There are definitely Christmas-related smells.
For me, it’s spices: ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and ground cloves. Sometimes even nutmeg. It was heady in my kitchen over the weekend, as I baked the most beautiful pumpkin pies; and it made me smile today, as I introduced the kids to their first Christmas baking experience – a tradition that I’m hoping to encourage within our small family, complete with all the smells, mixing, taste testing and patient waiting that goes along with it.
Our lovely Aunt and cousin have a yearly baking tradition that we were keen to get involved with; and this morning we smelled and mixed, and measured and tasted our way through Grandma’s boiled fruit cake recipe (laden with rum-soaked fruit, nuts, stewed prunes and piles of zesty peel), and a big batch of sticky, moreish rum balls.
I watched the kids mix at the table, standing up on their chairs – absolutely engrossed in the step-by-step process going on around them; best-loved carols played on in the background, spices measured out teaspoon by teaspoon, and once the lid was lifted, the strong smell of the soaked fruit filled the air. It warmed my heart – sharing this with family, and introducing it to Judah and Lou. Coming from a family of the most amazing cooks, the love of cooking and of food is something I’m so keen to weave into their young lives.
The weather turned cool and windy this afternoon, and as I tidied up, I eyed an ice-cream tub full of cherry tomatoes from the garden, which we can’t seem to eat through fast enough. And after a full, sweet day of happy cooking and comfortable chatter, I felt ready (and inspired) to do just a little more.
Thank goodness for Steph from Mon Petit Poppet, who luckily had posted a recipe not too long ago. The tomatoes were cut up in a flash, generously salted and peppered, and are, as I type, roasting beautifully in the oven.
Don’t you just love productive cooking days?
How was your day today?