Have you got all your Christmas presents yet? Could I recommend a few books? First, a book I have been raving about to anyone who will listen…

This is a fabulous read for anyone interested in big personalities, television cooks, the way someone can survive by their wits… it is UTTERLY MARVELLOUS! Here’s a link to the book via the fabulous new “local bookshops” site Bookshop, plus it’s also available on Amazon if you are not in the UK. Here’s a link to the Keep Calm and Fanny On website where Kevin writes about recreating Fanny’s dishes and even, once, something for my forthcoming Murder, She Cooked book. Behold the splendour of the Jane Withers Cheese Ball for a Special Occasion!

My second recommendation is my friend Sarah Broughton’s book about Anna Kashfi, Brando’s Bride. I’ve written about this at length here, but I’ll just say this, it’s utterly fabulous and a corking read for anyone interested in how Hollywood can mash people up. You want to know whether Anna was from Darjeeling as the press releases claimed or actually from Cardiff don’t you?! Here’s a link to the book via Bookshop (again, it’s also available via Amazon if you are outside the UK).

A little blow of my own trumpet in case there are any Columbo fans on your Christmas list – here’s a link to my Cooking With Columbo book…

There are lots of other wonderful Columbo related gift ideas over at my chum Columbophile’s fabulous website.

Last but not least, my labour of love, Cooking With Joan Crawford. This one is for all the Crawford fans!

You know what? While you are buying all your friends and family Christmas presents, why not get a book for yourself while you are at it? Books have been my friends during this pandemic! Make yourself a batch of Edmund Gwenn’s Christmas Cup and

Edmund Gwenn’s Christmas Cup

1 quart / 950ml sweet cider

1/2 cup / 100g sugar

8 sticks of cinnamon

12 whole cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients.  Heat to boiling point then take off the heat.  Let stand for several hours.  Reheat.  Remove the spices.  Serve hot in metal cups or pottery cups.

Serves 4 to 8.

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