href=”http://www.bibliocook.com/2010/12/christmas-bakin.html”>baking is done, there are jars of homemade mustard sitting on the counter alongside Lemon and Passionfruit Curd and the second turkey is almost ready to go. We’re due to leave the cottage tomorrow, abandoning our iced up windows – it’s just not melting these days, and that’s inside – for a few days of central heating and living with the family at my parents’ place.
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Some might say that it is too late for Christmas shopping but, as the Little Brother informed me this morning, there’s loads of time yet. Which would be fine if he wasn’t supposed to be buying for me – my family does Kris Kringle so that you only have to buy for one person – and most of the things I want are online. My fault for not telling him in time, apparently! Oh well…if there are any similarly challenged little brothers out there, they might find this list useful. Here are, in no particular order, a selection of review books that I’ve enjoyed this year. You can also find a few more in the Cooking the Books index.
Caroline Hennessy had some misgivings about her plan to rear and then kill the family turkeys for Christmas and Thanksgiving but, after the Turkey Killer did his job, she gained a fresh appreciation of the festive feast. As published in the Irish Examiner on Saturday 18 December, following on from A turkey for the table.
Although I made mince pies for the Christmas Cookalong, that was the night I realised why I don’t normally make them. As I fiddled with the pastry and Little Missy stuck her hands, once again, under my rolling pin – difficult to avoid when she’s standing on her wee stool directly in front of me so she can “help” with the stars – I kept thinking that there have to be easier ways to make things with Christmas mincemeat.
It wouldn’t be at all unusual to come across something like Chocolate Cream or Whipped Chocolate Syllabub on a modern day menu. What is surprising is that these are dishes that may have been eaten at an Irish Christmas celebration during the 1700s, at least from the evidence of Mary Cannon’s Commonplace Book.
Shortbread, salted caramel, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate, with a little dusting of sea salt – how could you possibly resist these? I don’t make them very often but they’re a great Christmas gift, just perfect for layering in a little tin, wrapping up safe and sending to someone special.
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Ever since the sunshine soaked warmth of Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons I’ve been a fan of Diana Henry’s food writing. Her follow ups – Roast Figs, Sugar Snow (warming dishes from colder climes, perfect for this kind of weather) and the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Cook Smart (the sausages chapter is a constant go-to) – have kept me cooking over the last few years.