Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A moment of quiet

It's Christmas Eve and we're having a moment of quiet before the festivities tomorrow. Is this the calm before the storm? Perhaps. The weather has certainly turned. I think we're getting better at preparing for Christmas each year and even manage to miss much of the madness we see on tv and hear about via social media. For that, I am quietly but cautiously congratulating ourselves.

Let's see. The presents have long been bought and wrapped, ready for loading into the car tomorrow and distributing at two family homes. I've made a list (really) and checked it twice: certain things will go in one direction and others will head in another.

My final Christmas present cake was decorated and picked up by a friend yesterday, who enjoyed it with her family at a pre-Christmas dinner last night.
A splash of colour for my colourful, artsy friend.
I have iced a gazillion gingerbread cookies and can't wait to see the look on my nephew's face when he sees how the baking we did together yesterday has turned out. I'll have to explain to him that the four remaining large gingerbread men he made specially for certain family members were the lucky ones. One of the others was legless early in the afternoon, another was simply 'armless and none of the survivors were saying a word!
A gingerbread family of survivors in various states of (un)dress.
Yesterday's white Christmas crunch didn't last long after we divided it up between three homes. It's a great grazing treat and I'll definitely add it to my Christmas baking list for next year. There are chocolate truffles and salted caramel truffles packed up and ready to take with us. My Caramelising Sugar 101 session on Saturday night was touch and go but I found this guide to be absolutely invaluable. The golden rule is DO NOT stir the sugar while it is caramelising, as it adds air to the mixture and cools it down, so will not work. I can't wait to try it again. There are also chicken nibbles marinading in the fridge and a duck egg sponge cake cooling.

When thinking about this time last year, we were sitting outside in the heat until 10 pm with a whole bunch of friends who had come over for a homemade pizza party. It was so much fun waiting for Santa Claus together but, having said that, I'm also glad that we're having a quiet night at home tonight to rest and charge our batteries. There are only two (or two and a half) places we need to be at tomorrow instead of last year's four. It's also unlikely to reach 32°C this year, so I'm taking that as a good sign that things will be calmer this time around.

Have I forgotten anything? Perhaps - but that's ok, because for now we are enjoying a moment of quiet.

Wishing you a happy, safe and peaceful(!) Christmas, wherever you may be!

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