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My advent window this year

Today is the 9th day of Christmas and ’tis still the season to be jolly.

It has been an eventful time.  My true love and I have celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary, and I like to think of us as a pair of  carthorses pulling the Waggon of Marriage up the Steep Hill of Compromise.

Time to lighten up a bit?  Then let me say that this year Christmas has been an enjoyable time, where friends and family have been embraced and an unashamed amount of food and alcohol has been consumed.* The photo above shows the window of my front room, with lights and gingerbread stars, and is part of Advent Windows, organised by my local community group, Six Streets.  (If you live in north Derby, you may like to have a look at what’s going on in the area http://sixstreetsderby.org.uk)

Yule was celebrated long ago by the people of the northern world, with mid-winter fires to lighten the darkness, much ale, roast hog and who knows what else besides. For those who are curious about such things, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  (in the excellent translation by Simon Armitage) and The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, master of imaginative magic,  capture the spirit of Yule.

*Note the crafty use of the passive voice!

And now to help you inch towards a healthier January, yet to cunningly use up all that cheese, here is a recipe for …


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Cauliflower and Cheese Soup, soothing, nourishing and on-the-road-to-wholesome


  • Onions 2
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Cauliflower 1 (mine was old and had been lurking in the shed for 10 days)
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Oil for frying 1 TB
  • Marigold stock powder 1 tsp
  • Cheese 50g or there abouts (blue cheese is good, but any cheese will do)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg and black pepper
  • Salt to taste

To make

  1. Peel and chop the onions roughly. Ditto the garlic.
  2. Trim and chop the cauli roughly – you can use the stronk and any good leaves.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the veg.
  4. Add enough water to cover and bring to the boil.  Add the stock powder and the bay leaves.  Simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove the bay leaves.  Liquidise the soup with a hand-held blender.
  6. Grate or crumble the cheese into the hot soup and simmer till it has melted.  Taste: it may or may not need salt, depending on how salty the cheese is.
  7. Ladle into bowls. Grate some nutmeg and grind some black pepper over the surface.
  8. Enjoy with crusty brown bread and someone nice.


4 thoughts on “Y IS FOR YULE

  1. Like the window and the soup recipe will come in useful this week, so thanks for that. But mainly – congratulations on your wedding anniversary and the imagery/ metaphor is spot on for many people I think! All the best for 2016 and keep writing.


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