Every December I make a little album with a photo or two from each day, and a few words. I love getting them out every year and putting them in a basket in the living room. Everyone likes to look through them, and remember some of our favourite moments.
I put in all sorts of things from our everyday life, as well as special events. A handful of favourite festive recipes are included, and I've been searching them out, as well as others. It occurred to me this year that it would be lovely to have a book with just the recipes in them - it occurred to me after I spent ages hunting down each recipe that I wanted - they are all dotted around in different places.
I'm a real hoarder when it comes to recipes. I have a box, a file and a plastic wallet, all stuffed with all manner of recipes, from magazines, library books, blogs and websites, from friends and relatives. In fact, I really treasure the odd one or two that have been handwritten by special people. I think that inherited recipes are wonderful. To cook the same food as someone else keeps them close and carries on tradition.
But how to store recipes in the long term? I'd like to be organised about it. An exercise book? A ringbinder? A special notebook? Oh how I love notebooks. I'm giving it consideration. And I'd love to hear how you keep your favourite recipes. In the meantime, I have my envelopes and my stuffed plastic wallet.
The kitchen has been busy today. A lovely way to spend a cold, wet, wild day. I lit a candle, took a deep breath and started making a gingerbread house with the children. We've got all of the pieces baked. Tomorrow we'll be moving on to icing and construction. And then I'll be washing the floor. Wish me luck. While the gingerbread was cooling I made the Christmas cake.
This is the recipe I always use. It can be made just before it's needed, and it isn't soaked in brandy, which is a plus in my book.
On the tree today we have cranberry decorations, made at Slimbridge by the little people.
Very simple to make, even the smallest person can poke the wires through the cranberries and thread on the odd silver bead or two. I love the decorations that are made with natural things. And the decorations that are made by the little people. After Christmas Slimbridge will be doing bird feeders with cranberries, and no doubt we'll be going back for that. We're never away for more than two or three weeks.
Tomorrow I'm aiming to make a nut roast and maybe a yule log. And then I think I'll be done. Ready. Ish. So it only remains for me to wish you all the loveliest of Christmases and a very happy New Year. See you on the other side.