Monday 4th December 2023 - Starting Christmas Preparations and in the Garden
Nothing like grotty weather to keep us indoors and for me, it’s provided an opportunity to do some preparations for Christmas. Both the pudding and the cake, I made over the weekend, are gluten free. I used a BBC food recipe for the pudding which as well as using gluten free flour incorporated gluten free breadcrumbs as well. Having purchased Dove gluten free flour, I used one of their recipes for the cake. The mix was really strange. I know you can make a cake batter but I have never made a cake with such a liquid base as this one. After adding the fruit, nuts and flour it was a normal mix. There was such a high proportion of fruits and nuts I didn’t expect it to rise but what came out of the tin, once it was cooked and cool, is quite a solid fruit packed cake. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will be okay. I will give it some feeds of brandy before Christmas to ensure it is moist. I am also going to make a standard Dundee cake, so we will have this to fall back on but it won’t be suitable for our youngest son; the gluten free member of our family. I still have to fill in some gaps in the menus over Christmas but I have printed our Christmas card list. More preparations planned for the coming week.
Our daughter in law sent us a video of our grandsons with our eldest son, sat around their Christmas tree, opening the box of treats, we sent them. Lovely to see them finding what was inside and straight away they added the wooden soldiers to the branches on their tree. A later WhatsApp message told us; they are now Toblerone fans!
We’ve had a couple of frosts and generally, it has been cold but over the past week, I’ve still found things to do in the garden, in addition to clearing leaves. I have cut back the chrysanthemum which had finished flowering and the phlox plants which were dying back. The plants in the greenhouse have been watered and dead leaves removed from some cyclamens which were not appreciative of the rain and moved under glass. I have sown onion and shallot seeds and these are now indoors on a window sill and above a radiator. We have a pyracantha against a fence which is pushing forward the coprosma in front of it. Now the birds have eaten all the berries, and when we have a window of dry weather, I will be able to cut back the pyracantha and pull back the coprosma. Along with other foliage from our garden, the coprosma always provides me with sprays of colourful leaves (as can be seen in the photo below) for our door wreath and indoor decorations.