December is a busy month if you are daft enough to bake for living. Ask me most months and I will extol the virtues of what I do – how much I love the process from idea to creation, testing and tasting, eating and selling.

I enjoy peoples’ pleasure in what I have made – to be honest that’s why I do it. But there are definitely simpler ways to make a living.

If you ask me today how I feel about cooking at this time of year I have no choice but to say Stop, hold on, are you crazy?

I get up around 3 am (most days) and boy it’s cold. I flop out of bed and the first words I speak are muttered to the dogs who enter the kitchen for breakfast and then go back to bed.

 stick the oven on, rapidly followed by the kettle and Alexa (assuming she is paying attention). You might think that the kitchen will warm up soon enough, but the truth is that a baker would really rather it didn’t. We want our ovens well insulated so that they hold their heat inside rather than sending it out.

For the month of December production days are on repeat apart from stopping at the weekend to run a couple of markets (last month rather unusually we went off in three different directions –- that was a challenge).

I have to be finished by 1.30 to join my writing group at 2pm. After which comes all the fun stuff – paper work (the one bit of my job I do not enjoy).

This week I have made the following ready for a weekend filled with markets:

10 kg cheese pastry
8 kg plain pastry
5 kg sweet pasty
4 kg croissant dough (pain au choc, croissants, pear danish)
15 kg bread dough
4 Cakes (including a new pear and pecan strudel)
2 Trays peanut butter slice
2 Trays brownie
6 kg  Mince meat for mince pies – leading to so many mince pies
1kg Bakewell filling for mince pie tops
Potatoes baked, cheese grated, onion fried, cheese sauce
Turkey and ham roasted, white sauce, pear & cranberry relish65 Sausage rolls
35 Sausage rolls with black pudding (including mixing filling)
40 Pigs in blankets sausage rolls (mushroom filling had to be made)
30 Eggs boiled covered with sausage meat and rolled in a special mix of

breadcrumbs for scotch eggs
1 kg Peppers were roasted
2 batches shortbread cooked
1 kg  lemon curd made for filing roulades
4 nut roasts
4 chocolate roulades, whipped ganache, coated in echolocate
4 lemon roulades, filled with cream and lemon curd make earlier in the week
1 tray of stollen and 4 individual stollen
18 Scones – filling made
78 tarts – including sweet potato roasted, bacon cooked, peas and mint blitzed
20 Game pies – large, small and individual

And a partridge in a pear tree….

When Christmas finally comes you will find me feigning sleep on the sofa whilst ma and Brian get busy with Christmas dinner. Or failing that, with my nose in a very large glass of something fizzy!

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