CHRISTMAS ESSENCE … how to give your home the fragrance of Christmas

The days before Christmas should be long and lingering.  Days to enjoy.   One needs to treasure the simple things.    In an unhurried manner.  No frantic trips to crowded malls.  I start my Christmas  in November.     Creating Christmas cards.   Gathering wrapping paper and ribbons.  Unpacking the boxes of Christmas ornaments and decorations – all in a leisurely manner.

This is the time to enjoy treasured memories.  I still have the Santa my son made in kindergarten forty-five years ago.  Battered and faded it always graces our tree front and centre.      The polar bear cookie jar appears on my kitchen counter.  His name is lorek Byrnison, from the book The Golden Compass.       This is how you slow down in the days before December 25th.

To give our home the perfume of Christmas preparations I  simmer an all natural Christmas essence on the stove.  You’ ll love the fresh, crisp, spicy fragrance, and you probably have everything to create it right in your kitchen.


Chop the peel of a large orange and a large lemon.    Into a medium sized saucepan put the peel, plus 2 sticks of cinnamon broken, 12 whole cloves and 4 bay leaves.  Add 4 cups of water and bring to the boil.  Immediately reduce heat to a very slow simmer.  A word of caution, don’t let it simmer dry.  Just keep adding more water.




Lemons glorious  lemons.

Grate the rind, squeeze the juice, whip together sugar and eggs and you create pure alchemy.

This golden dessert is a creation that is heavenly beyond words.  It has the most decadent puckery lemon flavour.  The base is a delicate combination of just the right amount of butter, sugar and flour to contain the shimmery lemon beyond lemon topping. It is the perfect dessert to serve after your epic Christmas dinner.  Not too rich with a refreshing flavour.  You can embellish it with fresh seasonal fruits.   Make it magnificent with mounds of whipped cream.  Or simply dust it  with icing sugar and serve it in all its pristine glory.

Join me in the kitchen and click on LEMONY LEMON LEMON SQUARES.

A GET WELL SURPRISE …. macarons from Thierry

I was feeling a little under-the-weather.   The flu bug indeed had taken a bite out of me.     Pillows plumped,  sheets smoothed,  a feather duvet to keep me cosy, and a stack of Food and Wine magazines.   Recuperation was just around the corner.  Helped by this elegant bag of treats.  Macarons from a local patisserie, THIERRY CHOCOLATERIE of Vancouver.

My friend Dellis,  knowing how much I loved the macarons from LADUREE in Paris,  delivered this delicious get well gift.


Coffee, lemon, pistachio, chocolate, gianduja, I nibble my way back to good health.    The THEIRRY  cafe experience awaits me.   I’ll get well soon.