WeekendFREE Issue 627 | 1 December 2022 STREET CALENDARS How communities saw a window of opportunity to mark Advent p6 OLLYMURS The singer and presenter’s ideal way to spend a weekend at home p45 THE NUTCRACKER Stuart Maconie on what makes the festive favourite so popular p46 OFFERS Great savings on selected products fromWaitrose p56 SHARE OPTIONS Martha Collison’s gorgeous grazing board is perfect for your Christmas gatherings, with cheeses, cured meats and fruits to keep guests happy, p28
2 1 DECEMBER 2022 News&Views Demand for food that can be eaten cold has soared at food banks across the UK, as more households cut back on the use of cooking appliances to cope with rising bills, according to a leading charity. Last year, the Trussell Trust’s cold packs –made up of foods such as canned products, cereals and snacks – were mainly requested by users who were homeless. “This year, we’re seeingmore households cutting back on heating their food, as well as their homes,” says Sophie Carre, head of corporate partnerships at the Trust, which supports a network of more than 1,300 food banks in the UK. “In some cases, people are turning down tea bags and dried noodles because they’re not using their kettle,” adds Sophie. “As well as an increase in demand for cold weather items, such as hot water bottles, blankets and candles, what we’re seeing right now across our network is people asking for our cold food packs, which aremade up of longlife food items that can be eaten without heating themat all.” The Trust is predicting its busiest and toughest winter yet, and expects to distributemore than 1.3million emergency food parcels over the next sixmonths, withmore than 500,000 of themgoing to children. Save the ChildrenUK is also concerned that households are having tomake di cult choices this year. “The festive period is always an expensive and emotional time for families, as expectations are high,” says Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at the charity. “This year, with rising food prices and energy bills swallowing budgets, we knowmany families will be able to a ordmuch less than usual.” LydiaWright, who runs a food pantry, the Smallshaw Hurst Community Action Group, in Ashton-under-Lyne in Tameside, GreaterManchester, is supported by Save the ChildrenUK. Families can join for £3, which allows them to choose around £15 worth of food every week. “We o er frozen and fridge items, store-cupboard basics and fresh fruit, veg andmeat. A lot of families are looking for the easiest and quickest way to cook stu because their energy bills are so high,” says Lydia. “Many of our members are on pre-paidmeters, which work out very expensive, so theymight be able to a ord freshmeat one week, then the next it will have to be food you canmicrowave or eat cold.” The pantry has started running workshops on nutrition and energy e cient cooking, including advice on using a slow cooker. “Some families have one, but don’t feel confident using it,” says Lydia. “We are also raising funds so we can provide other members with one.” Another way people can help this Christmas is by dropping o items at a local food bank, or at one of the collection points provided in everyWaitrose store. The supermarket’s customers have already donated almost 100,000kg of food so far this year, via the donation boxes. At 31Waitrose stores, including She eld, Colchester in Essex and Finchley inNorth London, shoppers can choose a pre-filled donation bag containing two to five items of longlife food, making it easier to donatemultiple products. For shoppers looking to step up their commitment, Sophie suggests checking with local food banks to find out which products are in short supply before you start. She also recommends including an item that doesn’t need cooking, such as canned tuna or canned fruit, as well as a gift or treat. “In the run up to Christmas, most food banks will be o ering a special Christmas box which contains extra items –maybe some toiletries, a gift for children, somemince pies or chocolates. So these types of products are great to receive,” she adds. As well as donating surplus food from its stores to local groups via the charity FareShare – which redistributes it to providemeals for those in need –Waitrose is also supporting Home-Start UKwith itsMagical Christmas programme. This will provide gifts, decorations and Christmas trees fromJohn Lewis andWaitrose for more than 150 families for the second year running. Charities across the country have launched an emergency appeal to help those in need, ahead of what will be their ‘busiest and toughest winter’, writes Anna Shepard FOOD BANKS BRACED FOR HARD TIMES HELPING HAND A slow cooker lesson (above); food bank donations in Waitrose (left); the Ashton-under-Lyne food pantry (below) Cover photograph: Sam Folan, Food styling: Jennifer Joyce, Styling: Wei Tang
3 1 DECEMBER 2022 G O O D N E W S I N B R I E F This week’s uplifting stories fromAnna-Marie Julyan Cast reunited “The way to think about life is that every day has the potential just to be gorgeous,” says Richard Curtis, writer and director of hit Christmas lm Love Actually. He’s been interviewed by Diane Sawyer for a special 20th anniversary reunion of cast members – including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Bill Nighy – on US network ABC. The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later is available to stream on Hulu. Festive food by the sea Angela Hartnett, Michael Caines, José Pizarro and other top chefs will cook on the north Cornish coast at the Padstow Christmas Festival, which runs until Sunday (4 December). Organised by local chefs Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw, the event includes a Christmas market, Doom Bar silent bistro (where diners wear headphones to taste beer with food), carol singing, and a reworks display. padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk Charitymatters More than two-thirds of people said volunteering helped them nd friendship and combat feelings of loneliness, a survey by Oxfam reveals. It’s 75 years since the charity opened its rst shop in Oxford, and there are now 560 across the country, all sta ed by more than 23,000 volunteers. But Oxfam still needs more helpers – see oxfam.org.uk/shopvolunteering. Free fish& chips Sustainable seafood champion and Marine Stewardship Council ambassador Mitch Tonks is o ering children under 11 free sh and chips when adults buy a main meal at his Rock sh restaurants in Devon and Dorset from 31 December to March. Mitch hopes it will encourage people to dine out and support the shing industry: “Our aim is simple – to bring families together this winter to enjoy the amazing, local, sustainable seafood on our doorstep.” NO NEED TO SCRAMBLE FOR EGGS Listening to birdsong or watching them for just a few minutes will lift the spirits, a