Sugar and spice and all things nice

“If you were a tree your leaves would be starting to fall ” Mr Broccoli tells me. He is very perceptive my husband.

It happens every year. As the days get shorter and the nights draw in my energy levels begin to dip and slide. I used to think I was dying, I really did! Then Mr Broccoli very wisely recognised that I was doing nothing more than gently slipping into hibernation. I had done my hurly-burly, hell for leather summer living and now is the time to rest; he is very perceptive my husband.

I used to fight this feeling, this calm that pervades every aspect of my being. I would kick and scream and fight it thinking myself weak and stupid. Now I embrace it, I embrace it as warmly as I greet an old friend because now I see I for what it is, a changing of seasons, winter returning just like it does every year.



This year I plan to do winter well and I’ve already made a start. I’ve chosen to eat well, a decision that has brought my family and kitchen to life.
I cooked a roast dinner the other day; lavish and succulent it was full of goodness and flavoured with herbs from my garden. I crowned each plateful with gloriously crisp, golden Yorkshire puddings; piping hot they never fail to make my children’s eyes light up.
I’ve never made Yorkshire puds from scratch before so I reached for the Hairy Bikers cookbook; I knew they would have the recipe.
And there I was, content in my kitchen.
Middle child wandered into the kitchen in the midst of my contentment.
“Can I make some cinnamon swirls?” she asked.
Words like these make my heart sing.


We go about our cooking side by side. We do more than that. I decide to talk like the Hairy Bikers and she models Nigella in the kitchen. Before we know it we are shimmying to the fridge to get supplies and draping ourselves over work tops in hysterics; we both want to be Nigella.

Soon our house is filled with the delicious aromas of winter spices. The rich, sweet scent of cinnamon and the smell of freshly baked bread is impossible to resist and the Broccoli family drift into our cosy kitchen. Settled around the wooden table we watch, warm and content, as the cinnamon buns come out of the oven; they are perfectly formed and a joy to behold. Middle child graces her handiwork with a dusting of glittering vanilla sugar before we tuck into the warm dough; it is delicious, heart warming and beautiful.


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