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The Magic of Christmas

When I was very small I believed in Father Christmas so much that I wrote to him every year, wrote ‘North Pole’ on the envelope and posted it in the local post box. One year, I received a letter addressing me by name from the big man himself. This was enough proof for me and I showed that letter to each and every doubter I encountered. There’s still a large part of me that believes and I still love the magic of Christmas. I especially love the flurry of activity leading up to the 25th. I don’t mean fighting through the crowds in shopping centres, I mean carols by candlelight, Christmas markets, wreath making classes, hot chocolate with friends, taking homemade presents to neighbours, Christmas lights on winter walks, Christmas movies with the family and making Christmas food.

This week I haven’t seen my family much because I’ve been in the kitchen practising piping buttercream flowers, baking Christmas cakes and making minced fruit. I discovered that I had run out of suet for my mince pies so I had a look for a suet free recipe. I found an excellent recipe on

www.virtual which I followed (without the rosemary; however, I do like herbs in my jams so next time I’ll add the rosemary too). What I really liked about this recipe was that it’s warmed slowly over an hour and a half in the oven and you can substitute fruit in the recipe for whatever you have in the cupboard. This really brings out the moisture and the mince tastes wonderful. I think I’ll experiment and reduce the sugar a little bit next time.

Another person who I regularly listen to on Instagram and Facebook is Nancy Birtwhistle because she tries to avoid food waste and single use plastic. I’ve been using her quick shortcrust pastry recipe and her new book ‘The Green Budget Guide’ is definitely on my wishlist for Father Christmas! I love learning new skills and so I’m always on the lookout for different recipes and new ways to do things. Following people like Nancy is so inspiring. Anyway, let me know if you try the minced fruit recipe too or have been inspired by Nancy’s advice. For now, happy baking ❤️

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