My grandmother has, in the past couple of weeks, started passing on a number of her recipes that I have expressed an interest in trying out. Since she is of a certain age, my grandmother is from an era in which most people would naturally eat frugally. As one might imagine, it was unacceptable, both socially and economically, to waste resources during war-time and post-war Britain; the setting in which she grew up. Though it is fairly clear that the roots of this dish do not lie in the 1940s – particularly with the addition of dried apricots – I believe that it still retains the frugal sensibilities of that period, as so many of my recipes do.

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In recent weeks my Grandfather has developed a penchant for divulging a number of his favourite Clement Freud anecdotes. His favourite story concerns a trip Freud made to Mexico. Whilst in Mexico, Freud thought he would sample the delights of a true Central American Chilli, something he soon regretted. After ordering ‘six bottled of beer in quick succession’, Freud advised the chef that it may be best to warn visitors about the deadly speciality. The chef replied that ‘the ratio [of chilli to meat] was about one to one.’ Had Freud wanted his chilli with only a little spice the chef said that ‘there was an American place just down the road.’ I think it’s rather a humorous little tale, though perhaps you’ll disagree if you are an American. Anyway, a deep interest on the writings of Freud developed within, and I asked to borrow my Grandfather’s copy of ‘Freud of Food’. To my delight I discovered that my taste in humour shared an even closer affinity to that of Freud’s, when I discovered a section entitled, ‘Give The Wife A Break’.

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One of the problems, which has reared its ugly head as a result of my unannounced Christmas hiatus, is that there is a pile of holiday related recipes which have been, just as the resolutions will be, shut out in the cold. One cannot legitimately post a recipe for nut roast after Christmas Eve – it simply will not do. Still, this means that my stock of Christmas themed recipes will be more than healthy come December. However, with the change of year does not come a change of season; it is still winter. As such, these biscuits are an ideal way to satiate one’s Christmas hangover. After all, there is nothing quite like the hair of the dog.

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I suppose the item on the agenda worth tackling first is the sudden moral rejuvenation of most inhabitants of the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is the year for which we have all been waiting, 2012 has finally dawned and one can say, with certainty, that resolutions will not be in short supply. Of course, I am not one to go in for such moral undertakings; it is an accomplished fact, or fait accompli, that 97% of all resolutions will have been thrust harshly into the cold within 72 hours of their formulation. Still, it’s the thought that counts. I suppose all that is left to say is: Happy New Year!

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So, it’s officially a week until Christmas day, how very exciting! There appears to be a lot of excitement surrounding the festive season this year, but perhaps I’m a little more receptive to it since I’m spending it with Katherine and her family. To be honest, it’ll be very interesting to see how another family spends Christmas; perhaps they should be taught the family card game. How apt that this soup should look quite so festive.

Many recipes for red pepper soups perform rather badly when it comes to preserving the natural sweetness of the fruit. As such, I’ve been very careful to avoid pairing it with anything that would disguise the main qualities of the bell pepper. Tomatoes, themselves being sweet, work very well in this capacity. The result is a deliciously sweet and temptingly light soup, worthy of just about anyone’s best bowls. However, one must remember to season correctly and delicately according to the recipe; salt is added to enhance the natural flavours of a dish and (usually) not to become a flavour itself.

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