For the last few days a couple of bowls have been sitting on the counter, getting the occasional stir from whoever might be passing by. The tea towel with the North Cape design was one of my Mum's and provokes thoughts and memories of her and the travels she and Daddy enjoyed. It provokes a wild goose chase in search of the picture they had of them standing by the North Cape marker and distracts me from whatever I'm supposed to be doing.
It's that time of the year, isn't it?
That bowl contains the dried fruit, soaking in rum, ready for Christmas cakes I'm making. Somehow, we manage to pour in almost a whole bottle, even though Delia suggests three tablespoonfuls...
The other bowl has a slightly different mixture, with suet and breadcrumbs, grated apple and rather than rum, there's stout and barley wine. Covered with a wedding present tea towel of 1980 vintage (oh, didn't you love brown and orange!?) that's the mixture for the Christmas puddings.
I left the puddings steaming in our amazing steam oven whilst I went to the Christmas Market in the church hall on Saturday morning. Though I love our steam oven to bits all the time, it's worth its weight in gold for the steaming of the Christmas puddings alone.
There's a satisfying feeling to see five tightly wrapped puddings sitting there on the shelf. One thing ticked off the list!
If steaming Christmas puddings makes me thankful for one kitchen appliance, mixing the Christmas cake adds another to my wishlist. Not really, because this is the only day in the year I ever feel the need for a huge Kitchen Aid mixer and it's most certainly not worth it for just one occasion! But I feel slight regret at not bringing home Mummy's old Kenwood Chef when we cleared her house, even though that, too, would need somewhere to be stored. Anyway, I think of my Nan, who made the whole family's cakes and puddings with no more than a wooden spoon and get on with it!
It's soon come together and is ready for the tins, but oh, how my arm aches!
My own fault, really, because I seem incapable of making just one of anything and always have to double/triple recipes! Thankfully, I had hero-style assistance with the preparation of the baking tins.
He always hears the tap running when it's time to do the washing up, too, which is the most heroic role in the circumstances.
Not bad then, to have an oven full of Christmas cakes almost a week before stir-up Sunday.
Anyone would think we had plans... ;-)