After marvelling about the geraniums still blooming with more buds to open and roses on bushes during November and into the beginning of December, and lots of mutterings about climate change, the weather decided to move into a proper old-fashioned winter. The type we used to have. It started with a heavy frost last Saturday and then snowed on Sunday morning. It’s been very cold all week.
The grocery delivery was delayed on Tuesday morning because the driver said she helped tow someone out of a ditch, as their car had slipped off the road. What a heroine.
It’s really cold out today, it was -6 at 7 o’clock this morning, it’s now noon and is 0°. The snow still hasn’t melted in places, but it looks absolutely beautiful, it’s a winter wonderland!
I’ve loved wrapping up warmly and going for walks. As long as you keep moving briskly, it’s fine. And however cool the house is when you return it feels absolutely roasting in contrast.
I made mulled cider with a measure of Angostura rum on Sunday, which was definitely warming. It practically put me to sleep by 8 o’clock.
I’ve cooked a spicy lentil parsnip and apple soup this week, you can find the recipe here on BBC Good Food site. When I first made it last year I found it a little sweet, so I cut down the amount of apple down to half, but it’s obviously all down to personal taste. It’s worth looking out for Justine Pattison’s recipes, I think she’s really good.
When I’ve been for an icy blast of a walk, soup is what I crave to warm me up and fill the gap at lunchtime.
I’ve made a double batch of mincemeat this week. Ooh the smells in the kitchen were amazing. It’s made with dried cranberries, a mixture of raisins, sultanas, citrus peels, fresh orange zest and juice, Bramley apples, mixed spice and a quadruple of something very alcoholic! It’s a make and use now, or store in a cool place for six months recipe. But it’s so good, there’s no way there’s going to be any left in a month’s time.
I’m making my own pastry for the first time in absolutely years next week and taking mince pies to share with two special people. Wish me luck with the pastry!
I’ve been waiting for publishing day to tell you about The Secrets of Rochester Place by Iris Costello. It’s a goodie.
There are multiple characters and timelines from 1937, leading to the beginning of the Second World War and the current day.
The Secrets of Rochester Place begins with a ship of Basque children being evacuated to England, following the bombing of Guernica in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. There is also detail about the Irish famine and the fight for independence from The United Kingdom, when Mary is introduced into the story, plus there is quite a bit about Grace O’Malley, the 16th century Irish pirate Queen. In short there is a lot of history, which roots the story and characters into their times and helps to illustrate their motivations.
The story moves on to the beginning of the Second World War and the Blitz. There is a lot going on! (Lots of further reading too, with a helpful bibliography at the end of the novel, for those who are interested in learning more.)
There are a few mysteries at the heart of this book; what has happened to Theresa the young child who has been brought to England as a place of safety, who is Mary Davidson the woman who fosters Theresa and where is Theresa’s sister? And many more missing people, but I will not reveal any more for fear of plot spoilers.
I was gripped. I really liked the quality of the writing, the pace of the book, the jumping back and forth in time and the (mostly) London setting. Overall this is a really absorbing read. Let me know if you try it?
As for crafting I’m still hooked on bobbles. I’m crocheting a Christmas tree! Of course I am, aren’t we all at this time of year?! Free pattern on See Love Share blog here.
What are you doing, cooking, reading and crafting?
I hope you’re managing to stay warm and cosy, or cool and comfortable if you’re not waking up to -6° temps.
* I am editing this while balancing on my wooden 66 Fit rocker board for 5 minutes. Google if you don’t know what it is. I think you might be impressed! I’m multitasking; blogging while doing some of my physio.
I still have snow in the garden. Temperature got down to minus 8C. I have spent two days unfreezing the boiler! And hurrah it was OK this morning. Now to defrost the car and go food shopping , post letters and visit the library. I am longing for rain and milder days. A week now to get ready for Christmas. Wonder if the tree still in the garage will need defrosting!
Still plenty of snow here too, but it’s shooting up to the heady heights of 7° degrees tomorrow. And back to warmer rainy weather.
Poor you! Hope you had back-up heating. Well done on defrosting the boiler.
The plan is to bring the tree in from the garage today, I was wondering the same!
The cold snap was absolutely gorgeous here too. I was very glad to see it. Mulled cider always has a stronger kick than you plan for, I’ve found. Delicious though! And well done on making the mince pies, a task I did not get round to this year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!
Thank you, I was so nervous after not making any for years, but the pastry was delicious. I probably won’t make another kind now. Good ole Mary Berry.
And to you! Have a lovely time with your family Tonia.