Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Secret Santa, Christmas Presents and a Bookmarked Scottish Black Bun

The practice of Secret Santa in the workplace is meant to create a warm, convivial and harmonious  environment.  Secret Santa is supposed to bring joy and laughter to what can be a very long dreary day with everyone patiently waiting for their festive holidays to begin. Secret Santa only works if every one who wishes to participate participates, but there will always be some people who will try to sabotage it; or plain and simply be bah humbug, but we will not them them spoil it for the rest of us. 
I was ever so pleased to have pulled out a good friend at work for Secret Santa.  She is into Matryoshka dolls also known as Russian Nesting Dolls.  I found these festive themed Russian dolls a few months back, so it was quite timely and fitting that I pulled her name out of the jug,(don't worry I also bought her another gift).
I was given a beautiful Fair Trade hand crafted silk scarf by my Secret Santa - its just my colours.  I also received this Cinnamon & Orange Soap and Grapefruit Aloe Shampoo as a Thank you from Amy.  The shampoo has twigged D's interest. I said he likes citrus things.
Now onto things under our Christmas tree.  One of the gift bags comes from a friend at work (the very same one I had for Secret Santa) and the other gift bag was collaborate effort of a young nephew and nieces.  Everything else was mostly from my husband or from me to him. My husband thinks I am hard to buy for, I don't think I am.  Of course like most people I would love a bigger house with a bigger kitchen, a real log fire, a dog ...but the truth is I am content with what I already have in my life, everything else is a bonus!  
So what did I get?  An electric tooth brush and here are some cookbooks; a Owl shaped cookie cutter to go with my cookie cutter collection.
Another vegan cookbook, even though I am not vegan - but hey everyone can eat vegan.
This one is not a vegetarian cookbook, but I am a fan of Kelis and had her cookbook My Life on A Plate on my wish list.  She has an entire album dedicated to Food, here is a link to one called Breakfast.  There are plenty of recipes that can be adapted and some of course are already naturally vegetarian. 

For the kitchen - a Cooks Blowtorch.  D remembered me grumbling about not having one when I made vegan Creme Brulee a little while back; and  4 pack skillet set for making cookies in the oven.  
Here is one of the skillets out of the packaging.  The skillets are cast iron and can be used again and again, the cookies will be demolished in no time at all.  I was also given another cookbook by a friend at work.  
Some African American movies DVDs.  Dear White People and For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide.  I watched Beloved many years ago at the cinema with D when we were both at University, so it was nice to have my own copy now.
Early this year I had started Yoga but had to drop out. Like gardening,  I hope to get back into it in 2016.  D also presented me with a 2016 diary.  I am no mermaid, but I do love the rainbow like colours depicted here. 
The nieces got me some Yankee Candles.  I had gone over their house a few months back and spotted some Yankee candles that were Cafe Culture scented.  These are scents that evoke the festive season. How sweet they remembered. 
Other than making a Root Vegetable Terrine  with Chestnuts (still to be showcased) and a Hot Water Crust vegetarian Christmas Pie, I have to admit I have not cooked or baked much in the way of festive recipes.  D made our Christmas Vegetarian Roast Dinner. In fact I will admit that I have been extremely lazy, have long sleep ins and indulging in lots of shop bought mince pies.  The Christmas Pudding gifted to me last year is still in its packet. But I am not feeling overly guilty about this, there is only the two of us and there is only so much two people can eat - so we have been eating in moderation, except for the chocolates that were given to D...Please don't ask about them.
Even though I  have some new cookbooks, I found myself flicking through one gifted to me last year for Christmas.  Meat Free Any Day by Sarah Beattie.  I was thinking of making this Scottish Black Bun, but not many people I know like dried fruit - so it remains bookmarked for another year.
Still enjoying the Christmas tree. And don't be deceived  - this is not a real log fire, it just gives us the illusion that it is so, one day it may happen.


  1. That's some great presents. I won the Vegan Finger Food book in a competition and have yet to cook from it but there's some lovely looking recipes in it. I too intend to do more yoga in 2016.

    1. Thank you. Let us both actually cook from it in 2016.

  2. you have wonderful presents - I know it is not a log fire but it still looks so cosy - I think a slice of scottish black bun in front of the fire would be perfect festive experience (I liked dried fruit but I know what you mean about it not being popular) I love new cookbooks and those skillets are so cute (great for oven baked pancakes too) and I have done a little yoga this year so hope to do a bit more next year too. Have a happy new year.

    1. Thank you Johanna. The skillets are very cute and yes, versatile. Happy New Year to you too.

  3. What a great stash! I have the Homemade Vegan Pantry book and it's quite lovely-- I must utilise it more next year. Love your own cookie cutter! Happy holidays :D

    1. Thank you so much. The homemade vegan pantry is just that, not really about recipes as meals as such - but more for staples. Happy New Year to you.

  4. If the christmas pudding is suitable for you to eat, and is still useable, why not try something my Mum used to make to use left over c'pudding?
    Basically it was a short crust pastry sandwiching a thick slice of the pudding and baked in the oven on a tray. When cooled, she used to sprinkle icing cugar over it. It must have been something her Mum made as she referred to them as 'Tram cakes'! I don'y like c'pudding much or pastry, but these I did enjoy.
    Happy New Year to you and yours xxx

    1. Thank you so so much. Yes, I do recall Tram Cakes when I lived in Glasgow, available all year round. I may give them a go.
      Happy New Year to you and yours too

  5. The seasonal Russian doll set is really magnificent! :) Love the other presents as well.

    1. Thank you VegHog.
      The Russian Doll is awesome. I hope she likes it, I will see her on Monday.


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