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This year I was saved from either spending Christmas on my own or – even worse – spending it with Peter the Grinch. Don’t get me wrong, Peter and I are good friends but when it comes to Christmas, well, he really sucks. And by that I mean he pretty much sucks the life out of it.

Last year I actually spent Christmas on my own, at home with the cats, since it was my first year living on my own again. And that was just fine. But it’s always nice to have an excuse to make a nice meal at Christmas time and share it with friends, so I was happy that Pam and Gord were going to be back in town.

I first met P & G in January 2013 when they booked a tapas tour with me. They have been back a couple of times since then, and this year decided to do a road trip between Sevilla and Málaga. In fact, I’ll be joining them for a couple of days in Jerez later in the week.

It was a lovely evening and, as you can see, Peter was also invited (grinchiness is less toxic in a group). And you may also notice that little scamp Morcilla all snuggled up next to El Gordo. I was shocked – she has never done that before. At best she will come into the same room as strangers, but here she was getting all cosy.

Dinner was fab. P & G brought some gorgeous jamón Ibérico and I made my famous carrillada al oloroso. Plus I had found some parsnips while in Málaga last week (!!!) so added those to the roasted veg. First time in YEARS having parsnips. I also made some really good honey-chilli-dijón cocktail sausages that I had come across on my friend Lizzie’s (@hollow_legs) Instagram that morning. So the oven got a serious workout and we all had a great time.