study by King’s College London found. Hearing or seeing birdlife brought about positive improvements in mood and happiness for those withmental health conditions. Healthy individuals experienced similar effects too, with results lasting for up to eight hours. Watch the birdie and feel chirpy Customers keen to buy eggs for their festive bakes or breakfast can rest assured that there’s a good supply of the kitchen staple atWaitrose. While the UK’s largest ever outbreak of avian flu has led to shortages, meaning some supermarkets are rationing sales, Waitrose has a strong availability of its 100%British free range eggs both in store and online. The supermarket has also pledged a £2.6million investment in its egg suppliers, as rising energy and feed prices continue to put pressure on farmers. “Paying our farmers fairly and o ering our customers free range British eggs are commitments that we simply won’t sacrifice, even when the going gets tough,” says James Bailey, Waitrose executive director. “With shortages elsewhere in themarket we have seen a slight rise in demand, but we’re working hard to ensure we continue to have quality, high welfare products on our shelves.” Waitrose was the first major supermarket to stop selling eggs from caged hens in 2001, and has held Compassion inWorld Farming’s Good Egg award since 2008. EmmaHigginbotham Nostalgic toys are the popular choice at John Lewis this Christmas – and it’s not just misty-eyed parents choosing them. A panel of children tested dozens of toys for the retailer, and evergreen classics such as Lego, Play-Doh, a styling head doll and HotWheels cars all found a place in the top 10. At number one is the Jiggly Pets Noodle Pup, a walking, barking, tail-wagging pink dog reminiscent of the rudimentary versions from the 80s. “It’s always such fun to see toys that brought somuch joy decades ago come back around,” says AlanWright, Partner and toy buyer at John Lewis. “They are toys that capture the imagination time and time again, and that usuallymeans adults will have just as much fun playing with them as kids do.” Lego first went on sale in the UK in 1960, a decade that also gave us the Etch A Sketch, retractable wings and, following a revival of the retro TV show, the Thunderbirds Tracy Island – the scarcity of which led tomany attempting tomake the Blue Peter version. The new century heralded toys including Bratz dolls, Ben 10 action figures, and a cuddly Iggle Piggle from In the Night Garden, while the 2010s saw a craze for merchandise from the animatedmovie Frozen, as well as Lol dolls, robotic FurReal Friends and the cream-splatting board game Pie Face. EmmaHigginbotham Rolling back the years for Christmas gift ideas James Bond AstonMartin toy cars, Twister and ActionMan. Bestselling toys of the 70s included StarWars figures, Shrinky Dinks, Stretch Armstrong, space hoppers, and board games including Hungry Hippos and Dungeons &Dragons. The 80s saw a craze for the Rubik’s Cube, Cabbage Patch Kids, My Little Pony, Transformers toys and cute, velvety Sylvanian Families. Meanwhile the 90s was all about Game Boys, Tamagotchi virtual pets, Furbies, Buzz Lightyear figures with TOY STORY Items popular in decades past are back on the Christmas lists for children this year Photograph: Eyecrave productions/ Getty Images, The Pantry Store, Andrew Howe/ Getty Images, Universal/Dna/Working Title/Kobal/Shutterstock
5 1 DECEMBER 2022 ANNA SHEPARD Sustainable living News&Views Given the associations of Christmas with generosity and feasting, no one wants to be stingy at this time of year. But this means it’s easy to get carried away with food shopping and stash enough supplies to last several months instead of a few days. Every year, I overdo the tangerines, only to find them rotting in the fruit bowl in January. I also lovemaking a traditional Christmas cake, despite its lukewarm reception, although covering it in custard was a win last year. Food waste creates six times more greenhouse gases than aviation. When you throw it away, it’s not just food that’s wasted, but also the resources taken to grow, package and transport it. Weekend food and drink editor Alison Oakervee’s tip is to account for leftovers when planning your Christmas menu. “Factor in ameal made from leftovers, or cook something that will create a second meal from leftovers,” she says. Potatoes are one of themost commonly discarded foods at Christmas, withmore than 11 million wasted every year, according to a Univeler study. Remember, roasties can be refried. I’mplanning to cut mine into chunks to add to a Boxing Day curry. If you have leftover mash, freeze it or wrap it around slices of mozzarella then fry tomake cheesy patties —my kids love these. Earlier this year, I signed up to the Olio app, where you can pass on unwanted food to neighbours, as well as other household items. It’s a handy app to utilise over the holiday and certainly better thanmy food waste bin. Week 44: Festive frugality SOIL TO SOUL Henrietta (left) and Bridget (right) with Lulu; Climate Compost (below) You might send roses to say ‘I love you’, or to add a ash of festive colour, but the latest Waitrose Christmas bouquet has the added bene t of contributing towards an education centre for children. The new Waitrose Traditional Christmas Bouquet (£16/each, in-store only) comes with a beaded decoration, such as a star or Christmas tree, set amid roses and foliage from Waitrose Foundation farms in Kenya. They are handmade by the local Upeed and Satubo community groups, which provide skills and training for vulnerable community members and support women’s economic empowerment. A proportion of every Waitrose Foundation sale is reinvested into community projects at source – examples include improving education and supporting clinics and crèches. Anna-Marie Julyan Flower power 95% The volume of food that comes from soil 18 Naturally occurring chemical elements are essential to plants. Soils supply 15 of them 58% Up to this amount more food could be produced through the adoption of sustainable soil management 2050 Agricultural production needs to increase by 60% to meet the global food demand by 2050. Source: United Nations World Soil Day It’s not often that a cookbook features ‘compost cake’ (ingredients: carbon, nitrogen and clay) alongside recipes for smoked chowder, crumpets andmadeleines. But when gardeners Henrietta Courtauld and Bridget Elworthy partnered with chef Lulu Cox to write their book Soil to Table, they took the title literally. WithWorld Soil Day taking place onMonday (5 December) to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil, experts are waking up to the work of Henrietta and Bridget, also known as The Land Gardeners. They spent 15 years researching with soil scientists how tomake the best microbial compost. Their resulting Climate Compost saw