Thursday, 28 November 2019

Making a Start






The gloomy weather continues, and so I've been keeping myself busy in the kitchen making preparations for Christmas. It's creeping ever closer and, although I don't like to start too early, I also don't intend to leave things until the last minute. At the weekend I baked the cake and made the cranberry and apple sauces. I've put the cake in an air tight tin and it will be fed with brandy over the next few weeks, while the sauces have been tucked away at the back of the freezer. I have yet to make any mince pies and I'm putting off straining the blackberry vodka too soon, so as I'm not tempted to drink it, but that's a few jobs off my list, at least, and for a while the house was filled with the most delicious aromas, lifting my spirits and allowing my mind to wander to activities and plans for the festive season.

There are a few places we'd quite like to visit during December and I must remember to book to go ice skating very soon. It's been a few years since I've been on the ice, so there's a chance I may regret this particular activity, but Lily is so very excited to go that I simply can't disappoint her.  In the next few weeks I've a gingerbread house to create, cards to write and gifts to buy, but first things first, I need to hang the advent stockings in time for the weekend.











Last weekend, during a break in the wet weather, we went for a morning walk from Wray castle. From the castle, our route took us along the shore of Windermere, through woodland and up over Latterbarrow fell. An early start, along with the misty weather meant it was lovely and quiet and we hardly saw a soul the whole time we were out. Unfortunately,  the weather also meant the views were rather limited (apparently, on a clear day, you can see the sea from the summit, we could barely see the lake!) but it was a very enjoyable walk nonetheless, and we rounded it off nicely with some delicious soup and hot tea in the café back at the castle.




The forecast for the next few days is cold and sunny, which will make a lovely change from the grey days we've been experiencing lately. I hope this will mean we can get out and enjoy a longer walk. I might even bake some mince pies.
J. X

48 comments:

  1. Look at that gorgeous puss!
    Despite the weather your walk looks absolutely lovely. I don't think I've ever visited Windermere when it's been dry. How lovely to have it to yourself.
    I think there's something about this gloom that makes us head for the kitchen. In my case I've been making curries with all the amazing winter veg currently available on our local market.
    Stay cosy! xxx

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    1. Gorgeous puss is currently on a diet! :)
      You know what? I really enjoyed the walk, even though the weather could possibly have been better. It felt very seasonal and the peace and quiet was very welcome. X

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  2. Hello, my friend.
    Such beautiful photos!
    I so enjoy hearing about your holiday traditions.
    Thank you for sharing.
    We are celebrating Thanksgiving today. The turkey will soon go into the oven!
    Have a cozy day!

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    1. Thank you, Billie Jo, and I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. X

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  3. Oh it sounds as if your mood, has shifted into Happy Seasonal Mode. And that is lovely to hear.

    This Season *should* be fun. If mom's take on tooo many duties, it takes the fun out of it, for them. And that *should* not be allowed!!!!!!! -smile-

    Beginning early enough, to be able to have time for all, is a wise idea.

    May this Happy Seasonal Mood last, all Season long!!!!

    😊 💛 😊

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    1. I've definitely shifted into seasonal mode, WoW. It's my favourite time of the year. X

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  4. I too put the cake to soak at the weekend...however what with one thing and another have only just completed it's baking element. It will probably still be a last minute rush to get it covered in marzipan and icing though! x

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    1. I expect your house smelled wonderful too. I've not yet thought as far ahead as icing it. X

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  5. We're having nothing but rain here, no fun to go dog walking in. I can't believe how close Christmas is now, I don't seem to have done much towards it, though I don't have a Christmas cake or mince pies to bake as none of my lot like them. It looks like Mog's found a nice, comfy spot for herself.

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    1. It's been pretty miserable hasn't it. Some bright frosty weather this weekend will be a welcome relief.
      I went a good few years without making a Christmas cake but my tastes have changed and I find I quite enjoy it now. I also love the whole process of baking it. It sort of kick starts the Christmas preparations for me. X

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  6. Oooooh yum....cranberry and apple sauces....I love them both.

    I hope the weather forecast applies to down here too as I am so sick of the damp and greyness now.
    Enjoy the rest of your preparations.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. I enjoyed a sneaky taste of both sauces and they are delicious. X

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  7. What a great start, your sauces and cake mix look good. I might make a Dundee cake. I hope the cold brought days come just in time for Bertie to have his first walks out.

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    1. I wonder who will be more excited. You or Bertie? X

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  8. Ooh, that cake batter looks delicious! I hope Lily got to lick the spoon, afterwards! Beautiful photos! I love the one with the holly! But, I can see that you've had a lot of rain. It's been raining, here, too, and it's quite soggy and grey! Mog is so cute! She has the right idea! I do hope you'll enjoy the sunny days ahead and make those mince pies. Have one for me, when you make them! :)

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    1. Lily wouldn't dream of licking the spoon. She doesn't really like cake but she has been devouring the gingerbread hearts.
      I will have a mince pie for you, Bless, and for anyone else who would like me to :D

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  9. I love looking at your photos and trying to work out where they were taken, they always look so familiar. It has been so cloudy and misty hasn't it, glad to hear that it has not prevented you getting out for walks. All you baking and cooking sounds lovely, I bet your house was full of wonderful smells. I yet to do any of that, we don't do Christmas cake here but we love mince pies I am waiting a bit before I get started making them though they only last five minutes so I end up making hundreds of batches if I start them too early!

