What would Scrooge think of this vision of Christmas Present: battling between various strikes, constant price-hikes, an energy crisis during freezing weather, nations at war and intransigent politicians? Life seems to be staggering from one crisis to the next so perhaps it is time for us humble individuals to do a bit to help each other. Sending a goose and all the trimmings round to Tiny Tim and family might be a bit OTT but there are other simple acts of kindness we can do. The unexpected phone call, a visit or card can spread a little warming cheer.
I had a taste of such generosity of spirit this week. My cooking pal, Jon, had been frantically working for months. But he still took the trouble to not only bake his magical extra Christmas cake (boozily flavoured with Amaretto, brandy and sherry) but took the time to deliver huge chunks and share news and friendship. Those simple acts make all the difference in connecting, remembering and caring for each other. (I might be biased: he used my icing recipe).
Jingle Bells: the best I can offer through this medium is a free Christmas recipe booklet that is yours for the downloading.
And, if you are inspired to make your own last-minute cake, try this super simple fruit cake which featured in the Christmas Special podcast I made with broadcaster Tom Walker. It’s a bit of free entertainment as you can spot all my Ums and Aahs at: https://youtu.be/WpVQQIQZ_YU
Our local beekeepers are generously interested too because honey can replace the sugar, straight from our own hives.
Finally, after all the seasonal excesses, we can welcome the New Year together with something very simple and always useful: a different crumble topping using oats that works with fruit, vegetables or even leftovers (and the sweet version can be made with honey too). It is a free on- cooking demo at 1030 on Monday 9 January. You can sign up for free at: https://crumles-with-a-twist-baking-blind.eventbrite.co.uk
Happy Christmas to all of you.