organic matter leap fromfive to 12% in their horticultural garden, became the subject of a global Innovative Farmers trial and is helping to regenerate a 2,000-acre Northamptonshire arable farmwithout using chemicals. “Our motivation was actually to find a solution to climate change,” says Bridget. “Twenty years ago, we both suddenly realised that it was a huge issue. We knew one solution was to stop using chemicals on farms, and find a way to THE COMPOST FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE enable the soil and biodiversity above and below ground to work together to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, heal our soils and growmore nutrient-dense food.” They have come up with ‘recipes’ for farmers (who direct drill the compost with seeds) and gardeners. “The Climate Compost we sell is an ‘inoculum’ and is like a probiotic for the soil filled withmicrobes,” explains Henrietta. “You just put a little under a plant, or make a tea and water it onto plants throughout the growing season.” After visiting their cut flower gardens in Oxfordshire, Ben Raskin, head of horticulture and agroforestry at The Soil Association, suggested they trial it with Innovative Farmers. The network conducts on-farm trials funded by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund through sales of Waitrose Duchy Organic products. Farmers fromMozambique to Sweden took part and there were some amazing results, says Bridget: “We have always known that soils hold the answer, and they have to get working again – the whole process of photosynthesis is a really powerful way of healing the planet.” Anna-Marie Julyan Illustration: Amelia Flower/Folioart Photographs: Maria Bell
6 1 DECEMBER 2022 News&Views As the sun sets on 1 December, the lights will go on at Pickwick Papers, an interior design company in the centre of Greenwich. It’s the first of 24 Advent windows to be revealed each day until Christmas, creating a living calendar for the community to enjoy. The event has been an annual highlight in the borough for 16 years, and businesses, schools and households spend weeks fashioning their displays. Now, the trend has taken o nationwide, with towns and villages across the country producing their own. Participants get to be as creative as they wish. “Every year, there’s at least one standout window everyone talks about,” saysMaureen Stapleton, who has coordinated the Greenwich event for a decade. Past designs have included a six-foot papier-mâché Big Ben, a workingmodel railway, a whole house wrapped as a gift – and even an optical illusion inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s InfinityMirror Rooms at TateModern. “We’re always bowled over by the creativity and talent of those who take part,” she adds. A sprinkling of festive humour always goes down well at Saltaire inWest Yorkshire. “Onememorable window appeared on 23 December,” recalls Gillian Allmark, the event’s marketingmanager. “It featured a turkey and a helpful reminder: ‘Delia says defrost!’” The village, near Bradford, began the tradition in 2006 after DavidWorsley, founder of arts charity Saltaire Inspired, got the idea fromGerman friends. Today, Saltaire’s dazzling display draws thousands of visitors. There’s even an Advent trail with amap. “The trail creates a lovely festive feel and is used as a backdrop for carolling andmusical entertainment,” says Gillian. “People can be spotted in the streets, maps in hand, discovering the displays.” Those unable to visit in person can follow the event online, where window designs are revealed each evening. Likemany places, Lympstone in Devon launched its version in 2020, to harness community spirit whilemaintaining social distancing. Organiser DoreenMurray had just moved to the coastal village when it went into lockdown. Desperate tomeet people, she came up with the idea with a friend. “I was making it up as I went along and was very relieved once I had 24 volunteers,” she laughs. “But it was a great way to get to know lots of people in a short time.” The event is now a highlight of the village calendar. “This year, many people will have parties on the street outside their windowwhen it’s lit. It’s so lovely and festive,” she says. Hanover in Brighton goes one step further – instead of individual windows, entire streets are illuminated each day until, by the 24th, the town is one giant Christmas decoration. Many streets host parties and carol singing as their lights go on. “The atmosphere is universally warmand friendly,” says Gareth Dee, who helps organise the event. “The first one was a turning point for me. Having lived onmy street for six years, I finally got to meet my neighbours, who invited the whole street to join them for mulled wine andmince pies.” Gareth has received countlessmessages fromother locals telling him the event has enhanced their sense of belonging. “Community doesn’t just happen,” he says. “It needs a nudge. But it’s remarkable how far a bit of e ort can go – and this works really well.” And you don’t have to be a crafter to get involved. “I’m good at many things, but crafting isn’t one of them,” says Gareth, who channels his energy into spreading the word and organisingmince pies for the party. In fact, you don’t even need a window. One Lympstone resident created a display using a light box attached to the fence. The church, meanwhile, creates amusement bymoving life-sized figures of the three kings closer to the churchyard each night, ‘The trail creates a lovely festive feel and is used as a backdrop for carolling and musical entertainment’ ADVENT IS BACK IN STREET CALENDARS With the festive countdown under way, a relatively new tradition is gathering pace across the country, bringing communities together to celebrate, says Lizzie Briggs In focus
7 1 DECEMBER 2022 FI GLOVER Inmy opinion Are you often on the receiving end of: ‘Yes, I’ve been doing that for years’ syndrome? It’s when you think you’ve discovered something original, only to find that far from being a frontier person, you are in fact quite far back in the queue. It happens all the time. Whether it’s people who have watched all of Ted Lasso when I’mon episode two, or those who’ve beenmaking their own kimchi for years when I’ve just bought my first jar. Hey ho. Perhaps I don’t get out enough. I did think, on spotting an ad for ‘doggy yoga’, that I’d hit on a new thing I could tell the world about in an authentic frontier person voice – think part conspiratorial stage whisper, part know-it-all sneer. And just in case you’re struggling to understand doggy yoga, it does what it says on the tin. It’s a yoga class that has dogs in it too. The idea is that, because being near animals gives you a dopamine hit and reduces your stress levels, adding a pet to a decent yoga class will provide you with an unprecedented level of calm. But no