I’ve seen a flood of Holiday Christmas posts, ideas, gift guides and menu ideas all across the web for the past few days. I went and buried my head in the sand, hoping if I stayed there for a while Christmas this year would blow past.
No, I am not a Christmas grouch. On the contrary I am usually right up there planning my Christmas dinner, organizing cookies baking evenings and bringing the decorations down as soon as December comes around. And if I do tend to fall behind, the tunes of “Last Christmas” by Wham! and the first steaming glasses of Glühwein at the Christmas market usually gets my Christmas spirit rolling. None of this seems to be working this year.
As a food photographer Christmas happened here in August and September, when I baked a few stollen, lots of Christmas cookies and a whole Christmas dinner for various magazines. Maybe that Christmassed me out. Or maybe the 3 weeks in Dubai with the sun, sand and warmth just pushed my thoughts for the festive season back and I am still in summer mode. I won’t go into the curses every time I have to put on stockings or scrape the car windscreen free of ice. And we are at the beginning of winter.
Luckily I have a 11 year old son who loves all of the magical charm Christmas brings along. The Advent calendar, candles, sparkly lights, baubles and decorations all enamour him immensely, loosing all his coolness of a pre-teen and once again becoming a small child captured by the enchantment. He is still somewhere between not believing in Santa Claus and wanting to believe just in case … you know if he does really come flying by with Rudolph and co., his sledge filled with gifts. So he dutifully will write and color his modest wishlist and each morning comes running down the stairs to be the first to open the Advent calendar.
His fervor is contagious and so I found myself fighting my way through the bustling crowds into the stores on a Saturday to buy decorations, brushwood and wreaths for the first Advent. I guess I was not the only one in town with the idea. Loaded with candles, chocolates for the Advent calendar, tinsel, stars and wreaths I headed back home. I should have had a few glasses of glühwein … maybe the spirit would have come merrily.
That afternoon as we began to bring down some of the decorations from the attic, I did feel a certain small Christmas spirit ignite somewhere deep inside. Hearing Soeren sing to the carols playing on the radio made me smile and hum along. As the incense burnt its cinnamon-y perfume through the living room, my thoughts wandered off to the warmth of baking. A yeasty spiced dough was what I was craving, not entirely Christmassy but something that would help motivate me more.
A simple but satisfying challah was what came out of the oven, filling the air with aromas of warming cardamom and yeasty goodness.
Breakfast on first Advent was an easy and relaxing affair with pots of spiced herbal teas, warm slices of challah, slathered with butter and dollops of fruity jams. The candles provided a cosy light and the mistletoe hanging above the window shimmered as the sun rays shone through the leaves.
“How about asking your parents to come here for Christmas Lunch this year?” I asked Tom and before we knew it we were planning, thinking, talking Christmas!
This challah is extremely easy to put together without any complications. Cardamom infuses its flavors exclusively … I find cardamom and yeasty sweet breads work so well with each other so add as much or as little to suit your taste. You can also add a handful of dried cranberries to the dough while you knead it for a more fruity flavor. For me I was happy to have all the boasting flavors of cardamom in this challah.
I am not entirely cured of my Christmas grouchiness … but I know I will get there. There are plans of more Christmas baking and adding more decorations as we countdown. Luckily our tree does not go up till the 23rd … by then I think I will be in the full swing of Christmas.
What are you doing to get into the Christmas spirit?
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas inspirations:
- 50 tips for a relaxing Christmas – by my friend Sandy of Confiture de Vivre (German)
- Dazzling Christmas ornaments – by Sybille at Funkytime
- Modern Etiquette: GIft the right gift – by Design Sponge
Next week I’ll get a bit more Christmassy for you all with another yeasty sweet treat. See you then.
Have a great week!
More Christmas ideas from WFLH:
|Hazelnut Frangipane Tart with Quince Hazelnut Mincemeat||Hazelnut Marzipan Macaroons, Jam Drops with Morello Cherry Preserve and German Sptizbuben||Florentine Christmas Fruitcake|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First