It’s that time of the year!

And so another week (or is it two?) have passed in a whirlwind fashion. There have been two happiest of events in the last three weeks or so – two new grand babies – a girl and a boy, in that order.

There have been cooking classes here too, lots of fun with food, and of course these will continue right through almost to Christmas Day, then off and running again the first week in January.

Speaking of which …. next Saturday is a Gifts from the Kitchen class, conducted by daughter Stephanie. There is guaranteed to be a wide range of gifts to be prepared and packaged, all of the delectable edible kind of course.

Because Stephanie has an order for confectionery also, the last two days has seen lots of activity in the kitchen here. With Steph at the helm it was all hands on deck, with some extra goodies prepared for the family to enjoy.
It was great to watch granddaughter Charly pulling a batch of taffy, chanting: “Lift, squeeze and pull the taffy” as she worked.

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There are a few photos here to show some of the activity – the taffy of many flavours before and after pulling and packaging for instance. It’s amazing to see how the colour changes once air is incorporated through the pulling. The kitchen has been filled with the fruity, sugary aroma of the many flavours – raspberry, pineapple and salt water to name just a few.  Then there is peanut brittle of course. Lollipops too, then tomorrow will see another round of rocky road and coconut ice and so much more besides.

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This cooking school kitchen is wonderful, not only for the space it provides, but also because we can leave things in “limbo”, such as ingredients on the benches at the ready for the next round of frenetic activity.

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In the meantime beer is happily brewing in a corner of the kitchen, the small space Robert claims for his endeavours. It should be ready to share with anyone who calls in over the Christmas break. The rose petal “champagne” that I made a couple of weeks ago stands at the ready also, for those who prefer to partake of a more non-alcoholic treat.

This week a friend sent some strawberry powder to experiment with, what a treat! I’ve been awaiting inspiration, but now I’ve also been given some beautiful rhubarb – strawberry and rhubarb jam seems a good starting point  I’ve started it off already, but from the photo, perhaps I added too much of the strawberry powder?  Time will tell the tale when I finish boiling it up tomorrow.

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I made redcurrant jelly yesterday too – I love to serve this with turkey or ham, SOOO much better than cranberry. I’ll even have a couple of jars to spare for the stall, and little jars prepared to include in the Gifts from the Kitchen take home bags next Saturday.

And so another month is about to begin, the busiest of the year. Once the edible Christmas gift making is done, then it’s time for the huge influx of local produce.  Already there’s a hint of new season fruits coming in, so there surely will be weeks of bottling and jamming to come. Just perfect!

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