Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Guest Post - ’Tis the season to … gather in the kitchen by Kate Blackadder

When I was a child Christmas was usually spent with just the five of us – Dad, Mum, sister, brother and myself – as we lived in the far north of Scotland and travelling on the narrow roads was difficult at that time of year. 

It was Mum who did most of the Christmas cooking and baking but Dad made oatmeal stuffing for the turkey, and an old-fashioned dumpling boiled in a cloth. We children stuck Empire biscuits together with jam and attempted to pipe Christmas trees on the top.

One year, though, when I was about seven we stayed with an aunt and uncle, and on Christmas Day lots of the extended family on both sides came round. I remember admiring the centrepiece my aunt made for the table – a mirror with cotton wool stuck on for snow and various little people and animals ‘skating’ on it.

I filled my little face with the goodies on offer without a thought for all the catering arrangements that my aunt would have made for such a large house party – but I know now that my mum and other female family members would have arrived with tins of cakes and biscuits, donned aprons the minute they arrived and got stuck in to help. 

Fast-forward a few decades, and it’s me who helps my grown-up daughter in the kitchen. She is far more ambitious and creative a cook than me so I’m perfectly happy being handed a bowl and told to whisk or beat, or some such task, while she masterminds the more difficult stuff. There is nothing more cosy in the world than sharing a warm, Christmassy-smelling kitchen with her – although we disagree on the background noise. Re-re-re-runs of Friends is her preference; Radio 4 is mine.

The household males nobly offer themselves as baking testers (and, to be fair, turkey-carvers, wine pourers and clearer-uppers).

In my novel Stella’s Christmas Wish, published by Black & White Publishing
on 3 November 2016, Stella planned to spend Christmas with her sister, Maddie, and her granny, Alice, in Maddie’s flat in Edinburgh. Stella doesn’t want to go to the family home in Melrose in the Borders, because she doesn’t want to bump into her ex-boyfriend Ross. However, circumstances dictate that Stella might end up spending Christmas on her own.

That’s when she thinks about her granny and her sister and: ‘She would give anything if they could both be with her here right now, in this little kitchen. The three of them would be congregated around the cooker, stirring, tasting, laughing, clattering cutlery down on the table, enjoying a meal together, mock arguing over whose turn it was to wash up … ’

That’s just how I would feel.

Thanks for sharing Kate Blackadder, I disagree with you both on background noise, at this time of year it has to be Christmas music non stop!

You can purchase Stella's Christmas Wish on Amazon UK now

About Kate Blackadder

I live in Edinburgh with a view of the Castle. I’ve had around fifty short stories published and three magazine serials. Two serials The Family at Farrshore and The Ferryboat are available on Kindle, and in large-print library editions. Stella’s Christmas Wish, set in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, is my first full-length novel. I blog at and can be found on Twitter @k_blackadder and

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