Blame it on the rain


We have just finished quietening Tom after a rather sizeable throwdown. He was protesting the removal of our Christmas tree, and the end of Christmas, and I don't blame him. It was pretty great. 

After such a hot and dry December, Christmas day brought lots of beautiful rain (40mls for us at home!) and it couldn't have been a better present. We had all gathered in Rydal at Mum and Dad's place where the planned sunny Christmas lunch gave way to a warm and cosy affair in the shearing shed (now Mum's studio and classroom for the residential art classes she runs throughout the year). Fires were burning, beanies were worn and the hot pudding, for once (to me at least), made sense.

It really was a fabulous day, and with eight children under seven in one shed all day; was also fairly loud and chaotic. But all in a good way.

I haven't included many recipes in this post, mostly because I'm fairly sure nobody wants to think about, or even look at a glazed ham or Christmas pudding right now. But here below is one final Christmas baking recipe. It's for the classic Danish vanilla wreath biscuits called Vanillekranse and was grandmother Helen's recipe. Now my clever sister Catherine is in charge of making these every Christmas.

The biscuit dough itself isn't hard to knock up, but making them look so beautiful does take a really good piping bag and patience, both of which I lack. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying a few quiet days before the new year kicks off.


450g plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
220g caster sugar
350g butter, room temperature
110g pound almond meal
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with paper. Beat the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until well incorporated. Fold through the flour and vanilla. Cover the dough in plastic and rest in the fridge for half an hour. Pipe the biscuits into little wreaths. Gran did note in her recipe that you can also roll the dough out and cut into circles then glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle with chopped almonds or a glace cherry before baking.


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