Christmas on Becca's Books | 'Memories of Christmas Past' by Emma Davies

~ 'Memories of Christmas Past' ~

By Emma Davies

I’m a real home bird. I like nothing better than being in my own home, with my family and familiar things around me, particularly at Christmas, when like most families we have a whole series of traditions for our perfect Christmas day. It’s odd then, that one of the best Christmases I’ve had in recent years was the time when our family were very young and we went away for Christmas week.
On paper it shouldn’t have worked at all; our eldest daughter was about two and a half and our middle child was about five months old, (number three hadn’t arrived as yet) and we rented a small cottage in a tiny village in Norfolk. Not only that, but my family were all arriving for a meal with us on Boxing Day; my mum, dad, sister, her husband and their two children, also both toddlers. It should have been a stress fuelled disaster, with fractious overexcited children, grumpy at being taken out of their usual routine and bickering, fraught parents, but it wasn’t, it was just one of those magical occasions when everything seems perfect, everyone behaves impeccably and you take with you into the future some very fond memories indeed.
We stayed in the village of Little Walsingham, a traditional Norfolk village of flint and stone cottages, but which is also an historic place of pilgrimage after Lady Richeldis had a vison there in 1061. A shrine now stands in the centre of the village which attracts a large number of visitors. None of this was known to us when we booked our little cottage last minute, but in the depths of winter and so close to Christmas the place was deserted. Although neither my husband nor I practise a religion, I would say that we are spiritual people and this little village certainly had a very special atmosphere; something you couldn’t quite put your finger on, but it was there all the same. Perhaps it was just the Christmas magic at work, but the day after we arrived it snowed and the village was transformed, it was so pretty, and as we walked the streets, with my husband holding my daughter’s hand and me carrying my son snuggled in close to me, it was such a peaceful, happy, family time.
Although I love our ‘normal’ family Christmas, which really is quite quiet, this holiday was much more like you’d find within the pages of a heart-warming Christmas novel; a picture postcard setting, lightly falling snow, streets of twinkling lights and festive decorations, and all the sentiments of the true Christmas spirit. Maybe that’s what makes it stand out in my memory, simply because it was a little moment in time, taken out of our normal reality where we could just enjoy everything the season had to offer without ‘real life’ worries and stresses getting in the way.
I shall leave you with a little something that I made that Boxing Day morning for my family to enjoy when they arrived. They’ve become a firm part of our family traditions, and it really wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Dead easy to make, they’re soooo tasty!
Cheese sables
6oz / 175g butter, cut into smallish chunks           
6oz / 175g plain flour     
6oz / 175g of good strong cheddar cheese, grated
A small bag of salted peanuts, crushed (although if you’re like me, you’ll use a big bag and eat the rest!)
A beaten egg.

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and then add the grated cheese to the mix. Work together into a ball. (You won’t need any extra liquid as the cheese does this for you).
Flour the work surface well, and then roll out the pastry into an large oblong, about half a centimetre thick. Trim the edges and then cut the oblong into several smaller strips, about 10cm wide. Brush each strip with the beaten egg and then scatter the crushed peanuts onto the top, pressing them down lightly. Repeat with any scraps / leftovers.
Now cut each strip into squares, and then each square into two triangles. Place the triangles onto a baking tray and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes at 200°C until light golden brown. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Resist the temptation to shove them all on your mouth all at once. 

After a varied career Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: 'I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.' Well the job in the design studio didn't work out but she's now a forty something mother of three, and is working on the rest.

Today she's a finance manager and looks at numbers a lot of the time, so at night she likes to throw them away and play with words, practicing putting them together into sentences. Pop over to her website where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car.

You can find Emma Davies on Facebook | Twitter |
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