Thursday, 25 February 2010

New Fridge Food Post

Just to let you know that I have written a new Fridge Food post over the way. It's veal with a Marsala and mushroom sauce, asparagus and saute potatoes. Veal with Marsala is an Italian classic and brings back so many happy memories of long atmospheric lunches overlooking Lake Como in the sunshine.

I would love to sit here and write just now, but I'm afraid I can't. This evening I am expecting my third set of house guests in two weeks and I have the place to clean, food to buy, meals to consider and prepare, laundry to do...and a thousand other jobs.

The snowfall of recent days has disappeared as the thermometer has crept above zero, but now we are back to damp, dank, chill and grey - my most hated weather. The snowdrops are battling nobly on, only just getting going thanks to this long cold winter. Which reminds me that I must go out and pick some for my guests' room. They are travelling over from France and I have just heard that their flight was cancelled (French striking again I believe, though I was blissfully unaware of this) and they are on a train to Calais. I think they will be needing a roaring fire, good wine and a warm bed when they finally get here, so I'd better get going.

Till the next time.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

My Wednesday

Things I Have Seen Today

The sun rising on a frosty field.

Tears running down a small child's face.

A dusting of snow on old slate rooves.

Swirling snowflakes showing the shapes of the wind.

Yellow headlights on a foggy grey road.

Black tarmac turned unexpectedly white.

A distant blue sky and sunlit plains shining beyond the heavy spotted veil of snowflakes which shrouded the misty heights and sheep-clad hills around me.

A sleek silver express train.

Laughing children on a big school bus.

Two white-haired old ladies in a small red car.

Crows circling above the bare black branches of a winter tree etched against the clear sharp blue of an evening sky.

A golden hill and a shadowy valley.

Calm reflections on a glassy reservoir.

Long-horned cattle with shaggy coats and muted hues grazing in the mist.

A pale evening sun polishing the white dusted bluff of Combs Moss in the distance.

A girl on a pony, a man with a dog.

A smile lighting up a small child's face.

The light going down on a still frozen field.

Things I Have Felt Today

A small child's hand in mine.

The strong hug of spindly young arms.

The energy of yoga.

The warmth of friendship.

Good food in my tummy.

The peace of solitude.

A mother's love.


10th February 2010

Friday, 5 February 2010

Fridge Food - New Post

I've just posted a recipe for sea bass fillets with fennel, leeks and grapes. Go take a look if you're feeling peckish.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Wind Like an Atmospheric Razor

The following piece is called 'Climbing Combs Moss in January' and is taken from All About Derbyshire by Edward Bradbury (1884). It describes the moor which stretches far and wide from the top of the escarpment - the view on which I am lucky enough to feast my eyes during the changing seasons from the windows of our house.

We struck across the moor. The north-easter at this altitude shaves one like an atmospheric razor. The long beard and moustaches of the Young Man are being frozen into matted iron; there is ice on the mouthpiece of my pipe; but we perspire with the plunging exercise through the springy heath which we, being lovers of birds and loathers of the battue, protest has all the glow and excitement of grouse shooting without its cruelty. Several grouse rise, but at long distance from us. Once a hare starts from our feet.

But there seems to be an utter suspension of life. The moors are a picture of wild desolation, and a cold lonelineess, that is not altogether without poetic fascination. The black rigour of the frost seems to hold everythging fast in its iron grip. The peaty pools are frozen; there is a great stillness; everything is dead; the prevailing colour is dead; a neutral tint, a shroud of swathing mist, a brooding cold grey that half hides and half reveals. The moors themselves seem to be a vast black sea of raging billows suddenly checked in the height of a storm and held in eternal arrets. The heather, regarded as a mass, is a dark bronzed green-like velvet, and is as attractive to the artistic eye as in its wine-stained purple of full bloom. But taking the individual plant it is withered and dead. ....But if the heather is dead, the bilberry is a bright green, for it is freshest in the depths of winter, and duskiest in the summer; while in the protected clefts and sheltered crevices of the gritstone are beautiful lichens and mosses that are miracles of colour.

Today all is sodden grey without. I am happy to be indoors with music and warmth. Tomorrow snow is forecast again and hopefully the view before me will be transformed once more. What I love about the coming of the snows is that the landscape comes alive again. The blanket of whiteness brings its own energy, its own light and, for me at least, a sense of renewed hope. It is the true heart of winter.

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