Another week, another weekly blog… 45 episodes in, and I’m still going on about going for weekend walks, eating all the food, and watching all the television. It seems that the pandemic has done strange things to my daily habits. Ah well, I’m going with it!
Go on then… How are you finding November 2020? I’m not completely enamoured by it, I have to admit. I’m tired, I ache, and my brain hurts. We only have a few days of it left, and while I’m not sure December is going to provide much relief in reality, at least we can use the festive season as an excuse to buy new pyjamas and enjoy rubbish moves to keep us going.
I admit I was surprised to see the Christmas tree up in the work lobby when I arrived this morning, but I didn’t mind it, I do like twinkly lights.
A Walk in the Woods
After a working week that felt like it would both never end and wouldn’t slow down (you know what I mean, right?!), it was so good to head into some new-to-me woods earlier today for a wander in the autumn sunshine. And the sunshine was utterly glorious, the perfect weather for a walk in the woods. Just look at the photo in my weekly blog header…
We headed to Buckholt Wood, part of the Cotswold Commoms and Beechwoods Natural Nature Reserve (another duck ticked off my Great British Outdoors scratch map), close to the village of Cranham in the Cotswolds AONB. This is a truly ancient woodland, the general consensus is this has been here since the last ice age, and has been managed for firewood since at least the 12th Century.
We certainly didn’t have the area to ourselves, it might have been new-to-us, but it is clearly a popular woodland for Sunday afternoon walks, and who can blame anyone for wanting to spend time in such a beautiful place on such a nice day? The thing that struck me the most, other than the billions of brown leaves meaning everywhere and nowhere looked like a footpath, was the size and number of holly bushes we saw.
It was honestly so nice to wander here, and I think we can be sure this won’t be our last visit… please can the weather be this nice next weekend?
I think woodland walks are our favourite way to spend time together on a day such as this, and I’d love to hear where your favourite woodlands for wanderings are, especially if you are in the Cotswolds area. Let me know!
On My Plate
For me, one of the best ways to help me feel better when I’m stressed and tired (after spending some time outside, of course), is to cook and eat well… Being a particularly wet and windy week here, that meant digging out some particularly comforting meals. This week that involved a chicken curry I made in the slow cooker (with leftovers for another day), and a proper Shepherd’s pie that current Zoe was very happy at past Zoe for making and freezing.
The reason I wanted to include an on my plate section in this weekly blog is because I tried out a recipe suggested by a reader a few weeks back (read weekly blog episode 41). Roddie commented about one of his favourite prepare-once-eat-twice dinner is a vegetable crumble, which was an excellent suggestion, and a bit of a forgotten recipe in our house that I was pleased to be reminded of.
My vegetable mix incorporated carrots, parsnip, chestnut mushrooms, courgette, potato, tomatoes and butter beans, which I cooked with herbs and loads of pepper. The topping was flour, butter, oats and cheddar cheese – what’s not to like about that? While the crumble tasted great, I was pleased I let the filling casserole for a good couple of hours, it was a bit dry in the end. You can’t really add gravy over a vegetable crumble (can you?!), so we added some garlic sauce, but next time I’ll make sure there’s a bit more liquid before it goes in the oven.
If you’ve got any more prepare-once-eat-twice meal suggestions for me to try? Drop them in the comments below.
Fish Finger Bhorta
This evening I attempted a new-to-me recipe for a Fish Finger Bhorta, which was as interesting to make and eat as it sounded… It’s this one from Nigella Lawson’s Cook Eat Repeat, and I think the consensus here is that it was both easy and tasty enough to have it again another time.
I didn’t see the television programme when it aired earlier this month, and I wasn’t aware of how much this recipe divided the nation (a quick Google for Bhorta filled my screen with “news” articles on the topic). Who knew fish fingers would be so controversial?
Bhorta is a Bangladeshi comfort food involving mashed vegetables or fish with gentle spicing from ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander. In this version, fresh fish is replaced with oven cooked fish fingers, and the base includes a good dollop of English mustard. And while it might sound very odd indeed to combine orange freezer food with the delicate spices of Bangladesh, it genuinely worked, it is a great combination of texture and flavour!
If you’re looking for a recipe that’s a bit different, then give this a try, and let me know what you think.
I think that’s about everything I have to share this week. I could talk about how I binge watched two weeks’ worth of Masterchef on Sunday morning, how I’ve only just started ironing my bed linen now having realised it adds to the sense of luxury to a freshly made bed, and how I’ve only just managed to achieve my own One Hour Outside challenge over the last week. I won’t bore you with any more for now, but instead I’ll promise you there is a new Currently Loving post coming in a day or two, and I’ve started putting together my Gift Guide for Outdoors Lovers – watch this space for both of those very soon.
As always, I would really love to hear from you in the comments below.