I can never understand the doom and gloom that surrounds January. Yes - it’s the middle of winter, it’s cold, and we’re back to work! Boo hoo, so what? Man up! It is also foursquare in the middle of the Game Season, bivalves abound, there are root vegetables galore, and it happens to include my birthday!

Anyone for a dozen Mersea Oysters with a glass or two of zingy Picpoul de Pinet? Or, on a day of Winter sunshine, a pichet of a weightier rosé – Tavel, Bandol, Bellet. Follow that up with a Cromer Crab Risotto, partnered with a mid-weight white such as the Marsanne / Roussanne blend Coteaux de Languedoc ‘Les Muriers’ 2010, a ‘white Crozes’ taste-alike.

How about venison steaks with sweet potato, parsnip and carrot mash washed down with the juicy, life-affirming Gigondas Domaine Saint Gayan from the tumultuous 2007 vintage or the wonderful, wild Château la Canorgue red 2009, an organic Carignan, Grenache, Syrah blend from the Montagne de Luberon?

Feeling cheerier already? Finish off those left-over clementines by baking a clementine cake and serving with the light, refreshing (and biodynamic) Clairette de Die Tradition, which is equally good with a handful of walnuts.

As I said, plenty to love about January!