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Snow on Sunday

If we thought after the snow of a fortnight ago that it was the last of the snow we might see this winter (although it is now officially spring!) we were very much mistaken because in the last 24 hours we have had even more snow in Torbay than we previously had.  And this new amount of snow fell within a couple of hours, something which, again, is rare in this part of the country.

 

The front of our house, the steps to the drive totally obliterated by snow

So while all this white stuff was falling – and I haven’t many good photos simply because much of the time the falling snow made the photos look fuzzy – I cooked breakfast.  To start with we had fruit, followed by bacon, tomatoes and mushroom on toast.  Please don’t think we go in for a cooked breakfast every day as most days it’s simple porridge or brioche and jam or fruit or toast.  But today it was a cooked breakfast and we really enjoyed it.

Once breakfast was over, and the bed made, and the dishwasher stacked, I decided to crack on and make a sausage casserole for a late lunch.  I used lovely Devon Rose (bought direct from the farm) pork and leek sausages and it was very tasty.

This is a very simple, easy meal.  Above you can see the ingredients but you can substitute others which you might prefer, although of course, you need sausages!

First, I sautéed the sausages in a little rapeseed oil

And once browned, I set them to one side while I sautéed a chopped onion, two sticks of celery and one large leek.

Then I returned the sausages to the casserole and added a cored and sliced (but not peeled) dessert apple.

Next, I added 1/2 a bottle of Thatcher’s Katy cider, but you can add any cider of your choice (preferably not too dry otherwise the casserole can be rather bitter).  This is a lovely, light cider from the single variety Katy apple.  The second half of the bottle we finish with the meal (I told you we’re not really drinkers and it’s sufficient for us.)

As well as 1/2 bottle of Katy cider, I add approximately 1/2 pint of vegetable stock, this time made from Swiss Bouillon and boiling water, plus a sprinkling of dried sage.

I then bring the casserole to a simmer, switch off, put a lid on and then pop it into the centre of a pre-heated oven at 160C for about 45 minutes, after which I add two large dollops of thick low-fat crème fraiche, and pop back into the oven for about 10 minutes to heat through thoroughly before serving. (The stock is quite thin, but tasty. If you prefer a thicker stock, you can always thicken it with two teaspoons of cornflower slaked with a little cold water, but if you do thicken with cornflower, make sure you re-heat the casserole to make sure that the cornflower is thoroughly cooked.)

Meanwhile, I boil potatoes and we enjoy those mashed with the casserole.

There was sufficient for four portions, so we had two for our lunch and a portion for two is also in the freezer.

* * * * *

On a quite different topic, yesterday I received the latest catalogue from Sworders Fine Art Auctions.  I have been receiving this for a few years because it has been very helpful when writing my antiques articles, and this time there was an invitation to a special sale.  Although I won’t be able to attend I thought the invitation card was far too nice simply to throw away … it showed  vignettes of some of the items in the sale … and so I asked husband, who is much neater at such things than I am, to use a scalpel and cut the five pictures into five strips so that we could use them as bookmarks (as they are on thick, laminated card.)  I think they look very attractive

We haven’t ventured into the snow, not even for a snowball fight, but it has been lovely being in our warm house, eating good food, reading the Sunday paper (husband went to the local shop just as the snow was starting to fall).   It has been very relaxing and, this evening at dusk, I couldn’t resist trying to capture the magic of this late winter wonderland …

Until next time

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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18 comments

  1. the snow looks so magical…. and the sausages look and sound so delicious.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It is now Monday morning here, Ratnamurti, and we’ve had even more snow overnight – the garden looks wonderful! Not good for people attempting to get to work (for we’re not used to this kind of weather in Devon, it is most unusual and even more so in mid-March when we’re into spring) but I just love it. How much I will love it when we run out of milk and eggs and our local shop hasn’t had any deliveries remains to be seen!

  2. Another lovely peep into your lifestyle Margaret and how nice it is too. Thank you for sharing.
    Your bacon looks delicious, we have the streaky kind here in the US, not so good.
    Thank you also for the recipes, very much appreciated. You give me new ideas, sometimes just adding a new to me, different ingredient can make a world of difference to a dish.
    I am glad that you are staying warm and safe, surely Spring cannot be too far away.
    Best wishes.
    Pam in TX.x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pam, and I buy two kinds of bacon, both back bacon (i.e. from the back of the animal). I buy either green back which is unsmoked, or smoked back. Both are very tasty and have very little fat. Streaky is OK if its cooked to a crisp as I can’t abide fat.
      Yes, just a different ingredient can make a lot of difference to a dish, and it’s nice to experiment. After having used the Swiss bouillon yesterday whereas I usually use vegetable Oxo cubes, I think I prefer the cubes. The bouillon is very salty but with lesser flavour, the Oxo less salty but with more flavour. Others might think differently, but this was my experience yesterday.
      As I’ve just said in my comment to Ratnamurti, we’ve had a fresh snowfall overnight and the garden looks magical, but I feel sorry for those trying to get to work.

