The advantage of living in a northern climate is that finally all those Christmas recipes make sense. In winter our body naturally craves richer foods and as there is a limited choice of fresh fruits, cakes and puddings are made with dried fruits. I ate Christmas pudding, cake and mincemeat in Australia but, when it was 30C outside I really just wanted a bowl of fruit salad. So while I am no fan of the cold and snow, winter is the perfect time for recipes using dried fruits.
I know that Christmas cake induces a strong response from most people, there seems to be no middle ground, you either love it or hate it. I love it and luckily so does my husband. This year I've missed the deadline for making one that will be ready for Christmas. I still plan to bake one next week but it won't be ready to cut until mid-January, when I will appreciate it even more. Luckily there is a cake I can make and eat straight away - Stained Glass Christmas Cake. It's packed with colourful dried fruit and cut in very thin slices, so it resembles a stained glass. I have mincemeat in my refrigerator and a pudding in my freezer and shortbread is quickly made so I am almost ready. I am writing my cards that must be posted on the weekend to reach Australia and England in time and tonight we are going to get a tree. I grew up with fake Christmas trees so for me the real ones are very special. I love the scent, the argument over the decorating and just sitting in the late afternoon with only the tree illuminating the room.
I have a photo of holly growing in Kubota gardens, close to my friends' house in Seattle, to illustrate this post. Another plus for living in the frozen north, I'll be able to decorate my cake, with a sprig of fresh holly instead of fake.