Not for the first time, I find myself once again feeling largely indifferent to the whole Christmas palaver, but this year, in an attempt to keep everything very low key, I've got just a very few pre-Christmas events to look forward to, events in which I plan to make a nod or two in the direction of festivities. These nods invariably involve food because that's what I like best about Christmas.
So for a BBQ today at my sister's house, I made some Christmas cupcakes, knowing there'd be a few children there. The idea comes from Nigella Lawson's Christmas Cupcakes which I've made in previous years but this year I didn't necessarily want to make her heavy, spicy versions since I wasn't sure children would like them. I opted instead for Nigella's basic fairy cakes recipe, which you can find online here. It's a great recipe, which RoseRed wrote about here on our Mouthfuls of Heaven blog, because it's very light, delicately plain and serves as a very good base for fancier toppings. I've also covered this version on Mouthfuls of Heaven here.
The amazing thing about making these cupcakes was that the icing was saved and frozen two years ago. I'd almost forgotten it was there, but there, tucked away in a freezer basket were two foil wrapped bundles marked GREEN and WHITE. I'd bought some royal icing in 2007, mixed half into green with Wiltons paste (why half I don't know as I clearly only needed a fraction of the mix to make a green portion) and you know what? It was just fine.
I'm not a great decorator. I think I lack the perfectionist's eye but they looked pretty good to me and my siblings and all the children today thought they looked and tasted fantastic. My nine year old step niece Jenny has already booked me for a baking session in the new year.
I managed to catch Will eating his cupcake. He told me the green tree was 'yummy'.
And I tried to get Alice looking at a cupcake, being too young yet to eat any, but the afternoon's festivities were exhausting and she nodded off in the time it took me to get the camera ready.
It was a great afternoon. Pretty low key as pre-christmas family gatherings go, with lots of laughs and baby cuddles and stories and ice creams and cupcakes.
L-R - Adele, Keith, Fee, Me.
Front - Will and Alice
I am pretty sure if I can keep reminding myself that Christmas isn't about playing the stress game, but is actually about time in the sunshine (for we southern hemisphere dwellers) with good people and some festive food, then it's all good.
As far as Christmas knitting goes, I'm keeping that low key too and am about to finish the two big ticket items in the next day or so. I call that a good result!