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    1. If you're interested, the walk we took is on the National Trust website. We really enjoyed it and, considering the rainy weather we've been experiencing lately, it wasn't too wet underfoot.
      Last year was the first time in a while that I made a Christmas cake, as I find I quite enjoy it now, especially the whole process of baking it. I will be making some mince pies this weekend and I expect they will disappear quite quickly. X

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  10. I've never made cranberry sauce, I tend to open a jar, but yours looks delicious. I went ice skating once and had to cling to Mark all the way round so it was a once in a life time experience for me but I can imagine Lily fearlessly tearing across the ice.

    The look on the sheep's face is really funny, it's like it's striking a pose just for you.

    I really hope we are in for some crisp sunny days. All this grey and rain is starting to get me down, so much so if I had blackberry vodka I'd have definitely strained it off and started on it by now - just to lift the spirits you understand ;) Have a lovely week. xx

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    1. The cranberry sauce is really easy to make and tastes delicious, although that might just have something to do with the amount of port I put in!
      The ice skating has me a little concerned. I'm torn between feeling excited and yet worried I might do myself some damage. I don't want to be spending the festive season (or any other season for that matter) in a cast.
      Haha! That's exactly the reason I haven't yet strained the vodka. X

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  11. You’ve been busy. Look at all that yummy food. Mince pies sound perfect.
    Have a wonderful weekend Jules.

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    1. I'm looking forward to my first mince pie of the festive season. X

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  12. Everywhere has been so wet but it can make for a lovely photo! Glad you mood has lifted - the days have been quite grey I have been struggling to sew (a change from being in the kitchen so much baking for the christening buffet!). I need to press on now with my cake - it will be a simple Christmas this year for us. x

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    1. The weather has been so dull and dreary that it will make a pleasant change to have some bright and frosty weather. It will definitely make your sewing less of a struggle.
      Our Christmas will be a simple affair too. Just as we like it. X

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  13. Apart from one frosty day last week and again this morning we've had nothing but rain here. It's good that you were able to get out for a walk but I think Mog has the best idea :-)

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    1. Recently, Mog has taken to sleeping on the bathroom floor, next to the radiator and above one of the water pipes. X

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    2. That's an eminently sensible idea - sometimes I wish I could do the same :-)

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    3. She's not as daft as she looks. X

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  14. I imagine that cake smelt divine baking in your kitchen...the wonderful scent of Christmas to come!
    It frustrates me too when the weather keeps me indoors, though here in sub-tropical Australia it is more the searing heat that keeps me inside. Today, it's forecast to be 33C which means most of my day will be spent inside; I think some more sewing today maybe ... MegXx

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    1. Nothing can replicate a Christmas cake baking in the oven. The whole house was filled with it's delicious aroma. I'm sorry you're still struggling with the heat. I hope that it eases for you soon. X

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  15. Your photos are always beautiful, Jules. How I'd love to walk in the countryside. Our weather has varied from day to day between grey and wet and cold and sunny. Best, Jane x

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    1. Thank you, Jane. We are very fortunate to have some beautiful countryside on our doorstep and we've since had some lovely frosty weather. X

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  16. What a beautiful walk, even in the mist. Well done on starting on your festive treats early. It's so hot here I'm avoiding the kitchen as much as possible. Hope the ice skating goes well and is fun. I've never been ice skating but then again, I've never seen snow either! xx Susan

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    1. On dismal days it can be so easy to just stay indoors, but I was glad we got out for our walk, as it proved to be very enjoyable in spite of the dull weather.
      I still haven't yet booked to go ice skating. I need to get it sorted soon. X

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  17. Gorgeous pictures and very cute cat. Ours could be a twin of yours.

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  18. I'm in Glasgow at the moment in the fabulous sunny cold weather but your post reminds me of the many many days over the years I spent walking in the Lake District when it was wet and misty. The first dozen or so times I tried to climb Gable were knocked back by heavy mist and rain. I have made seven Christmas cakes but apart from that I have done absolutely nothing to get Christmas under way yet.

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    1. Like you, I am still no further on with my Christmas preparations. I need to get started properly this week.
      The Lake District weather can be unpredictable but it's wise not to take any chances. We keep to lower level walks when the weather is cloudy. X

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  19. Cold and sunny with sunshine is lovely; so much better than grey and drizzly - those kind of days are so depressing. Your cat is very like our late cat, Milly, was. I do like black and white ones, though my granddaughter's white and tabby kitten is gorgeous and very cuddly!
    Well done for getting ahead with the Christmas food preparations. I'm going to make a start towards the end of the week.

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    1. We'd originally hoped to get a black cat but Mog won us over. She was (and is) perfect for us. X

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  20. You've made a fine start - for some daft reason I've never thought of making the Christmas sauces in advance and freezing them, that's a really good idea, thank you. I've bought cards and gifts but haven't done much else yet. I hope you were able to get out at the weekend and, as ever, thank you for the lovely views. x

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    1. These sauces are so easy to make in advance and they defrost fairly quickly too. I've yet to make a start on anything else, however. X

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  21. What a lovely post. Your photos are spectacular. It sounds like you have made an excellent start on Christmas. That blackberry vodka sounds divine.

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    1. Thank you, Stephenie. I still need to get hold of some small bottles for the vodka. X

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  22. Your cranberry sauce looks delicious! I've been feeding my cake with whisky. I'll be attempting to make my own marzipan this weekend, eek! Never done it before. Blackberry vodka sounds wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Ann. It tastes delicious too, as I could put in as much port as I liked!
      I've never thought to make my own marzipan but, as I don't like it, I tend to use the thinnest layer I can get away with. X

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