Thursday, 31 December 2015


Some snippets from the past few days:

more 'wreathage' round the dining room light
a Christmas Eve salad
snowy pine cones
and my favourite - a cup of tea (in new mug) and a piece of Christmas cake.

Hoping you all had a very happy Christmas. 
We had a lovely family time, made all the more special as Tiny Girlie took her first steps during the holiday weekend.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year.

annjenny x

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas countdown - week 3

One week to go and Santa has been spotted.
 He made an appearance along our road the other evening.
I think Rudolph and the other reindeer must have had a day off, as Santa was travelling in a festive wooden shed on wheels.

And some more festive decorations in the form of these 'yarn bombed' posts in a local town.

Back home, I've decided to go rustic with some ivy in the dining room

and a rustic look also for the Christmas cake; marzipan stars and a jumble of dried fruit and nuts.

Just a few more things left on the 'to do' list.

Hoping your countdown to Christmas is going well.

Happy weekend.

annjenny x

Friday, 11 December 2015

Christmas countdown - week 2

 The mince pies are made. And just in time.  The mincemeat I made last week was vanishing fast. It was so delicious, each time I passed the fridge another spoonful disappeared from jar to mouth!

I am slowly crossing things off the to do list.
Make mince pies - tick
Write cards - tick
Decorate cake - ah yes. The question this year is how to decorate-
Should I go
a) retro and kitsch with roughed up icing and a plastic Father Christmas? This is the cake I remember from my 60s childhood; mum in a faint panic on Christmas eve spreading royal icing over the cake and positioning a plastic robin and snowman amidst the 'snow'. I like this idea. I'm feeling nostalgic. But there again, I don't really like a lot of icing and with dire warnings in the media about how much sugar we are consuming, maybe this should be relegated to the not good for us list. ( Though I don't want to make anyone feel guilty, it is Christmas after all!)

Or I could go for
b) minimalist and sophisticated. Ready to roll fondant icing and some cut out stars, holly and silver balls etc can give a very professional look. This is a tempting option, but there again all that icing..

so that leaves me with
c) rustic and natural; marzipan covered sides and a random selection of nuts and fruit on top. We love marzipan chez fenland lottie. And, although I know marzipan has a lot of sugar, it also contains almonds and almonds are officially good for us. ( I'm hoping that all the sugar doesn't negate the benefits of the almonds!)

So there we are- 3 options. Which way to go? Watch this space!

How are your Christmas preparations going?
I am a little disappointed, that with only a couple of weeks left until The Big Day, there have been no Santa sightings around here. I am getting a little worried that we have somehow been missed off the map!

If you happen to see Santa, do remind him to visit us over here in the Fens.

annjenny x

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas countdown - week 1

Stamford ( a few miles north of here) is a beautiful town full of lovely independent shops. We visited a few days ago for some seasonal shopping.
I loved these Christmas lights hanging in the entrance to the famous George Hotel and in surrounding trees: they reminded me of balls of mistletoe.

Back home there have been more festive preparations in the form of some chopping, mixing and stirring.

Making mincemeat is one of the tasks I really enjoy at this time of year.
It fills the kitchen with delicious Christmassy smells.

This time, I tried out a new recipe, adapted from this recipe in the latest Waitrose Food magazine.
I made a few changes, substituting sultanas and cherries for currants and mixed peel and using 4 tblsp melted coconut oil instead of suet.
( The 150ml brandy seems rather a lot at first glance, but after standing for 24 hours or so, the fruit had absorbed a lot of the liquid and the resulting mixture is deliciously boozy!)

When all the ingredients are assembled, it's simply a case of mixing everything together and then spooning into sterilised jars. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge or can be frozen for 3 months. 
Makes approx 3 x 500ml jars.

I'm resisting the temptation to eat huge spoonfuls ( maybe just one or two little tastes!) - better make the mince pies soon before it all disappears ...

annjenny x