Good old Delia

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I probably shouldn’t call her good ‘old’ Delia, but it’s my cookbook to which I am refering, not the good lady herself.

For this weekend heralded the annual hunt along the book shelf for Delia Smith’s Christmas followed by the careful separation of the pages welded together with Delia’s turkey giblet Christmas gravy and brandy sauce.

Put simply, this is my bible when it comes to Christmas. If Delia doesn’t do it, then neither do we.

I remember my mother was well schooled in Delia. Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, the Good Housekeeping Cookbook and Corden Bleu Cookery Course were the stalwarts of my mothers cooking.  We ate very well.  I particularly remember a Cordon Bleu Cookery Book on gateaus, chocolate covered choux buns, pavalovas and  brandy snap baskets that used to come out for dinner parties. I remember that one well!

Corden bleu cookery course
Corden bleu cookery course
Delia Smith's complete Cookery Course 1970's
Delia Smith’s complete Cookery Course 1970’s

The Delia Smith Christmas book was first published in 1990. I think it was one of the first recipe books purely dedicated to Christmas, before the term ‘celebrity chef’ was invented. I remember watching it with my mother on the television.

My Delia Smith's Christmas
My Delia Smith’s Christmas

I bought my copy of Delia Smith’s Christmas about 14 years ago. It would have coincided with owning my first home with my soon to be husband, and cooking my first Christmas dinner.

I thought I was quite grown up.

It is definitely written for a time when the lady of the house might spend the whole of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning (and several days and weeks beforehand), on her own, preparing the Christmas feast with a list of what to do and when to do it. How much of that has changed? Hmmmm, not much here. Not if I want to eat all those things that remind me of the  Christmases of my childhood.

This weekend I assembled the ingredients and made the mincemeat in preparation for the trays of mince pies I will eat, but mostly give away, over the festive season.

Delia's homemade mincemeat
Delia’s homemade mincemeat

But for now, the book is going back on the bookcase.

I’m not hosting Christmas this year so will not need a cake. Nobody here likes it but me so I’ll just visit others and eat their’s.

Delia will remain on the shelf now until December.

But I might just need to make some rum truffles before then………

Love, Lucie x


  1. I have that book too and always used to make her Christmas Cake – weeks in advance so I could feed it regularly with brandy – for my Dad until he started watching his cholesterol so that was that. I also have her Complete Cookery Course and, from when or where I don’t remember – probably a book club (remember those!) the Good Housekeeping Cookery book. It is a very unassuming book but, despite the number of ‘celebrity’ chef books I’ve added over the years, I probably refer back to it moire than any other.


  2. We usually have a houseful as they all return home for Christmas, I love Christmas morning in the kitchen but I am afraid that I am a Jamie fan when it comes to guidance on the christmas dinner. Maybe I should give Delia a try, I know so many folks that recommend her. And now you too!


    1. I know! The only thing about making your own mincemeat is you realise what is making it so yummy is all the fat and sugar you add! Since I made it myself a few years ago I don’t like the shop stuff. Unless you add ALOT of brandy!


  3. This reminds me, I need to get organised for our now-regular Mince Pie-a-thon. Last year we tested about a dozen different shop-bought pies. Great fun! Abel & Cole’s were the clear winner for me.


  4. Delia is so reliable! I don’t have that book but I might think about investing in a copy. I haven’t ever made my own mincemeat but I’m certainly thinking that it might be time to make just a few little pies to get me in the chrimbo mood….


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