Clementine & Cranberry Marmalade

It’s that time of year again. Like pumpkins for autumn, it’s cranberries for Christmas. It’s a relatively new berry for me, an introduction to a new ingredient via marriage. I have come to love it’s acidic tang and love the way it enhances any meat it’s paired up with. And let’s be honest, turkey needs all the help it can get! I think my favourite turkey based christmas time meal is the obligatory boxing day sandwich – a pile of thin slices of turkey, with fatter slices of stuffing, topped with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce, all squashed between two thick, fluffy slices of white bread.


Spice Cookies

It’s always a pleasure to discover a new favourite. I have a repertoire of bakes I make every year around this time – Sticky Gingerbread, Gingerbread Biscuits, Gingerbread Men, Date & Ginger Cake, Christmas Cake and Peanut Butter Cups. This year I wanted a Middle Eastern vibe though, a new introduction into the old set and oh lordy, have I found it.


Pear, Chocolate & Hazelnut Strudel

Pear & Chocolate Strudel - The Patterned Plate

My mum is a sucker for apple strudel. Just mention those hallowed words and watch the mist come over her. She’s no fool with them either, dismissing several local offerings with authority. Having never put a toe anywhere in Germany until then (and this was the early nineties), it does beg the question – how on earth did she know what she was looking for?


And it began with a cake…

The festive season begins and ends with my children, literally. Lil Loon celebrates his arrival into the world on the 5th of December and Lil Lassie kicks off the closing ceremony on the 8th of January. The present hunting, wrapping, card writing, cake baking, meal making, candle blowing, face stuffing procession of events continues ceaselessly. Throw a party in the mix, visiting parents-in-law, hospital trips due to The Scotsmans ill-behaved appendix and I can honestly say, I’m christmas crackered. Everything seems to have moved in a blur, like I’m looking out of an express train. Details are left to the imagination. Read More

Deck the town with….

Gingerbread is like the perfect red lipstick. I am always, always on the hunt for the one. Christmas for me means gingerbread biscuits and here is one that definitely delivers. These townhouse beauties come from the book Brilliant Biscuits, written by Pamela Giles of Adventures in Biscuits. The author has turned a hobby of decorating biscuits into a successful home business and written a book about her craft to boot. She is also a friend. Now, this would be the time to say that Pamela has never asked me to do a review of her book on this blog (or any other for that matter!). I tried out the gingerbread recipe in Brilliant Biscuits, loved it and decided to tell you about it. So there. Read More

Been a while crocodile…

November moved slowly in some ways and heedlessly fast in others. My guest room was busy for weeks on end, housing people that are closest to me; family and a cherished friend. When my mother and brother were here, we kept to the house, chatting over each other loudly with gesticulating hands like Indians tend to. The feeling they bring is an intense burst of happiness; the energy they radiate is infectious. After they left, my friend came and took their place. By contrast, we were out almost every night, driving for hours to nowhere in particular, discussing the merits of a song/band with seriousness that should be reserved for political analysis, or trying to find the best place to get a decent chicken shawarma at 11pm. I discovered the city more on those nights, but found more of myself along the way. Quiet spaces in the confines of the car were those of contentment; those moments of perfect understanding between friends, without the need for any expression. Roads lead to more than one destination. Read More