First of all, Christmas is not cancelled. It may be different this year, but it can still be special. Part of the fun is in the planning of course and we may have more time at the moment to think about the presents you want to give the special ones in your life. I would, unsurprisingly, wholeheartedly recommend a gift voucher for a food tour (www.yorkshireappetite.com) or a Yorkshire Goodie Box (www.yorkshiregoodiebox.com) just let me know it’s for Christmas if you’re buying it now and I will make sure it arrives in time.
Online shopping of course isn’t the only answer. I suspect that rather a lot of people might be getting some home-made jams and chutneys this year, especially if you were inspired by our last newsletter! Homemade gins and vodkas are proving popular too. There are a few people with strange containers in their kitchen full of gooseberries or raspberries bathing in some strong smelling liquid. (My favourite is gin if anyone is asking). For my birthday in May this year, my sister gave me a voucher for a “lovely day out” – it was to include lunch, transport, an exciting activity and free souvenir gift. The only thing on the terms and conditions was I had to take her with me. When finally the day came when we could meet in September, she picked me up, took me to Fewston Reservoir where we had a lovely picnic overlooking the water (scones, sandwiches, something yummy from Bettys) then we went walking with Llamas in the Yorkshire Dales (click here for info) and I came home very happy clutching my key ring of Yogi (my own personal LLama). One of the best gifts I’ve had!
My brother in law is very difficult to buy for. I can just about scrape together an idea for Christmas each year but then there is the birthday as well so I managed to manoeuvre the family into a new tradition several years ago where I make him a cake or suchlike to celebrate his birthday. He’s happy, I’m happy and I get to try my baking skills at least once a year! Mostly it has been a success, this year I have just this very week made ‘blackberry and coconut squares’ and I can report it has a thumbs up. This was a comeback after last year where I tried a recipe with cardamon in it and if you have ever tasted anything with too much cardamon in it then you will know the word ‘inedible’ springs to mind. Sorry bro! I hope I’ve made up for it this year.
So there’s a couple of ideas to start planning the present giving season and, thrown in for free, some ideas on what to do on these darkening evenings…
– Saturday 31st October. Halloween. Bake yourself something frightening (I do that all the time according to my daughters – rude!). Magazines are full of ideas for ghostly biscuits and ghoulish meals and settle in for a horror fest. You can go full scale Exorcist or the rather more gentle ‘Haunted Collector” (a tv classic in my opinion). You could have a prize for the best ghost story.
– Thursday 5th November. Guy Fawkes (a Yorkshireman of course) Night. Bake yourself some Parkin, bob some apples and toast some marshmallows round the fire.
– Reading Challenge. Two books this month, both by Yorkshire Authors. You can go classic with the Brontes, nostalgic with James Herriot, or more contemporary with Kate Atkinson (no relation). Books set in Yorkshire also allowed: Billy Liar for old school or try “Neither Nowt nor Summat” by Ian McMillan.
Don’t despair my lovely foodies. Despite the difficulties of 2020, there is still much to try and much to enjoy!