Happy New Year & Festive Food (incl. Paul A Young + Konditor & Cook)

Got beef?
Got beef?

Happy New Year! Hope that you’ve all had a lovely time and – most importantly – that you’ve all eaten lots of delicious food!

Food is the most important aspect of family life in my household and it takes on extra importance at Christmas. Our meal isn’t the traditional turkey: my parents did make turkey one year and I was mildly (read: very) disappointed, not because they’d cooked it badly, but because turkey just isn’t beef. And if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know how much I love beef.

So our Christmas dinner, cooked by Dad, looked like this:

Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner

That’s a whole lot of beef, seven vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy and horseradish sauce. Incidentally, the dinner prompted a discussion about some really great home-made horseradish that we’d had recently… and that would be from Beard to Tail. Worth ordering).

Roast ham with parsley sauce
Roast ham with parsley sauce

On boxing day, our tradition is to have roast ham. With a sugar, mustard coating with cloves. And parsley sauce. All prepared by Mum (yes, my parents take turns at cooking if they aren’t doing a kitchen double act).

I love my parents’ cooking but there’s one thing they don’t do – dessert. But this is no problem at all – not when there are so many tasty sweet treats to be had. I was lucky enough to win some Konditor and Cook goodies from The Little Loaf, a beautiful baking blog where every recipe looks so edible I want to gnaw the screen (seriously, you should check it out). You may know I’m a big fan of Konditor and Cook’s brownies so I was thrilled to try their mince pies, which had gorgeously firm pastry and a rich filling.

Cinnamon stars
Cinnamon stars

Big loves goes to their cinnamon stars. Imagine eating a hot cross bun in a soft biscuit format. That’s what their cinnamon stars are like. They’re probably all off the shelves by now, but if not, go grab yourself a packet and try to stop yourself from eating them all at once.


This Christmas, I was also lucky enough to be given some Paul A Young chocolates. I have been wanting to try these for ages so discovering the box sent me jumping around the room with excitement.

Admire them
Admire them some more!

Paul A Young is particularly famous for his salted caramel chocolates and I can confirm that yes, they are very good. You want to eat them now. Oh yes you do.

I also very enjoyed this cinnamon chocolate, which was beautifully smooth (possibly the orange and cinnamon dark muscovado caramel and gold).

Cinnamon choc
What a cheeky little poser
Cinnamon choc
Cinnamon yummyness

But my heart fell for the Marmite truffle. You read that right – Marmite. I was actually sceptical about the flavour combination because Marmite is not something I’ve ever wanted to put with chocolate. However, Mr. Young’s recipe dispelled all doubts – the Marmite’s tangyness blended seamlessly  with the dark chocolate. So addictively good. I guess you either love it or you hate it 😉

Marmite truffle - love it or hate it
Marmite truffle – love it or hate it

That wasn’t the end of my food-related Christmas presents. My mother bought me a fantastic, top-notch casserole dish from Le Creuset. So far, I’ve only made sweet potato and red pepper soup in it but I’m hoping to branch out and bring you some more recipes soon.

Le Creuset casserole dish with sweet potato & red pepper soup
Le Creuset casserole dish with sweet potato & red pepper soup

I also took a very disturbing selfie with a Heston Blumenthal meat thermometer in which I look like I want to insert it into humans.

Helloooo. I'll take your temperature.....
Helloooo. I’ll take your temperature…..

And aside from being creepy, admiring kitchen equipment and stuffing my face, I did all the usual things such as…

…danced badly round my house to dubstep with my ultimate geek T-shirt – ‘What does the Vulpix say?’…

What does the Vulpix say?
What does the Vulpix say?

…shot a short film in which I aptly played a mad woman with a labradoodle…

My name's Elaine and I love my doggie, Princess Primrose
My name’s Elaine and I love my doggie, Princess Primrose

…and just generally admired nature in the beautiful New Forest.







Author: Phoebe Amoroso

Phoebe Amoroso is a Tokyo-based reporter, multimedia journalist and storyteller. Hailing from the UK, she moved to Japan in 2014 and has since been shouting about the country to all who will listen. She divides her time between covering breaking news and producing feature stories for TV; writing about everything from business and tech to food and travel; and guiding hungry visitors who want to sample the best of Japanese cuisine. When not working and/or eating, she can often be found running up a mountain or cycling by the sea.

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