Preparing for Christmas - week 3 and eBooks

10 December 2012

This year's garden is almost gone.

It's been a very busy month for me because I'm trying to get some writing work finished before Christmas. Add to that some family happenings, a little repotting in the bush house and my home chores and you'll understand there has not been a lot of spare time. I'm sure you're in the same situation - December is a busy time for most of us. And that's okay because usually, we can balance that busyness with the relaxation and peacefulness of January. Here that means sitting with my feet up, watching the cricket or knitting and enjoying cold drinks with clinking ice cubes. Then, all the work done in December is forgotten, life springs back into perspective and I get my head ready for the new year.

Best friends, Fiona and Mary, sharing an apartment as they brood and yearn for chicks.

Penguin is releasing the Down to Earth ebook at the end of this week. It's for Australian release only and will be sold though Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Google, Readcloud and Booki.sh. I believe the price will be $19.95. To co-incide with the release of the Penguin eBook, I've written another eBook called The Down to Earth Home Dairy which is written for home cooks with little experience with dairy other than drinking milk. It contains several recipes for making cheese - hard cheese, camembert, ricotta and a soft meltable cheese, similar to Kraft slices, but without the preservatives. It also contains what I know about making and storing yoghurt, how to make sour cream, buttermilk, pouring custard, baked custard, delicious milky puddings, butter, homemade condensed milk and vanilla ice-cream using the condensed milk. I have tried to present recipes that can often be made with what's already in the kitchen and although there are some special requirements, such as starters and rennet, I have included links to reliable places you can buy these from. You don't have to buy a cheese press. I have priced The Down to Earth Home Dairy eBook at four dollars. It is available for international release later this month and will be sold from my blog.

The lace cap hydrangeas flowered just in time for Christmas.

So, this is the third week of Christmas preparations to avoid a last minute scramble. I have to report that I didn't get around to wrapping gifts last week so that's on my list again this week. I'll also be:
  • working out which glasses we'll be using for our Christmas lunch, then washing them.
  • polishing the silver cutlery. I know this sounds posh and very unlike me but I have some very old cutlery that I like using and some of it needs polishing and washing to look its best.
  • I haven't made a Christmas cake this year but if you've made a fruit cake, don't forget to keep pouring brandy or sherry over it. There is a thread at the forum full of Christmas cake recipes and encouragement.
  • I know that I have enough homemade relish and pickles for our cold Christmas lunch buffet but I'll be making kimchee for a very special Korean lady. ;- ) If you want to add relish, chutney or pickles to your menu, you still have time to make them.
  • start ginger beer from scratch. If I start that this week it should be nicely fermented in time for Christmas.
What's on your list this week?

Don't forget to check the threads on the forum today. The mods are working with me on this and they have started many excellent threads over there full of Christmas prep ideas.