Christmas Feasts

This year I’m cooking Christmas dinner and I’m turning to Nigella Lawson for help. I used Nigella Christmas as a reference last year. The turkey recipe is brilliant and my family, which includes three trained chefs, said it was the best they’d ever eaten. High praise indeed!

Nigella’s wonderful book is full of baking, great ways to prepare veges and recipes for left-overs. She also provides a schedule for Christmas day to ensure you stay on track and don’t cook the peas before you put the potatoes on (which becomes increasingly likely after you’ve indulged in some festive champers, darling).

Many celebrity chefs bring out a Christmas recipe collection: Jamie Oliver, the Hairy Bikers, Delia Smith and chocolate connoisseur, Marcel Desaulniers, to name a few.  If the hold lists are long on the book you want, check the internet for recipes. There are plenty available. Add a twist of your own, strawberries, pavlova and ice-cold chardonnay and you’ve got a unique Christchurch Christmas. Bon Appetit!

Trespass – holiday reading at its best

Trespass is the latest novel by multi-award winning author, Rose Tremain. She earned a place on the Man Booker long list for this book and this fan is not surprised.

Set in the rural Cevenol region of France, where the author spent time in her childhood, the story vividly describes the land where the grapes and onions grow and the Mistral blows.

The plot centres around Mas Lunel, a homestead falling into ruin in the hands of alcoholic Aramon Lunel. His fraught relationship with his younger sister reaches crisis point when Aramon decides to sell the family home. The interested buyer is Anthony Verey, a hedonistic London antiques dealer, for whom life has lost its sweetness. His sister, V, is distraught when Anthony disappears and her partner, Kitty Meadows, plays detective in the quest to find the man who threatens to break up her relationship.

I couldn’t put the book down. Rose Tremain is an astute and perceptive author. Her characters are deftly drawn and intriguing. The author explores issues of love and betrayal and, underlying it all, is concern for a beautiful part of the world that is being carved up by rich individuals seeking romantic retreats with no understanding of the land or the communities that dwell there.