There's been nothing normal about 2020 for most of us, so reaching for normality, family and friends is even more important. Putting up Christmas decorations in November? I'm in. Opening the Christmas booze and watching Christmas films everyday until Christmas and beyond, sign me up. We may not be able to celebrate in the traditional way but let's reach for the strands of love, happiness and tradition in whatever way possible.
And, of course, food is the great connector. It crosses boundaries, cultures and time. If you're sharing Christmas over Zoom this year, just eating the same dishes can bind things together. Sharing simple recipes across your family households, cooking and eating together when apart might be unusual and no doubt different but the simple act of doing so is enough.
Sharing our food on social media this year has also taken on extra significance. It's a chance to connect, even if it's virtual. If you're thinking of taking some shots of your feast, the best advice I can ever give is to add height to your food, never be too uniform on the plate, then grab a surface (I sometimes use big tiles) or fabric, lay it at your back door and use natural light always.
This year, I'll be kicking things off with champagne and bacon sandwiches in a onesie. It's a family tradition and one that's become so important for us to maintain that since my mother's death. There'll be plenty of phone calls with missing family members and maybe a few more tweets and Instagrams to stay connected!
Sharing our food on social media has taken on extra significance. It's a chance to connect, albeit virtual
As for the lunch itself? My favourite thing is the roast potatoes; I cut them in a certain way which gives a larger flat surface area and keeps the potato close to the tray for a crispy outside and fluffier interior. This year we've added a winter festive spin with crispy porcini mushroom and sage topping. It's certainly going to be a staple of my Christmases for years to come.