What the hell's happened? Christmas was ages away and all of a sudden it's crept up behind me and bitten a chunk out of my arse. "I can't believe people are already going on about Christmas," I scoffed, while rolling my eyes, "It gets earlier every year!"
Even though the streets of London are shining beneath the glow of fairy lights and Nat King Cole's been crooning through the supermarket speakers since November, I'm only just getting into gear with my Christmas prep. I haven't sent a single Christmas card, our tree still hasn't been bought (we were supposed to get a potted one this year, but failed. Again.) and we still haven't decided whose parents to spend it with or if we're going to bugger off to Iceland and see the northern lights instead. I haven't even got round to making a Christmas cake or pudding, because I've been too busy making everyone else's. This morning, festive cheer turned into festive panic, when I wrote a "to do" list of things to complete before the big day. I've since calmed down and scaled down my plans.
For 2012, I'm going continental. I love traditional, Christmas pudding, set on fire and served with lashings of brandy butter. I love a deliciously rich and boozy Victorian fruitcake, complete with a royal icing snow scene. But this year, I'll be serving Bûche de Noël, panettone bread and butter pudding and lebkuchen. No fuss, no months of maturation and no children moaning about rum-soaked currants looking like rabbit poo.
Although my festive table will be looking more European than usual this year, I can't leave traditional British fare out in the cold entirely. Gluten free mince pies are a must for my gluten-dodging boyfriend. He hasn't had a single one this year so far, which means it's definitely time to crack open the Kilner of damson and cobnut mince meat I made last year, in more organised times.
I'll be posting recipes this week, so keep checking back for festive inspiration for the short of time. What alternative sweet treats will you be serving up for Christmas this year?