Friday, 28 December 2007

The chill of a winter's day

These past few days have been decidedly gloomier and wetter. We did not get anything near a white Christmas, and in fact, it rained and drizzled all of Christmas Day. We were down to Heathfield in East Sussex that day to share in a Christmas dinner feast with friends. The heating system in our car is a real pain in the patootie and so we had to keep stopping the car to clear off the steam on the windows. It does work if you keep them open a tad, but it was raining so much that it was coming into the car. A white Christmas was certainly something I had been dreaming of, but all for naught it seems . . . that would have taken a minor miracle I guess, although the week before Christmas certainly was cold enough.

We have been having big problems here in Oak Cottage with our boiler this winter. We usually have problems with it at the beginning of every winter. It's really quite old and I think it may need replacing. The repair man has been out no less than three times so far this season to deal with it, and once again this morning, I woke up to find no heat in the place. It also heats our water and so that means no hot water for showers either.

We burn Calor gas and most of the time it gives us a lovely heat. Over here in England we only have the heat on twice a day. It's on for a couple of hours each morning and then for another few in the evening. It really doesn't get cold like it did back in Canada, so it's not necessary to have it going full blast much of the time.

I do miss forced air heating though. Radiators don't really seem to give off as much heat as I would like them to. They are nice to sit things upon though, and I often lay my coat upon the one down here in the kitchen before I have to brave the cold outside. Putting it on afterwards is like a nice warm hug.

I'm not sure when the heating engineer will come today, or even if he will come today. Nevermind, we have our electric fire here in the kitchen to keep us warm and I can make us some soup . . . a nice hot and thick soup . . . some corn chowder I think . . .

*Sweet-Corn Chowder*
Serves 4

This has always been a real family favourite in my home. It's very quickly put together and uses things that I have in my store cupboard all the time. You can have a delicious, satisfying and rib sticking meal on the table in about half an hour, give or take a few. Just perfect for a cold and damp winter's day.

4 slices smoked rindless streaky bacon
½ leek, cut in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced into half moons
2 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
boiling water or stock
1 bay leaf
½ tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 425ml tin creamed style corn*
2 cups whole full fat milk
1 lump butter

Heat a heavy bottomed medium large saucepan over medium heat and toss in the bacon. Fry until crisp. Add the slices of leek and cook for a few minutes longer until tender. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, herbs and boiling water to cover. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the creamed corn and the milk. Gently heat until heated through. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Add a lump of butter and serve hot with buttered crispy whole grain toast or crackers.

*Note- You can get the creamed style corn in the vegetable aisle of some grocery stores over here. Failing that you can order it from . I get a lot of American supplies from there. It's a bit pricey but they have a very quick delivery and if you order over £50 worth the delivery is free. Sometimes you just have to have what you have to have!


  1. Your corn chowder would have repelled the cold Marie. It makes me all cozy inside thinking about sitting near your fire.

  2. I hope you get your heating fixed real soon, Marie. I like radiators like I have here in the old farmhouse. When we come in from the snow our mittens and hats get dry there. Your soup will do the job to keep you warm. It looks delicious :) And Happy New Year, Marie!

  3. Sweet corn and salty bacon sound like they would make a tasty chowder.

  4. Lovely pictures, sweetcorn chowder looks tasty and warming too. :-)

  5. We had a white Christmas here in Toronto - the first I recall in years.

    Your chowder looks perfect. I find that when the weather turns cold I turn to stews and hearty soups to fight back as well.

  6. Marie-
    You know how to live- delicious looking chowder! I may just try to make it. It seems very doable!

    I watched Sense and Sensibility last night and yearned for a taste of English living, hot tea and scones, reading by the fire with the hunting dogs at your feet!

  7. My first time ehre:) I totally agree with your food-quote btw! and your Yule Log is looking fab!:)

    Happy 2008!

  8. Love the decorations next to your fireplace, looks very cosy.
    Hope you have a wonderfully warm year:-)
    X M

  9. looks great, fun to discover your blog

  10. looks great, fun to discover your blog

  11. looks great, fun to discover your blog


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