Archive for Christmas

Making a Christmas cake with brandy soaked fruit.

We have a new Lidl store opened up in Chard and when I visited I noticed they sold mixed dried fruit already soaked in brandy.  I thought just the thing for a Christmas cake and set about finding a recipe.  This is what I came up with:-

Ingredients:

1020g of mixed dried fruit.  (If its not already soaked in brandy you will need to do this the night before with about 3 tablespoons full, so they soak up the brandy)

220g of plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder and 3/4 teaspoon of mixed spice powder

320g of dark muscovado sugar

320g of soft butter

4 free range eggs

1 tablespoon of black treacle

1 unwaxed lemon and 1 orange finely grated zest only

Marzipan to top the cake

Icing sugar and egg white to prepare royal icing for the top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas1

lightly grease an 8 inch round cake tine and fit a greaseproof cake case or line with greaseproof paper the bottom and the sides.

Weigh and prepare all the ingredients.DSC03626

In a large bowl beat the sugar and butter together until soft

add the eggs one at a time, with a little of the flour and spices mix

add the black treacle and beat in to mix

add the grated zestDSC03627

fold in the soaked dried fruit

tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin and loosely cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper.DSC03628

Bake for 3 3/4 hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool in the tin.

When cool, if liked, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and “feed” with a little splash of brandy.

To store  leave the lining paper on the cake and wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil.  The cake will keep for up to 3 months like this, especially if fed at intervals with more brandy.

Alternatively, spread a layer of apricot jam over the top DSC03673

and roll out your marzipan to a circle to fit and place on the cake.  Smooth with a pallet knife, or the flat of your hand, using a circular motion.DSC03675

When dry add icing  ( I made up royal icing) and spread roughly as if snow.

DSC03676and then decorate as required.

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vacancies in the New Year at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yesterday we bought our Christmas tree.  We always buy a real one, a Nordman Fir so a non drop tree, put it in a stand and keep it well watered.  That way it will last way past Christmas.

I love decorating the tree, this year the theme was red and gold. (Excuse the background wall, we have stripped the paper off getting ready for redecoration in the New Year).

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Neil puts the lights up around the house.  Firstly the icicle lights over the Inglenook.

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Then the lights round the inside front door.

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And over the fireplace in the lounge.

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Cards all written, Christmas cake made, so just some present wrapping to do and some shopping to get in and we’ll be all ready for Christmas.

The B&B is still open over Christmas http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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On making a Christmas wreath again

 

I like to make my Christmas wreath for the front door each year completely from scratch. This year 2 friends came over to make wreaths at the same time, so firstly we gathered all the foliage and willow whips from the garden.

Here are some photos of us making the wreaths this year.

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DSC01867To see how to make one please read my 2012 blog on the subject

https://lodgehousebandbsomerset.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/making-a-xmas-holly-wreath/

This is this year’s wreath finished and hanging on the door.

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http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Christmas walk and Christmas dinner

After breakfast and opening our presents we went for a walk up our favourite woods at Staple Hill.  It was a bit drizzly but as we passed people walking their dogs (some dressed with santa collars for the occasion) we exchanged cheery greetings of Merry Christmas. They’ve thinned out some of the fir trees now and you can just see the light through them.

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We came across a small tree that had been decorated with baubles by some children who had left a note on it.

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We stopped to take a Xmas selfie against the backdrop of the woods.

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It started to clear a bit and we got a good view to the North.

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So we had a go at another selfie.dsc01191

After our walk we popped into the local pub “The Candlelight” for a Christmas drink.  It was heaving with people and we whiled away quite some time chatting to friends before coming home to get the dinner on.  I had cooked the turkey last night and prepared the veggies this morning so there wasn’t much to do except put the potatoes in and then cook the veg.  We served up turkey dinner just before 3pm.

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I’m looking a bit pink from standing over a hot stove, or was it the bubbles going to my head?

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It is traditional to watch the Queen give her speech so after the main course we sat and watched that, then had a little snooze (only 2 glasses of Proscecco will send me to sleep), before Christmas pud and mince pies.

A few phone and Skype calls to family and that rounded off a lovely day.

Hope you enjoyed your Christmas Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rural craft – making a Christmas Wreath

I do this every year, make a Christmas wreath.  After all we have all the components down the woods.  Neil picked some thin willow whips and bent them round a pail.

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We gathered some greenery:- ivy with flowers on, holly, evergreen mint, fir tree and rosemary.

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I started by winding some ivy round the willow whips and attaching with thin wire.

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Next I added the rosemary to give the wreath a nice scent.

