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The second of January: always that time in the Christmas holidays where you start to wonder where the past few weeks have gone, and what did you actually do? Too much chocolate has been consumed, too much time spent at home stuck in the snow and yet somehow not working, many films have been watched and board games played and now the term is starting to look a little close.

Not that I mind too much… I’m looking forward to the excitement of the new term, and I was lucky that I didn’t get set too many big projects over Christmas. So time to share some more tasters of what I have been doing, despite having spent almost every moment of the last week with so many different fabulous friends and family, and there’s so much to share I will have to continue to do so over the next few days!

Incidentally, this book, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, turned up today in a pile of newspapers in the conservatory. It dates from 1973, and contains many of my favourite and first ever sweet-making recipes – and of course last week when I wanted to make fudge (pecan and honeycomb was the plan!) for a friend, nothing but the back page was present on its usual shelf.

The inspiration came when I found a pack of ‘Epicure’ honeycomb in our local Londis. Which is completely bizarre as the Northleach Londis baking section doesn’t even have greaseproof paper, or regal icing in stock half of the time when you need it. So naturally I wanted to do something with it (other than eat it with porridge, which is also really nice).

However, as I mentioned, the fudge-making was not to be, as I just couldn’t decide on any other recipe I found on the web. But a few days later, when Seb and me looked up a recipe for tiramisu and used a James Martin one (Seb trying to encourage me to be an equally die-hard fan of the TV chef) and the recipe in question included the addition of ‘honeycomb crunch’ – which turned out to basically be what crunchies are made of – and it worked fantastically! I especially like the bit where you take the melted honey and sugar off the heat and add bicarbonate of soda, and a little chemical reaction takes place and changes it completely!

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It was also quite fortunate that we did something a little different to top our tiramisu, as… well… there may have been some communication issues between the family and… there may have been some more tiramisus arriving as well…. anyway. You now know what I’ve been eating for breakfast for the last few days.

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We also produced a main for our big ‘family day’, but this particular endeavour came up against even greater problems. I mean… who publishes in a food magazine a lovely-looking vegetarian pie, that takes quite a while to make, and then puts SERVES 1???? I could swear that pie looked bigger in the photo. Well, at least we noticed half way through. Unfortunately the butternut squash pie in question was made by layering up rings of squash and mascapone, so we couldn’t very easily make the pie any bigger. Except if we built it upwards. So that’s what we did.

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And ok, it looked a little crazy there in the middle of the table – a sort of squash moutain. But it tasted good. Here is the recipe anyway: Squash and Sage Pithivier. Apparently ‘pithivier’ is a pretentious way of saying ‘pie’. So there you go.

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