In My Kitchen – December

I have not met with foul-play.  I am alive and well but yes, I have been a little absent of late.  I started a new job to supplement the income from my freelance job and although the new job was meant to be very part-time, it has in fact been more like full-time with over-time.

It has been so lovely to receive your calls and text messages announcing your fears that I was under a bus but actually, my only excuse for not sending you posts and updates has been because I’ve been stretched like an elastic band.  Even Archie has received calls from his friends saying, ‘Is your mum okay?  She hasn’t posted for a while’, and so I have urging from my teenager to get my act together.

So, with no further rambling, I will start my blogging afresh and it just so happens that the clock has ticked over to a new month which gives me an opportunity to give you a tour of what’s happening in my kitchen.  If you’d like to do an ‘In My Kitchen’ post, be sure to link up with Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  But please don’t follow my example, as I rarely play by the rules!

In my kitchen (but not actually because it’s on my front door), is a new Christmas wreath.  The old one was just so tired looking especially as it had been harshly hit by the western sun and all the decorations were completely faded so I felt this year, I needed an upgrade.  I bought this a few weeks ago at David Jones and what I love most about it is not just its simplicity but also that it has lights!

Christmas Wreath with lights

On my mantlepiece, (so not exactly in my kitchen either) is a nativity I’ve had for a very long time.  It comes with a book by Priscilla Lamont called No Room at the Inn and every day you add another character into the Inn to help build the story.  Today Alfie added the Star of Bethlehem.

‘No Room at the Inn’

On another mantlepiece slightly closer to my kitchen are some Santas that a beautiful friend gave me many years ago.  They are like those Russian dolls that all fit inside each other and are carved from wood.  My children all love these Santas.

Six little Santas

On the same mantlepiece and heading closer towards my kitchen is an Advent Calendar I bought for Alfie.  Everyday until Christmas Eve he will open a door to build a story.

Alfie’s Advent Calendar

Heading closer to my kitchen is yet another Advent Calendar of a different style.  This one is a Santa and yes, he has certainly seen better days.  He has lost the pom pom from his hat and he is a little stained and a friend has already done some repairs with her hot glue gun but he’s a family favourite and every year is pulled out of hiding.  He is stuck to the wall and everyday leading up to December 24 you move a tiny Santa on the end of a piece of red ribbon from one pocket to the next.  If you’ve been very, very good you will find a chocolate treat in the next pocket.  This morning Alfie found a chocolate aeroplane.

Santa with 24 pockets

In my kitchen as in my actual kitchen I have fruit soaking in brandy for the preparation of my Christmas cake.  Usually I make my cake in October giving it time to mature in a cool dry place but this year I’m running a little behind.  I will bake the cake this week but I’m just trying to source some green glace cherries.  I consider green cherries essential in a Christmas cake to give that brightness of colour.  The only ones I’ve been able to source this year have been from supermarkets and they are dull in colour, tiny and look like they’ve been hit with a hammer.

Christmas fruit soaking in brandy

In my kitchen I have more dried fruit soaking in brandy in readiness for another Christmas cake because I always make one for my mother.  The bowls the fruit is soaking in were given to me as an engagement present many years ago and I treasure them.

Mum’s Christmas cake in progress

In my kitchen I also have another bowl of dried fruit soaking in brandy.  We’re all getting intoxicated purely from all the brandy fumes!  This bowl of dried fruit is for my mother’s Christmas mince pies, coming soon to a blog near you!

Preparation for Mum’s Christmas Mince Pies

In my kitchen I have Mum’s Christmas shortbread.  Something I made during the week that will be coming to a blog near you later this week.

Mum’s shortbread – Christmas Trees and Stars

So that’s what’s going on at the moment.  I’d love to see what’s cooking in your kitchen this December.

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  1. What a great post, and I am relieved that you are OK. It was a busy week for me too and I’m glad I have a load of posts ready to go. I’m starting my Christmas baking this week, but tonight I’m the main coarse for a four coarse progressive dinner! It’s Paella so there is something for every taste!
    I’ll do a what’s happening in my kitchen too, so cool! But first I’ll have to make sure something interesting is actually going on!
    Glad you’re safe and sound!

  2. Oh dear! I haven’t even started decorations and Christmas cooking yet! Surely as long as ‘in your kitchen’ is under the same roof as your kitchen, you’re following the rules? 😉

  3. I love to see what is going on in other people’s kitchens–love it. And I can’t wait to see what the Christmas cakes will look like with all that luscious brandy-soaked fruit!

  4. So glad you are ok my friend! I was genuinely puzzled over your MIA status!
    Love to see all the Christmassy spirit in your home!

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Oh thank goodness! I thought you got on that cruise ship you showed us and got caught for being a stowaway and then left on a deserted island full of pineapple trees. Thankfully you have just been caught up with all that brandy. Do share the tips on soaking instead of drinking.

