Well, we're well into December and the countdown to Christmas has begun.
Last Sunday was the first Advent and so we lit the first of the four candles. We also had some mulled wine with a nice set I got from Whittard of Chelsea. Sadly whoever pot the set together didn't think things through and recommended infusing a bottle of robust red wine with a stick of cinnamon and a pouch ("pouchette") with a spice mixture. This didn't taste very nice at all, some sugar is needed at the very least.
We'll have another go today when we light the second candle and I'll add some sugar this time.
I've also finally managed to get hold of what I wanted for Lundulph's Christmas calendar. I made the little red boots a few years ago and have been looking for a small Christmas tree like contraction made of metal to hang them. In the past I'd hang them on a gold string, which never really worked very well.
I've also made some progress on my own Christmas calendar, which is a clock - I added the digits this year and will need to sort an arrow. I made one a couple of years ago, when I made the calendar, but with all our renovations it is lost. The board is a bit heavy and the lids of the little boxes don't close well when I've put a sweet inside, so I'll need to devise a way of hanging the whole contraption and still keeping it at an angle to stop the lids from falling off. Hmmmm.
On the plus side, I remembered that the boots are a bit narrow, so I got oblong pieces of chocolate for them. Lidl is very good for this sort of thing.
I've noticed that quite a few shops also sell Christmas calendars with little drawers or pockets to be filled with sweets, I guess it's not really a new idea, but is gaining in popularity.
Tom the Tomato
A few weeks back, I noticed that a tomato plant was growing out of the drain outside the kitchen. I pointed it out to Lundulph and he rescued it and put it in a pot. It must have sprouted from a tomato seed flushed down in the sink or something. Very curious and nice that whatever chemicals are in washing up liquid or dish washer tabs, they haven't killed it. This plant has grown tall and I re-potted it today and have started giving it tomato feed. After all, it's set fruit already and Lundulph is hoping for a Christmas tomato.
It's about the size of a cherry tomato already and who knows what variety it is or if it'll ripen.
Finally I also got hold of some halloumi cheese and fried it for lunch the other day. Texture-wise it seems fairly similar to mozzarella, I thought. I fried it in a bit of oil and it went soft and almost gooey in the pan, not at all what I expected. But once it had a nice golden colour, I let it drain off on some kitchen tissue. It went solid again and squeaked against my teeth and was very salty. And so tasty, I ate all of it. Must try grilling it next time.
Yes indeed, sugar is the secret to the mulled wine. For one bottle (75 cl) I used 1 dl dark molasses and 0.5 dl granulated sugar, along with the cinnamon stick and the pouch of spices. Worked a treat and I think some dark rum won't go amiss if you want something stronger.