Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Happy Christmas from Prospect Cottage.

In Folklore on December 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

So at last it is here…Christmas 2011. It seems the radio and TV have been selling it to us for months now. Thankfully the recession that engulfs Ireland and indeed the rest of the world seems to have reduced the gross consumerism of recent years. The shops are busy but people seem to be much more sensible and selective with their purchases. A good thing in my view. I always try to buy useful presents for family members…things they really want or will find useful. At this point we are pretty good at getting it right. Some of the nieces and nephews are now teenagers and have a liking for money gifts. I’m not a huge fan of giving money so this year we gave a gift and some money so hopefully everyone will be happy.

According to the Met Office the weather is to be mild and balmy…a big change from the last 2 Christmasses when we were snowed in. The pic above of the dogs in the snow was taken 2 weeks ago but that snow quickly disappeared.

My favourite thing at this time of year is collecting foliage from garden and hedgerow to make a wreath. I usually do this before the Solstice as for me the circle of the wreath represents the continuing cycle of life, death and renewal that happens each year. The Solstice was traditionally seen as the   re birth of the Sun. The time when the Sun remains resting for a while before it once again starts it’s climb higher into the sky bringing long days and the renewal of activity. The 12 days of Christmas is said to have come from the traditions of the Celts who celebrated the 12 days the Sun remained steady in one position before starting the upward journey.

The wreath looks pretty good I think and I got great pleasure from making it. The birds have eaten all the Holly berries already so I used Sedum heads for a splash of red.

The wreath of Holly popular as a door decoration in America is said to have been brought there by Irish settlers who left Ireland at the time of the Great Potato Famine in the mid 1800s. Holly grows wild all over Ireland and most people like to bring sprigs of it indoors at this time of year.

I also made a wreath for my Mother’s front door. We did the trip down to Tipperary on Wednesday. We left home early in the morning and did’nt get back until midnight. We had a good long day there and left our pressies under the various Christmas trees. Our presents are also waiting…unopened until Christmas morning. I don’t understand people who open their presents before Christmas. Not for us.

So now all that’s left is for me to say Happy Christmas to you all. May it be happy and peaceful. Thank you to the visitors who read, follow and comment on my blog…I do appreciate it. As is said in Irish “Nollaig Shona Duit” which means “Happy Christmas to You”.

December at Prospect Cottage.

In Cooking, Ireland on December 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

 

Yesterday we awoke to see the mountain tops covered in snow. Not enough to cause the disruption of last Winter when we had temperatures of -17 at this time…very unusual for Ireland. Although the mild Spring like conditions of November have gone the days are still pleasant enough. Walking or working outside in the cold and then retreating to the cosy warmth of the house gives one an appreciation for the comfort within. Seems more right somehow to have snow and cold at this time of year. I like the seasonal differences in the weather.

 

The Sedum looks very Christmassy with it’s dusting of snow. Speaking of Christmas it seems to have taken a back seat this year…so many people are worried about the economy and the possibility of the Euro being abandoned. The recent Budget once again hit the poorest in our society…unemployed, people on community employment schemes and single parents…and all the while the rich fat cats pay very little. Alas…it seems to be the same story the world over…no coincidence methinks. There seems to be a global conspiracy to make the rich richer and keep the poor impoverished and downtrodden. We are lucky as we own our own house and property…mortgage free. By the way, do you know the meaning of mortgage? It comes from 2 French words: mort meaning death and gage meaning grip. So many people in Ireland are now held in this death grip with properties often only worth one third of what people have signed up to pay for them.

Meanwhile here in Arigna I have been working for the last few days making items for the Winter Fair in Carrick-on-Shannon. The Fair runs over 2 days…Saturday and Sunday. Andy is manning the stall today and I will do tomorrow. The one in Manorhamilton last Sunday was excellent. About 40 stalls and a great crowd turned out.

Pictured above are Melting Moments…one of my best sellers. They look very pretty when finished with a dusting of icng sugar. They melt in the mouth and are lovely with tea or coffee.

To make them you need: 150g butter, diced. 75g icing sugar, sifted. 25g cornflour, sifted. 150g self-raising flour, sifted. Raspberry jam. Icing sugar for dusting.

Heat the oven to Gas 4 or 190 celsius. Cream the butter and icing sugar together. Then add the flour and cornflour. You will have a soft squidgy dough. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place in baking cases placed in fairy cake tins. using a teaspoon dipped in hot water make a small indentation in the top of each one. Bake for 15-17 minutes. While still hot drop a little jam into the centre of each cake filling the hole. When cool dust with icing sugar. These keep well in a tin for several days.

 

I also made Millionaire’s Shortbread…a delicious if calorie laden treat of shortbread covered with a layer of fudge and finally a topping of good quality chocolate.

 

For the more health conscious there is the option of  Cranberry and Walnut Muffins! I wonder which will sell out first?