baking, fEAsting, recipes

fEAsting…gathering ingredients

I am starting to feel a sense of urgency now October is over as if I am suddenly hurtling towards Christmas and I need to get a move on as I know in my head that I have far more to do than I will have time to do it in.

In the past I have always had a rule that we would never decorate beyond the end of October after finding ourselves once or twice still decorating on Christmas Eve to finish a room (ah we were young and foolish) but now we are just old and foolish and what are we doing – still decorating –  but I need to get the guest room done no matter what so that we can buy the bed and my mum can come to stay before Christmas.

Decorating aside, I thought it would be a good idea to start checking over the store cupboards and stock up on ingredients for THE cake (you know the one I am referring to), the Nut loaf and any other baking I might do for gifts.  So with list in hand I went to town on Saturday to my favourite little whole food shop that I buy from as it is the only place I can find organic short grain brown rice for puddings, organic lemon juice and organic currants, raisins and sultanas for the Christmas cake – I find each year that currants are so hard to get hold of, maybe some recipes don’t use them.  My recipe has equal amounts of currants, raisins and sultanas – I use the same recipe each year and it is totally organic and totally yummy (despite my attempts to burn it!).

I know for all you ‘frugaliers’ out there that organic is more expensive but I made this commitment years ago to support natural farming (otherwise known as environmentally sustainable way of growing food) and I am well prepared to pay the price and cut back in other ways.  Baking ingredients are not cheap even in the supermarkets, I noticed how much the dried apricots have risen in price, I always get the non-sulphured variety – the ones that look more like wrinkly dried brown prunes – I cut these up into small pieces to put in the cake in place of candied peel which we are none too keen on but even if we did like it I would still prefer to use the apricots as I think they keep the cake moist and add to the flavour.

I always look forward to making the cake and even more to eating it but at the moment I am just gathering ingredients so they will be ready when I am.  I don’t usually make it until the last weekend in November, it seems too early at the moment – I am holding off getting too involved in doing things just for Christmas as I do not want it to take over my life so much that I don’t even notice November – so to start with I have plans to do a bit of general baking to try out one or two new recipes I have torn from the stack of magazines I decluttered.

I found a recipe for Toffee Apple Flapjacks and also on my list is Chocolate Hazelnut cookies – I have stopped buying biscuits recently so OH will be pleased to see the biscuit jar with something inside it for a change.

As we have an overabundance of cooking apples again this year in the freezer I will be using some up in a well-tried and tested recipe for Apple Cake, that uses stewed apple rather than chunks, from my Good Housekeeping Basic Cookery book.  This was one of the best wedding presents we received when we married in 1976 and I still use many of the recipes today – as you can see from the title it was the revised version which included metric weights (I hate to say I still use the ounces!).  I’ll post the recipe and photos later this week, however, you will have to take my word that it tastes just heavenly.

Of course the book cover is anything but vegetarian but I love the old-fashioned basic recipes it is a bit like using an old much loved Bero book.

Have a great week x

 

6 thoughts on “fEAsting…gathering ingredients”

  1. My favourite and most used cookery book is a Delia Smith one. Probably the first one I ever bought 20 years or so ago. I could never part with it. With regard to buying organic food, I also try to do so where I can, or at least free range, when it comes to animal products, but I have been less strict in recent months due to trying hard to pay off my overdraft. I’m gradually going back to it more and more though now the financial pressure is less.

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    1. Sometimes the old cook books are the best. I think if I had to limit my organic foods I would certainly buy organic milk and organic eggs. There is a list that they call the dirty dozen of fruit and vegetables that have been found to have the highest pesticides in them and I would avoid those. Anything with a thick skin like bananas and avocados I do not worry too much if they are not organic. Potatoes I prefer the organic ones as the varieties they grow often taste better to me. If I am juicing then I always get organic produce. I know organic does not sit well with frugality but we do not eat expensive meat – veg is our staple food so I like to buy good quality. I am pleased your job is allowing you to have some extra cash at the moment to ease the financial pressures and a little to spend on yourself.

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  2. Your post made me smile the cookery book you showed was the first one I ever owned, it helped me when I was planning dishes in my cookery exams at school! I must have given it away many years ago! Sarah x

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    1. The pages are falling out of mine. I did cookery at school too to A level and remember planning those exam meals. It was like the bake off as we had a table and a cooker each. For my O level technical I had to make pancakes and a Lemon Meringue pie – the meringue was not good but I did manage to toss the pancakes expertly!

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  3. I’ve just started following your blog so flicking through a few of your posts. I tried the Mary Berry apple and cinnamon fruit loaf this week to use up a couple of slightly softer Cox apples. Well worth trying. My book group demolished it on Monday evening. I cook a lot and always try to use up leftovers in interesting ways. I think this comes of being born in the 1950s when there was not too much money around.
    I’m looking forward to reading a bit more about your life.

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