Christmas preparations…

Preparations for Christmas are under way at weekends when we get a chance! Massive session of making Christmas produce on Saturday as it was a soggy, rainy day when being inside was the best course of action.

Here is Christmas spiced mincemeat being made and the end result – made 2 big batches of it so should see us through the whole of the festive period. If we have had enough of mince pies then we can always make mincemeat cake and use in other recipes too. I will pop up the really easy recipe for this mincemeat soon.

Katy, The Good Life In Practice x

The most wonderful time of the year…

So as the festive season draws close I realise there will be two camps – the people who could easily have Christmas day in October and the others who cannot stand Christmas being mentioned until the 23rd December.

Now I am one of those in camp A as even now as an adult I get far too excited about Christmas and everything that goes with it! However, we have the rest of November to get through so I will try not to bore people until a little closer to the main event!

That being said, if you are in smallholding planning always begins earlier than for most. Planning for gift making, decorations, livestock and baking is needed so by the time it gets to the festive season it can be enjoyed a tad more rather than mad panic and making chutney late into the night hehe…So having taken this into account here at The Good Life In Practice Smallholding we are making lists for next weekend which will be ‘Stir Up Sunday'; traditionally the day for making Christmas Cakes and Christmas Puddings.

This year for the first time I will be in charge of producing the Christmas Pudding – so fingers crossed! After years of my Nanny (Granma to some!) making amazing and yummy Christmas Puddings I asked if I could have a go and she was happy to let me try. This was after having the funniest Christmas Day last year when Nanny admitted that the guilt was too much for her to bear, and the last 3 years running she had run out of time; instead purchasing a pudding from Marks and Spencer! What was really amusing was the fact that each time she had painstakingly scooped out the brought Pudding and mashed it into her own pudding bowl and wrapped it in greaseproof paper complete with knotted string! Anyho, after much teasing and laughing the baton has been passed along so I will try to do my best.

Also next weekend will be busy trying to make batches of home made Chutney, Mincemeat and some decorations ready. It may be a bit late to do preserves but time caught up on me.

Overall, it will be a busy few months and often winter is a busy time in different ways for smallholders. If anyone else has funny stories or traditions they have I would love to hear them.

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

Article in Grow Your Own Magazine

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A bit delayed but have recently done 2 2 page articles in chicken keeping for ‘Grow Your Own Magazine’. In October and August 2014 issues. One is about preparing your chickens and their abode for the winter months and the other is about preparing a ‘chicken medicine cabinet’. If you have a chance to read these past issues please do and let me know what you think – many thanks!

Katy, The Good Life In Practice Smallholding.

Recipe: Aunt Emmas Gingerbread Cake

We have a family recipe book from the 1800s which I have been writing up and testing recipes from. It is from my Nanny Audrey’s side of the family and has lots of great cake and biscuit recipes in, not forgetting the Christmas Pudding recipe which I will put up in time for Stir Up Sunday!

This is the basic recipe for

‘Aunt Emmas Gingerbread Cake':

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb butter
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ oz ground ginger
  • 1 lb treacle
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 dessert-spoon baking powder

Method:

Mix all ingredients together then bake at 180’c for 1 hour and a half.

A very easy and tasty recipe, can be done in a pound loaf tin. Do leave comments if you would like to have more recipes from this collection put up : )

Katy, The Good Life In Practice x