Friday, December 24, 2010

It's late Christmas Eve and I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.  We have our ritual every year.  Fritz makes an exceptionally good cheddar cheese soup with a strong dark beer as its base.  We have a bowl of that along with a slice of home-made bread and then go to a candle-lit Quaker Meeting.
We come home to a little more soup and then each of us opens one present from the other.

This year, mine was one of those magnet-held car covers to keep winter ice and snow off the windshield.  His from me was a pair of egg coddlers.  Breakfast tomorrow morning will be marzipan stollen and coffee in the living room as we open presents.

Because the house is so pure in its use of natural materials and has such simple lines, I don't like to use anything artificial to decorate it for the holidays.  I made a new fringed swag for the three main windows out of pine cones from our white pines here and from the pine grove behind the Meeting House.

People have been asking if we have an "indoor/outdoor" tree like last year, but that was a special situation, a freak of nature that comes along very rarely.  We did cut down a perfectly lovely twelve foot tree that's now placed right in the center of those three windows, above. 

On the hillside behind the house this morning.  Ornamental grasses, lavender and juniper in the snow.

Ingredients for our Christmas dinner dessert, a traditional English steamed pudding.  It is based on dried fruit -- raisins, sultanas, currents, candied orange peel and dates soaked in dark beer -- grated apple and carrot, cinnamon, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, baking powder, one egg and four tablespoons of cognac.  There's no sugar in the recipe, which relies on the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Everything is mixed well together and put into a greased pudding basin that is covered and dropped into a bigger pot with water half way up the sides of the basin which is brought to a boil and then simmered in the 250 degree oven of the Aga  for twelve hours.  It is then cooled and steamed again for a short while before being served.   The pudding is turned out onto a dish or platter and served with hard sauce or, in this this recipe, cream.

Some presents under the tree from Fritz's younger sister who loves wrapping gifts. 

I think that I could be more than happy to spend the holidays with you boys. It all sounds very special, warm, unique and HAPPY! Merry Christmas to you guys. Sleep well with visions of sugarplums tonight.....
Have a very Merry Christmas! Looks like another lovely holiday up your way!
Very lovely.
and a prosperous new year to both of you !
Will sounds like the perfect way to celebrate the holiday. Best wishes for a very happy new year!
Will - I just wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year filled with further adventures, cozy nights, delicious dinners, and the happiness of spirit that makes the rest of us smile. Take care! - Alan
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