  3. Again I envy your cold weather although I know I shouldn’t ! Today was humid and quite uncomfortable again, to the point I had a headache that required paracetamol and a nap to rid me of it. Thank goodness for air conditioning. I feel sorry for people who are working, especially physical work in these conditions. Maybe your spring and our autumn have both absconded 😉

    Nonetheless, your photos of your winter wonderland are very pretty. I hope all of your plants survive this second freeze.

    One of my aunts is a wonderful cook and her husband loves to eat so it’s a perfect match. She can turn on the most marvellous spread at the drop of a hat and always makes you feel so welcome in her home. My uncle (to whom she has been married 50+ years) just loves her curried sausages – it is his favourite dish. They were recently heading on an overseas trip which included a long voyage on a cruise ship, one of those with all of the bells and whistles (which are becoming increasingly popular with Australians). I asked my Aunty what they were most excited about and she told me of their itinerary, side trips, fancy restaurants on board and so on. I said I was concerned that whilst visiting exotic ports and enjoying fine dining each night dressed in your Sunday best was all well and good, how was my uncle going to survive all that time without his beloved curried sausages. We both had a good laugh.

    Thank you for another lovely post 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I feel rather guilty, Lara, as I love to see the snow, it’s so unusual for us to have snow in Torbay, let alone a generous amount! Oh, why could it not have come in winter and not in early spring, ruining the spring flowers! I think it must be worse for you with the heat, at least we can stop indoors and keep warm, and heat is so oppressive, I’d rather be a little on the cold side, I think, as I can always put more clothes on and eat warm food! Yes, I hope the plants survive the freeze, especially the tulips which I love to see in late spring.
      I’ve never had curried sausages, they sound very tasty! Oh, how funny that when contemplating such a cruise your uncle didn’t know how he’d survive without his curried sausages!

  4. Listening to the radio this morning they spoke about the large snowfall in Devon and Cornwall Margaret, glad to know that you are all snug and warm, the pictures are very pretty though, especially the last one.
    We have bright sunshine here this morning with no snow but still bitterly cold, enough now Winter, it’s time to bow out!

    Totally agree about the Swiss Bouillon tasting very salty, I used a teaspoon in some couscous the other day and could really taste it over the other ingredients, not good.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I was surprised to see even more snow this morning, Elaine, it’s really quite deep and only 4x4s are out and about.
      Re the Swiss Bouillon, I believe there is a lo-salt version (their spelling if I remember correctly) but I don’t think I will be using this again, I much prefer good old Oxo cubes where I can add two or three and then more if necessary. They have a good flavour and don’t taste salty. Indeed, the last time I made veggie soup I added 1 extra beef Oxo cube and that really made the veggie soup tasty (no good for a vegetarian or vegan or course, but fine for ourselves.)
      The sun has disappeared here but I love the bright light reflected off the snow, I find it all quite magical … well, until we run out of milk!

  5. We had another snowfall in the night too but not too bad, I was surprised to see it when I let the cat out at 12.50 am. Now the back garden path that I cleared yesterday has cleared itself again (good) but we still have icicles hanging from the shed eaves which I’ve never seen here before.

    But, the sun is trying to shine which is nice because it was so grey over the weekend. I still won’t be going out today though because I’m sure there will be ice about. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe not!

    Your casserole looks tasty. The cottage pie I made yesterday was delicious, probably mostly because it was what I really fancied to eat. Gammon joint today, just a small one but it will do us for two days. Roasted today, then in a sweet and sour sauce with rice tomorrow.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, more snow overnight here, Alison, and I don’t think we’ll be doing any path-clearing, unless it’s just from the back door to the dustbin and the food waste caddy. We also have some icicles hanging from the flat-roof area of our porch/hall (it’s all in one, but looks like a porch from the exterior) … we’ve not had icicles for donkey’s years!
      I have a mind to make cottage pie today … I’d better go and remove some beef mince from the freezer, it will need to thaw. What a good idea to put the left-over gammon in a sweet & sour sauce the next day. Do you make your own, or is this one of those foil packet ones? I used to buy a ready-made sweet & sour but now make my own from honey, balsamic, tomato puree, etc, testing it all the time until I get the flavour I like.

