It seems that I have a few traditions, not all the usual type, in my kitchen during November.
Firstly, the Christmas cake. I followed Delia's Creole Christmas cake recipe once again, but adjusted it this year as I had a surfeit of cherry brandy. I decided I would make it a cherry cake instead. Here were my subs:
* The soaking booze consisted of 9 tbsps cherry brandy and 3 tbsps amaretto
* I replaced the currant with dried cherries
* I left out the molasses sugar and reduced the amount of sugar in the cake by 50g: it is virtually impossible, I have found to buy unsweetened dried cherries and even though these were only spiked with apple juice I don't want it to be too sweet
* I replaced the mixed nuts with flaked almonds
Once again, it smelled a bit clovey to me so I have made a note in the book this year to reduce the amount I add next year.
Secondly, mango chutney.
There comes a point every autumn when the local green grocer sells off cheap mangoes, hard as bullets. That point arrived two weeks ago (2 for a pound) and this weekend they were soft enough for chutney. The whole house is currently steeped in the smell of vinegar and coriander. Loving it.
Finally, gin. I have been patiently waiting for Sainsbury's to do their usual price lowering trick with Bombay Sapphire, and had actually given up hope, but this weekend the litre bottle was finally down to £18 so it came home with me and more citrus gin has been made. As good as my word from last year, this year's vintage will be two lemons, two limes and 200g caster sugar.
The first bottle is still living it up in the boot of Mr Z's car. He insists it must be ready by now but I think it needs to go for at least another year.