sooner had I worked up tomy best downward facing dog joke, I found that loads of people knew about these gatherings. There was even a big piece in the papers. On further examination – I have literally been down a rabbit hole – it seems you can do puppy, bunny and kitten yoga too. How could all these things have bypassedme? I pass this knowledge on to you because, although it might be easy to dismiss these classes as a bit of a farce, this seems like a brilliant direction for the limber of body andmind to take. I get bored in yoga classes. I know I’mmeant to be clearingmymind. I know the point is to switch o the endless noise of the outside world. But after 30 years of trying, I might just have to accept that, although I love the stretch of it all, I’malways going to bemaking lists inmy head – I’ll always be thinking about something. The distraction of sweet animals bouncing around the room seems the perfect addition tome. Can anyone else see the flaw in the plan though? There is an inevitability about pet behaviour that involves mats and being shut in a space for anythingmore than 15minutes or so. I’m sorry to lower the tone here, but it involves widdles. And in the case of bunnies, quite a lot of droppings. No one seems to want tomention this. So here is my handy tip, as a long-time pet owner and someone who is desperate to add a nugget of newness to the debate – take your own mop. Namasté. Fi Glover and Jane Garvey’s new show is on Times Radio from3-5pm, Monday to Thursday. @fifiglover ‘I get bored in yoga classes. The distraction of sweet animals bouncing around the room seems the perfect addition tome’ The journalist and broadcaster has her say until, on Christmas Eve, they are happily situated in its nativity scene. Such feats of creativity don’t happen overnight – most Advent preparations begin in early autumn. In Saltaire, the participants even call on professional artists for advice. The town also takes part in ‘window exchanges’ with communities in Sweden and Orkney, trading artworks to put on display. Maureen notes that many families, schools and businesses have taken part in every event since Greenwich’s first year in 2007. Run by St Alfege Church in Greenwich, the vicar selects a theme each year. In 2012, it was Realms of Glory –marking HerMajesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, while in 2020, Near and Far reflected the pandemic’s poignant tone. Designs included Father Christmas on a Zoom call with his elves. This year’s theme is Tidings of Comfort and Joy. Many events raisemoney for good causes. “This year, we’re asking for donations for the Exmouth Food Bank and a charity supporting humanitarian aid inUkraine,” says Doreen. InHanover, collections go to the city’s Clock Tower Sanctuary, a charity working with young homeless people. Once displays are divided up, amap is then created to follow a route. Hanover’s map is a work of art in itself, with local illustrator Lisa Holdcroft making new designs each year. These are put through homes and distributed to shops and businesses. “Many families, includingmine, have a tradition of walking round all the windows,” saysMaureen. “It takes around three hours on foot, and we do it between Christmas and NewYear to walk o our dinner –meeting others doing the same. “Advent windows are one of the best Christmas traditions. They’re simple and free,” she adds. “You could walk around and see all 24, or just admire one as you’re rushing to a party. “It’s a wonderful way to spread cheer throughout your neighbourhood. The streets really do come alive with the Christmas spirit.” How to set up your own living Advent calendar Start small Decide on a street or residential zone and set boundaries to maintain control. Recruit volunteers Message your street WhatsApp group or area Facebook page and hand out yers to businesses well in advance. You need 24 homes, businesses, schools or other buildings to sign up. Name the date Give each of your 24 participants a designated date from 1 to 24 December, as the day to light up. Design a map Keep it simple – just a timeline of which sites will light up when. Print copies or post it on social media. Have fun! Mince pies, mulled wine and carols are a nice touch as each display is revealed. Upload photos to a dedicated social media account, so the community can see the displays. Illustration: Sally Caulwell/Folioart
9 1 DECEMBER 2022 News&Views THE SPIRIT OF WALES Racing through their mountain home, the Carneddau ponies of Snowdonia – now known as Eryri – National Park in North Wales, are as wild as the range whose name they share. They have roamed the Carneddau mountains since the Iron Age, shaping the landscape by maintaining paths, keeping down grass, bracken and gorse and increasing biodiversity on 20 square miles of terrain above the villages of Bethesda and Llanfairfechan. Every November, in a centuries-old tradition, the 300-strong herd is gathered by farmers, families and villagers on foot or using Land Rovers and quad bikes to herd the ponies down the mountains into pens. Here, they receive health checks and a tail trim. Historically, their strength and size made them the perfect pit ponies, but now they have a new, important environmental purpose – as conservation grazers. Their ability tomunch coarse grass and produce dung free of artificial substances benefits insects and birds, most notably the once-endangered chough, which now thrives in Eryri. Farmer GarethWyn Jones, whose family association with the ponies stretches back 375 years, says: “They are not just special for the way we use them. They bring a whole community together. People come from everywhere to gather them. “They were here when the Romans were here. They are part of Welsh heritage and history, and for me they are magical, mystical – and absolutely spiritual.” Faith Eckersall The big picture Photograph: Jim Tan
11 1 DECEMBER 2022 STIVAL OF FLAVOUR • FESTIVAL OF FLAVOUR • FESTIVAL OF FLAVOUR • FESTIVAL O 8 Coquilles St Jacques £6.50/135g Scallops in a creamy white wine sauce, topped with a cheese and parsley crumb, in individual scallop shells. Ready in just eight minutes. Balti-Inspired Baubles With A Mango Chutney Glaze £7/335g Cooked chicken seasoned with coriander, onion, garlic and chilli with a mango chutney sachet. Prices correct at time of going to print. Selected stores. Subject to availability. 4 FOR 3 ON PARTY FOOD Whether you’re hosting friends and family or planning a quiet night in, this irresistible range is ideal for all occasions over the festive season – o er ends 3 January 8 King Prawn Gyoza £7/240g Seasoned diced king prawn bites with spring onion, garlic, ginger and coriander, with a soy and yuzu juice dip. 9 Brie & Cranberry Toasties £5.50/9s Brie with cranberry and redcurrant chutney, béchamel and cheese sauce, mozzarella and Cheddar in white bread.
