Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Favourites List For December 2012 (Christmas ahoy!)

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" is a favourite song at this time of year. And at the time of writing, just after the busiest shopping weekend before Christmas, it really is feeling like the festivities are coming ever closer.

We all have our own Christmas traditions, our own favourite things, and those we are not so keen on. I recall a joke from a Christmas cracker which read "Q: What's the most popular wine at Christmas? A: Do we have to eat Brussels sprouts this year?"

Personally, I love the mince pies, Christmas pudding, and frivolity. I get a lot of joy from the colour, lights and spectacle. Perhaps it is tacky, but so what? It is what we need to distract us from the cold, grim reality of the season. In "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", the animals all resent the totalitarian rule of the White Witch. But what they appear to bemoan the worst is that it is 'Always Winter and never Christmas!'. I can hardly imagine the unremitting gloom of 3 months of Winter without the fun of Christmas to inject some revelry, humour and heart.

So in this festive spirit, I would like to present the recipes, blogs, food tips and techniques, books and music which have been taking my fancy this month.

My pictures this month are from the Christmas collection at Konditor & Cook on Grays Inn Road.

Blogs worth following:

OMG! Bengali food! http://www.bongcookbook.com/

A home and lifestyle blog (with great food posts) designed 'for women with better things to do'. Amen! http://www.domesticsluttery.com/


Carluccio's Arancini recipe (save some leftover risotto for this one!): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nxwmp/features/rice-balls

A broth for those of us with the sniffles: http://www.thekitchn.com/6ingredient-recipe-sherrygarli-141754

Healthy, full of fibre and vibrant flavour; a salad with a difference: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/wild-rice-salad

I'm mad about meatballs, but here is an interesting Middle Eastern twist! http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/19/meatballs-aubergines-pilaf-recipes-ottolenghi

Great collection of Winter soups with lots of veggies, pulses and big flavours: http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/healthy-winter-soup-recipes-060000165.html 

More classic French comfort food: http://www.mycookinghut.com/2010/01/12/coq-au-vin/

Super cheesy Macaroni Cheese with chilli added, it's a new spin on the classic: http://www.editer.com/food-drink/how-to-make-macaroni-cheese/

Nisha Katona's Indian inspired Christmas treat: http://www.itv.com/food/recipes/jewelled-christmas-pilau

Turkey breast curry for Christmas by Reza Mohammed: http://www.itv.com/food/recipes/turkey-pasanda

Cranberry bars to bake just before the Big Day: http://givemeflour.com/?p=2796

Cooking know how:

How to test if a steak is 'done':http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/meat/activity-fingertest.html

Which sugar should be used for which job (for baking): http://www.whitworths-sugar.co.uk/category/our-sugars/baking-sugar/

How To Be A Woman - Caitlin Moran
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

Susan Christie - Paint A Lady
Liane La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
Michael Kiwanuka - Tell Me A Tale
Fever Ray - Fever Ray

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