This year we celebrated Christmas on the 19th December. Sister Number 1 alternates her Christmases: one year with us, one year at her girlfriend’s parents in Scotland. 2015 was a Scottish year, so we decided we’d do the whole thing one week early. The full festive shebang.

It’s strange, doing Christmas before everyone else. Even […]

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10 years ago Sara and I cemented our friendship over a year-long cookery course at a college in Richmond. It was called ‘An Introduction to French Cooking Techniques’ and it was tremendous. We learned how to gut, scale and fillet fish; tie up a joint for roasting; debone a chicken; make hollandaise sauce; […]

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A office Christmas party without alcohol is basically an after hours meeting. One without an agenda, obvious end time or biscuits. It’s a prospect too horrible to consider. So when our department do hoved into view, I made sure to kick start it with some miracle gin.

“Miracle gin?” you ask, possibly unable to comprehend how much […]

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Back in September a PR got in touch about a campaign Aspall Vinegar were going to run called Pickle With Pride. Simple idea: they send out some pickling kits, everyone pickles things, hashtags it #PickleWithPride and society at large realises how brilliant pickling is and buys more […]

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The run-up to Christmas is better than the day itself. Christmas Day is mostly waiting. As a child, it’s waiting for the clock to tick round to the magic hour when you can run into your parents’ room, screaming “PRESENTS!” and jumping on their heads.

In our house, that was 5.30am. Now my sisters and […]

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During one of my occasional back sweeps through the blog, I realised this recipe had vanished into the sinkhole that opened up when I moved the site from its original home to this shiny new palace. So I’ve rescued it in time for Stir Up Sunday.

This is a Christmas cake […]

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Is there anything kale can’t improve?

It’s the sixth day of Christmas and all across the country millions of people are standing in front of their fridge and asking themselves the same question: “How long can we keep eating this food before we poison ourselves?”

Because there is nothing more […]

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What’s in the box? See what you’ve got

If you read my previous post about how making people presents is a grave error and to be avoided at all costs, then you may now be in a quandary. Or maybe not. It depends on how seriously you take my pronouncements […]

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Hello gin in my garden

It’s the festive party season. A time of sequins, paper hats and nibbly things on sticks. A time to gather your friends together to make merry in the lambent glow of the Christmas tree. A time to risk your soft palate by playing microwaved mince […]

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It’s the 23rd December and I know exactly what you’re thinking: I’ve got the presents, put up the tree, secretly eaten all the good ones out of the tin of Quality Street and put the sherry in the fridge, but NIGHTMARE! I’ve forgotten to make the crispy cheese pancakes in the manner of Findus! Christmas is RUINED.

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