Friday, 26 November 2010

I'm not Nigella, or Martha, or Kirstie....but.....

Meet Nigella, Martha and Kirstie. I assure you, I am none of these women.

But Christmas always turns me into baking, crafting homebody and Christmas, people, is upon us.  Like it or not.

Every year I try to make as many gifts as possible. Firstly, because I always want to spend my dough on dining out and drinking with friends; and secondly because Christmas has got to be one of the most wasteful, environment bashing, times of year.

Here’s what’s currently ‘trending’ in my house.


I have so many fucking kids in my matchbox flat I can’t even squeeze in a tree this year. This has got to be the first time since I lived with ‘Mr. Wasted Years’ that I haven’t had a tree. Of course trees don’t go up until the few days before Christmas in my house, but creating decorations can start whenever. This year poverty and space constraints mean that we will be hanging paper snowflakes. I found this webpage with super templates which I am going to try this weekend.


Every year the Sponge family and I trade chutney. Last year my offering was ‘Green Tomato Chutney’ made with the discarded fruits from a certain prison garden. I mean how many times have you received ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure Chutney’? That was a coup. This year I’m going to try this recipe from Abel and Cole.


What to give my 3 month old daughter? Let’s face it – she doesn’t give a fuck about Christmas, no point in splashing the cash on her. I found this great shop on ebay where I can get wooden discs to make a mobile. I’m going to use some of the Christmas decorations that would have been on my tree this year. I’ll post the finished product when I’m done. Cheap as chips and useful. This shop also has loads of other products to help you craft Christmas decorations. They combine postage and post quickly. I love them.


If I confess that I’m not really into the whole baby hand imprint kit thing, I know loads of you will think I am just a miserable cow. True enough. However the grandparents love all that cutesy stuff so last night my son and I practiced with salt dough and glitter to make these stunningly tacky homemade keepsakes. A bit rough around the edges because he actually made them almost entirely by himself, but I'm sure you could do a better job.....

My two year old son has feet which are almost a size 9. This fact alone is worthy of the tackiness. Guess I will have to do baby girl’s too. If you don’t know how to make the dough see the end of this post.


A short while ago when I was incapacitated and sent Bushman out for some dessicated coconut he came back with a kilo of the stuff. Everyone’s getting Coconut Ice for Christmas – I don’t even care if you like it or not. You'll find loads of recipes on the net for chocolate truffles, peppermint creams and the like.


My parents love Pickled Onions and Sherry. They’re getting Onions pickled in Sherry Vinegar. See recipe here.


Lastly, I’m having a no wrap Christmas. Customised boxes and all those gift bags I seem to have accumulated will be the thing. I’m also going to make a few boxes from the templates on this website. I just love the shit you can get for free on the internet.

With the weather due to take a turn this weekend and whilst nearly all of us in this household have the lurgie, it will be an indoorsy few days – perfect for some Christmas preparations. Twenty-nine days to go, so get to it folks!!

Next time, I will be back with my sister’s Christmas Cocktail list. She used to work in a Soho Cocktail Bar and has just left Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen’. Now the family’s official bartender; she’s also a bit of a lush - like her Sis.


Salt dough for Hand/Foot imprints

The recipe is:

1 cup salt

2 cups flour

1 cup water (add gradually, might not need it all)

1 tbsp oil (optional - makes dough easier to knead)

1 tbsp lemon juice (optional - makes finished product harder)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Tip out and knead into a dough. Leave wrapped in clingfilm in fridge for 20 mins if you have time. After using, leave to air dry or bake at 100 deg C for 2-3 hours.


  1. Troutie - the hand & foot prints are brilliant! Looking forward to some exclusive cocktail recipes. Does your sis have one for Espresso Martini? Had one once and have failed ever since to make a drinkable one.

  2. love it Troutie - Im having a similar style Christmas - especially the salt dough imprints - am tempted to get my husband to do a footprint with his size 12 feet for HIS mother Ha ha ha

    who is the tackiest of them all!!

    I found some wooden letters on ebay which you have inspired me to make a mobile with now - I will post a photo on my blog in the fairly distant future ( my daughter is just feeding the dog and her alternately with sugar from the sugar bowl - so I am a little busy for crafts just now!)

  3. I quite like the tacky hand and foot print ornaments, we might be making those ourselves, we could even do the dog and the cats! so thanks for the recipe!

    Looking forward to the cocktail recipes.