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Then I wound some evergreen mint  and some holly round the wreath to add some more green colour. However the holly didn’t half prickle my fingers!

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To finish it off I add a red bow and bauble, some red berries and wound some elasticated red ribbon all the way round to help keep everything in place. We added a wire loop to hang it up and proudly displayed it on our front door.

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I made another one for an elderly friend but didn’t add the holly and actually I think it is the better one.  Practice makes perfect as they say.

Come and see all our Christmas decorations http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Selling Bric a Brac again

This Saturday just gone was the day of the Buckland St Mary Xmas fete and we were on the Bric a Brac stall again.  We had lots of stuff – some friends were moving house and had cleared out a lot of glass ware and crockery and we had lots of books and other donations too.  This is me behind our stall.

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Neil is a very good salesman and tries to sell mostly inappropriate things to people we know,  just for fun.  However we did really well and took £77.00 in 2 hours.

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Children had the chance to visit Father Christmas (a local man from the village who dressed up the part), and afternoon teas and cake were also on offer.

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There was a tombola stall, a craft stall, a picture stall amongst others together with the usual raffle (I won a Xmas pudding – home made). Altogether £945 was raised for the church youth worker, so a good effort all round, and an early December start to get us in the Christmas mood.

We have vacancies in the B&B for the whole of December. contact us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Preparations for Christmas

This is the weekend when we really feel like we are getting into the Christmas spirit.  We have just come back from a carols and lessons service at Birchwood church.  It is the sweetest little church, set in some woods, with no electricity but oil lamps, a wood burner and candles for light and warmth.  It is always packed for this service and mulled wine and mince pies served afterwards make a very convivial atmosphere.

Back home and check that the Christmas tree is still in one piece.  I say this as yesterday when we put up all the decorations and Toto pussycat spied the tree for the first time, he thought it was great fun and started playing with the baubles.  We were in fits of laughter and at the same time shouting “No” to him, but without much effect, as he played football across the floor with the one he had knocked down.

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We have some lovely icicle lights, given to us my a previous neighbour that we always hang over the fire.

DSC00617.JPGWe hang more baubles from ribbon over the window in the dining room. which together with the reindeer antlers make that corner festive.

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I’ve bought all my presents, along with the Xmas cake, the Xmas pudding and mince pies, so our Christmas preparations are well under way.

Wishing you all Seasons Greetings, by which I mean a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Kathy and Neil at Lodge House B&B.

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

Wi

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New Year 2015 comes to Buckland St Mary

Every year Buckland St Mary holds a New Year’s Eve party in the village hall.  This year was no exception and we attended as we have in previous years.  It starts with a lovely meal.  The table is laid with balloons and party poppers.

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Everyone has fun blowing up these long balloons and then letting them go and fly all round the room.

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Then there is adult pass the parcel, more silliness!!

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And after all that comes the dancing.

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At midnight we all sang Auld Lang Syne and then there were fireworks outside.

So a Happy New Year to everyone from us at Lodge House B&B.

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Home made Christmas wreath

This year I made another Christmas wreath, from willow whips, holly and ivy growing in the woods.  It is a bit more shaped like a horse’s bridle than a round wreath, but that’s OK as it is authentic home made.  I added the bow, bauble and berries to give it a bit of colour.

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I last made one 2 years ago, here is my blog on how to make one.

https://lodgehousebandbsomerset.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/making-a-xmas-holly-wreath/

It’s a bit incongruous this year what with the scaffolding still up on the front of the house, but I thought we should try and bring the Christmas spirit in, in spite of the building works.

read more about us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Buckland St Mary Xmas fete 2014

Twice a year Buckland St Mary holds fetes or bazaars – once in the Summer and once in the Winter and this weekend it was the turn of the Xmas fete held in the village hall.

For the fifth year running Neil and I were on the Bric a Brac stall, basically trying to sell people other people’s junk!! Quite a hard sell!!

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I had also made some Xmas gift tags and lavender bags which I put on our stall to boost sales.  We had a lot of soft toys to sell and I was amazed at how many little boys purchased them, then used them to beat up their friends!

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We managed to raise £51.57 in 2 hours so not too bad.  It was quite well attended but perhaps not as busy as previous years, perhaps lots of people were out getting their Black Friday/weekend bargains.

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There were craft stalls,  a card stall, a raffle and a hamper raffle, a tombola, a cake stall, a produce stall amongst others.  And also there was Father Christmas in his grotto for the kiddies.

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The teas and cakes always go down well.  I had a chocolate éclair with mine!!

Neil was trying to sell a funny England hat all afternoon.  This is our friend Mike modelling it.

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All fun and games in the country and fundraising into the process.

Look us up at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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