The Smells of the Holiday Season

It is 23 October and, unsurprisingly (surprisingly?? fortunately? unfortunately??), it's nearly time for the Christmas holidays... nearly. We don't really mean for you to break out the baubles and tinsel... yet. 

But some things do require a little time if you plan on doing them yourself. 3 November is the perfect time to start on Christmas cake -- it does take time to soak the fruit in sherry, rum or, for the teetotaller amongst us, apple juice. And after that, baking the cakes themselves before curing them properly to let all the taste and aroma fully develop. I've left a link at the end for a good recipe for those who are interested!

But I digress. Today's post isn't about food. Well, kind of. Because the one scent that really brings home that Christmas is here is mulled wine. That intoxicating mix of booze, citrus,  cinnamon, cloves and cardamon. Cheekily, this perfume can be replicated with a little time and patience (a couple of months to be exact.)

I'm talking about pomanders. A tradition that apparently dates back to the Middle Ages when people hadn't put hygiene as a top priority. Pomanders were made and kept in rooms and closets to keep odours bearable. Here is a link that gives a fascinating look into the history of the spice-studded fruit.

We've been busy in the evenings making some in front of the telly and, yes, there'll be pictures close to the date and, yes, they'll be available to buy. Mind you, there is still time to give it a go yourself if you have crafty hands and if you have an evening or two to spare. Martha Stewart has good directions that I've linked to below.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we've made an adjustment or two. I have left out the orris root powder (as an added prservative) and replaced it with generous dustings of different spices. They're really inexpensive here in Singapore -- we're not in the Spice Islands for nothing!

The other thing I've done is left a skewer in the fruit where I'd like a ribbon to run through. Martha says to tie a ribbon on the outside of the fruit once it's good and dry but I think that wrapping ribbon around a sphere is a bit of a faff so I've planned ahead and am going to thread a bit of lace through the fruit.

I know that the holidays are a bit way off but do let me know if you give this a try and how you get on!

Pomander How To
Christmas Cake Recipe
Mulled Wine Recipe

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