Mid-winter Christmas might not be your thing, but why on earth not? A roast with all the trimmings - perhaps a duck with a seasonal orange and pistachio stuffing or a beef rib roast with Yorkshire puddings. and a steamed pud, also with all the trimmings ... warm, homemade custard ... mmm. Making steamed fruit pudding in the crockpot is a clever idea or chocolate steamed puddings for those not fond of the traditional. It all goes down a lot easier with the temperature in single figures and we get to incorporate winter produce into the menu - bruschetta with brussels sprouts, bacon, walnuts and blue cheese make a great starter or a light supper if you're having your roast meal for lunch.
If it doesn't sit well with you call it a mid-winter celebration and do away with the Christmas flavours, but give your friends a reason to get out by inviting them to share a meal you have spent a joyous day preparing. Kathy Paterson's menu of clear chicken soup with dumplings, eye fillet of beef with bitter greens and charred sourdough and orange pots with oranges and chocolate crumble should appeal to most.
Warren Elwin's turkey pie is worth bringing people together for as is Allyson Gofton's trout and rose rillette (make it with salmon if you don't have access to trout). But first, let's get the fry pan on for tonight's fish with a parsley crust, served with a spicy carrot salad.
Also in Bite this week:
• Ray McVinnie has a host of ideas for the "supremely comforting and delicious" gratin.
• Peter Gordon has some juicy information about citrus.
• Mikki Williden is looking at kids' nutrition.
• Louise Thompson shares the second part of her productivity at work series.