Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Yesterday I baked a Christmas cake. Today I made a Christmas pudding. Nigella has nothing on me - apart from a voluptuous figure, a wealthy husband and a shelf-ful of books to her name etc etc!

Steaming a pudding is a whole day's work - 8 hours spent topping up the pan to ensure it doesn't burn dry - but well worth it. And you get to make a wish as you stir it.

So we have a cake and a pudding. Now all we need is the main course. I gave up on turkey a few years ago and since then we've eaten goose, biryani, chicken and pork. The girls have voted for crispy duck this year, with pancakes. We'll see.

Monday, 3 December 2007


Today I baked a Christmas cake. It filled the house with the aroma of dried fruit, warm spices and brandy.

I followed the recipe from my battered old Good Housekeeping cookery book. I've tried others but I think this one's the best.

My mum had a Good Housekeeping cookery book. Hers was neatly covered in brown paper and plastic and we had to ask permission to look at it. I haven't taken such good care of mine. The dust jacket's lost, the spine and one half of the hardboard cover have fallen off and the pages are well thumbed and splattered with greasy marks (especially the recipe for macaroni cheese, my fall back when I can't think what else to cook). It's served me well since my final year at university when I bought it for 50p as an introductory offer to some book club.

The other cookery book my mum used was one by Molly Weir, a redoubtable Scotswoman who later appeared on adverts for Flash. I wonder what became of her?


The first Sunday in Advent.
New year.
New beginning.
I do hope so.