  6. I’m so glad you’re alive and well Charlie! I hope your new job settles down soon, and you have time to relax before Christmas.
    I love your decorations, my sister told me this week that she considered me ‘a very dedicated pagan’ to decorate each year, as they don’t celebrate Christmas! Personally I choose to think it’s because she’s jealous of my trees and their beautiful ornaments 🙂
    I bet your kitchen smells gorgeous with all the fruit soaking- delicious indeed!

  7. Your whole kitchen looks like Christmas to me. From the Santa advent calendar to the mince pie fruit and the lovely shortbreads. 🙂 I look forward to your recipe for that so I can compare it to my own which is great but not of the consistency to be cut into shapes other that bars during the baking process.

  8. Nice to see you again! I’m excited to see the “In my kitchen” post, I think I might have to give it a go! We rarely do Christmas cooking early but I do have a few ideas to keep us going.

  9. Hi Charlie!
    I like your wreath and Santas and creches and Advent calendars!
    I LOVE your soaking fruit. I make the cakes first and then soak them in brandy. I don’t know why- it’s the way my mother made her fruitcakes.
    Thanks for letting us have a peek into your house!

  10. How great to see all your Christmas preparations, love the faithful Santa. Your soaking fruit made me feel a little guilty for not having made my Christmas cake. Mr Glam is really the only one who likes it and it’s a lot of cake to eat on your own! GG

  11. Holy cow! You are one organized little Hottie!
    Love the green door and the stained glass window – wreath is nice, too – but anything would look great on that gorgeous door. Little late making Christmas cake, though, aren’t you?
    Me? In the middle of having our house painted. Was to happen in the fall, but parents got ill, so we booked it late October and dad got ill again – so talk about Christmas fever! I have so much to do – and today have made Asiago cheese while my painter paints and everything else is under wraps. Did make butter tarts at my girl friend’s yesterday, though.
    Tell us about your job!

  12. Just so you know I did notice your absence too but Maureen told me you’d started a new job so my fears were put to rest!

    Love your different take on in my kitchen and the beautiful babushka dolls. My mum has a similar set and we have a little more modern take on them with a snow man, Christmas teddy and reindeer thrown in.

  13. Glad to hear, Charlie, that all is well — though I hope your new job eases a bit for you.
    Your Advent calendars are great! I bet Alfie looks forward to the daily “reveal” each morning. A bit of chocolate is the perfect reward.
    Just yesterday, I found my new market’s supply of candied fruit. I don’t have much need of them but, in the past, if a recipe called for some, I had to make do without. They just aren’t as common as they once were. Not anymore! 🙂

  14. Welcome back to the land of the blogger! All of your boozy fruit looks wonderful – I LOVE mince pies. This year I’ve ordered some real “meat mince” pies from our ethical butcher. Cannot wait to try them.

  15. Can’t wait for the cookies =) and I LOVE your six Santas!!

  16. I knew you were busy with the new job but how the heck have you had time to do all the decorating and cooking? You amaze me with all you can accomplish in one day. I haven’t even started decorating but I do have a new wreath for the door. I’ll get that up today so I won’t look like the wimp of the neighbourhood.

  17. Glad all is well. I had wondered where you’d gone. I can see now that in addition to working you’ve been spending too much time with the brandy bottle! Looks like there’s a lot of baking in your near future.

  18. Oh thank heavens! Just this morning I was thinking about the silence from your end (it took me a little while to realise as I’ve been in a flurry of Things and Feelings myself this week). So glad you’re okay! Hope the job calms down or, at the very least, you’re getting paid for the overtime!

  19. Such a very festive post. Life is so busy, isn’t it. Glad that you had time to share your wonderful goodies.

  20. I just put up my tree so the house decorations are next!

  21. Hello duckie, oh I must get out my mum’s shortbread recipe and see if it’d work for Xmas cutters. Inspired. And love the Xmas nesting Santas. Glorious! I’m a bit of a scrooge-ish old bat, will wait at least another week before decorating. As a child we did it usually on 20th and it’s amazing how much the things we did at Xmas stick like glue. Don’t work too hard! Remember, she who skives, thrives.

  22. You are ahead of me in decorating for Christmas, Charlie, but I love the images…especially all that brandy-soaked fruit! Yum! And your Christmas cookies are so simple and lovely! I need to make my grandmother’s shortbread this week. I really need to do a lot of baking if I’m going to complete what is typically expected by my family, but I’m in a bit of shock that it’s indeed December 1st! You’ve given me some good inspiration, though, Charlie. Good luck with the new job and the added hours. I don’t know how you do all you do–and do it so well! 🙂 oxo

  23. I’m glad all is well 🙂 To have Archie’s friends asking after you must be a sign of hectic times – I hope they calm down for you soon.

