Thyme to help the homeless


As we are busy planning and shopping for food and drink to make our Christmas special, one local food producer is teaming up with a charity to offer some festive cheer to homeless people in Warwickshire.

For every Christmas Box that Thyme sells, they will give a turkey and Christmas pudding to Helping Hands. The charity operates in Leamington, Kenilworth and Warwick, working with the homeless, victims of domestic abuse and those with drug and alcohol addictions and the donations from Thyme will help provide Christmas meals for those in need.

Thyme is a new freshly frozen meals delivery service based in Wellsbourne.  They prepare meals, freeze them then deliver to your home. Owner Craig Tomkinson told the Warwick Courier : “We thought it was important to do something for others and that is why we are making the donations to Helping Hands. I am thankful that we are in a position where we can offer a bit of help to a charity during this time of year.”

Thyme’s Christmas Box for six people contains a free-range turkey, a dozen pigs in blankets, pork and chestnut stuffing, duck fat roast potatoes, honey roast parsnips, kale and beetroot baubles, Thyme’s secret recipe turkey gravy and a Christmas dinner cooking guide.


#Christmas – Festive Afternoon Tea

Christmas shopping in Birmingham this weekend? For a bit of peace and quiet, take yourself off to The Gentleman & Scholar Bistro in the Hyatt Regency to refuel with their new Festive Afternoon Tea.

The refined tea tray offers a selection of seasonally inspired treats. You would expect a turkey filling in the sandwich selection, but there is also mackerel, brie, blue cheese and salmon on offer. Scones are given a sprinkle of Christmasness with cranberry and orange and rum and raisin varieties.

Spiced apple and calvados profiterole, chocolate gingerbread and chocolate and orange slice are some of the fab mini desserts. The festive afternoon tea is £19, add a glass of mulled wine for £24.50 or glass of house champagne for £28.

Ginberbread Family in front of the Fireplace

Two more to try – in Leamington Spa,  Mallory Court Hotel also offering festive fancies, served with mulled wine and Winter Pimms.  Carrot cake with spiced orange frosting and cardamom crème brulee feature on The Bluebell’s tea tray in Henley in Arden.


Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas – even though I have not got the decs up yet or started to write Christmas cards I have opened the first door of my advent calendar.

advent calendars

I’ve read about the £110 Ginvent advent calendar with miniatures from the Gin Foundry and the Best of British Beer version featuring a special bottle of ‘Ding Dong’, a  Champagne-style beer for Christmas Day. I liked the look of the tea version on Not on the High Street but wasn’t quick enough to buy one before it sold out. For me though the traditional chocolate ones are my favourite.

Hotel Chocolat 2014 advent calendar

Yesterday I opened the first door of my Hotel Chocolat advent calendar and out popped a reindeer. Each day is a little surprise as to which dinky character will be behind the door – a snowman, an angel, a penguin, Santa, or Christmas tree. The creamy milk chocolate treats are gone in the time that it takes to read the jolly motto celebrating Christmas. (There is also a white chocolate version for the same price of £12.50.)

For the countdown to the 25th I will be posting features crammed with festive events as well as food and drink gift ideas.

Fudge Kitchen pop-up at Selfridges

I’m going to mention the C word, as a sweet pop-up in Selfridges food hall has all the makings of a Christmas treat.

Selfridges pop-up fudge kitchen

Today Fudge Kitchen will be opening a pop-up shop, packed with seasonal, gift packaged fudge. The American-style slab fudge is made using whipping cream instead of butter, giving it a creamy soft texture. There are 20 different flavours to choose from including coffee and walnut, sea salted caramel, lemon meringue and ginger spice, which are available in three different sizes until 27 December.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

With the decorations up, the proliferation of TV ads and festive markets I make no apologies for getting into the festive spirit, with some Christmas related blog posts. The first is a day of seasonal good cheer on Sunday 22 December at the midlands arts centre in Birmingham.

Festive food market 

mince pies The Daily Telegraph

Edible stocking fillers, last minute menu ideas or treats for when the family have gone home, this festive food market at the mac has it all. From 11am – 5pm there will be 20 or so stalls from local artisan producers including

Hibiscus Grove – Ethically produced authentic South East Asian food

Squisito –   Italian food from fresh local ingredients to Slow Food principles.

Kuskus Foods – Vegetarian food inspired by the Middle East.

Paisley Imms – specialise in individually handcrafted cakes, desserts and treats, as well as handmade, recycled and upcycled baking and cooking accessories and apparel.

Jay Rayner: Greedy Man in a Hungry World

Jay Rayner

In the evening, restaurant critic and BBC One Show reporter Jay Rayner takes to the stage. Combining  reporting with witty memoir he will take you on a journey through the world’s edible landscape. From debunking a supermarket trolley full of myths to shooting the food world’s most cherished sacred cows, this talk aims to change the way you shop, cook and eat forever. Tickets £12.