Friday 10 December 2010

Thoughts of wintertime . . .

For the second year in a row, Great Britain has had more than it's fair share of snow in the month leading up to Christmas! This is quite unsual for over here. In the ten years I have lived here, this has been unheard of for the first eight! In fact, a Green Christmas is quite the norm for most of the UK . . . and, having said that, despite the snow last December and the white stuff we've had thus far this year . . . we will still probably have a Green Christmas, coz our's is all but gone now, and probably will still be gone . . . come the day as well. Last year it snowed the week before Christmas. The rain then came and washed it all away . . . and then it began to snow again just after Christmas was over . . . sigh . . .

Winter has it's own beauty for those who have to live with it. It's not recommended in travel guides, unless for ski addicts . . . and there are no ski runs, much . . . not that I know of in the UK at any rate. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!) There is other beauty to be sure, like the rolling green covered hills of the South Downs and other treasures . . . but there's precious little snow, even during the coldest months of the year.

Winter beauty belongs to those who battle blizzards, get dug out of snowdrifts, undergo the misery of frozen pipes, the numb hands on the snow shovel. It is for those who buckle on galoshes, wear two sweaters under snow jackets and watch their breath freeze as they wander out to the garden gate.

Bare branches, lovely with fallen snow or encased in ice that glitters when the sun comes out reluctantly, is their prize. They see meadows with blue shadows across the snow, and hear brooks babbling gaily, softly under a sheath of ice. They know the beauty of a world, dipped in pearl, as they listen for the gentle hoots of owls, melancholy in the still of a black night. They know the delicate prints of pheasant and rabbit and the rare shape of a deer's hoof on new fallen snow.

Their reward for living in a winter wonderland is to see the delicate beauty of a winter sunset with pale green and lemon in the sky after the sun begins to sink and to experience the splendor of moonlight on snow. Even on moonless nights, the snow itself gives light . . . delicate and silvery.

There is a quietness when snow falls; I think nothing is so quiet as a windless fall of snow. There is a smell of snow, that no-one has ever made a perfume of. There is a pattern of firelight on an old oak floor, an image of the fire on the hearth translated into shadow . . . but for now I will content myself with dreams of these things gone past, and take blessing and refuge in my good health, my comfortable home and the love of family . . . and then . . . in the springtime I will wax on rhapsodic about the colours of the myriad of tiny crocus pushing their gold, purple and white heads up through the earth, and know that once again I have been blessed . . . for now, I wait, and dream . . . of snow, white Christmas's and winter wonderlands . . .

Here's an easy breakfast for some of these colder winter mornings. This will warm the cockles of the hearts of those you love . . . Makes a nice light supper as well. (which is when we had it the other night)

*Ham and Egg Cups*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

My husband loves these. He thinks they taste like the bacon and egg pies of his youth. They are delicious for sure and very easy to whip up. They make a wonderful breakfast, not to mention a quick comforting supper on those nights when you have precious little time and want something on the table quickly.

1 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix (you can get this in the baking aisle of the grocery store)
¼ cup, plus 2 TBS of cold water
1 tsp instant minced onion
1 package thinly sliced fully cooked ham (about 2½ ouces)
6 eggs
salt and black pepper to taste
Chopped flat leaf parsley

Move oven rack to the lowest position in the oven. Pre-heat oven to 200*C/400*F. Grease six 6-ounce custard cups. Mix baking mix, water and onion until a soft dough forms. Divide between the custard cups and using damp fingers, press the dough in the bottom and up the sides of each cup.

Line each cup with 2 slices of ham. Break an egg carefully into the middle of each cup. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and the parsley flakes.

Bake, uncovered in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven, cool five minutes, then loosen by running a knife around each and removing from cups to serve. You can also serve them in the cups, but I love to look at the golden brown outsides sitting on my plate. Enjoy!

In The English Kitchen today, Honey Glazed Chicken. Oh so yummy!


  1. There are ski slopes in Scotland!

    I wish our snow would disappear too. Yes, I do now; enough is enough. I know there are places where they get much worse but they're not UK.

