Sunday, October 20, 2013

Christmas cake

Despite my very sweet tooth, I'm not a huge fan of cake. Well, that's not entirely true. I do like cake. But I don't often have much difficulty in only eating one piece and not wanting more. Except perhaps if it's apple tart that's a little bit warm and comes served with cool whipped cream.

When it comes to christmas sweet things, however, I definitely seem to have missed out on the liking gene. Don't like the traditional cake, don't like pudding, don't like mince pies. Never have. Although to be fair, it's so long since I've been forced to eat one of the above that I might find my tastes have changed and I love them. The fact remains that I'm never tempted - even though several years in a row I took to making masses of mince pies, which always went down very well. I did make real mincemeat with meat a few years ago but then ended up going through a very bad patch and not actually using it up. It still smelled fine when I did eventually get back to it but given that it was raw mince, I decided not to take a chance and threw the whole lot out.

Today I got confirmation from a friend that they have definitely booked me in to be the house-sitter during the christmas holidays. I have two weeks off and my tentative plans of flying off somewhere sunny for a week have had to be shelved, given my recent large outgoings. So I asked a friend who lives in Frankfurt if she'd be away and if so, if I could stay there over New Year's. Because while I like christmas, I really don't like New Year's. And Germans celebrate Silvester (as they call New Year's Eve) in a big, and very, very loud way. Given that I live on a main street with several pubs and restaurants close by, that means very loud crowds and, at midnight, fireworks zooming past my windows. So instead of letting all that ruin a good night's sleep, I'll be heading south and sleeping in a nice, quiet residential side-street with the only fireworks going off in the distance. It's the same place I stayed in last year for a few days after getting back from Oz so this might just be the start of a lovely tradition (it might help that I used up all the veg my friend hadn't been able to get rid of before going home for the holidays to make a couple of different soups, which I left in the freezer for them. Nothing better than getting home from holidays and realising you don't actually really need to cook for the first couple of days. :) ).

I've also been reading through Frugal Living UK's blog. I first came across this blog about three months ago, then forgot about it, then found it again, then lost it before finding it once more. That happens sometimes when I forget to bookmark things! I've been really enjoying trawling through the archives and since Dan, who writes it, is a professional singer it's even more interesting for me than most frugal, simple living blogs. I'm so in awe of anyone who can make their living from music but also really love hearing about some of the nitty-gritty of what it's actually like, how it's not all celebrities and loadsa money, etc. Dan mentioned yesterday that he was going to start his christmas cake and then today, I happened to reach the place in his archives where he made last year's cake. Coming across that just after having received confirmation of a place to get away to in December I had a sudden brainwave. I might not like cake, but most other people do and what better way to say thank you than with a homemade something. I loathe cucumbers, too but everyone who has ever tried them loves the bread and butter pickles I've made.

So I've dragged out my Good Housekeeping Cookery Book, because although I may have a dozen recipes in various books (haven't looked but I'm sure it's at least that many), I have a feeling that the GH book will not steer me wrong. When it comes to the classics, it's almost always the best. And they have measurements for a rich fruit cake in eight different sizes. Just so perfect, no wondering how to adjust something to make it fit into the one tin you actually have on hand. So I'll be searching my cupboards for dried fruit this week and hopefully get it done next weekend. And in the meantime, I'll be paying close attention to the other recipe I found a few pages on in the book for Bouche de Noel. Now that is the kind of cake that I can get enthusiastic about! I may need to make one for myself.

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