12 1 DECEMBER 2022 News&Views David Baddiel is talking to Weekend on the day his son Ezra turns 18. (Don’t worry, he’s at school – we haven’t gatecrashed his birthday party.)With his daughter Dolly now 21, it means that one of Britain’s bestselling children’s authors – among many other things – is no longer a father to children himself. And with retreating childhood goes a fertile source of story ideas. “My first ever children’s book, The Parent Agency, came about because of Ezra asking: ‘Why doesn’t Harry Potter just run away from the Dursleys and find some better parents?’” recalls David. “That gaveme the idea for a world in which children can choose their parents. Now that he’s older, though, he has a slightly less innocent attitude to life. So his latest idea was quite a dark one, about Santa being a bit of a sleazebag, and getting involved in all sorts of terrible conspiracy theories. I thought: ‘That’s not really going to work for a kids’ book.’ But it gaveme an idea for a story in which Christmas had gone wrong, but in a verymodern way.” The result, Virtually Christmas – the 58-year-old comedian and author’s 14th novel, and his 10th for children – tells the story of Etta Baxter, a young girl in the near future who dreams of a traditional Christmas like the ones her late grandma used to tell her about. Aworld of snow and baubles and rubbish cracker jokes – as opposed to the world she lives in, where the entire festive season is controlled by tech giant Winterzone, with its holographic ‘Santavatars’ and presents delivered by drones instead of reindeer. As well as being a funny, exciting and heartwarming festive tale for children, the book is clearly designed as a pointed satirical sideswipe at our increasingly digital lives. “At the heart of it is quite an old-fashioned idea about the commercialisation of Christmas,” says David. “But Christmas is also about community, so if everything becomes about screens andmechanisation, you risk losing that proper togetherness. It becomes a sort of illusion.” But wait, all hope’s not lost – when a familiar-looking delivery guy turns up at her door in a red uniform, Etta thinks shemight have found her chance to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. In real life, of course, cramming that particular genie back into the bottlemight bemore di cult… “True – though the perfect version of Christmas probably never existed,” reflects David. “I hanker after the idea because I’mJewish, so we didn’t celebrate Christmas when I was younger. I used to sit around on Christmas Day, thinking there’s this fantastic party going on that we’re not invited to. Whereas in real life, it was probably lots of people arguing with relatives and falling asleep in front of the telly.” As an adult, festivemagic has sometimes proved elusive, too. In 2014, David’s mother died suddenly five days before Christmas, and the following year involved a dash to A&E after his wife, comedian and actress (and voice of Peppa Pig’s mum) Morwenna Banks, severed her finger. But he’s still a fan of the season, which the family spends inMorwenna’s native Cornwall. And this year, there’s a strong chance he’ll be providing the soundtrack to all our Christmases, having teamed up with old pals Frank Skinner and Ian (Lightning Seeds) Broudie for a festivemakeover of their terrace classic Three Lions, in honour of the winterWorld Cup in Qatar. “It was Ian who was pushing it most strongly,” says David. “He said: ‘TheWorld Cup’s at Christmas for the first – and probably only – time in our lives. Which is a bit weird, and there’s all sorts of not great reasons why it’s at Christmas. But Ian was very keen to see how he couldmake the song Christmassy, with sleigh bells and a kids’ choir, or whatever. Some and Frank decided, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it properly, and write new lyrics that are Christmassy. It begins with us celebrating the Lionesses’ win,” he explains, of that glorious moment in July when football finally did come home, “but we’re worried about the blokes’ team. “Then Frank has this inspiration that maybe it will be di erent, because it’s Christmas.” AChristmas miracle? “Exactly. It’s quite sweet, and quitemoving, actually, because it’s about football, but it’s also about survival, and time. Particularly the video, which suggests we’re still living in the same flat we were in 1996. The video’s exactly the same, except we’remuch older in it. I could hardly watch it without welling up, because it feels tome like a song, and a film, about howme and Frank and Ian are still friends.” Though David and Frank don’t still live together, they do live in the same street in north London. “He could probably hear me now if I shout,” says David. There’s something rather lovely about their enduring bromance, suggests Weekend. “Yeah,” smiles David. “I think there’s a part of the British public – and possibly a part of me and Frank – that likes to imagine us sharing a bed, likeMorecambe andWise.” The original Three Lions was spun out of the pair’s Fantasy THREE LIONS, As he launches an assault on the Christmas book and pop charts, David Baddiel tells Paul Kirkley about his many accidental careers ONE SANTA
13 1 DECEMBER 2022 Photograph: © Sarah Lee / Guardian / eyevine
1 5 1 DECEMBER 2022 News&Views Football League TV show, when they were in the vanguard of 90s ‘new lad’ comedy. Some of that material would not see the light of day today – David admits he caused hurt and o ence with his impersonation of black NottinghamForest footballer Jason Lee. “I recentlymet Jason, and apologised in person,” he says. “Because I think what’s sometimes missing in these conversation is the humanity. For that there needs to be real human interaction.” But even back then, the hosts had as much of an appreciation for Baudelaire as Beckenbauer. David, who has a double first in English fromCambridge, had already started writing novels, and Frank was a former English lecturer who now presents a poetry podcast. It’s a split personality that has served David well during a career that’s wandered all over themap from stand-up – in the early 90s, when comedy was famously “the new rock and roll”, he and Rob Newman became the first comedians to playWembley Arena – to books, screenplays, documentaries, TV talent shows and a number one single. And that’s to say nothing of the huge success of Jews Don’t Count, his acclaimed 2021 book about anti-Semitism. “I think Jews Don’t Count has slightly shifted the dial on that conversation, which I wasn’t expecting at all,” says David, whose grandparents fled Nazi Germany in 1939 with his infant mother in their arms. “Not just because of my book, obviously, but I do seemore energy around the idea that Jews shouldn’t be left out of the conversation [about racism]. Though unfortunately, something else is also happening, which is that anti-Semitism is rising at the same time.” Last month, David presented a Channel 4 documentary on anti-Semitism, and he’s currently working on a follow-up to his 2021 BBC filmabout anger and social media, during which his daughter Dolly discussed how platforms such as Instagram fuelled her teenage struggle with anorexia. To that end, the concerns underlying Virtually Christmas are personal and heartfelt, but David has admitted he’s too addicted to kick the social media habit