There’s no getting around it. A big part of Christmas is exchanging presents.
It’s a wonderful feeling, tearing open beautifully wrapped packages with glee.
But it’s an even happier feeling watching someone you love opening the gifts you’ve chosen for them and loving it.
I’m part of two Secret Santa groups this year. Just sent out secret presents to a fabulous fellow blogger
I believe there are two types of gifts. There is the “want” list and the “need” list.
The “want” list has stuff we are really excited and greedy about. Fast forward to a few days later, and chances are the excitement is over.
Let me demonstrate with my “want” list for this year.
Things I would like include: A KitchenAid, a Kate Spade watch, an Ipad, an Iphone, and the ENTIRE Calvin and Hobbes box set.
Now let’s talk about the gifts I really, really need. This is my Christmas “need” wish-list.
The walnut cake Dad makes only for me every Christmas.
Hugs and smoochies from this puppy.
A long walk with Mum.
Decorating the tree with my brother.
Taking a family photo like this one.
The sight of my Church lit up on Christmas eve.
Isn’t she beautiful?
Eating snacks and drinking Thums Up on my bed with my oldest friends.
Baking something with Dad, with Mom yelling about how we’ve turned the kitchen upside-down.
Being at home with everyone I love.
Making bread and being marvelously surprised in the process. Oh wait! That happened already!
Gorgeous loaf, you.
There is such a simple pleasure in kneading dough for bread. It has to be therapeutic, because I certainly feel better.
Watching it grow and rise and bake is magical. And then you cut a slice to taste it
Crusty, brown magic.
Crusty white loaf
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 45 mins, plus rising and proving
1 tsp vegetable oil, for greasing
500 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
7 g packet dried yeast (I used Tesco)
1 tsp salt
320ml lukewarm water, plus more if needed
1. Grease a clean, deep bowl with oil and set aside. Place the flour, yeast, and salt in another large bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add the water and mix well with your hands until it comes together in a rough, sticky ball. (Add a little more lukewarm water if the dough is too dry.)
2. Transfer the dough onto a clean surface dusted with flour and knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. This took me about 12 minutes or so.
3. Place the dough in the greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave for about 2 hours, until double in size.
4. Knock back the dough on a floured surface, pushing out the air and deflating it. Shape the dough into a rough log and place in a 900g loaf tin. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to prove for half an hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 220º C. Sprinkle a little flour over the loaf, make some diagonal slashes on the surface, and bake for 15 mins. Then reduce the heat to 190º C and bake for 30 mins more. Remove and leave on a wire rack to cool. Cut into slices and toast, then slather with butter or extra virgin olive oil and enjoy.
It amazes me every single time dough rises and the smell of baked bread fills the room. Pure magic.
The simple, wonderful joys in life. Family, friends, health, laughter, conversations, and great food.
Those are the gifts I want this Christmas. For me and for you all
What’s on your “need” list this Christmas?