The first card you receive through the post and the last one you pop through your neighbour’s letterbox. A hold-your-breath Nativity play (nervous shepherd, second row on the right) and a hug and well-deserved star-shaped biscuit afterwards. It’s opening tomorrow’s window on the Advent calendar today because you can’t wait.
The aroma of wood smoke and of buns warming in the oven for breakfast – redolent of orange and vanilla or chocolate and almond – that wakes even a hibernating teenager. A sip of champagne and a nibble to share with friends you haven’t seen in too long.
The crunch and the spirit while shopping lifts you up and wears you down. The wrapped packages that say ‘thank you’ to teachers and friends at work with every bite. Enjoying sweet before savoury and feasting throughout the day, as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas and you tuck the last present under the tree with a yawn.
Reviewing a to-do list that keeps getting longer over a tray of bread and cheese. And it’s remembering that the list doesn’t really matter, because Christmas arrives anyway, just like it does every year. Savouring the indulgence and the ride of festive traditions. Merry Christmas!
Made only with nuts, cinnamon, sugar and eggs (no dairy, no flour), this southern German Christmas speciality is a new favourite of ours. We use a combination of almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts to make them a little bit more special and add brown sugar to the spice, so it captures all the festive flavours.
We are delighted to give away a Christmas gift box (RRP £85) with some of our favourite festive goodies. Enter for your chance to win a box of our Mince Pies, Cinnamon Stars, Amaretti, Sour Cherry & Chocolate Drop Cookies, Speculoos Biscuits, our festive Clementine & Star Anise Jam and Bramley’s Fern gift set, which includes hand wash, hand cream, body wash and body lotion.
Competition Terms and Conditions
• The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 16th December 2018 and winners will be randomly selected and then contacted by email on Monday 17th December 2018.
• There will be 1 winner selected at random and the winner will have 7 calendar days to reply and accept the prize. If the winner does not reply within 7 days, a new winner will be selected at random.
• The prize cannot be redeemed for any other and there is no cash alternative.
• We incentivise your consent to signing up to our newsletter with the entry to this competition. You can unsubscribe at any time after signing up without detriment to you or your entry to the competition. Click here to view our newsletter privacy notice.
• Those who are already subscribed to our newsletter can still enter the competition.
• This competition is run by GAIL’s Bakery, 4 – 6 Seymour Place, London, W1H 7NA, UK
Traditionally eaten during Ramadan to break the fast, with a handful of medjool dates.
700g lamb mince
3 medium onions or 2 large, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
5 celery stalks, diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400g chickpeas, tinned or jarred
330g red lentils
2 litres of lamb or chicken stock
1.2 litres of water
3 desiree potatoes, peeled and diced into large cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander seed
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground milled pepper, to taste
2 lemons, juiced
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
1. Heat the olive oil in the pan, then add the garlic, celery and onion. Fry for 10 minutes until softened.
2. Add the minced lamb into the pan to lightly brown, breaking up into pieces as it fries. After ten minutes, add the spices and fry for another two minutes, until the spices become fragrant.
3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils while stirring, to ensure the spices are mixed through.
4. Cover with the stock and water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add in the diced potatoes and leave to simmer for another 20 minutes.
6. Check that the potatoes and lentils are tender, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
7. Stir through the lemon juice and add salt and freshly milled pepper to taste.
8. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs and serve with a thick slice of sourdough.
For the past two years, Christopher Brown has been capturing the essence of our bakeries and their neighbourhoods in his signature linocut prints. We asked Christopher our baker’s dozen of questions to find out more about our friend behind the ink.
1. What time did you get up this morning?
I’m always awake at 5 and usually up by 6. Then, I like to enjoy the quiet of the morning before going for my daily swim.
2. How do you take your coffee?
I usually have a latte, but sometimes a flat white.
3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
In the winter I love GAIL’s porridge and in the summer, it’s usually fruit and a yoghurt drink. If I feel I deserve it, I will have a pain aux raisin with my coffee, post swim.
4. How do you and GAIL’s know each other?
We met back in 2016 and bonded over our loves of London, art and cake.
5. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
Toast. But also licking the bowl when my mother was making cakes – to me it was a heavenly treat.
6. Have you ever baked bread? How did that go?
Once, and not a great success – it was like a brick!
7. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
I always imagine a happy woman with a starched apron, and traces of flour on her face.
8. What do you spread on your toast?
9. For us, bread is the fundamental thing. What’s fundamental for you?
Lino. Nearly all my work is made using it.
10. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
I do love cheese and pickle, but roast beef and horseradish is a favourite and reminds me of my childhood. We always had them on a Sunday if my mother cooked a joint.
11. If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything we make, what would that be?
That’s a difficult question. GAIL’s bread is delicious; I could consume a whole loaf. The carrot cake is heaven, too.
12. We work with three primary ingredients. Six if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
Hand, eye, mind and humour.
13. What would you do for a living if not this?
I have no regrets about my choice of profession, though as a little boy I wanted to be a history don at Oxford. I would, in a fantasy world, have loved to have been a first class competitive swimmer (then I could have eaten GAIL’s cakes every day).
Working with nutritionist Sam Bloom, we’ve created four new salads for the colder months, focusing on the best of the season’s nourishing ingredients.
Miso Chicken and Forbidden Rice with Pickled Ginger
Inspired by flavours of Japan, the umami flavour from the soy and miso roasted chicken breast is balanced with a citrusy ponzu dressing. The flowering vegetables kohlrabi, radicchio, rocket and spinach were chosen for their slight bitterness, which activates stomach acid production and in turn aids digestion. The garlic and pickled ginger are antimicrobial which promote a healthy gut, and the chicken breast and edamame beans make this salad rich in protein.
Roasted Root Vegetables and Feta with Pomegranate Dressing and Almonds
A celebration of our favourite winter vegetables, we brighten the earthy roasted root vegetables with sharp pomegranate seeds and a creamy tahini and pomegranate molasses dressing. Phytonutrient-rich celeriac, cauliflower, parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes balance blood sugar levels and make for a satiating meal. Feta cheese is an excellent source of calcium, as is the tahini in the dressing, and the almonds are full of healthy fats and potassium.
Hot Smoked Salmon Fishcakes with Black Barley and Dill Yoghurt
Each element in this salad has been created to complement the rich hot smoked salmon fishcakes, from the piquant chopped cornichons and capers in the black barley, to the creamy dill yoghurt dressing. Protein-rich salmon is a good source of omega-3, which is essential for brain function. High-fibre black barley and kohlrabi help to balance blood sugar levels throughout the day, while the radish and leafy greens trigger the production of stomach acids to aid digestion.
Pumpkin and Wild Rice with Roasted Cabbage and Pecan Pesto
This comforting winter salad is sweet with pumpkin and nutty from roasted cabbage, wild rice, pecans and pumpkin seeds, making for a satiating meal. Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which contribute to healthy skin and our immune system, and the pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and anti-oxidants. The cabbage is a good source of fibre and vitamins K, C and B6. Wild rice is higher in fibre and protein than white rice, helping us to feel fuller for longer.