Nick's mulled wine

This is one of my bar manager Nick Strangeway's concoctions. It's based on an 18th-century drink – loved by the fellows of Oxford University – called a Bishop. It's great for using up leftover red wine.

Cranberry and orange sauce

Serves 8-10

Are tangerines, satsumas and 'clementinies' any better than the traditional orange?

As much a part of the traditional Christmas food treats as turkey and mince pies, we stuff them into children's stockings and pile them up in large bowls, gleaming and golden. They have for some time been one of the simple and ever-present pleasures of the festive season.

Blood oranges with warm honey and rosemary

Serves 4

Cranberry and pecan cheesecake

Serves 8-10

Caponata, 3-7 Delancey Street, London NW1

The Caponata opened in April on the site of the old Café Delancey, in the heart of trendy Camden. I remember the Café from years ago, mainly for the crepuscular gloom of its candlelit dining areas, regularly filled with whispering couples planning some act of colossal infidelity. At lunchtime, light would pour in like a blessing on to the heads of more innocent eaters, but the evenings were mostly devoted to spicy romance and low, urgent voices.

Mince pies

Makes 12, with filling for a second batch

Don't open till Christmas: From puddings to sorbets, Skye Gyngell has got sweet festive treats all wrapped up

I'm beginning to feel that Christmas is just around the corner and I, for one, am excited. I love the food around this time of year. The beautiful clementines that are available are sweet and cool-tasting and if I'm not careful I can eat more than my share of mince pies.

The hip parade: Anna Pavord is devoting a wild section of her garden to some very fruity numbers

The "hippery" happened by accident, rather than design. At the top of the bank there's a largeish area drifting back from a curving path to finish at the eastern edge of the garden. The boundary is a wild one – holly, elder, thorn, hazel – with a view to rough sloping pastures beyond. I never meant to take in as much garden as we have, but once started it was difficult to stop. Common sense finally prevailed and I realised it was sensible to leave this last bit as the handshake between cultivated and wild, a transition between garden and landscape, cared for but not too much.

Only 50 baking days to go: Why making your own Christmas cake and pudding is a surprisingly exact science

All at once I am not so sure this was a good idea. Go to Yorkshire, I'd been told, to Betty's famous tea shop in Harrogate, and they'll teach you how to make a Christmas cake and pudding. Do it now and they will be nicely matured by the festive season. They can teach anyone. Even you.

Doctor guilty of spiking lover's drinks

Married hospital consultant Dr Edward Erin is facing jail today after being convicted of attempting to spike his pregnant lover's drinks to make her lose her baby.

Three-melon granita

Serves 4-6

Nectarine sorbet with crushed blackberries

Makes 1 pint of sorbet

That old black magic: Skye Gyngell's bewitching blackberry desserts

Growing in abundance in the hedgerows outside Petersham Nurseries, hidden within spiky and unforgiving bushes just by the River Thames, are these beautiful little tart, soft berries, black like ink, plump and heavy.

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