himself. “Actually, I think I’m slightlymore controlled with it than I was,” he says. “I don’t waste all my time engaging with trolls anymore.” So he won’t be spending Christmas Day glued to his phone? “Well there’s very bad reception in Cornwall. I do try not to be too disengaged from the present.” A theme that’s run through David’s stand-up comedy like a watermark over the years has been a kind of bracingly unfiltered honesty. His 2016 show My Family: Not the Sitcom, for example, probed his latemother’s infidelity and his ailing father’s dementia with gallows humour, including the story of how his childhood home in Dollis Hill, northwest London, gradually filled up with golf memorabilia, because his mum was having an a air with a golf memorabilia salesman. “I just don’t have an ability to really present a di erent version of myself,” he shrugs. “And that’s been a good and a bad thing.” In the past, he’s put this no-filter approach down, in part, to being “psychotically comfortable” in his own skin. And yet he’s also had years of psychotherapy. Is there a contradiction there? “No,” he insists. “When I say I’m comfortable inmy own skin, that suggests I’mfine. But there have beenmany times when I haven’t been fine – I’ve been depressed. But that wasn’t being unhappy with who I was – it was to do with things happening inmy life. Obviously you go into therapy a little bit to change how you think about your life, but I didn’t want to change who I was. I don’t think I can.” A self-styled Jewish atheist – he’s not religious, but will celebrate Hanukkah this month – David’s next career swerve is a book about faith (or lack of ) in which he will style himself as a cuddlier Richard Dawkins – his angle being that he’d love to believe in a God, but just can’t. “I don’t really ever set out to achieve anything,” he says of themany – largely accidental – strings he keeps adding to his bow. “I’d like Three Lions to be Christmas number one. But most of the time, I just say yes to anything I thinkmight be interesting, fun, or important.” There can’t bemany people, though, whosemost recent bestsellers are a children’s Christmas story and an impassioned polemic about the intersection of antiSemitismand identity politics? “There certainly aren’t very many people who will have written a polemic about antiSemitism, a Christmas book about Santa andmay also have a Christmas number one about theWorld Cup,” he concedes. And he takes some pride in that? “I do,” he says. “I mean, other people would say: ‘Just focus on something and stop trying to do everything.’ But I’ve reached a point inmy life where I don’t really care what other people think.” Virtually Christmas by David Baddiel (HarperCollins) is out now F O O D B I T E S You’ve said you aspire to be a vegan? I do, and I’m getting better. But I just like meat too much. I love sausages. Sausages? You’re married to Mummy Pig, David! I know. It is complicated for a Jewish bloke, living with Mummy Pig. Who is herself a vegetarian. Who’s cooking Christmas dinner? We normally have eight to 12 people round to the place we stay in Cornwall, and everyone brings food, so we all cook together. There’s an entrenched war about who’s better at roast potatoes. Favourite bit of the meal? A lot of the joy of Christmas dinner is to do with the trimmings. I’m also a big fan of Christmas pudding. I love how you can steam them for three hours, or stick them in the microwave for a minute and a half. Who on Earth is still steaming them? ‘I don’t really ever set out to achieve anything. Most of the time I just say yes to anything I thinkmight be interesting, or fun, or important’ TOP OF THE TREE David Baddiel and Frank Skinner in their 2022 Three Lions video (main); David with daughter Dolly and wife Morwenna Banks (below left); with Frank in 1994 (below) Photography: Joe Magowan, Dave Benett/Getty Images, Shutterstock
17 1 DECEMBER 2022 IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY A MEMBER . . . Join today and start saving. Go to waitrose.com/mywaitrose and follow the instructions. SCAN THI S CODE TO J OI N TODAY & START SAVI NG ENJOY EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS Start saving with these great o ers for myWaitrose members. You’ll nd even more at waitrose.com/myo ers FIND MORE OFFERS AT WAITROSE.COM O ers only applicable when purchased with a myWaitrose or myPartnership card. Minimum online spend applies. Selected postcodes. Subject to availability. For terms and conditions visit waitrose.com/mywtsandcs. Prices may vary in Little Waitrose, the Channel Islands and concessions. Selected lines. Selected stores. You must be 18+ to purchase alcohol. Multibuy and discount promotions on alcohol are excluded in our Scottish, Welsh and Jersey stores. Prices correct at time of going to print. OFFERS END 27 DECEMBER unless otherwise stated SAVE 20% Oxford Landing Estates Chardonnay 75cl £6 . 79 £5 . 43 SAVE 20% Method Peony Blush Concentrated Laundry Detergent 39w £10 £8 SAVE 20% Method Ocean Violet Fabric Softener 45w £5 £4 SAVE 20% Waitrose & Partners 4 Scottish Salmon Fillets 480g £9. 70 £7. 76 SAVE 20% Charlie Bigham’s Lasagne 355g £6 £4 . 8 0 SAVE 20% Charlie Bigham’s Chicken Tikka Masala & Pilau Rice 403g £6 £4 . 8 0 SAVE 20% Hovis Seed Sensations Seven Seeds Loaf 800g £2 . 15 £1 . 72 SAVE 20% Cornish Sea Salt Co Sea Salt Crystals 225g £1 . 85 £1 . 48 SAVE 25% Grant Burge Barossa Ink Shiraz South Australia 75cl £10 £7. 49 SAVE 25% Cirio Polpa Chopped Tomatoes 4x400g £4 £3 SAVE 25% Simply Roasted Mature Cheddar & Red Onion Crisps 93g £2 . 30 £1 . 72 SAVE 25% Simply Roasted Sea Salt Crisps 93g £2 . 30 £1 . 72 SAVE 25% Vadasz Raw Kimchi 400g £4 . 75 £3 . 56 SAVE 25% Better Naked 6 Pork Sausages 400g £3 . 45 £2 . 58 SAVE 1/3 Listerine Daily Mouthwash Fresh Burst 500ml £3 . 60 £2 . 40
19 1 DECEMBER 2022 Food&Drink As Christmas comes closer, it’s easy to get so caught up in preparations that there’s no time to relax and enjoy the season. Before things get too hectic, I try to make a point of getting together with friends who I won’t see over the holidays for a relaxed dinner that’s the opposite of occasionally frazzled Christmas entertaining. This week’s Diana Henry menu is perfect for that – a Nordic in uence that feels right for the time of year, but di erent from the Christmas avours we’ll be surrounded with for the next few weeks. Why not take time out with friends and try it this weekend? What’s For Dinner? p20 Too Good ToWaste with Elly Curshen p25 What I’mCooking withMartyn Lee p27 The Best withMartha Collison p28 Weekend Cooking with DianaHenry p30 Very Important Producer p34 Wine List with Pierpaolo Petrassi MW p36 Short Cuts p38 ALISON OAKERVEE Partner & food and drink editor Photographs: Sam Folan, Food styling: Jennifer Joyce, Styling: Wei Tang
1 DECEMBER 2022 20 What’s for dinner? If you’re in need of easy, affordableweeknightmeals, look no further – these brilliant dishesmake themost of our Essential products, with a dash of something special fromthe newCooks’ Ingredients range Recipes: Mary Gwynn, Photographs: Sam Folan, Food styling: Jennifer Joyce, Styling: Wei Tang Egg recipes containing raw or semi-cooked egg are not suitable for pregnant women, elderly people, or those with weak immune systems. For information on nutrition and health, visit waitrose.com/nutrition. V Vegetarian.
