On the seventh day of Christmas

Seven swans a-swimming

A red baubled tree

Three pairs of ballet shoes

Soldiers and ballet dancers

An elegant dressing table

Jewels on a table

And a completed 1000 piece circular cat jigsaw puzzle

Doesn’t pao look haggard – must have something to do with the late nights trying to complete the jigsaw….

Ophelia says: how come there weren’t any brown and white cats on this jigsaw?

On the sixth day of Christmas

Six geese a-laying

And a dance in the land of sweets with
the candy cane filled tree

a table full of sweet things

giant candy canes (aha, so that is where all the candy canes have gotten to… )

a plateful of peppermint barkish (I say barkish because it looks slightly Cake Wrecky and the middle section did not seem to want to set but that may be because I melted it for too long or didn’t let it cool enough). The pink and white lumps on top are Holiday Rock which is an atypical British seaside confection where the place you are visiting is written into the core of the rock so as you lick it you can be reminded of your visit to Scarborough, Whitstable and the like.

I will probably attempt Peppermint Bark some time next year but I might leave out the gooey middle layer which I think is supposed to be a ganache. I’m not at all sure that the rock I bought to substitute for candy canes is the same consistency so I’ll have to get myself organised better next year and buy candy canes before Leeds Castle snaffle them all up 🙂 I can’t believe that you can’t buy striped peppermints here though.

More work on the jigsaw gulag:

On the fifth day of Christmas

Five gold rings

(or if you like five pineapple rings on upside down cakes)
I got a pineapple baking tin as a birthday gift and I used them for the first time today 🙂 They are perfect and produce very cute cakes! I bet you wish you were coming to tea.

And so we continue our journey exploring the Nutcracker and travel with Clara to the Land of Snow:
A tree draped in snowflakes

Candles shaped like icicles

A magical swan

And progress on the jigsaw

On the third day of Christmas

Three French hens

A blue Christmas tree

And a started 1000 piece jigsaw courtesy of Chris and Jeanne.

We had to wait until all our Boxing Day guests had gone home and then tidied our large round dining table in order to do this and it was after midnight when we went to bed. pao’s grandma has wagered us £10 that we can’t do it before next Christmas.

Progress before we retired to bed in the early hours…

Which cat wanted to be the fairy?

This was the scene of devastation that greeted me when I came home from work last night.

As they say, the Perdita doesn’t fall far from the tree….

I know we couldn’t find the star that normally sits on the top of the tree this year but who knew that the cats would take exception to this omission.

Christmas Baking Day

I promised a friend I’d make some stollen over the weekend for us to enjoy over coffee so I thought I’d do a little baking. I love baking but haven’t done so for quite a while so I braved the special baking setting on the oven and had a go. I ended up making two giant stollen filled with marzipan. I accidentally bought chocolate-covered marzipan but it was too late to get any plan. It tastes good though. I used Delia Smith’s recipe with some of my own modifications – dried summer fruits are very nice.

I also made some cookies to give out when we have visitors. These are Brown Sugar Ginger cookies from the Gourmet website.

I was tempted to make some Peppermint Bark but have come across an insurmountable problem. No one has any candy canes left or striped peppermint candies. So I may end up making peppermint-less bark or invent my own bark.

I’ll probably be baking again – I have all the ingredients for these 1950s Lace Cookies which look like they might be a nice gift for the neighbours. I’m also tempted by the recipes Chris has posted – peanut butter cups sound yummy albeit cryptic 🙂

Thank you, mystery person(s)

Yesterday morning, the mailman knocked on the door with a package for me. I pursed my lips and furrowed my brow wondering who on earth would have sent me a 1000 piece cat jigsaw. I’d had a bad afternoon on Friday so it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was baffled but bemused as there was no note with it and it had been shipped directly from an Amazon seller. I have a feeling that the mystery person(s) may be Chris and Jeanne so we’ll see if they ‘fess up in the comments.

Thank you! Whoever you are 🙂