Merry Christmas, one and all. If you insert your name below and press submit, you’ll get a special festive message from myself and my imaginary Missus.
Rather fantastically, a couple of readers have sent me items from my Amazon wishlist, so thanks very much to them.
First mention goes to Alex in America, who wrote a very nice note and tells me to keep up the experimental cooking. Thanks Alex – I’ll be certain to carry on, and I’ll be trying to come up with something spectacular I can create with the Le Creuset Silicone Cook ‘n Bake 24cm Rectangular Loaf Mould you sent me. Thanks again, and a very Merry Xmas to you!
Next up is my old friend Keith, who sent a me copy of John Peel’s autobiography Margrave Of The Marshes. Thanks Keith, and the best of the season to you. You’re a gentleman, a scholar, and the most generous Scotsman I’ve ever met.
Finally, a very large Christmas thank-you goes out to Mike, who sent me a lovely copy of Shizuo Tsuji’s Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art after pulling my name from the digital hat in this year’s Secret Santa bonanza. I’m moving to the same area as Mike next year, so I’ll be inviting him round for some ‘Wind in the Pines’ Chicken Loaf with steam-simmered octopus when I do.
I’ll be spending the day with friends, eating vast amounts of food. I’m responsible for the deserts this year, and have created two rather special dishes for the occasion. First up we have a pear and chocolate pie from an ancient Piedmontese recipe. The pears were poached in red wine prior to cooking, and a scattering of crushed amaretto biscuits in the base of the pie gives the end result a fairly festive feel.
Alternatively, diners can choose the lemon saboyon tart with pine-nut and vanilla crust, which will come served with honeyed mascarpone cream.
Mmm, lovely. And once again, Merry Christmas!