Christmas Cookery Books and Crown Devon…

Finally, we are on the last day of the school term – hurrah! After this afternoon’s Carols in the playground, there will be lovely relaxed mornings without me yelling at the boys to get ready for school over and over….sadly, they will still both be up at 6am, but that can’t be changed.

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I’ve been re-reading my Christmas cookery books, looking for ideas.  I still really love the ‘new’ Delia Christmas one (I have the first Christmas book she did, as well), partly for the styling as well as the actual recipes, the vintage baubles and white backgrounds are pretty much my own taste and the recipes (including many re-worked from her ‘Winter’ cookbook) are, as always, fabulous.  I make her mincemeat every year, and if I do make a cake it’s also from this book.

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I also enjoyed re-reading Nigella’s Christmas book.  There are some nice canape ideas that I’d forgotten about.  This is the book that started the trend on collecting Crown Devon ‘Stockholm’ china, as it’s used in the photos (and, I believe, in the accompanying TV series).  More on the later.

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New this year and not strictly a Christmas book, is the The Great British Winter Kitchen.  I haven’t cooked anything from this yet but I’ve really enjoyed reading it.  The recipes look great and contain simple ingredient lists (it reminds me a lot of Jamie Oliver, if I’m honest).  My kind of book.

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Back to the Crown Devon ‘Stockholm’.  So, I remember mentioning some time ago, that I wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon in collecting this, instead I’d stick with the (much cheaper and easier to find) Royal Doulton ‘The Coppice’.

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What can I say?  I buckled.  I am weak.  Over the years I have watched this grow ever more expensive and more difficult to find and this year, I just couldn’t resist adding a few bits to my clutter.   My lovely SIL bought me a couple of pieces for my 40th, and I especially love the ‘tennis’ plate and cup.

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From collecting the Coppice, I know what pieces are the most useful to me, with this in mind I’ve managed to buy some tureens, by far the nicest things, I think, they have such a pretty shape and I like the detail of the little red line painted around the base.  I love having tureens for serving vegetables on a special roast lunch (or Christmas dinner!).  I’ve also bought some little fruit bowls and a jug (for serving Christmas pudding, naturally).  In an ideal word, I’d have a platter for the turkey (but don’t think there is a large one with this collection, only meat plates that are a bit small) and maybe a sandwich set with square platter and plates.  Ideally.  But this is expensive stuff to collect, so I’m stopping here, for now at least.

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In the garden, it’s all just very wet and soggy.  We have a lot of fog going on around here, that sits in our little dip all day, only lifting in the afternoon, if we’re lucky.  I still have chard, kale, spring onions, horseradish root and some old beetroot.  The garlic is in.  I’ve missed planting broad beans and sweet peas….oh well.  I’m happy to leave the garden now until January, when I’ll start obsessively reading seed catalogues and planning next year.

For those that celebrate it, I hope you have a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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10 thoughts on “Christmas Cookery Books and Crown Devon…

  1. Hi Beth,
    I think your Christmas meal is going to look pretty good on those beautiful Stockholm pieces, I can completely see why you started collecting them, there gorgeous! And very much sum up Christmas with the red and white going on 🙂 Thank you so much for your beautiful card, its so kind of you! Yours is in the post, so sorry I am not organised this year at all, still have presents to get and all but H is coming this Saturday and I am very excited! Wishing you the loveliest Christmas Beth with all your family, love safxxx

  2. They are beautiful ceramics for Christmas, (or for winter too). I have some etched glass that only comes out at Christmas, for drinks and Christmas pud. I am going to try and organize our garden this year, and hopefully get a greenhouse. I love the planning stage but often things don’t go to plan, so time will tell! Have a wonderful, relaxing Christmas! Flissx

    • I love the idea of ‘winter’ china and glass. I grew up with ‘Minton’ china, cut glass and silverware as standard for ‘posh’ dining days and parties and it’s such a nice thing to have, to help create that sense of occasion. Sadly, we lack to space to store these kinds of things, my brother and sister have the Minton now as there was so much of it (it was much of my Gran’s collection added to my parents). I hope your garden plans go well, a greenhouse will help so much to get things started early. Bxx

    • I fear our garlic might have rotten in the soggy mess that our garden is! I am hoping the flower bulbs are OK too, it’s so rainy I’ve just had to collect the kids early from school as the road in front has turned onto a river and the police are closing it. I am hoping for some sun to dry everything out so I can get out there and tidy up 🙂

  3. Hi Beth
    What pretty china! I’m sure it looked lovely on the table on Christmas day. I managed to get some garlic and autumn garlic in the ground about November time -and have recently had a blitz on the allotment – I’m so looking forward to getting growing this year! Hoping you had a good Christmas and a happy new year xxxx

    • Oh I’ve been rubbish in the garden, it’s a soggy mess right now and the stream at the bottom (which has burst it’s banks again) adds to the air or general dampness around here. When everything dries up a bit I’ll get out there and tidy, but I envy your having blitzed your allotment, there is nothing more satisfying than starting the new seasons planning with an organised patch. Happy New Year 🙂

  4. I’ve looked at buying the Sarah Raven Christmas book online, so I’d be interested to know what you think about it. Beautiful china by the way, perfect for the winter.

    • Hello 🙂 Thanks for dropping by both my bogs, and for commenting (I’ll be popping over to visit yours later!). The SR Christmas book is the newest of my collection and to be honest, I haven’t used it all that much. It does have lovely recipes but weirdly I find it less ‘Christmassy’ to look at then the Delia or Nigella books, so I find I tend to levitate more to those, which doesn’t make logical sense really. It does have some nice chapters on flower arranging and what to grow (plant/flower wise) for Christmas that do make it a little bit different and the recipes are good, traditional with a twist as you’d expect. I LOVE the crown devon china, I’m worried I’m a little addicted as I keep searching on Ebay so see what’s been listed!

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