Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Welcome 2019...Happy New Year

The new year arrived quietly at our home.  We watched the fireworks from London as the clock reached midnight (GMT) and I was in bed well before midnight arrived (Atlantic time).

Today will be spent in quiet reflection and I will start a journal for the coming year.  I feel that change is coming and there is a degree of uncertainty about the future.  What will 2019 hold?  

I will be publishing my book.  It has been proofread and I’m now in the technical stages.  I’m waiting for ISBN numbers to be assigned.  Self-publishing is an interesting experience, if a little stressful at times.

As for the weather, it has been snowy since November when this photo was taken.  It doesn’t stay pristine and white for long, so I do try to get pictures after a fresh fall.  Today, we are expecting a further 15 cm, so it is a good day to stay at home and take time to think about the coming year.

I wish you all health and happiness in 2019.  May the new year be filled with hope for the future and love of family and friends.  

Monday, 24 December 2018

All is Calm, All is Bright

After more than a month with snow on the ground, we have an almost green Christmas.  Heavy rain late last week caused a sudden thaw.

The tree is twinkling in the corner of our living room and there is a certain peace after the hectic weeks at work.  

This reindeer is a new addition to our tree.  I made a set of felt ornaments and they look very festive.  

All that remains is to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.  

Friday, 30 November 2018

Winter Storm

The winter storm started on Wednesday night and continued throughout Thursday.  The snow amounted to about 25 centimetres and the winds reached 100 km/hour, bringing down power lines and resulting in the entire island being without power. 

Our power went off shortly after 6 a.m. and we were without power for fourteen plus hours.  The house got very cold and we were not adequately prepared for such an emergency, but at least we had storm chips!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

A Place for Everything

I've had the tidying bug lately, or more particularly, the cleaning bug.  Once the heat goes on at home, the dust starts flying and I decided that it was time to clean the kitchen bookcase and generally tidy up before the Christmas preparations begin in earnest.

There does seem to be a tendency for odds and ends to accumulate too, so they have all been removed and it all looks much better.  This little jar contained a candle which was mostly used up years ago, but I kept it for sentimental reasons.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

It's Never Too Early For A Mince Pie

The cold and snowy weather has had my thoughts turning to Christmas food and I had a sudden craving for a mince pie.

I'm not in the habit of baking mince pies in November, but I felt that we deserved a treat after the awful weather of last week.

I favour Nigella's recipe for mince pies and made the pastry with orange juice, hence the colour.

My mince pies are star-topped, so I cut the stars out of the pastry scraps left over from cutting the cases.

Once filled with mincemeat, the tops were added.

They came out of the oven looking like this.

I would normally add a festive dusting of icing sugar, but I had forgotten that I used it up and hadn't bought any more.  Still, they tasted great with a cup of tea.  I managed to stash a few in the freezer before Mr Candytuft ate them all!

Monday, 26 November 2018

The Book of Christmas

It may still be November but the arrival of the snow and the cold weather have had my thoughts turning to Christmas.  What better way to prepare for the festive season than by dipping into The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Christmas?  This delightful book is a treasury of traditions and recipes shared by the lovely ladies of the ICA.  I will be starting my menu planning for December within the next few days and hope to include one or two new recipes from these pages.

In the meantime, I’ve bought the ingredients for our Christmas puddings and will be busy with them tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Stir-Up Sunday

Today is Stir-Up Sunday, the day on which tradition dictates that we make our Christmas puddings.

I use the same recipe every year and there is something quite therapeutic about stirring all of the ingredients together and filling the pudding basins.

Once filled, a piece of baking parchment covers each of the puddings and then a foil lid is added.  I use the slow cooker for boiling the puddings, as it generates much less steam in the kitchen than steaming them on a pan.  After two hours, the puddings were cooked and two of them are now tucked away for Christmas...the third didn't last long enough to go into storage!