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Kay Langdale on Christmas menu planning and falling out over a game of Monopoly…

Five books I’ll give for Christmas which I’ve loved this year …

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See

Anne Enright’s The Green Road

Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins

Jane Clarke’s The River

Julia Margaret Cameronthe V&A book of Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographs which accompanies the current exhibition


It wouldn’t be Christmas without…

* Cooking for fourteen over four days. My menu plan goes on an A3 sheet of paper with what I’m going to cook by day and by meal, and my corresponding shopping list is grouped in order of the aisles in Waitrose. IT’S LIKE A BATTLE PLAN – do not mess with me, Grocery manager, and spontaneously change the layout of the fruit and veg aisle on December 23rd.

* The Christmas Lights conversation: Do we have enough? They are white not yellow, right? They don’t twinkle do they? But they’re twinkling now…

* My grown-up children insisting their presents go in exactly the same spot in the snug as when they were tiny.

Delia’s trusty Gammon, studded with cloves, mustard and brown sugar on Christmas Eve; Nigella’s Christmas Morning muffins with the presents; champagne and smoked salmon blinis when I’m supposed to be putting the roast potatoes in; Josceline Dimbleby’s chilli, ginger, apple and coriander sauce with the goose or turkey; and Beef Wellington with love hearts all over it on Boxing Day.

* A game of Monopoly so protracted and vicious it probably counts as a contact sport.

* A family walk, probably never to be surpassed by the year my sister rolled sideways down a hill in the snow in her sheepskin coat ‘just to see what happens’.


Author Kay LangdaleCover of Away from You by Kay LangdaleKay Langdale’s acclaimed novel, AWAY FROM YOU, is available now.