Before I forget. Last night we had Christmas Eve again, and I bought some little salmon en croute parcels (which were actually fairly boring). They had ginger and spinach in them, and I'd decided on quite plain veg, with steamed new potatoes, frozen peas, and a dish of carrots. I'd bought the carrots already cut in batons, with the intention of poaching them in fruit juice and a bit of butter. In went the ends of the nice juices in the fridge – ruby breakfast, orange, and clementine. A sprinkling of salt, and a knob of butter. Looking at the salmon and thinking it would be quite dry, I wanted to keep the carrots wet with a lot of juice to make a sauce. And I thought I'd pep it up a bit as well. On the way to the spice cupboard I passed the drinks bar still laid out from New Year, and sat right at the front was a bottle of Pimms No 3, the winter brandy-based one with orange and spices. A few good slugs of that, some at the beginning and a bit more at the end to freshen the sauce. Brilliant.