(me and the best present ever…the tree house)
This will probably be mainly about mincemeat though.
I bought my presents back in October. I don't really know why, I just felt that for once organisation was important. I did not go mad with gifts even though it's baby's first christmas because, well, there's not a whole lot you can buy a not quite one year old. I have a bit of a list of ideas but it is mainly baby specific I'm afraid so feel free to scroll down to talk of mincemeat. They're also not brash plasticy disposable toys…most aren't toys at all.
I wanted books that weren't too…normal. So one was Andy Warhol's Colors . Purple horses? But of course! I also bought Daddies . This book makes me laugh because of it's ridiculous stereotyped jobs that the daddies do but I adore the illustrations.
Nic Nac Noo do fabulous toys. I love them, all wooden and bright and gorgeous. Oh and Myriad, love their wooden toys too especially this rainbow.
Etsy is a great place to find the unusual and the handmade. Artwork by The Black Apple was bought but who is it really for? Um, me just now but I like to think it will become a treasured item.
What I desperately want are these blocks or these ones! The benefit of a wooden toy like this is that a) child gets to use imagination b) they will last as a play thing for years and c) child gets to build towers and then knock them down ferociously while chuckling. Fun!
And, not for baby, but I got this as a gift for mothers day and, well, I love it…The Kindle . I don't think it is an appropriate format for all books but for a basic novel it is excellent. It has turned out to be the best thing for this breast feeding mummy. I can hold it and turn the pages with one hand and baby doesn't try and grab it. Well at least not as much as a normal book. Plus, as I'm impatient when it comes to books, I can download them instantly. Hurrah!
On to mincemeat!
Ok, so as a child I had a deep distrust of a mincemeat pie. 1) I thought they were meat pies 2) when someone explained they were sweet I then thought they were meat pies with sugar in them and 3) when I was finally convinced to try one it was despoiled with chunks of peel.
I've moved on since then and love some homemade mincemeat and like the cake and pudding its best if made in advance. Last year i made the mincemeat recipe from this book . It doesn't have suet in it for those not keen on saturated fats (or, it now occurs to me, palm oil. There are environmental reasons not to use palm oil). Previously I used to always use this recipe (scroll down) which is more traditional. We have also been gifted about 8 jars of it and I'm now desperately trying to think of ways of using it all up. A normal mincemeat pie is all well and good but there must be other ways.
If you don't want to make it most supermarkets will sell a vegan option (in the UK anyway) and Goodness Direct sell a sugar free mincemeat (sweetened with apple juice and all the dried fruits)
The cake turned out great. I ended up using a general cake recipe and just left out the eggs and added a splash or two of soya milk. I made up the mix and put it in the lined tin the day before I baked it. I have been told that it can be left like this for up to 3 days. Apparently it produces a flatter topped cake which is easier to ice. I don't ice my cake but i found it easier to do it this way. I also baked it at 140C rather than 160C as my oven is fierce and I despise burnt cake.