Christmas baking I suppose...well at least there was something therapeutic about making the gingerbread dough yesterday. (The Senior Cat is still demanding I make mince pies but I will ignore that for the moment.)
I was not going to make gingerbread - until the neighbour across the street offered to do the decorating. My paws can manage the mixing, the rolling, the cutting - but not the decorating. At least, not the sort of decorating that needs to be done.
The gingerbread will, I hope, be turned into a Nativity scene - or rather, two Nativity scenes. I have the biscuit cutters. They came as a kit. A friend in the United States (who happens to be Jewish) sent the kit to me. She saw it in a shop and thought I might like it "because it looks simple enough". Mmm...maybe. I'll try anyway.
The stable is just two, roughly triangular pieces. It is not like one of those gingerbread houses you see that need to be constructed with both walls and roof. Maybe. Maybe not. We will see.
There is more to it than that of course but I will cut the shapes out and see what happens. The Very Young Kittens across the road want to help of course. I plan to have biscuits ready for them to decorate. Their paws are not strong enough to roll out the dough but they can cut out some shepherds and use some of that "ready to roll" icing beloved of people who like to decorate cakes.
But, it was making the dough which was such a surprisingly peaceful and therapeutic exercise. I don't do a lot of baking. The Senior Cat is not given to eating morning or afternoon tea. He is not, and never has been, terribly interested in cake. He will, if he is offered while out, politely accept a slice of sponge cake. He likes the sort we call "ginger fluff" (sponge cake with ginger in it) and he likes (in small quantities) rich Christmas fruit cake. But forget other cake. He is not interested.
From my point of view this is a Good Thing. It means I do not have to make it. I am not tempted to eat it - although, like him, I am not terribly interested in cake.
But yesterday I weighed out ingredients - in a double quantity - and melted butter and sugar and honey slowly and I stirred with a wooden spoon. Eventually I kneaded the dough to a smooth consistency.
Yes, perhaps it was that. It was the kneading. It is not quite like kneading bread. Kneading gingerbread dough is quieter and much more soothing than that. I finished. I put the dough in the fridge ready to be used today. I cleaned up and washed up and, somehow, I felt better. I needed to do it.