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Ely Cathedral


As Paul and I approach our twenty-sixth Christmas in Ely there are several things that stick our in my memory to do with our first one in 1990, not least that it was extremely cold!

On one day in October I returned home to find Angela Humphries sitting in our kitchen at The Old Sacristy, talking to Paul. I have a vivid memory that as I walked into the room she turned to me and said "Ah, I have come to talk to you about Stocking". My reply was, "What Stocking!" The rest is history and some 10,330 wrapped items later I wouldn't like to guess at the number of whoopee cushions I have bought from the City Cycle Centre!

Over the years I have come to love Christmas in Ely and in particular the Christmas Day lunch when the Choir Family all come together on what is such a special day. Of course the lead up to Christmas is always busy. Wherever Paul and I have been we have always had Chorister to our home for a party and Ely has been no exception. We have enjoyed many and various games but as those Choristers who have been through Paul's hands will remember we always close the party with "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John" a game which tests rhythm, coordination and concentration skills. We have also played this game in all previous existences of Worcester, Warwick and St Edmundsbury!

I feel as though I should provide a recipe of something that I have given the chorister to eat during their parties but in actual fact they have mostly had sausages, burgers and chips followed by ice cream - nothing for me to create there. So instead I will give you my recipe for Chilli con Carne, a dish that I have given to the Gentlemen of the Choir on several occasions when we have had their Christmas meal in the evening

Chilli con Carne

1 tbl spoon of oil
2 onions, sliced
I clove garlic, crushed
1lb/450 grams minced beef
2x15 oz/425 grams can tomatoes (chopped)
2 teaspoons chilli powder (although I put in more than this)
½ teaspoon of ground cumin (I also use more than this)
1 tablespoon tomato puree (at least)
¼ pint red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stock cube
1 bay leaf
1x15oz/425 gram can of red kidney beans drained.

Fry the onions, garlic and mince in a large pan until all well browned. Add the stock cube and stir; add spices and tomato puree and stir well until mixed all together. Add the cans of tomatoes, then the red wine making sure that the mixture is almost covered with liquid. Finally add the kidney beans stirring all the time. Turn heat down, cover and leave the mixture to simmer for an hour. Serve with either rice or pitta bread. This should serve 4.

Christmas Past (7 images)

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