a winter warmer: felicity cloake's perfect borscht

borscht soup
In a bizarre reversal of the Goldilocks story, a couple in Siberia, spending a night in their holiday cottage, were disturbed by the sounds of breaking glass and the pitter-patter of enormous clawed feet. A bear was breaking and entering, encouraged by the smell of a pan of borscht that had been left on the stove to cool.

seafood chowder

seafood chowder
For the foreseeable future I shall be cooking for a friend of mine who is quite unwell. But while Chris is poorly, he hasn't lost his appetite at all; just his usual ease in swallowing. Feeling a bit helpless, I offered to make him soup and his eyes lit up. Poor old Chris had been living off baked beans and scrambled eggs, so he welcomed my intervention.

This arrangement is brilliant for both of us: Chris gets healthy, strengthening soups and I get to try out old favourites and make new discoveries. 
One of my first discoveries is that I don't hate seafood chowder at all.

blood orange and lime zinger

blood orange and lime zinger
Now seems to be the season for healthy smoothies and fruit drinks, as well as pledges of alcohol abstinence. I have to admit that I am not much of a fan of smoothies, largely because most of the commercially available ones have bananas in them; I am guessing because they are low in fat and give some bulk, as well as being jam packed full of vitamins.

yotam ottolenghi's iranian vegetable stew with dried lime

iranian vegetable stew with dried lime
If you were to look at an old-fashioned atlas, you would see Great Britain as a small island, surrounded by water (and probably the odd sea monster or mermaid, depending on the age of the map). Clearly that is by definition what being an island is all about .But kick it up a notch to something a little more 21st century and let's look at that island map in 3D. Right now I think it would be fair to say that the British Isles are surrounded by water from all directions, not just around our coastline, but all over the land mass too; as if we are being gobbed on by some monstrous Leviathan. If there was a land equivalent of a retractable stadium roof, we'd be begging for it to be closed; anything to get away from the damned rain and storms.

what's in season: january

orange clove pomander for the new year
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.
G.K. Chesterton

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
Mark Twain