oxtail stew with warming spices: a wonderful winter warmer

sticky oxtail stew
Where's the spring we've been promised by weather forecasters? London's weather is distinctly grey. As a result, I want a meal that is comforting and soothing; something a little dark and sticky, a bit like my mood. 

I need a meal that is a lttle wintery but lively enough to delude me that spring is around the corner. I have convinced myself that what I need is an oxtail stew of such unctuousness, it is like one of the cartoonist Martin Rowson's fat cat plutocrats caught in a nonchalant shrug with its paws caught in this country's till.

introducing kelly's kentish town fairing: a mincemeat treat!

kentish town fairing!
I may have overdone this year's batch of Christmas mincemeat. It's not that I don't like mincemeat. I love it. But I made so much that I started to give jars away. Unfortunately my friends had also started to see me coming.

Since I have become somewhat obsessive about making and baking things, my friends are quite happy to try the finished result but are less happy with jars of pickles and food in it's uncooked state. I'm guessing why bother when you know someone (well me) would do it for you. And there is just so often that I can turn up a the pub lugging a tower of tupperware to hand out my kitchen largesse . . .

what's in season: february

rhubarb, rhubarb!
If February give much snow
A fine summer it doth foreshow 
(Traditional English saying) 

Well if there's any truth in the saying, so far England is destined for another dismal summer. Although forecasters are predicting a "cold snap" blowing in from the east. Which could mean anything from a bit of a chill to blizzards.

But weather aside, spring is on the horizon and if you're looking forward to a little colour in your culinary life, then it is the right time to celebrate rhubarb. February sees the Rhubarb Festival in Wakefield, heart of the wonderful "Rhubarb Triangle" (weather permitting . . . the lack of frosts this winter has affected the growing season).And if you think rhubarb is just for puddings (crumbles or perhaps a trifle), then think again. Stewed rhubarb makes a stunning accompaniement for roast pork.