Cooking the Christmas dinner is my job in our house. And I love it. All those courses and juggling of logistics. The annual realisation that our oven is too small to cope with the scale of my ambitions. Ladling goose fat from the pan. And a family meal which — just once a year — can take as long as it needs to take, without kids rushing off to a rehearsal or to finish homework or even just to escape their relatives.
Every year I like to try to something new. Most recently a rich and marzipan-y German cake called a stollen (lesson, don’t leave it too long in the oven — it dries out). The year before, a really proper beef gravy, starting from baking the bones, which was 36 hours brilliantly well spent.
This year, with rather more time on my hands than usual, I’ve made my first-ever proper Christmas puddings, with grated quince and everything.