Don’t call me honey
I make honey jumbles (which, in spite of their name, contain no honey and are a kind of gingerbread) throughout the year and I ice them in their traditional colours of pink and white but, if you do them in white and green or sprinkle icing stars or edible glitter on them, they look as Christmassy as they taste.
Preparation time 3 hours 30 minutes
Start 4 hours ahead
60g butter ¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ cup (260g) golden syrup 1 tbs milk
1¾ cups plain flour 1 egg white
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1½ cups icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp ground cloves ]food colouring
¼ tsp allspice
To make the biscuits, melt the butter and the golden syrup together and then bring to the boil. Take the mixture off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Sift the flour, bicarb and spices together and add to the syrup mixture with the milk. Cover and stand for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Grease 2 oven trays.
Knead the dough gently on a floured surface until it is no longer sticky. Roll it into 4 sausages with 1.5cm diameters and then cut them into 6cm logs. Place the logs 3cm apart on the oven trays and bake for 10 minutes or until the biscuits are just firm. Leave them to cool on the trays.
To make the icing, beat the egg white lightly and stir in half of the icing sugar. Then add the remaining icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a thick, spreadable icing. Colour half of the mixture pink and then ice the jumbles.
Christmas Day 1970: Nanna had even more tea towels than pillowslips and Dad strongly believed that you shouldn’t be shy about changing tea towels whenever they got damp so he told Matthew to staff the stack and bring us a fresh tea towel whenever we asked for one. Matthew felt very important and delivered each one with all the speed his four-year-old legs could muster. His older cousins inspected each new tea towel closely as it was handed to them: a floral tea towel scored just one point, a souvenir tea towel from a town you had been to scored two points, and a calendar from a year before you were born scored a heady five points. Peter won, but I still believe it was because he ditched an almost dry tea towel so that he could get a 1955 calendar.
 My friend Sharon decorated in turquoise and silver last year and so she iced her Christmas cake in turquoise and added a snowflake picked out in silver cachous. It looked great but I advise those of us who don’t have her artistry to stick to colours that are reminiscent of food.