Christmas traditions

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Where has 2015 gone? It’s December and Christmas is fast approaching. I’m a big fan of Christmas, I love the festivities and pretty lights, mince pies and Christmas music. There are a couple of festive traditions I usually follow and this year has been no exception.

  1. A real tree, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a tree to decorate, and each year Kiwi and I go and buy a real one. It smells great, the kitties love climbing in it and its a tradition that we like to keep up. This year we struggled to find where to buy one from – where are all the tree farms?
  2. Decorations, we now tend to buy a few decorations when we visit places, so then each year when we decorate the tree we also get a whole box of memories and places we have been to. My favourites are some pretty glass ones we brought when visiting the Christmas markets in Cologne. The only downside is that none of our ornaments match or follow a colour scheme.
  3. Mince pies, mulled wine, chocolate, and all the foods. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without weeks of feasting. Whilst we tend to actually eat healthier and stock up on veggies for most of December to counteract all the extra yummy foods we have. I usually make some mince pies, this year I again made my own mincemeat and have been experimenting with different types of pastry to see what works best. I’ll be making a batch of mulled wine or even apple cider next week and I’m currently on the lookout for a great ‘holiday cookie’ aka biscuit recipe.
  4. Advent calendar. I don’t care that these are for children and they aren’t a good breakfast alternative but I still have an advent calendar each year. Next year I’m thinking I may even be organised and make a mini personalised one instead of the chocolate variety!
  5. Tree chocolates. I’m not sure how these haven’t caught on this side of the pond because they are marvellous, but not to be defeated I’ve made my own. A few pieces of string and a gianormous multi-bag of Lindt balls. and voila!! tree chocolates, the best kind! mmm admittedly some didn’t make it to the tree!

What Christmas traditions do you follow to feel all festive? This year I might expand on these traditions and have a Christmas move day – all the old classics that I’m sad to admit I’ve never watched! Carols, and a cheese and mulled wine night.

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Bake me a mince pie

As Christmas is appearing with alarming speed I’m looking forward to doing some festive baking. I’m not a particular fan of Christmas cake or Panatone, or Christmas pudding but there are a few treats that I love to have this time of year! Some of my favs are homemade mince pies, mini loaf cakes, chocolate truffles, Sloe Gin and homemade soup.

I can’t believe the great British mince pie hasn’t made its way across the pond! They are amazing. Last year my favourite was Heston Blumenthal’s Waitrose collection – nom nom nom. A good mince pie is all buttery pastry and tasty dried fruit – mincemeat doesn’t have actual meat in it!

I might make my own. They are pretty simple. Pastry requires, flour, butter and water. For the mincemeat you can buy pre-made, or its simply dried fruit,  – any variations, appel, spices, fat of some kind, sugar and a little slosh of alcohol if you so wish. Delia does a great recipe that’s really tasty! It also keeps for ages or you can use it straight away.

I love chocolate truffles, they are also insanely easy to make, you just need good quality dark chocolate, pinch of salt, double cream, butter and orange. Melt, set, eat. I’ve also been making some mini cake loafs, carrot, lemon and banana and walnut have been going down well.

To embrace our new home I’ll also be making eggnog and getting my slow cooker out!