Not too much to say here, just enough to keep the photos from being too puzzling.
Chris came for Christmas, is now off at a cabin in Sooke (not our old home, but one with power and running water) and will be back for New Year's. He just missed connecting with my brother, my sister-in-law Laura (pictured here with Mark and the back of Cedric's head) and their kids, who came by on the 28th and filled the kitchen nicely, as you can see by the second photo below.
The hare hanging from the rack is plush, we are not aging our meat in the historic fashion.
These are most of my nephews and nieces on one side of the family, with a significant other for leavening (he's the one in the striped shirt).
We had to bring in a few extra chairs. It was raucous and cheerful, and the cat hid upstairs until everyone had gone.
Can I remember names? Um. Cedric, who sings opera; Jason, Piper's significant other; Piper who's supposed to look like me; Graeme, Ivan the youngest, Josephine the shy one; Helen whom you can't quite see, Hannah who has been carving Christmas dinners all week - and I'm missing someone, I know it.
Happily baking still, and just the other day finished decorating the cookies with this batch of golden bells. I'm quite taken with the little holly leaf sprig, as you can tell.
I do need to do another dozen tarts, because the pastry won't keep forever. Mark has asked that I stop at 3 dozen butter tarts, so I may do the rest as pecan tarts (that is, the same filling, but over chopped pecans instead of raisins), or look at some other tart recipes. If I'm feeling adventurous. Maybe there's one that can use up an apple or two.
We had roast ducks with wine & bitter cherry (correction per husband: sour cherry) sauce for Christmas. Duck curry the next two days. I took the leftover cherry-wine sauce and used it in gingerbread cake, but I have to say the water-from-boiling-grapefruit-peel is more effective. I suppose the spices and molasses overpower any weaker flavours.
And since I promised, here is my super-garish birthday cake!
It's a butter cake with butterscotch icing, ornamented with butter icing left over from the roll cookies in a festive design of stars and holly (or possibly, green bats with red eyes). Around the outside is happy birthday Barbara in sloppy red icing, or Barbara happy birthday, or birthday Barbara happy, depending where you start.
New Year Merry Christmas and Happy to you!