Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Like leaves that before the wild hurricane fly

Our tree is decorated; the stockings are hung on the railing of our loft with care; and, while there's no time for long winter naps, Tam is looking dapper as ever in his little cap. Visions of sugarplums ... well, what else is new? Our holiday preparations are at a fever pitch, with shopping (sampling) trips to Fortnum and Mason and last-minute double batches of Christmas cookies.

The city, too, is adorned in its Yuletide finest. This year, the display of Christmas lights spanning Regent Street (where classic British understatement is usually the watchword) is sponsored by the Disney Company, which has seized the opportunity to promote their new animated film (apparently a story about the misadventures of some cartoon mice who find themselves in the city's septic system). As a result, in addition to the dazzling spectacle of colored lights, visitors are treated to the sight of enormous illuminated sewer rats dangling above the street.

As we prepare for a short hiatus from our little blog while we entertain our families and friends who are travelling to London for the holiday, we send good wishes for good cheer to our loved ones whom we'll miss this year but about whom we will think often and fondly during our Christmas celebrations. Ho ho ho and all that from London; wish you were here!

Happy Christmas!


Santos said...

happy christmas to you and your family! those orange cookies look delicious....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Laura! I found this recipe for cranberry upsidedown cake in a Nigella Lawson cookbook and tweaked it a little because I find it ridiculous to make a cranberry dessert without orange.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of self-rising cake flour
3/4 cup of fresh cranberries
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspon of cinnamon
1-1 1/2 tablespoons of milk
2 eggs
whatever amount of orange zest you feel like scraping
a little Grand Marnier

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put a baking sheet inside to warm.

In an eight inch cast iron pan, melt 1/4 cup of the butter. When it's melted, stir in 1/4 cup of the sugar until it's kind of syrupy. (I think that brown sugar might work well for this.) Add a little Grand Marnier and then add the cranberries, stirring until they're all coated. Set this aside.

In a food processor, pulse all the other ingredients except the milk, then add the milk slowly until it looks like cake batter is supposed to.

Pour it into the pan over the cranberries and put it on the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until it's golden.

Remove from the oven, set a plate over the top, and carefully flip it over. (Ta-da!) Decorative suggestions from my helpful family have included coarse sugar, holly, candied orange, or perhaps a large, marzipan penguin.

Happy New Year!