Winter picnic: roasted pumpkin soup.

Initially revered for its impressive colour, size, and roundness by its misshapen brother and sister Squashes, the fate of the Pumpkin is a tragic one. Its “big moment” consists of being disembowelled, barbarically disfigured by parents lacking artistic skill, paraded to insensitive children from the end of the drive, and chucked away or forgotten about from the 1st November onward.  Continue…

Winter walks and picnics: welcome to Slow Living.

If there was a competition for how full you can keep your regular mug of coffee (without a lid) whilst driving, I would be the winner. Through a skillful act of counterbalancing, I can attune the coffee in my cup to the sways of my car, and regularly arrive at work after a fifteen minute journey relatively unscathed by coffee stains. I do have a reusable takeaway cup, though – but I rarely have the spare time in the morning to a) locate it, and b) wash it up (it is currently encrusted with mould from the last time I was feeling practical – a long time ago). By now you can probably guess that I’m the “just-in-time” – veering towards the “tad-late” – type.  Continue…

How to have a winter picnic

Winter picnics. They ring rather like strawberries and cream in January, or mince pies in June. Something that’s not meant to be, out of season. But a winter picnic is something quite different to a summer picnic. Winter picnics are lined with luxury, fueled with festivity. They’re a kind of novel celebration, marked with prosecco in plastic glasses and mini Christmas crackers hiding in the hamper. They’re a chance to get out of the stuffy indoors and feel the fresh air pinch your cheeks like a fond grandparent. So don’t get cold feet about midwinter picnicking; go all out and go for it. And wear warm socks. Continue…

Spice up your picnic with a spiced mango chutney

“And my chutneys and kasaundies are, after all, connected to my nocturnal scribblings — by day amongst the pickle-vats, by night within these sheets, I spend my time at the great work of preserving. Memory, as well as fruit, is being saved from the corruption of the clocks.” — Saleem Sinai in Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Writing the past and pickling fruits may well be acts of preservation, but once the finished product makes its appearance on a piece of paper or in a Kilner jar, it can be all too easily misplaced, lost, or forgotten.

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