Mmm, the roast chestnuts you were telling me about sound very tempting – I will add them to my Christmas shopping list! Your post started me thinking about all the delicious aromas that we associate with Christmas and it’s also one of the themes of a book I’ve been reading lately, Nigel Slater’sThe Christmas Chronicles. As I mentioned on Instagram , I first read about it on Nikki Garnett’s blog, midlifechic and then ordered it from my local library. It offers an inspiring view of winter as a season to be savoured and enjoyed rather than endured and, to help with this, it suggests filling the house with the scents of the season.
Evergreens, bay and hyacinths
As well as the Christmas tree and evergreen garlands, Nigel Slater suggests using bay leaves, bay oil or candles and, my particular favourite, hyacinths. If you haven’t planned ahead and planted your own to flower at Christmas, they aren’t expensive to buy, ready potted and in bud, and they’ll add colour and scent to the house for several weeks. I think they always seem like a promise of spring, which I can always do with at this dark time of the year.
As this is our last post in 2018, I’d like to wish you and everyone who reads our blog a wonderful Christmas and all the very best for the new year. I will see you here again on January 18th. Until then,
I’m roasting chestnuts as I write – no better tradition at this time of year, when December is almost upon us, the lights are twinkling in the windows and the snow is flurrying. I do miss the chestnut sellers on English street corners and their little blackened paper bags of steaming hot chestnuts. But since I can’t hop across the Atlantic anytime soon, this is my simple go-to recipe at home:
Preheat oven to 200C/400F
Carefully cut an x on the flat side of each nut, using a sharp paring knife
Lay the chestnuts, x-side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet
Roast for about 30 minutes
Cool, peel and enjoy
While I’m reminiscing, I’ve also been browsing through a book called Simply Tradition. It’s written by a friend of mine, Kierste Wade, whose children play violin with J. She writes a wonderful, inspirational blog, too, called Simply Kierste. In both places she has a lovely holiday idea for families – a Christmas Kindness Countdown Chain. I remember making paper chains with my grandmother when I was a child, and Kierste’s idea is all about turning this into a family advent tradition where you write down ideas for helping others on the strips of paper, and then add a strip to the chain each day as you put your ideas into action.
Simple and meaningful. Just what the season should be all about.
Chestnuts are ready! I hope you can enjoy some too this holiday season.