Hello. I’m back.

Thank you so much to everyone who has commented here, on Facebook, or sent me e-mails after my Mum’s death, I really appreciated your kindness. Thank you once again. Now the funeral is done, I can breathe for now, although sorting out her affairs will be a priority over the summer. Luckily school broke up for both my daughter and me this week, and we have a couple of quieter weeks before the state schools break up and our holiday in Cornwall to get back to some normality.

I have been reading though. At first I couldn’t read novels as every book I was tempted by seemed to be one I would have passed on to Mum to read. A week on and I changed my plan – to only read novels she wouldn’t have liked (mega-quirky, vampires, bad language, rock ‘n’ roll - you get the picture!). That’s worked – so you can expect an eclectic mix of reviews soon!

I was idly looking through her cookery books the other day though, and I found these from the mid-60s by one of the first British TV chefs – Fanny Craddock.

It’s not the recipes that tickled me - they’re standard fare with nods towards classic French cuisine mostly – it’s the notes on techniques for presentation and garnishing.  Now I know how to fold a water-lily napkin, make a savory swan with a hard-boiled egg, and, should I wish to give it a go, create a butter pagoda; all delivered in her clipped, bossy, schoolmarm style.  

Not surprisingly with my Mum, on opening the books, aged newspaper clippings fall out – so I also have the 1966 Radio Times pull out supplement of Fanny Craddock’s guide to your Christmas table – including homemade decorations for your table, and a plan to make the most of your cooker and worktops so everything will go smoothly. Priceless!

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