1 DECEMBER 2022 21 Food&Drink SCAN THI S CODE FOR EASYTO SHOP RECI PES Serves 4 Prepare 10 minutes + marinating (optional) Cook 40 minutes 3 tbsp Essential Olive Oil 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp sumac ½ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp mild chilli powder 1 Essential Lemon, scrubbed, zest and juice 8 Essential British Chicken Thighs, skin on (or without) 600g Essential Sweet Potatoes 6 echalion or 12 regular shallots, halved 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped 1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Mix together ½ the oil with the spices, lemon juice and seasoning in a deep, wide dish. Dip the chicken thighs into this mixture to coat on all sides. If you have time, leave to marinate for 30 minutes, otherwise leave them in the dish while you prepare the potatoes. 2 Scrub the sweet potatoes and cut into long wedges. Transfer the chicken thighs to your largest roasting tin, or a wide grill tray, skin- side down. Put the potatoes and shallots into the remains of the marinade, add the rosemary, lemon zest and remaining 1½ tsp oil, then mix together to pick up any leftover spice mix (discarding any remaining marinade). Arrange them around the chicken in the roasting tin. 3 Roast for 40 minutes, turning the chicken halfway, then increase the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7. Roast for 20 minutes more, until the chicken is well coloured, the juices run clear, there is no pink meat, and the potatoes are tender. Serve with the pan juices spooned over and a seasonal salad or green vegetables, if liked. Per serving 3278kJ/784kcals/42g fat/9.1g saturated fat/ 44g carbs/24g sugars/7.2g bre/54g protein/0.7g salt/ 1 of your 5 a day/gluten free Cinnamon spiced chicken with rosemary sweet potatoes Serves 4 Prepare 15 minutes Cook 30 minutes 8 sausages 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp Essential Pure Clear Honey 1 tbsp Essential Red Wine Vinegar 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (or other mustard), to taste 350g Maris Piper or other ‘old’ potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks 1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks 1 red onion, thinly sliced 3 medium carrots, thickly sliced 15g Essential Unsalted Butter 1 Essential Savoy Cabbage, steamed and shredded, or sauerkraut, to serve 1 Line a grill pan with foil and add the sausages. Mix together the olive oil, honey, vinegar and mustard, then pour over the top. Set aside. 2 Put the potatoes and celeriac in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to cover. Layer the onion, then the carrots on top. It will be a snug t. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender, but not mushy. Drain thoroughly, return to the pan and mash roughly – it should be textured, not smooth. Stir in the butter and season. 3 Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium. Put the sausages under the grill for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through with no pink meat remaining. Serve with the sticky juices from the sausages spooned over the top and the hutspot mash, with steamed shredded cabbage or sauerkraut on the side. Per serving 2039kJ/488kcals/24g fat/8.4g saturated fat/ 44g carbs/14g sugars/8.4g bre/19g protein/1.8g salt/ 2 of your 5 a day Honey-glazed sausages with ‘hutspot’ mash COOK’S TIP This recipe is inspired by the Dutch dish hutspot – mashed potato, carrots and onions, traditionally served with smoked sausages. The mash makes a great base for other dishes, so freeze in small packs to use in sh cakes, potato pancakes or hashes. COOK’S TIP This recipe works well with other meats such as pork or lamb chops, or sausages. The mix of spices could be replaced with ras el hanout, if you have some in the cupboard. Oil (olive or vegetable) Butter Milk Honey Sugar White wine vinegar or malt vinegar Stock cubes Flour (tbsp) Salt Black pepper Garlic Dried mixed herbs Chilli akes Tomato ketchup Tomato purée Wholegrain mustard Soy sauce Curry powder STORECUPBOARD ESSENTIALS Keep these staples to hand as the base for easy weeknight meals You can now add ingredients to your trolley from our recipe pages. Sign in to your account, book a slot and add what you need from the ‘Shop this recipe’ section further down the page.
