Shortbread is a treat at any time of the year but at Christmas, with those wonderful festive shapes, it comes into its own.
You don’t need much in your pantry cupboard to whip up the most delicious buttery, crumbly biccies. Forget the rice flour, cornflour, etc. Ickle Chef and I used this shortbread recipe last weekend to make some goodies to take into preschool on her last ever day (sob). It uses just three ingredients: sugar, margarine (I substituted butter) and plain flour. Sooooo easy and child-friendly too.
Ickle is becoming a professional sous-chef these days, although I think she is aiming for the top spot. She definitely does not want my help most of the time; she can do it by herself, thank you very much. And so she can. She is a whizz with the hand beater, the rolling pin and the shape cutters. And she really focuses on those finishing touches. I may not have rice flour and cornflour in my pantry cupboard, but I possess enough multi-coloured sprinkles, silver and pearl beads, mini pink hearts and coloured sugar to stuff a small Christmas stocking.
Hmmm, I thought we’d left it a bit late in the day to get a Christmas tree. I can’t remember a year without the real thing: that beautiful pine scent and needles all over the floor are so much a part of the festive season. And I hope they will be for Icklegen too. But I did wonder if there would be any trees left on 21st December. Christmas seems to start SO early every year. Not a problem if you have an artificial tree, which will live forever (really), but a wee bit of an issue if you want a real one to last the distance. Hence why we hadn’t got one earlier.
Daddy Ickle was a man with a plan though, and Icklegen and I were more than happy to go along for the ride. Destination: Tumbi Umbi*. Don’t you just love that name? I could quite happily live in a place called Tumbi Umbi, and it’s home to a wonderful little Christmas Tree Farm, too. Well done, Daddy Ickle!
And the excitement didn’t stop there either, because at Tumbi Umbi’s Christmas Tree Farm, you can choose your own Christmas tree and then chop it down. Not such a daunting prospect as the trees are relatively small. Nope, this is not the place to go if you want a giant, ceiling-scraper with room for hundreds of baubles; these are ickle trees, but my, are they beautiful. And I soon got carried away with the process of picking one out. As did Icklegen. Our little girl is something of a tree hugger, although I think she found this variety a little prickly.
Daddy Ickle was swift with the saw and we ended up with a little beauty: gorgeously green and vibrant, with that oh-so-important Christmassy scent. It’s now in pride of place in our living room, twinkling with fairy lights, which Icklegen keeps trying to blow out. And I think we have the beginnings of a lovely family Christmas tradition that will see us go back to Tumbi Umbi next year to do the same again.
*Tumbi Umbi is an Aboriginal name meaning ‘a place of much water’.