We start Christmas Lunches on Tuesday, so lots of preparations to do and time to get into the festive season with a smile. Christmas trees, lights, baubles, candles, and of course Christmas music. I love this time of year, and quietly start to get a bit excited, I get that feeling in my tummy and just love to see people out enjoying themselves. For me its always about being with family and friends. I just love to buy gifts, but not just any thing will do. It has to be the right gift for the right person, not always costing a lot, but with love and thought behind each present - then all wrapped beautifully making it really special.
For nearly twenty years we have been making Christmas cakes and party foods ready to be collected for Christmas (in fact all year round but Christmas is the busiest time).
The fruit now is soaking with brandy and sherry, fresh orange zest and a dash of cold tea... this makes the fruit all juicy and plump for the cakes. Once the cakes are baked they will sit and mature for a time before being marzipaned and iced. Christmas cake is a tradition that always puzzles me, at home we never cut the cake until Christmas day late in the afternoon - but really we never had any room for anything else to eat, so gradually it gets eaten over the next few days and weeks. However the thought of cutting it before Christmas simply seems very wrong, but I think we would all have more room in our tummies at this point - before all the extra goodies come out.
Always popular are the cheesecakes, gateaux, chocolate fudge cakes and mince pies deep filled, not to mention the quiche and sausage rolls that are a huge hit. As Christmas draws closer we start to work late and bake all these goodies that are ordered ready to collect - usually just a few days before the big day.
We have rum sauce to make, and Turkey to roast, chipolatas to wrap in bacon, stuffing to prepare and all the great bits that go together to make a Christmas meal special. Tuesday really will be a busy day, but a good day. Our cranberry sauce was made this week, full of fresh orange, onions and a little red wine, its a recipe we have used for many years and it really is delicious.
Sunday evening we will be decorating the restaurant. For me its the tree that has to be perfect. Lots of twinkling lights, baubles, stars and glittery decorations. Its the centre piece to the decorations and makes everything else look special. The rest of the centre will be worked on Tuesday morning , with fantastic garlands to fill the corridor and a tree to place in the entrance with lights. Christmas here is special, magical and inviting.
If you notice so far my image of Christmas does not include the words, stressful, hustle and bustle or exhausting.... that is really not the Christmas we try to create. Hustle and bustle? maybe but not in a pushing, rushing way, just bustle with with noise of happy people shopping. Stress - No, you can get that somewhere else, and exhausting - well take your time, think about your gifts and maybe have a break half way through the shopping with lunch or coffee and a gorgeous cake to revive you. Life is stressful at times and we are all too busy, but at least I can live in hope that we here can make it a little easier and maybe a lot for fun.
|one of my favourite cakes - carrot and orange cake (no fat and less sugar in the sponge) yummy...|
I will post pictures of our festive decorations as soon as we are ready.... Thank you again for reading.
Hugs from Janet, Adrian and all the team xxx