    I just did my first in my kitchen post last week and found it very fun. I loved reading yours too, and seeing the things outside of your kitchen as well as in it!

  24. Oh Charlie
    Thank Goodness you are OK and well in Christmas Land. I hope you coime back to us soon. Thanks for your message ion Friday ……it made me laugh

  25. Glad to hear that you’re ok! I’ve been offline for a few days but I did notice your absence before you left! Lovely Christmas themed In My Kitchen 😀

  26. We really have missed you Charlie, good to hear all is well. I have just put together a Christmas themed IMK post too!
    Have a happy week ahead and hope you don’t work too long or hard.
    🙂 Mandy

  27. I am being brave and peeking at everyone furiously preparing for Christmas and hoping you are all well xx Jo

  28. We had our first Christmas Dinner for friends down from the high country on Friday night 30th (I have never been so early!) so the house is half decorated and the quality street chocolates flowing freely already. Glad to see you have squeezed in a few minutes to blog and will be sure to join in with Celia – its a great idea.

  29. Oh wow you’ve been so busy Charlie! What are you doing for your new job? Hope you’re not working too hard!! Love what’s happening in your kitchen 🙂 The cookies are so cute ~

    Take care xox

  30. Everything is lovely, but that wreath with lights is to die for.

  31. I know that feeling of being stretched too thin all to well Charlie. Good luck at the new job. Hopefully it will settle into fewer hours for you. 🙂

  32. So glad to hear you have no tire marks to report, isn’t it nice when someone misses you and calls to make sure?! 🙂 Many of my friends have their halls decked to the nines, yet we have yet to drag a single box out of the storage room, though I am feeling more inspired by the day. Your wreath is beautiful, I like the simplicity and the lights. Maybe pulling my wreath out would spark my Christmas spirit. 🙂

  33. So glad you are okay, Charlie. I’d finally caught up on my blog reading and came back over here a few days ago to see if I’d missed a post, then wondered what was up. A new job will do that to you. But you’ve certainly still been busy in the kitchen and I love your decor. Those little Santas are wonderful!

  34. I was wondering what had happened to you! Hope the new job is enjoyable. Looks like you’re celebrating Christmas in a big way!

  35. Don’t over do it; we’ll be here and hey, You’re doing better than I am in getting ready for Christmas!

  36. Your post is so Christmassy, Charlie! I’m waay behind schedule getting ready, but you’ve inspired me! I can almost smell the soaking fruit from here! I love all your Christmas decorations, especially the old Advent calender.. xx

  37. Hi Charlie – thank you for reminding me! I need to get my act together soon and make some mincemeat myself. Christmas ain’t Christmas without a “mincer” or two 😀

  38. Those bowls are so pretty! I look forward to your mince pie recipe. Love the little santa dolls too. I had such fun playing with those Russian dolls when I was a kid… Thanks for sharing your kitchen! Have a wonderful holiday season 🙂

  39. I have yet to hang a single decoration or bake a single Christmas treat. But at least I have most of the gifts purchased and the family Christmas photo cards ready to be stuffed into envelopes, AFTER I get the family Christmas letter written.

    So much to do, so little time.

    Welcome back to blogland. Glad to have you back.

  40. I love, love, love Christmas fruit cake. Yum! I’ll bet they are delicious. Lots of lovely Christmassy action happening at your place.

  41. I loved all your Christmassy things – so beautiful!!

  42. I think all of those bowls of boozey fruit would be very tempting. Maybe just a little spoonful every time I walked by?

    Love your pretty decorations and the lighted wreath on your front door. Wreaths are big here in the east. They sell gorgeous fresh ones everywhere. I can’t wait until we’re finally in our house and ready to decorate! I usually decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving…so I’m WAY behind. 🙂

  43. Your kitchen looks so warm and friendly and inviting and I’m sure it’s full of delicious smells. I’ve bee running behind too, just catching up now with posts.

  44. I think this catches me up … well, thanks that you are very busy at the moment … but the fruit soaking in brandy looks like great finger food!

  45. Your life must be unexpectedly busy with the part time becoming full time with over time! Despite your busy schedule, you made sure your priority right. Holiday cookies and holiday decoration. I finally started to decorate our tree (as jet lag is over) but I need to find some time to make holiday cookies next. You are a super mom!

  46. Looks like a busy christmas home! I am stretched here lately as well, so I know how you feeling. Work in the offline world tends to over take us at times. Nice advent calendar! I had planned to make my own with little chocolates inside but then I remembered the awful ant madness here and left it. Love that!

  47. This is the season, as beautiful as it is as busy it is, too. I too have some fruits soaked in rum. I just haven’t found the time to put the fruit cake together. However I baked some Cinnamon stars which was my Grandmothers cookie recipe. I’m glad you’re OK and good luck on the new job.

  48. Oooooh I love those nesting Santa dolls! I have to giggle at all your soaking fruit 😉

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