Back in 1978, Raymond Briggs published his children’s book The Snowman. It is a delightful book, with carefully rendered drawings, like a comic with no words. It was always a favourite of mine. It was transformed into an extraordinary animated film of the same name. It won the BAFTA for best graphics, which is unsurprising, given the whole film is made of hand drawn scenes. Every year children discover its charm and artistry for the first time, and many revisit it, as it becomes an old childhood friend.
This year the stretch of river between London Bridge and Tower Bridge (south side) has been reimagined as a Winter wonderland. Hay’s Galleria has a huge, twinkling Christmas tree. There is a pretty Christmas market selling original and hand crafted gifts, food stalls and a pop up bar. But best of all is the “Walking with the Snowman Festive Art Trail”, where there are 12 sculptures of the iconic “The Snowman” which different artists have decorated. The theme is the Twelve Days of Christmas.
This month’s Favourites list photos are the twelve sculptures. They are by turns endearing, humourous, colourful, Christmassy and adorable.
The works are:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree by Jodie Silverman
Two Turtle Doves by Megan Evans
Three French Hens by Lei-Mai
Four Calling Birds by Jenny Leonard
Five Gold Rings by Adam Pekr
Six Geese a-Laying by Matilda Elizabeth
Seven Swans a-Swimming by Laura-Kate Chapman
Eight Maids a-Milking by Donna Newman
Nine Ladies Dancing by Lizzie Rose Chapman
Ten Lords a-Leaping by Hammo
Eleven Pipers Piping by Jess Loveday
Twelve Drummers Drumming by Jess Perrin
I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. I hope you have a happy, healthy, fulfilling and fun 2020.
Now for those favourite things of mine for the final month of the year…
Sichuan recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop: Braised chicken with chestnuts, Steamed egg custard with minced pork topping, Fish-fragrant aubergines and Gong bao prawns with cashew nuts:
Angela Hartnett's Roasted pumpkin and cashew nut salad - a herby alternative accompaniment to Christmas dinner? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/recipes/0/roasted-pumpkin-cashew-salad-recipe
Gingerbread always makes me feel festive. Here's a soft and spicy gingerbread with a touch of Christmassy cinnamon: https://searchingforspice.com/gingerbread-biscuits/
A riot of red and burgundy on your plate! Angela Hartnett's Red Cabbage and Beetroot salad - marinate overnight for extra flavour: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/recipes/0/red-cabbage-beetroot-salad-recipe
Leek and potato soup, a classic Scottish staple soup from Janice at Farmers Girl Cook blog: https://www.farmersgirlkitchen.co.uk/leek-and-potato-soup/
This Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Salad with almonds and pomegranate seeds could be a healthy Winter lunch, or a side dish for Christmas dinner:
Pasta with roast chicken and pine kernels and Cauliflower cheese with cheddar and smoked garlic and nigella seeds. Internal central heating recipes from Nigel Slater: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/dec/01/nigel-slater-roast-chicken-pasta-and-cauliflower-cheese-recipes
Food writing and articles:
Whenever I buy celery, I use one or maybe two sticks to add flavour to a stew base, make a sofrito or similar. I try not to waste the rest, but it eventually becomes a bit limp and sad. Here's how to use up celery, and avoid food waste: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/dec/03/kitchen-aide-how-to-use-up-the-rest-of-that-bunch-of-celery
Christmas Wine Selection and a recipe for an Easy Home Made Gravad Lax from London Unattached: https://www.london-unattached.com/easy-home-made-gravad-lax/
Foodie Christmas crackers for the big day: https://www.olivemagazine.com/guides/best-foodie-christmas-crackers/
Vegan Christmas dinner inspiration - Squash, chestnut, sweet potato and sage loaf:
What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:
Pork Katsu Curry for cheaters – a recipe post: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.com/2019/12/pork-katsu-curry-for-cheaters.html
Testament of Youth
Lucy Rose – No Words Left
Thom Yorke – Anima
Various Artists – Mojo Magazine, The Best of 2019
Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.