Tag Archives: Christmas

The Best Cake #teamnigella


I’m in my favourite day. Christmas cake day. And thanks to Nigella, it’s a pain free totally guaranteed to work day. The only thing that can go wrong is that I’ll have one too many glugs of the brandy bottle and forget to pick up the Boy from school. Will that get me onto the front page of the Sun? Or do I have to up the anti and shove some of the powdery stuff up my nostrils for that to happen? I think if I had a dead mother, a dead sister, a dead husband and a shit of a second one I’d’ve resorted to hard drugs too. Occasionally. I’ve only got one out of the four so I’ve stopped at alcohol.

If you fancy it, it’s the Easy-Action Christmas Cake, Nigella Lawson’s ‘Feast’, p92.

And it is easy and it is lovely.






Filed under oddbods

Empty Head

mincemeat2You know what it’s like. When your head draws a blank.

I’ve been kidding myself that I’ve been much too busy to write anything. Too busy clearing leaves from an otherwise trouble free garden. Too busy shovelling horse dung into borders. Too busy tying Quality Street (only the ones they like) onto the brass hoops on the advent ‘calendar’. Too busy Spurfing (that’s Spotify surfing. Nostalgia tripping. Time wasting).

I’ve just been lazy. If I don’t read poetry than I can’t write it and I haven’t read anything for weeks. Not a single verse. Until yesterday. So thanks to Elaine Feinstein and the solidly reliable Elizabeth Bishop for kicking my backside….(And thanks, Spotify for Everything But the Girl. It’s been a long time…)


Making Mincemeat






feint smudged pencil ticks

in the margins

purposeful to the tick tail end.

Glasses slipped, apron flour bleached

and tied where that scoop of flesh met hip.

Gathering raisins, sultanas, almonds, hard crusted peel

lemons, oranges and

too old, oil-skinned Bramleys.

And suet, curded on the chopping board

severed from shining kidney clots, neat in a hand.

And sliding jars to find last year’s spice and

the half grated nutmeg

and the dark muscovado set hard in its bag.


I open her book.

And her pencil marks bring that momentary heave,

that rounded heavy gap.

That swell.

I make my ticks next to hers.






Filed under poems, poetry, writing

STB (Stuffed to Bursting)

Christmas Cake

That’s it. Done. The cathartic moment when the turkey carcass stops leering at me from the fridge and enters its rightful place: the bin. I’m not going to bother with stock from its bones, for one thing I haven’t got a pan big enough to hold it in its entirety and I’m not spending my morning wrestling it into small pieces (have you ever tried to hack through a turkey’s back bone? No? Don’t waste your time: it will win).

So this is not a poem but a list of all the things we have picked at, eaten with relish, shoved to the back of the fridge in disgust, nibbled and spat out since Christmas Eve (not counting cups of tea and packets of Kettle Chips).

Pheasant x 2 (browned in butter, flamed with brandy and braised with apple juice and stock)

Celeriac, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes (apt)

Mashed potatoes (butter’s a main ingredient)

Chocolate Brazils

Mince pies (sweet shortcrust, home made mincemeat – thanks Delia – extra brandy)


Smoked salmon and thin thin brown bread

Champagne…for breakfast…for elevenses…for lunch…

More chocolate Brazils and a celadon green tin of Fortnum’s Explorers biscuits

Turkey, legs removed, boned, snipped of its ligaments and stuffed with….

Sausagemeat, chestnuts, lemon, sage

Butter, butter….more butter

Streaky bacon and thin sausages

Braised red cabbage (Viennese style)

Ubiquitous sprouts

Parsnips and spuds roasted in goose fat (I could just have had these alone)


The Hub’s cranberry sauce. Orangey. Sinus hurting.

Pauillac, Pinot Noir, Sauternes

Blue-flamed pudding (the one we forgot to take to Scotland last year)

Brandy sauce

No cheese..that’s tomorrow

Sloe gin, Drambuie

More crumpets

GLORIOUS LEFTOVERS (and a ham: scored, cloved, burnished and too darned big)



Fennel crackers

Thick nubbly fan shaped oat cakes

Chocolate ginger

Turmeric yellow Piccadilly Piccalilli (it must stain your insides)

And cake, cake…..Christmas Cake (the best I’ve made – thanks to Nigella and a tin of chestnut puree)

Today, 28th December. We’re having salad.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!


Filed under oddbods, writing