Sunday, November 27, 2005

Christmas? In November?

Now that Thanksgiving has been done and dusted everyone is suddenly into talking about Christmas and decorations. For heaven's sake it isn't even December! Its bad enough that the shops have to go Christmas mad from September onwards! When I was growing up the tradition was to do the tree and decorate the house on Christmas Eve. And then the decorations stayed up until 12th night. It made Christmas very special! Whereas now because of the deadening effect of decorations from the end of summer onwards it doesn't have the magic anymore. Well not for me anyway! I can hardly be asked to do any decorations in the house unless the kids are coming home for Christmas. I certainly won't be doing any for just me and Martin. OK so my middle name is Scrooge. I can live with it! And this year we get a whopping ten days holiday. Oh I have plans to do so much. This is the year I have to make Christmas puddings. I make them every other year and do a whole batch so that I can store some for next year, give some away to friends and family who don't do their own and turn one into Christmas pudding icecream. Hopefully I can lay my hands on the recipe. It is truly scrumptious! The pudding recipe is a Delia Smith one and again is scrumptious. But I don't make a Christmas cake as it never gets eaten until March as we are always so full with all the other goodies.
For my English readers and I know there is at least one...hello Liz!.....and Scottish reader...hello Frances!......I am searching for a source for rye flour without having to pay an enormous postage fee to get it to me. I adore rye bread and would like to make my own. Also I have a recipe for a gorgeous cake made with rye flour which I am dying to try out. I have had a quick Google search but all the places I've found charge a fortune for delivery and unless I buy enough flour to start a bakery this isn't worth it. So any help, advice, comments etc would be received with the deepest joy!
I've spent most of today ironing dyed fabric and trying to get an exact shade of teal that a student wants a repeat of! Well I think she is going to be out of luck as this particular shade must have been made as an end of dyeing session using up the oddments as none of my recipes are giving me this exact shade. I have a wonderful recipe book with over 1000 sample swatches so that I can repeat basic shades and on the whole it works really well but there is always the odd maverick that won't be tied down to a specific recipe. In the meantime I have more shades of green and teal than ever before. But then they are useful colours especially in applique. I am stupid! I needed to dye some brown for the border of my apple project. Knowing that the piece is approximately 20" square I reasoned that I'd need more than that and so dyed half a metre. 20 x 40" Well this is fine in one direction but as I don't want a join in what I've planned I really should have dyed 40 x40" Stupid! More haste less speed as my granny would say. So now I have to do another piece. Never mind brown is good for trees, boats, roof tops, dogs, and backgrounds. And it discharges well!
I'm now going to make myself miserable by reading the Sunday Times. It will take me nearly all week to get through it all but I shall read the interesting bits first. Coffee and delicious Dutch fruit cake. This cake also is made only with rye flour which brings me full circle!


  1. Hi Valeri,

    I'm an English exile in Wales!!

    I think I got rye flour in Holland and Barrett - Doves Farm do some I think... Do you have one nearby? A health food shop should sell it...

    I get my Christmas cake uniced from Sainsburys and just do the icing!

  2. PS. Can I have your recipe which uses rye flour? I have some in the cupboard which ought to be used up (I could send you some I suppose, but I don't think the post office would treat it very kindly....).

  3. I couldn't agree more about everyone getting all Christmas-y already. Most of my fellow Americans not only decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, they also take all the Christmas stuff down the day after Christmas. The 12 Days of Christmas have somehow gotten confused with Advent and most people here seem to think they are the 12 days before Christmas, not the 12 days after.