Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Better late than never; or, amazing post spoilt us at Christmas

Long ago, in a time far far away - December that is - I signed up to take part in a Christmas cookie and ornament exchange. Having had so much fun sending my jam across the world I just couldn't resist. Plus, this is something I could already do. No more crying over boiling fruit and setting points, just good ole' fashioned cookies and some nice ornaments.

I sent mine off with great excitement, having been a bit carried away and packed not only two types of cookie (cranberry and white chocolate biscotti, and gingerbread) and technically two types of decoration (the gingerbread was also designed for hanging on the tree), but a mini-Christmas pudding and some sneaky spiced apple caramels.

Then I did what I did when I made the jam, I forgot that in the whole point of "exchange" is that you get something too! So off we went to France the weekend before Christmas and I completely forgot about it.

We got back late after a delayed flight and a drive. I staggered through the door with our bags and there waiting was a suspiciously large box with "perishable" and "US Postal Service" all over it. Cookies!

I couldn't wait to get it open, and there was barely enough time to give the cat a quick hug before I was eagerly tearing past the sellotape. I had to giggle when I opened the card, it was from Nicole, the women I had sent the jam to! Luck of the draw meant that this time she randomly got me, talk about fortuitous. She'd been very naughty too and totally spoilt us, it wasn't just cookies and ornaments that awaited us, but some delicious coffee, chai chocolates, marshmallows and blondies! Isn't that just amazing?! And all in the most beautiful and yet practical festive packaging.

It was as if she'd read my mind too, the ornaments were the adorable handmade birds seen here perched in our Christmas tree (just at the weekend in France I had commented to N that I wanted to get some fabric handmade ornaments to start a collection for our Christmasses), and a moose! I am more than a little fond of moose, some might say obsessed, and this relaxed fellow was the perfect addition to the growing collection of mooses in our flat (and was quickly made at home with fellow mooses on the tree).

The other element of mind reading came in the form of the cookies. Meyer lemon butter cookies to be exact. Lemon is one of my all-time favourite flavours, and I have been jealously admiring all the Meyer lemon recipes on Nicole's blog (and others) and so to have a little package of this special lemon-y goodness arrive on my door couldn't have been more perfect. They are were so delicious. I said she should rename them Meyer melting moments as they were melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a delicious creamy yet citrusy flavour. Although I loved the spiced indulgence of the persimmon blondies she sent, the lemon cookies were my favourite. (I should add that the blondies were gobbled up so quickly that I didn't get a chance to take a picture! But you can seem them here... and she's right, they are really good!)

The final part of the package, the princess marshmallows (explanation of the name here), were another aptly coincidental gift and so I waited to try them until Christmas eve. Why? Because in the tradition of having something small to open and indulge in on Christmas eve I had bought N some posh proper hot chocolate from a special local chocolatier. How pleased I was to unwrap the final box from our parcel and discover marshmallows! The perfect accompaniment. The chocolate was spiced and I thought the princess flavour would compliment it really well. It did. We managed to be restrained and only have two marshmallows each so we could have them in the next batch of hot chocolate. It was hard though, those fluffy delights kept melting away and making me want more!

A massive, massive thank you to Nicole for sending such lovely things (and being so patient with me for not posting until now), it was the most wonderful surprise. Also a huge thanks to Molly for organising the event. I just don't know how she manages the logistics of things like this, especially not so close to Christmas, I aspire to that level of organisation. I can't wait for the next event, oh please let there be one!

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