Monday, 24 November 2008

It was Bound to Happen...

Having limped our way to the marvellous Vintage and Handmade Fair in South Goucestershire, our Sunday ended predictably.

Despite all the lights, no, it's not Santa's sleigh...

It could have been worse(!) As it became clear the car was not a happy chappy, we decided we may as well find somewhere decent to wait for the AA which ended up being the Royal Oak in Paley Street, Buckinghamshire, the restaurant/pub owned by Sir Michael Parkinson and his son.  Jolly fine it was too. Believe it or not, for one small person, the day could not have been more exciting and he was very chuffed when the "lifter lorry" turned up...

Having been unable to drive for almost 34 years and being able to drive for a mere 7 weeks, I am feeling the loss of the car keenly!  Anyway, I've had a lovely and very productive day at home, today.  I could put it off no longer, there's no use denying it, another thing that is "bound to happen", it is officially...nearly...CHRISTMAS!   Aaaaarrrggghhh!  In fact, it is the Munchkin's school's Christmas Fair in ten days time.  So, instead of my usual Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Kaffe Fassett fabrics, it was time to bring out these...

I spent the morning whipping up various goodies in the kitchen. I have enjoyed making preserves for the past few years and last year, finding it impossible to think what to buy for many of our relatives, I decided to make up some hampers.   They went down a treat and so I'll be doing the same this year.  So, it was time to build up my stock.  From the trusty W.I. book of jams and preserves, I decided to try my hand at an unusual marmalade: rum and raisin flavour. It is basically a lemon and orange marmalade with some raisins in and the essential addition of a couple of teaspoons of rum in each jar.   Rum is one thing we are not lacking in the HenHouse as we have been to the Carribbean on holiday a few years running and always get carried away with the local rum! It's turned out really well, a beautiful jewel-like colour and transparency dotted with speckly raisins.

Almost more fun than the cooking itself, the chance to fiddle with fabrics...

I managed to make our Christmas cake last week.

The cake is sitting nicely in its tin now and will just see the light of day each week for the addition of a bit of whiskey!  I use a recipe of Darina Allen's which was in the Sainsbury's Magazine a few years back.  I've made various ones but I do like this one and all the other Darina Allen Christmas recipes so I've come back to them having tried different recipes last year.  This morning I also made the Christmas pudding,  a bit late really, but I say that every year and it always tastes great!  It's still steaming away in my steam oven, a marvellous invention which means I don't have to keep watching a boiling pan, switching the pan off when I go out, making sure it doesn't boil dry and all that malarkey!

The only problem when I've been cooking all day is it gets to dinner time and I've rather had enough of cooking!  Unfortunately, I don't think that will wash with the other members of the HenHouse...


  1. Your preserves look so pretty - very festive!

  2. Poor car!
    Chutney making is on my list this week...and I have the Christmas fabric cicles already cut too!
    Have a good week ;-)

  3. I do hope that your car is okay. But what a nice place to stop and wait for the AA.

    We are making chutney and onion jam this week too.
    Your pot covers look very festive.

  4. Evening Hen....Wow busy lady...wonderful gifts and fab cake, oh i love christmas....yippee!
    I'll be starting making my cards this weekend, i can't wait!

    Olly cooked dinner tonight, i was wrestling with some paper work...feel like jumping all over it! gggrrr!
    Looking forward to my swap....

  5. oh goodness!!! everyone in blog land seems to prepared for christmas, i'm not at all!!!! :=/ your preserves look GREAT!!....what a good idea, my mum would love that....hmmmm.....i might copy!

    hope your okay and your car is better....maybe you'll be lucky after all with the figaro!! :)


  6. Nothing like the company of a child to find the fun in adversity! Glad he enjoyed the unplanned extra activity!
    I don't think I'd ever cook our own christmas pud if I had to do the steaming thing - I just chuck it in the bottom oven overnight!
    Hope the car gets fixed for xmas shopping! t.x

  7. Did you plan that car breakdown right outside a pub??!! Sorry to have missed you, I was still there but probably chinwagging somewhere!
    I think your hubby thought I was some sort of stalker when I recognised the munchkin, oh the mad world of blogging!
    Julia xx

  8. good morning Hen, you cake and the pud lokk very yummi. what kind of cake is it?
    I´m not really preapared for christmas right konw. There was to much christmas work for other people that I coulden´t get the right mud.
    Hope your car is fixed again.

