Dust off your tartan and pipe in the haggis for a traditional Burns Night feast. Dispel the chill of January with a rich hot soup before you move on to the mains. Haggis, of course, it's the star of the night and is welcomed with whisky and bagpipes. More whisky is needed for cranachan, a dessert mix of cream, raspberry and oats, then a final wee dram to finish the night. Oh, go on then just have another...
Chinese New Year feast is all about honouring family and ensuring a prosperous year. Go for noodles, long as you like, so you will have longevity. Stir fry lots of vegetables, including lily buds for harmony and sea moss for prosperity with leafy greens and long beans are served whole, to wish a long life to parents. There must be dumplings, everyone loves dumplings! Try stuffing them with pork and cabbage then dip in black vinegar and soy. Finish with tangerines or oranges and sesame coconut cookies so you may have a sweet life.
"We'll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne." While New Year's Eve is celebrated round the world the Scots have Hogmanay as well as ownership of the amazing song. Celebrate in Scottish style with a fine venison stew or roast some game birds to go with hearty trimmings. If fish takes your fancy simply assemble smoked haddock stew or quick roast some fine shellfish. End easy with shortbread or complex with bitter marmalade roulade and look forward with joy to next year.
Farewell the old year and see in the New Year with great drinks like champagne cocktails or hot buttered rum. Finger food is the best for celebrating into the wee small hours, lay out antipasto with plenty of bread early, then keep the snacks coming with hot sausage rolls and big bowls of dips with corn chips and crudite you've got ready prepped. It's a sure way to welcome next year.
Shrove Tuesday used to be when cupboards were cleared of the fine things and fripperies to make way for the abstinence of Lent. The tradition of pancakes evolved from the need to use up the last stocks of milk, butter and eggs and while there's no need now to forego such basics, pancakes are simply made and incredibly versatile to serve. Go quick with lemon and icing sugar, savoury with bacon and maple syrup or thoroughly decadent with Grand Marnier scented chocolate sauce - the decision is yours.
The Welsh wear a leek or a daffodil to celebrate St David's Day - join in the celebrations and serve creamy pale leeks with a Caerphilly cheese sauce, roast flavoursome salt marsh lamb, whip a batch of spiced Welsh cakes or serve thick buttered slices of tea loaf bara brith, great with an afternoon cuppa.
Easily the most famous British patron saint, St Patrick's Day is celebrated far beyond the shores of Ireland often with a lot of Guinness. Add champagne to some Guinness for sumptuous black velvets and Guinness to chocolate for cakes. Soda bread takes no time to make and is gorgeous with curls of smoked salmon and fresh crab. Ireland grows plenty of great potatoes, mash a whole lot with greens for colcannon and serve it alongside guinness stew. Finish with cheeses, like cashel blue or a toffee like Coolea, and whiskey and cream Irish coffee
Life is always better when you are loved. Celebrate it in style on Valentine's Day with special dishes you want to share. Break out the bubbly and nibble on canapés, add some luxury with a fine lobster salad and then spoon up some pretty chocolate mousse and with luck love will always be there.