December is the month of indulgence. It's the only time of year we can eat three desserts, wash them down with a glass of some fizz and not feel guilty the next day. It's the month of Christmas, my birthday and New Year's Eve, not to mention all those festive get-togethers where mince pies are consumed within seconds, leaving only a flurry of icing sugar behind. Whether you devour duck, goose or turkey for your main meal of the year, it's all about the roast; even vegetarians stick to this with their nut roasts and pies.
Over the Christmas week, leftovers are king. We relish the opportunity for bubble and squeak with lashings of ketchup and cold meats. Gone are the squashes and marrows of autumn, and in their place appears a whole host of brassicas, their leaves slightly unfurled, hinting at their dense flavours beneath. Boiling or steaming works well, but for something different add cabbages to a curry, and don't forget red cabbage with your dinner on the 25th.
Decadent desserts are the order of the day, with trifles and tortes taking centre stage, using frozen summer raspberries to add a zing of bright flavour to the darkest of months. Drinks are festive too, with cocktails, eggnog and hot chocolates to warm our frozen fingers after a blustery walk in the snow.
But if all this extravagance leaves you craving something a little more healthy, try some cranberries in this wild rice dish - perfect served as a side if you're hosting family or friends, or as a main meal on those quieter evenings between Christmas and New Year.
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.