Well, it’s now mid-November, and the menus are at their autumn-season peak. To my mind it’s the best time of year in Britain, especially with my love of game and the multitude of British vegetables; it makes menu-planning a real pleasure. But as with all Novembers, there’s a peak and trough in business as people plan for Christmas. Those of us in the kitchen get a chance to finalise plans for the Christmas and the New Year festivities, and this week we’ve been steeping all the fruit for the Christmas puddings and mince pies. Next week I’ll start making the puddings; I’m thinking of making around 750, with any excess to go into the brandy and dark chocolate truffles which I will serve as the Christmas petit four.

Christmas pudding petit fours

Juice and grated zest of two oranges

325ml double cream

65g unsalted butter

150g Christmas pudding, mashed up by hand

500g dark chocolate

100ml brandy


Zest and juice oranges, add to cream and  bring to the boil
Then set aside for 2-3hrs to infuse
Pass off, then bring back to the boil, whisking in a little butter at a time
Take off the heat and pour the hot cream liquid over the chocolate and Christmas pudding mix when all melted
Add the dark rum, chill for ten minutes
Beat in a mixer for a minute until mix is pliable
Then mould into balls and either dip into tempered chocolate or cocoa powder
For best results, take these truffles out of the fridge half an hour before serving.