1 DECEMBER 2022 23 Serves 2 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 15 minutes 120g can sardine piccanti 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 stalks basil, stalks chopped, leaves shredded (optional – see Cook’s tip) 227g can Essential Chopped Tomatoes 150g Essential Spaghetti 100g Essential Greek Feta, cubed 12 Essential Pitted Black Olives, drained and halved Pecorino Romano, grated, to serve (optional) 1 Drain the oil from the sardines and heat 2 tbsp in a small pan over a low heat. Chop the chilli from the sardine can, discarding the stalk. Add to the oil with the garlic and basil stalks. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and some seasoning. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. 2 Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to pack instructions, or until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Flake the sardines into the tomato sauce, add the shredded basil leaves, feta and olives, then simmer for 1-2 minutes until piping hot. Stir into the pasta and serve on warm plates with the cheese and a leafy salad, if liked. Per serving 2518kJ/600kcals/22g fat/10g saturated fat/ 68g carbs/5.6g sugars/4.9g bre/29g protein/1.7g salt/ 1 of your 5 a day Sardine, tomato & black olive spaghetti with feta Serves 4 Prepare 10 minutes Cook 30 minutes 1 cauli ower, cut into orets 2 tbsp coconut oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, sliced ½ tsp dried chilli akes 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tbsp frozen Cooks’ Ingredients Chopped Ginger 1 tsp ground turmeric 300g red lentils 500ml Cooks’ Ingredients Vegetable Stock 1 tsp garam masala 100g coconut yogurt alternative ½ lemon, juice ½ x 25g pack coriander, leaves chopped 1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Toss the cauli ower orets with 1 tbsp coconut oil plus the onion, garlic, chilli akes and coriander seeds. Season, arrange in a roasting tin, then cook for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until the cauli ower is golden and tender. 2 Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the ginger and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute, then add the lentils, stock and 100ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, adding the garam masala during the last 5 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the liquid reduced. Add more water if the mixture becomes too thick. 3 Stir together the yogurt alternative, lemon juice and fresh coriander and season to taste. Check the dhal and season if necessary. To serve, spoon the dal onto warm serving dishes and top with the roasted cauli ower and a spoonful of yogurt. Serve alone or with steamed basmati rice or warm naan. V Per serving 1294kJ/309kcals/10g fat/7.1g saturated fat/ 37g carbs/13g sugars/9.8g bre/14g protein/0.2g salt/ 2 of your 5 a day/vegan Roasted cauliflower curry with coconut & coriander ‘yogurt’ COOK’S TIP If you don’t need this to be vegan, use Greek-style yogurt for the raita. You can also use vegetable oil instead of the coconut oil – but it’s worth adding 100ml coconut milk instead of the water. COOK’S TIP You can substitute plain sardines in olive oil and just add a little dried chilli akes if you can’t nd the spicy version. It can be handy to keep a pot of basil growing in the kitchen, so you always have fresh to hand, but this recipe works ne without it.
1 DECEMBER 2022 25 Food&Drink S C A N T HI S CODE F OR MOR E R E CI P E S Photographs: Hannah Hughes, Food styling: Joss Herd, Styling: Wei Tang Makes 32 biscuits Prepare 10 minutes + chilling and cooling Cook 12 minutes 100g Essential Plain Flour 2 pinches cayenne pepper (or to taste) 80g Essential Unsalted Butter, cold and diced 115g Essential Extra Mature British Cheddar, grated ½ tsp sea salt akes 2 sprigs rosemary, nely chopped to give 2 tsp Cheddar, cayenne & rosemary shortbread Being able to whip some delicious cheesy nibbles out of the freezer, bake themo and serve without breaking sweat is the stu Christmas dreams aremade of. That’s why, this week, I’mbringing you ideas tomake ahead (using leftovers too), freeze and enjoy during the festive period. The shortbreads, cheese straws and jalapeño poppers are perfect accompaniments to drinks (I opened a bottle of Leckford Estate Brut to try with the shortbreads and it was a glorious match), and the cheesymash bites are great for little hands as a snack. I can also vouch for themdipped into ketchup, enjoyed standing at the kitchen counter – I ate about 10 in one go, but it’s called ‘research’, right? @ellypear CHEDDAR Too good towaste withElly Curshen 1 Add the our and cayenne to a food processor with a few grinds of black pepper, then pulse to blend. Tip in the butter and cheese, then blend until a dough comes together. It will look like breadcrumbs at rst, but continue to pulse and it will quickly and magically form a smooth dough. Once you reach that point, stop. Don't overwork it. 2 Tip the dough onto your work surface and form into an evenly shaped sausage, about 4cm thick. Wrap in greaseproof paper (or reusable wax wrap) and chill for at least 1 hour until rm, or overnight. 3 To bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Slice the dough into 0.5cm discs and place at least 3cm apart on the tray. Sprinkle each biscuit with sea salt and a tiny pinch of rosemary, then gently press into the dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They should be just lightly golden on the edges. 4 Let the biscuits cool on the baking tray for a few minutes, before carefully moving to a wire rack to cool completely. V Per biscuit 189kJ/45kcals/3.4g fat/2.2g saturated fat/ 2.3g carbs/trace sugars/trace bre/1.3g protein/0.1g salt MORE LEFTOVER IDEAS 1 Stu ed jalapeño peppers Combine nely grated extra mature Cheddar with full fat soft cheese, nely grated garlic, nely chopped chives and a pinch of cayenne. Season. Fill jalapeños with the cheese mixture. Press the jalapeños' open sides into panko breadcrumbs. (You can freeze them at this point.) Put on lined baking trays, crumb-side up, drizzle with oil and bake at 220ºC, gas mark 7 for 20-25 minutes (25-30 from frozen), until golden and bubbling. Cool for a few minutes before serving. 2Cheesy mash bites Mix leftover mash with some beaten egg, grated extra mature Cheddar and nely chopped chives. Season. Spoon into the holes of a greased mini mu n tin. Bake at 220ºC, gas mark 6 for 20 minutes, until golden. (To freeze, cool, wrap well and freeze, then defrost before reheating at 190ºC for 15 minutes.) 3Cheddar & Marmite cheese straws Brush warmed Marmite over a sheet of pu pastry. Scatter evenly with nely grated extra mature Cheddar. Fold in ½ lengthways. Roll to a rectangle, about 15x35cm, and chill for 10 minutes (or freeze, then defrost before continuing). Cut into 1cm strips and twist each one a few times. Lay on a large baking tray lined with parchment and press the ends down to prevent unravelling. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake at 190ºC, gas mark 5 for 15-20 minutes, until golden. ELLY’S TIP Freeze the roll of dough up to 1 month ahead if you like. Either slice as many as you need from the frozen roll, or defrost the whole roll in the fridge overnight. The cooking time will be the same. The slicing, topping and baking can be done in less than 15 minutes.