Sunday, 12 February 2012

Winter and its compensations

Iceberg plant in fresh snow and a week later 

This week has been unusually cold for the normally mild – but damp – South-East of England. Martin’s post from last Sunday showed the snow we’ve had beautifully. I wasn’t as energetic as Julia and him, but confined myself to clearing the drive and a few snaps around the garden.

We’ve not had any snow since then, until this morning. The weather forecast towards the end of last week promised us warm air for this weekend, but it has stayed at or below freezing, and we woke up to more snow this morning.

During the week, we had some particularly cold days. Driving past Chilham one day on the way in to work, the thermometer read -9°C. A colleague who lives out there confirmed this, saying she was willing the thermometer to get into negative double figures, but it never quite made it. Chilham by name, chill ’em by nature.

Anyhow, there are some compensations at this time of the year. Chief among these is that my wonderful wife has taken to the kitchen to preserve fruit in various forms.

Home-made marmalade (left) in the pan and (right) in the jar 
Best of all, it is Seville orange time, which means home-made marmalade. I don’t know why – when recipes are so well established, and the ingredients are essentially the same – but I’ve never come across a commercial marmalade that comes to close to the deliciousness of home-made. As a point here, I think you can walk into any WI market and pick up some jars of home-made marmalade which will knock the socks off any commercial brand.

Forced rhubarb is in too. Again, this comes early in the year, and is a great pleasure. My wife’s mother used to preserve fruit by bottling it in syrup, so this year Gina has made some time to preserve the new rhubarb, and also some pears, by bottling.

Mussels are at their peak in the winter months, so yesterday we bought some from our local fish lady. They made a wonderful moules marinières last night, going down well with a nice Sauvignon Blanc.

March is only just over a couple of weeks away – spring flowers, and with luck a bit of sun to come as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment