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As the young came into the hall, Santa’s note was seen by all but read by an older child. The children headed to the drawing room, then the dining room and the library. Fireplaces, but no presents! Are there any other fireplaces? Outside they went and the number of chimneys were counted! There must be. Finally, could there be fireplaces upstairs? Go and see! The proverbial charge of the light brigade upstairs ensued, halted only as the light came to an end. A frantic search for light switches ensued. Switch finally found, helped by a friendly mum. The hunt continued from room to room. Whoops of joy as small piles of wrapped presents were found. “Mum, they’ve got fireplaces in the bedrooms!”  was the surprised comment from one small boy. Santa’s instructions were carried out. The presents are under the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve, when Santa will make sure they go down the right chimney. Hence the reason we always make sure the chimneys have been cleaned out before Christmas Eve. Santa doesn’t like to get soot in his beard.

The children were invited to a Gingerbread Making Party.

Rules of Engagement

  • Turn on the oven
  • Wash your hands
  • Put on an apron
  • Read the recipe and then begin


Ready for the Off

Gingerbread Cookies

½ Cup fat, (butter or margarine).

½ Cup molasses

½ Cup sugar

1 egg

3 ½ Cups plain flour

2 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

1½ ginger

1tsp. cinnamon


  1. Melt fat and cool it. Add molasses, sugar and egg and blend well.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add a little at a time to molasses/fat mixture. Mix well.
  3. Wrap in cling-film and chill overnight.
  4. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to ¼” thickness.
  5. Cut into shapes.
  6. Bake at 160°C for 10-12 minutes.

The young all went home with lots of gingerbread folk.

Multyfarnham Country Fair 9th December 2012

Multy Country Fair 2012 002

This year, we only took jams and chutneys, together with gingerbread men, we had made for the sale. Great result, lots of returning customers and all sold out!

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Multy Country Fair 2012 008

Multy Country Fair 2012 009

Earlier last week, we made Stollen. Something we have been making each Christmas.

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Dough portioned, ready for shaping

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Stollen ready for proving

Cut showing marzipan centre

Baked Stollen showing marzipan centre.


Full steam ahead to Christmas

November 23, 2012

Christmas cakes are underway

Christmas cakes are underway

We have been making the Christmas cakes to the same recipe we have been using for years. A medium fruit cake which does not take weeks to mellow.We put halved, split almonds, on top of the cake instead marzipan and royal icing. Many friends and family members always seemed to leave both on their plates’.

The Christmas Pudding is made.

This year we have used a recipe I was given …. years ago. Miss Campbell was a lecturer at the college I attended. Warwick makes both the pudding and the mincemeat. We plan to make the mince-pies  tomorrow. As they are time consuming to make, we make them a couple of weeks ahead of Christmas and freeze them.


Last of the Apples

The apple harvest was not as good as in the past two years.

We actually had masses of small tasty apples which were windfalls. A neighbour and her children came to help pick the last of the apples on the trees; and to gather the better windfalls.. Tedious to wash, scrub and peel. Nevertheless, we persevered and we made some delicious apple chutney and just one batch of apple butter.

Last of the windfalls

Last of the windfalls

Even mum helped picking

Even mum helped picking

Apple chutney

Apple chutney

Nanny Mac’s Apple Chutney

Recipe (Makes 12 x 325 gm. jars)

48         oz      Apples -prepared

24         oz      Onions

24         oz      Brown Sugar

16         oz      Cider Vinegar

8            oz      Raisins

8            oz      Sultanas

0.25      oz      Fresh ginger – peeled and grated

1            oz      Salt

0.25      oz      Dried Chillies

0.25      tsp     Cayenne Pepper-ground

2-3 Cloves garlic- crushed *


  1. Peel and chop onions
  2. Grate fresh stem ginger
  3. Cook apples and onions together in vinegar.
  4. When soft add brown sugar and remaining ingredients.
  5. Cook until chutney ‘mounds’
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
  7. Fill pre-heated jars
  8. Screw on lids firmly.