Now that we’re over half-way through November, I feel like I can step up my Christmas preparations. Not the Christmas crafting – that’s all long been underway – but the other preparations.

The choosing of festive foods that don’t require ordering. Getting a Christmas tree (although that probably won’t be for another week or so). Beginning to put up the decorations.

At the moment, most of my efforts are concentrated on finding the right festive foods. Testing the different offerings, to make sure that whatever we get is Just Right for our festive celebrations. And the different recipes.

Starting with pepparkakor.

200g plain flour

half tsp bicarb. of soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

half tsp ground black pepper

zest of one orange

150g caster sugar

115g unsalted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp treacle

Oven: 325F/160C/Gas Mark 3 (but don’t preheat immediately – it’ll need chilling for an hour or so before baking)

Mix together all the ingredients so that it forms a soft dough, then wrap in cling-film and chill for about an hour until firm.

Roll out until so thick, use whichever cookie-cutter comes to hand, and cut out shapes until all the dough is used up. You can nibble that last little bit that always gets left over if you like. Or make an extra teeny biscuit to eat straight from the oven. Testing for poison or quality control.

Bake for about 10 minutes/until dark golden brown and firm.

Allow to cool before eating. If you can wait that long. I reckon these’d be good, warm, with vanilla ice cream.

Also, I’ve just realised that I skipped the bicarb. I don’t think it harmed them. To be fair, I also almost forgot the sugar, but I remembered that in time. Nor did I have any ground ginger, so I substituted mixed spice.