  9. The preserve look tasty wish I could share them with you.........I think I'll go and make some! You have inspired me!

  10. Well done you. The cake looks great, even better for a good 'feed' every week! I didn't realise it was stir up Sunday until I listened to the Archers Sunday evening. They normally put a reminder in the week before for all those disorganised people! I hope mine turns out as good.Love the preserves.

  11. Hello Hen, I've tagged you & given you an award.
    Sorry to hear about the car... hope it's sorted soon. Your preserves look lovely, I should be making mine but I not really in the mood. Christmas seems to have come really quickly this year & I can't be bothered!! As I don't have children I guess I'm allowed not to do it :)

  12. Oh no, you said it would, didnt you, at least it happened after your lovely day out and not before. Your jam sound yummy and your cake I can I imagine will taste beautiful, I feel very hungry all of a sudden! Claire x

  13. Hi Hen,as long as they go b4 the 10th of Dec, thats ok!
    I'm nearly ready myself, just need to wrap and package them....

    Shower done now thank goodness, not what you need when a guest is arriving n OFsted! Just another thing to do......and my list is long enough! EEKK

    How annoying about the car....its so hard to manage without one!
    Hope its fixed soon....what a dreadful place to have to go and get it!

    I hate to be late, I'm always too early!

    Have s super evening!xxx

  14. Hi Hen,
    Love the jars of chutney with their little festive hats!
    And I'm sure your house is smelling wonderfully warm and inviting with all that baking going on....I just love the Christmas cake baking day....not heard of adding whiskey before...I add brandy to ours...

    Hope you'll soon be out and about in your car again...

  15. That was going to be my plan of attack this year too, making things for presents but it has been decided on my husbands side of the family to only buy gifts for children! Oh well, nothing like taking the fun ot of xmas for the adults! Sorry to hear about your car?! I too have been baking for soooo long this afternoon that the last thing that I wanted to do was cook an evening meal, hence thank goodness for my hubby steping in and cooking a curry!! x

  16. Hi Hen, The marmalade looks really yummy. I'm hoping to get our xmas cake made this weekend, but think i may buy a xmas pud. Hope your cars back on the road soon. xxx

  17. Hiya, are those steam ovens any good? I was talking to Tim's gran about them this weekend. She makes lots of Christmas puddings for practically everyone we know and sits up all night topping up the steamer! I've heard they are more like pressure cookers, but it would be interesting to hear what you think.


  18. Don't you just love all this festive cooking though? Yours looks gorgeous. Bad luck with the car - ours is also residing in the garage at vast expensive, blooming thing. Have a lovely day xx

  19. Is the car better?
    How are you...better?

  20. I'm so happy I found your blog last month because, since then, I come here everyday in hope of a new post and everytime I found a new one it's such a happiness. I read a good deal of blogs but yours is one of the best.


  21. Hi Hen,
    Me again,
    Thanks for your comment on my blog.
    I seem to have deleted your email address, but will ceratinly let you know when I have some calendars - thanks for your interest!
    Will also let you know if I get round to amking anything from the Christmas sewing book - I like the little bears - they would be nice filled with laveder. I like the shoes and ice skates too, but not sure I shall have time to make for 'me' before Christmas...
    Warm wishes,

  22. Cheers Hen......:>))
    Nice to be supported!

  23. Dear Hen,

    Love your blog. I am an American, but as you British would say, it's simply smashing.

    And your Etsy shop is lovely.

    I must stop by again to visit.

    Sunbonnet Cottage


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