Saturday, 27 November 2010

Seasonal Offerings

I have been a bit quiet for a week or so. Work has been busy and taken up much of my time. Travelling to it also utilises extra time in bad weather. Ice, snow or fog will slow me down quite considerably....
However, I have also been busy on some seasonal type things. Firstly, for the first time in years, I decided to bake a Christmas cake! Once I had baked mine, I decided to also make one for my Mum and Dad. I usually buy one as a Christmas present for them but having bought a whole load of ingredients, I thought that this year, I would try to make some extra effort! However,my cooking skills are a lot rusty!



But, it was nice to have cooking smells in my kitchen. Cake mix, spices and brandy have a unique Christmassy smell that I had almost forgotten. I used a recipe out of an old cookery book from St Michaels. It says it all really, Marks & Spencer has long since ditched that tag!

I am hoping it has turned out ok, trouble is with cakes, the outside cannot really provide an indication of what is on the inside. It always reminds me of a passage from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens regarding pudding!

"Hallo. A great deal of steam. The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook's next door to each other, with a laundress's next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered -- flushed, but smiling proudly -- with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top."



I do love the story and for those that live locally...well of course there is a fabulous version that was filmed in Shrewsbury with George C Scott which I never tire of seeing ~ but perhaps that is because I recognise lots of my childhood haunts!



Artwise, I have also been working on some festive type scenes and have been photographing and painting Holly.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir


I seem to have amassed rather a lot of examples....



As you can tell, I am almost in a Christmas spirit. But, I do think that may be down to the unusually cold weather, certainly for the end of November. So far here in Bridgnorth, we have evaded the big snowfall that has fallen on some but the cold is biting and the frost is severe.
I took a photo this morning of some berries and as you can see here is a little snow that has fallen overnight but also a heavy frost over the top....



This evening the temperature is plummeting yet again and I think we are expecting -9 or something silly. So to all of you that are also experiencing cooler temperatures, keep warm and for those of you that are not....well at least we are providing a little Christmas spirit!

13 comments:

PaintingSkiathos said...

What a fantastic post, Chrissy! It's made me feel very homesick all of a sudden....
Your cake looks amazing - and I'm sure it will be perfect inside too (certainly if that flower pixie/fairy had anything to do with it!)
I love the Dickens....one of my favourite authors too... and as for the holly, Wow! just fabulous!
Keep well, keep warm, enjoy the run up to Christmas (I can just imagine what your house must smell like right now; sugar & spice and all things nice. Hmmmmmm....)
Oh to be in England, now that winter's here....Yvonne xx

CherryPie said...

Turn the cake upside down and pierce it with a skewer and feed it with brandy two or three times before Christmas. Mmmm :-)

Unusually we have picked up a bit more snow than usual here...

I hope to have a window of opportunity to get out and about tomorrow to capture the snow and autumn leaves together in one photo :-)

forgetmenot said...

Hope your Christmas cake turned out well--I like CherryPie's idea!
Lovely pictures of holly, both the real one and the painted one --nice job. Thanks for the "Skywatch" tip--I'll check it out.

Carol Ottaway said...

The cake looks sooo good...You're making me very hungry! I think I'm going to brave my first fruit cake this year. I dunno though, I'm not a very good baker:( Your watercolor is amazing and would make a beautiful Christmas card.
You are certainly getting in the Christmas spirit!

whatandysees said...

To be honest I'm a little worried about the evaporation rate of the brandy?....:(

CherryPie said...

@ whatandysees,

The reason for the evaporation will be revealed over the Christmas period. Think of it as a present from Santa ;-)

Sandy said...

Beautiful painting!

poindextr said...

Looks completely yummy from the outside and probably smells yummy too. I so love the holly drawing. Are you going to be making greeting cards with them? Your drawings are delicate and lovely.

Lana Gramlich said...

I love your holly & your cake looks absolutely wonderful! Rusty cooking skills? I think not.

kaslkaos said...

Great food photography, mmmm...the lighting, the choice of flowers, etc... the holly is a beautiful painting. We have a little snow...I think I can handle thinking Christmas now.

Helena said...

I love the painting of holly and ivy... I love how you did the background...

thank you for your kind message re Fluffy.... we went back to the vet today... still no clear answers....

Cathy Holtom said...

Your cake looks like it will be really good and I can imagine the smell of it cooking. Unfortunately I've given up trying to get the Sicilians to eat English cake etc, they are just too convinced that theirs is better!

forgetmenot said...

Chrissy, As I have time, I've been scrolling back through some of your "older" posts. Love ALL your work--you have so many beautiful photos. I really like your cards--so detailed (though you say they are relatively easy) and interesting. Like your use of the old CDs too, and the boxes you made. Nice work!!