It’s the time of the year I always look forward to! Being in the kitchen and baking not only traditional goodies for Christmas but a few new things to change it up a bit.
Memories always rise up when the house fills with the aromas of Mom’s shortbread, mince tarts, Christmas cakes, and stollen for our German friends and us. Christmas baking has always been a big part of my life, from my mother’s goodies that we loved so much, to giving gifts of Christmas baking to family and friends. As I write, the scent of mince tarts is permeating the house. I can hardly wait until tea time to sample one. Only one, I promise.
One of the executives I cooked for, would come into the kitchen and help himself to the homemade shortbread in the fridge, often when we weren’t looking. The shortbread was included in our Christmas “goodie” trays. When I sit down to knead my shortbread dough, my thoughts turn to our cat Arthur. He’d hang around gobbling up the bits of dough that would fly out of the bowl and land on the floor. Nowadays I have to clean them up myself.
When I was a kid, the only time we had butter in the house was for holiday baking and eating. Of course, it was a very special turkey sandwich that we ate on Boxing Day, made with butter and not that awful margarine. I can still taste the butteryness of that sandwich, leftover turkey, leftover stuffing (yup), white bread and leftover cranberry sauce. Simply the most wonderful turkey sandwich ever!
My Mom made the “best” turkey stuffing. She told friends that once the turkey was cooked, she could toss it in the garbage and just feed the family the stuffing because we adored it! Years ago, when my sister was doing the Christmas turkey dinner at her house, she got Mom to make the stuffing for her! Psst…it’s was the bacon dripping!
And once on our own, we created traditions for our families and friends. The making of Tourtiere, accompanied with a wonderful Spiced Fruit Chutney and Mary’s Green Tomato Relish, Bread Stuffing With Italian Sausage and Pears and Cantuccini to dip into Vin Santo. A couple of years ago I made Tuscan Stuffed Dates. So good that they are now a part of my annual repertoire!
Every Christmas Eve, before we go to bed, my husband and I listen to “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas and then on Christmas morning while having our Blood Orange Mimosa’s, we listen to our “Dave Cooks A Turkey” CD by Stuart McLean, one of the funniest stories I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. A true classic!
Merry Christmas Everyone! Buon natale, tutti!
Helpful link to some favourite Christmas treats: