At this point in the year I am usually up to my neck in Christmas Buffet recipes (for my ‘Volkshochschule’ students) and British TV Christmas spots for my participants in companies. Both have become a tradition over the years, the buffet starting from very humble beginnings back in the 1990, because I was fed up with Germans telling me how bad British food was. The first recipe booklet wasn’t a booklet at all, just a typed piece of paper decorated with pencil drawings by my daughter. The recipes included sausage rolls, cream cheese, chive and cucumber sandwiches, syllabub and sherry trifle.

It was all delicious and my students were hooked.

For 30 years I have been finding variations on these themes -since 2005 Borneo recipes found their place (“Take one snake. May be replaced by chicken”), as did ‘Eifel Dütchen’ last year, a recipe from the beautiful Eifel, home of our daughter in law.

Our Christmas Buffet is a much-loved tradition, which will not be taking place this year along with so much else, including our nearest small town’s ‘Nikolaus Markt’, usually on the first weekend in Advent.

Here’s what our area looks like in summer:

However busy I am I make the time to go to the church hall, not only to eat a slice of delicious cake made by the church ladies but also to buy myself a jar of ‘Advent-Jelly’, also made by the church ladies. This scrumptious jam is a glowing, ruby-red delight with all the flavours of Christmas: cinammon, nutmeg, cloves, and not a little alcohol.

At the weekends my lovely husband goes to our village bakery and buys rolls for our breakfast. Like most Germans, we usually enjoy these with cheese, cold meats, jam or honey.

And, starting on the first Sunday in Advent, I look forward to spreading one half of my roll with the church ladies’ Advent-Jelly.

But not this year.

I prowled around our supermarket looking for something similar, and checked on Amazon – with no luck.

So decided, on the spur of the moment, to make my own. I took two ingredients: mulled wine and sugar.

The kitchen smells heavenly and I cannot wait to try it tomorrow.

Or maybe a spoonful before bed would be appropriate, to welcome Advent…

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