HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my lovely readers!

The choice of my #1 movie star dish of 2020 is SIMPLE because this way of cooking a leg of lamb was an absolute revelation.  The recipe is the culinary equivalent of an earworm because it keeps on popping into my head as something I really, really, really want to cook again.  In at number one with a bullet is the SPLENDOUR that is Helen Hayes’ Crockery Pot Leg of Lamb.

The purchase of a HUGE slow cooker just for the purpose of making this dish was 100% justified.  Bring me the 2021 calendar, I want to make this again!

Next up is one of those recipes where you look at the title and think “Eh?”  Then you have a few minutes thinking, “this will probably not be great.”  Then, because you like to cook weird things, you decide to give it a whirl and BLOW ME DOWN, it’s delicious.  Ladies and Gents, I give you Ian Ogilvy’s Turnip and Onion Soup.

There is a huge bonus to this recipe being good.  Ian Ogilvy is in a few episodes of Murder, She Wrote AND in a Vincent Price movie so this recipe can go in both cookbooks I am working on at the moment, the Murder, She Cooked book and the Vincent Price Co*Star Cookbook. Whoopee!

Winner, winner, turnip dinner!

To help usher us through the first London lockdown, when our beloved pubs were closed for THREE MONTHS, I embarked on a series of cocktail videos entitled Quarantini Time.  I made 12 movie star cocktails and some of them were LEGENDARY.  It’s hard to choose, but I think may favourite was The Gertrude Niesen Buzz-Bomb.  Here for your amusement is the video I made before Mr R had to put me to bed for half an hour so I could lay there like a MUMMY not moving a muscle.

This is a HUMDINGER of a cocktail and it is so much fun to keep on saying BUZZ-BOMB in a terrible American accent over and over and over.

I think to sum up what I have been eating working from home during the pandemic so far, I would have to say, jacket potatoes, jacket potatoes, jacket potatoes.  A baked potato is my go-to edible for self-soothing.  A spud will always make me feel better whatever I plonk on top of it.  But my favourite way of pimping a potato is now, and I suspect forever, to make it the way Pat Phoenix makes it, with sardines and onion and herbs and cheese – YUM!  I always make this face after I have eaten it.

“Yeah, I am having ANOTHER jacket potato, and what of it?!”

Vincent Price’s Cannelloni Alla Passetto (Chicken Cannelloni With Cream Sauce) is my #5. This is not only a fabulous recipe, it’s also special to me as it is the dish I made for the first Zoom party I attended during the pandemic.  More than 40 Vincent fans gathered together for a virtual dinner party hosted by Victoria Price and Peter Fuller.  It cheered us all up no end to see the wonderful dishes everyone had made as we chatted about all things Vincent, it was utterly wonderful.

It’s things like this that keep us going eh folks?  Good food and time spent with good friends, even if it is just via a computer screen.

Talking of which, I did love the evening I spent cooking George Segal’s Chicken Paprika with my friend Sanja, she in her kitchen and me in mine.  I plan to do more of this kind of socialising in 2021 until we are RELEASED.  Get in touch if you fancy cooking something with me, whever you are in the world.

I also had a lovely evening making a Jessica Fletcher Cheesecake with Tim Benzie of the fabulous Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote experience, safely distanced in our respective kitchens.  A video is coming soon..

If I’d decided to do a top 10 rather than a top 5 these are the other 5 delicious delights that would have made it into the chart. David Niven’s Jansson’s Temptation, Tessie O’Shea’s Diet Scotch Eggs, Sophia Loren’s Sardines a Beccafico,  Angela Lansbury’s Cheesecake and Melissa Gilbert’s Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Many GOOD things happened in my life in 2020.  The main one was that I got hitched on the very last day before lockdown in the UK.

It was a truly wonderful day and I have been having a lovely time with my spouse ever since. I feel so lucky to have been set up on a blind date with him by a neighbour 7.5 years ago.

My Murder, She Wrote Hen Night was amazing too…

I know that we have a long lockdown winter ahead of us, and I will be eating solo during the week, and cooking up a storm with Mr Rathbone at the weekends.  I cannot imagine a time when I’ll be having umpteen people in my flat for a spread like this one of many movie star salads with my cookbook club…

…but I have faith that it will happen again, sometime…

I hereby wish all of my readers many lovely things for 2021.  We got through 2020 somehow, 2021 will be different for sure.  Wherever you are in the world…

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