    What with heating breakdowns, power outages and freezing temps....yes, enough now!

  2. Our snow is gradually disappearing revealing different views of the fell tops. The crags are appearing again like rib cages on a snow covered sleeping beast.
    I love seeing our world through your eyes Marie! You make me so aware that we are heaven blessed to be alive.
    Thank you for that my friend.
    Much love
    Jeanie xxxx

  3. We have plenty of snow here for sure. I was born and raised here where it does it every year. I'm still in the same place and have often wished I could go south for the winter. Otherwise I do love the part of the country I live in but I spend most of the winter looking forward to Spring. Your egg cups look wonderful and since I've not had breakfast yet. I think I'll have an egg today...sadly I don't have any ham to go with it. I hope your Friday is a fantastic one!

  4. It does feel like a repeat of last winter already in many ways, doesn't it?! Winter's iron cold grip is on us here in Norway too. While winter is not my favorite time, and I struggle SAD, I do try to see the beauty of this time of year--the natural beauty outside the door, as well as indoors and the beauty of being in, reflective, rejuvenating for spring/summer. :o) Hope you, Todd & Mitzie have a lovely weekend ahead. I'll be offline much of the weekend--nephew's birthday tomorrow, and Christmas preparations Sunday, etc. Hope we get to chat next week! LOVE YOU LOTS, dear friend ((BIG HUGS))

  5. Hi Marie, I bet you thought I was gone sure feels like it. I have been feeling rather punk these past weeks with a lot of pain in my knees and legs. Somehow pain just puts,me in a grumpy mood and then I do not feel like doing much on the computer due to the discomfort of sitting for any length of time. But I ma getting better and know it was caused by just overdoing and lifting with my legs instead of my back!

    I love this post on the snow. The white bedroom is to die for and the pretty white candles. It is finally happening to me I am a designer that is loving white more and is so restful. Many people that have worked so much will color tend to have a lot of white around them at home.

    I just got word this minute that Hazie is back at the doctor...that poor child, honestly, I am having trouble being jolly this Christmas!

    Hope things are great for you and Todd and Mitzi!

    Love, Bon

  6. Well Marie, you know by what angie has said there sure is plenty wonderful long ski slopes in Scotland the Cairngorms is the place to go for the ski slopes. down here last wednesday Mary and I went to Chippenham and on our way there and back was accompanied by oohhhs and aaaaaaaahhssssssss as we passed tree after tree encased in hoar frost some even haveing tiny icicles hanging from their branches it was absolutely heavenly I have never ever seen the trees look so thick and beautiful. Afraid snow is gone now but it at least we can get out and about. Hope all is well your end.
    love Sybil xx

  7. I so love a winter wonderland at Christmas time. Here in Utah we have certainly had our share; but right now it is raining and the snow we had is gone.
    I was swept away by your post today. You have a beautiful way of writing and you should write a book.
    I loved the pictures which always brings on feelings of past white christmas's.
    Thanks for the memories and the recipe is awesome.
    Also, I really would love to visit the UK sometime; your descriptions are beautiful.
    Blessings and hugs to you! LeAnn

  8. I have really enjoyed reading your blog.

    It's funny how so many wish their snow would hurry up and melt and here where I live...we're praying for snow! And Lots of it!

    Can't wait to read more!
    You have a new follower!

  9. As you know, we get no snow here in southern CA. Actually, we did get snow twice in the 50 years I have lived here, but it only lasted an hour or so. However, my girls in Utah get lots of snow so I get to enjoy it for a little while when we are there and then I get to leave it and come home to warmer weather. That works well for me. I think snow is pretty but I don't like the freezing part of it....or driving in it. As you remember, this CA girl gets really cold in winter weather because I am just not used to it. Here in CA we consider it freezing when it is in the 50s or 60s. I guess we are just warm weather wimps.
    I must make that egg dish. I have some ham left over from yesterday. I think I will make them for Sat. breakfast. Thanks for the idea.
    I have been so busy all week, I have not even had a minute to visit you. I've missed that. I send love. Hugs, Lura


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