From Recipe lab. Comments are welcome via email.

'Everything in life is so easy when you know the way. It's just a question of the pleasure that I get selfishly out of sharing the ways of the things that I've happened to discover with you'. These are the words of Fanny Cradock, forerunner of the modern TV chefs, uttered during an episode of her 1975 BBC series 'Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas' (episodes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). They feature her cooking a variety of Yuletide atrocities, typically brimming with saturated fat, mincemeat, food colouring, almond paste and icing sugar. Cooking, that is, in between snapping her fingers, bellowing or making passive-aggressive comments at Sara, her silent, trembling assistant.

I was thinking of suggesting to Jotunn that on my next visit to Yorkshire we watch one of these episodes and try to recreate the results. As I've reported here before, he is a very good cook of vegan food, but I feared that even if we could find a copy of the tie-in booklet she mentions repeatedly, adapting any of these recipes to use solely plant-derived ingredients would be practically impossible. However, there's a blog, 'Keep Calm and Fanny On', whose author has produced an impressive list of Fanny's vegetarian recipes, so perhaps there's hope after all.

She'd been cooking for audiences for at least twenty years by then, firstly her ostentatious demonstrations at the Albert Hall, then later 'Adventurous Cooking with Fanny Cradock: Fish' (parts 1, 2 and 3) and then later 'Fanny Cradock Invites You To A Cheese and Wine Party' (parts 1, 2 and 3), but all of these are more factual and nowhere near as absurd. Having said that, Mademoiselle Lolita Saltina Cradock is an extraordinary name for a dog.