Dinner Party: gather your kinfolk

There is a brief time in the year - those puddled months of January, February and March - when everything is over and nothing has yet begun. It is a time of waiting...waiting for days to lengthen, waiting for the wind to stop howling, waiting for the first shoots of spring to pierce the sodden earth. All the mid-winter frivolities are over and we retreat indoors with good intentions. We batten down the hatches and try and stick to resolutions to become more this, less that. Here and there the detritus of Christmas still drifts about - a pile of cards awaiting recycling - a reminder to get in touch, just a text or a phonecall maybe? And the days go by. In these times of instant communication

Winter Rations

Christmas is over but the lights are still on the tree and holly and ivy garlands still adorn the inglenook. The 'fridge is almost bare now and husband Dave has implemented his annual austerity regime which means that we eat a lot of rollmops and sauerkraut and things made with capers at this time of year because that is virtually all there is left in the fridge. Oh, and lentils. We've got lots of them. He gets a devilish glint in his eye when he cooks with an odd-ball array of ingredients whilst banging on about eeking out the rations for January. Luckily for me, he's a rather good cook and seems to take great pleasure in stirring up his evening concoctions, whilst I pour us a glass of wine

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