      • I just use a jar from the supermarket (Asda smart price in my case, I’m no expert, I was going to write a longer word but stalled on the spelling!). I really don’t enjoy cooking. I used to enjoy baking but now my husband is diabetic I don’t do much because it’s a bit mean.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          My husband has also been pronounced diabetic, Alison, but he doesn’t require any drugs for it (as yet). They have said he’s allowed occasional treats, and actually, we eat as normal, having a slice of cake or a piece of chocolate as and when (but not every day, of course.) His blood tests are still looking good and now below what is considered ‘diabetic’. I subscribed to Diabetes UK and now receive their magazine in which there are suitable recipes for diabetics although I confess I’ve not tried any of them out, plus I have a couple of diabetic cookery books and have tried a couple of recipes (both savoury, so really little different from ordinary non-diabetic cookery books.) But don’t deny yourself the occasional treat even if your husband has to have something else, a piece of fruit or a cracker with cheese. I do enjoy cooking, but only when I’ve not a hundred and one other things to do at the same time!

          • My husband was diagnosed with diabetes about 10 years ago but only started on medication for it about six months ago, his condition worsened by other problems he has. Unfortunately, as he expected this medication has caused more problems with his stomach. He’s got several problems which together make his life a bit miserable 🙁

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            I am really sorry to hear your husband has such awful health problems, Alison. This is the trouble, isn’t it? There is one problem and medication is thus prescribed. then that medication itself causes more problems, and so on, ad nauseam.

  6. What a lot of snow for South Devon. Similar to what we had in the foothills of the Surrey North Downs. Thank goodness for local shops and the newspaper delivery. We walked up to Polesden Lacey yesterday and thought about having a bowl of soup in their Granary restaurant but it was full of noisy families so we beat a hasty retreat down the hill and came home for toasted sandwiches cooked under the grill. Our village boasts a parade of useful shops (very rare for a Surrey village) so we have a village store, a bakery, an excellent butcher, a hardware store and a hairdresser. The old post office (the village store now has a post office counter) closed recently and has been converted into four flats but the planners quite rightly insisted the front bit stayed as a retail outlet so we now have a coffee shop too. Anyway on our way home we were able to buy a Surrey free range leg of pork for roasting, I picked rosemary, thyme and sage from my pots for herb stuffing and we had potatoes and allotment parsnips and carrots in store so we managed a delicious Sunday roast dinner on the coldest day of the year for sure. I made my husband drive to work today instead of cycling over the hills. We share a car as our son uses our second car to get to his office in Godalming. He is moving to a house share in Dulwich with friends from university next month which dovetails with our move down to Sussex. Our new village which has been without a village shop for many news has a new community shop currently under construction. I think it is so important to have a useful shop one can reach by foot if the weather is bad or one is not up to driving. Curently I live equidistant between two big Waitrose supermarkets, both about four miles away, but our move will bring a large Tesco and smaller Sainsbury within two and a half miles and there is also a Waitrose in Storrington, a short and scenic drive away and supposedly Dame Maggie Smith’s favourite shop! There is also Charlie’s award-winning farm shop on the main road about one mile away and Petworth (three miles distant) boasts The Hungry Guest, arguably the best deli in the south east. Honestly Margaret I am not obsessed with food shopping! I am still batting away queries to do with our house sale. It is incredibly stressful but we are making slow progress to exchange so I must not lose heart.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much for those interesting comments, Sarah, especially about all those wonderful food shops. I wish I could say the same for here … we have supermarkets coming out of our ears but not all are wonderful, but they all, without exception, sell food that is better than I remember it as a child of the 1950s! We do have a farm shop not far away, and Totnes and Dartmouth are foodie hot spots. Our local shop is OK for eggs and milk and the paper, but they don’t deliver the paper any more, sadly. But it is less than 100 yards away. Of course today, with all the snow, they won’t have received any newspapers.
      Best of luck with the move to Sussex after Surrey – we visited Petworth many years ago (and Knole) but I’m afraid I wasn’t keen on either. I found the interior of Knole, which Vita loved so much, “very brown”.
      No, do not lose heart, you will make that move in due course.

      • Thank you Margaret and no I didn’t like Knole either, very cold and impersonal I thought. Petworth is lovely for the Capability Brown park and the chapel and the art gallery and the Grinling Gibbons carving but on our new doorstep is Parham, to which Simon Jenkins in his massive tome “England’s Thousand Best Houses” awards his highest mark of five stars. I am quite excited about getting to know this beautiful and unaltered Elizabethan house which is still in private ownership and very uncommercial which makes it more special in my eyes. I have been a Life Member of the Nationsl Trust since 1981 and cannot say I approve absolutely of the way it has evolved as an organisation over the years.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Yes, of course, the carving … that was under wraps when we were there, it was being renovated, so scaffolding up and covers around it. But it was a very long time ago. And now the Art Gallery has had the roof repaired, too. I think if it were my ‘local’ historic house and I was able to visit it as often as I liked, I might like it better as often you need to get to know a property in order to appreciate them more fully.
          Yes, I have that Simon Jenkins book, too. It’s a very useful book, one of the first I used to turn to when writing about a particular historic house for magazines.

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