Marian’s mulled wine

What would Christmas be without a glass or two of mulled wine? Well, considerably more sober, as Cass finds out after a night at the Ship Inn, where Marian’s mulled wine has a secret ingredient – that she has kindly allowed me to share with you!

[Anna and Cass] were making their way beneath the criss-crossing strings of lights, across the quay and up the steps to the pub. Inside the fire roared in the hearth, the smell of mulled wine spices was heavy in the air, and every possible item in the bar was bedecked with holly, ivy and tinsel, standing out in bold colour against the dark wooden panels of the walls.

Cass found herself a safe corner where she could watch what was going on as she drank some of Marian’s home-made mulled wine.  It was good to be there watching, in amongst the life of her parish, while Anna came and went, catching up with some of her old friends, animated and luminous in dark green velvet.

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Christmas dinner for the vicar

It’s no secret that vicars are busy on Christmas Day, and as Cass is single and has four churches to look after she’s busier than most – and she has no-one to roast a turkey for her in the gap between services. Unlike the Vicar of Dibley she hasn’t had invitations to Christmas dinner with several different parishioners, and as she’s neither (as you may have noticed) an enthusiastic nor a competent cook, what does she have for her Christmas dinner?

Macaroni cheese for one!

Time for lunch

It’s the next stop on my culinary journey through the world of Cass in The Little Church by the Sea and it’s time for lunch.  But I should warn you, Cass isn’t much of a cook – or very tidy!

[Anna] worked right through lunchtime and wouldn’t come and share the soup that Cass had offered her, so Cass took a bowl up to her, for her to eat while she worked. Thinking of June’s neatness Cass made a cursory effort to tidy up the kitchen after her lunch. Cass’s clutter was starting to creep out of the cupboards and onto the worktops – but it was better to have the teabags to hand, and the chocolate biscuits couldn’t be stuck away in the cupboards when she needed them so often, could they?

Mince pies for morning coffee

It’s coffee time! And here is Cass’s extra special recipe for mince pies to be enjoyed with a morning coffee:

  1. Buy ready made pastry.
  2. Buy a jar of mincemeat.
  3. I also need my baking tray … where is it?
  4. And a cutter … I can’t find one, I’ll have to use a mug instead …
  5. Cut out pastry circles and put them in the baking tray. Oh no, I should have greased it first … never mind …
  6. Add a generous blob of mincemeat in the centre.
  7. Put a lid on. Oh, these don’t fit quite properly, never mind …
  8. Put them in the oven. Temperature? No idea! Hot-ish, I think.
  9. Go and finish writing a sermon. Don’t forget the mince pies!
  10. Oh no? What’s that burning smell?
  11. Run up the hill and buy a packet of mince pies from the village shop.