  I intend to centre it on the table and then either dress up with greenery  and have a candleabra either side and then little bits and bobs of interest as with the candlelight it will create more light on the table via reflection and make the table look bigger than it is, especially when the table is dressed with a nice cloth and good quality Crystal as well as coloured glass.  Well that is the plan.  I thought I might get some of this years teasels and paint them gold as well as some cones and scatter them over the mirror as well.  If we go for a walk over the weekend I will probably collect some then.

I have also found a few odd Christmas baubles which are glass and also some beaded items which can be hung from some of my faux garlands which I usually have around the house.

So for a few pounds (£17.50 in all - the cake stand was £9.50 the baubles 50 pence each and the mirror £4) I have bought some items which will do very nicely in the greater scheme of making things look nice and make things look as though you have really rolled the ball out and spent an arm and a leg in the process.  A few simple touches here and there make all the difference.I love making things look nice and I love entertaining.  I also take great pleasure in bringing out the "treasures" those decorations and items of use that have memories or that I have had for years well wrapped in tissue and stored safely.

I have also bought a couple of things for the Food Store this week:

  • A Tin of Celebrations
  • A Tin of Heroes. (the two tins were £6 each or buy two together for £10)
  • 2 Boxes of After Eight Mints. (£2 a box at the moment - the bigger box)
 I have also dried 6 Faggots of Rosemary, some Sage, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme and Bay as well as making some Apricot Jam (needed for the Christmas cake), some plum chutney and cordial as well as some more bottled plums for the sugar plums I intend to do for Christmas. So I have my work cut out in between doing everything else and there is still plenty of other things on the list that need to be done.  I have my eye on some grapefruit curd and also cordial as well as passionfruit gin and curd.

Catch you soon




This week has predominantly been acquiring accessories more so than food stuff.  The other day I popped into Primark to have a look around and in their home wares department I came across some Scandinavian/Fair Isle style throws to use to keep warm - whilst sitting watching the TV over the Christmas period.  £10 each so I bought two.  They have a similar type throw in M & S slightly different pattern and more money.  I also purchased a small red fluffy owl printed throw for £5 - I intend to get another one as the colouring will blend in with the Scandinavian/Fair Isle style throws (so far have spent £25 - which is not bad). They also had some other throws for the bedrooms at quite reasonable prices also; now I have to save up as I would like at least a couple of each. This is a particularly cold house so I like to have plenty of blankets as well as quilts etc to snuggle up into.  Ideally I need a house with a proper coal or log fire as well as central heating..

I have also purchased  a new cookie snowflake cutter from John Lewis to add to my collection of decorative cake pans, cookie cutters etc.  (I have quite a collection).  I always keep my eyes peeled for  something that little bit different.

I also popped into the pound shop today and looked at some of the decorations they had.  I came away with two packs of card stars which you can actually pop an electric light bulb into  in red and white Scandinavian styling and matching paper chain packs (I thought it might be nice to have some traditional decorations as well this year.  This would be a good one to get the children involved in making some of the decorations.  They are pre-glued on the ends.  The paper chains are also in a metallic version

A few other things I have managed to accumulate are as follows:

  1. 2 bottles of Ginger and Lemon Grass Sparkling Presse. £2.79 for two bottles
  2. 2 tins wild red salmon. £1.69 a tin
  3. 2 boxes of candy canes (need to get some more as use on the tree and for decorations) £1 a box
  4. 2 Large Bags Cinema style popcorn. 99 pence per 250g large bag
  5. 1 Packet of Cornish Wafers.
  6. 2 x bags of sultanas £1.19 per bag
So I am getting there very gradually and there is still approximately 11 weeks to Christmas to go.  There will be more from me next week.  How are you preparations going?




As many of you know I like to make things from scratch rather than buying them pre-bought and in order to do this sometimes you have to purchase useful equipment, moulds, cake tins etc to enable you to do this.  However I am a tad tight and I do not believe in paying through the nose for things.  One of the ways I do this is that I check out the pound shops on the off chance that they may actually have something useful and today I struck lucky.  I popped into two pound shops today. In the first one I spent precisely £10.

I came away with:

Two Silicone Christmas Tree mould for chocolate, ice cubes or cookie mix. The mould can be used in the fridge/freezer or in the cooker. £2.

Two Packs of Silicone moulds one a snowman the other a christmas tree one in each pack and by buying two packs I have two of each.  Again can be used in the fridge/freezer or the oven £2.

Two Packs of metal cookie cutters one pack consisting of 5 cutters including an Angel, star. bell, Christmas Tree, and Boot. £1

The second one consisting of four cutters including a gingerbread man, Christmas Tree. poinsettia flower and candy cane. £1

Two packs of cake sprinkles £1 each  £2

A pack of 6 Christmas Reindeer Decorations in a red glitter £1

And finally a pack of plastic teaspoons which I intend to dip in chocolate and then serve with fresh brewed chocolate or coffee. They cost a fortune to buy but they are relatively easy to prepare yourself. £1

So you can do things cheaply with a little careful window shopping and planning and it will give me some playing time to let the inner child free.

Catch up soon.



I have added a few more goodies to the list and the store cupboard under the stairs is starting to fill out very nicely.  I am one of the lucky ones I realise that, but we never know what is going to happen on the morrow so it is better to be prepared wherever you can. Save what you can when you can  It may not be much but at least its something and the bits and bobs collected together will get used at Christmas but will also get used into the New Year as well.

I have managed to add the following to the Christmas Hoard:

  • A  tin of Roses
  • A tin of Quality Street
  • 2 boxes of Gruyere Sticks
  • 2 Packets of Cheddars
  • 2 Boxes Thorntons Chocolates
  • 2 packets Chocolate Digestives 
  • 1 pkt of plum chocolates
  • 1 pkt of cherry chocolates
2 bags crystallised Ginger  

Every little helps



I have also managed to make:

This time round no bought goodies just home made items
  •  Strawberry fruit sauce
  • Bottled Rocha Pears in syrup [7 jars]
  • Started Marrons Glace
  • 5 Litres (5 jars) Apple Puree
  • Green Tomato Chutney 3 big jars and one standard
  • Christmas Puddings x 2
  • Pickled Onions 
  • Pecans in Honey
  • Almonds in Honey
  • Hazlenuts in Honey
I think I also forgot to mention that I had made the Christmas Cake and a Dundee Cake which are "maturing" in the Pantry in the tins.

So I am getting there very slowly still lots to do though.  

And I have some ornaments for the tree I want to make too.

Catch you soon.

How many more sleeps before the big day?



Well this week I have added:
2 packets Cadburys Fingers (£1 per pack)
2 Packets Cadburys Fabulous Fingers (£1 per pack)
2 jars of gherkins
2 jars Peppadew peppers (OH likes these)
1 bottle of rum (need this for the rum sauce to go with the Christmas Puddings and for the Masawati coffee to keep the chills at bay)
1 bottle of Hobgoblin    (for the home made mustard)
1 bottle of Speckled Hen (for the home made mustard)
"Stocked up on" excuse the pun Oxos all three flavours and 
a jar of marmite (OH demolished the last jar and the cupboard was bare when I came to make stew).
And a 2kg bag of popcorn kernels for home made popcorn (you can always jazz it up with caramel and almonds

I was also given a load of cooking apples so all sorts of things are being prepared with them including spiced apple jelly. 

There are also more shallotts and pickling onions being prepared so many a day so we should be well stocked for a few months at least.

The cupboards are slowly filling up which is how I like it.

Catch you soon.





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