We have been snowed in, frozen out and stormed over. Emma has been raging over the British Isles; amounts of snow unseen for years – especially not in March – accumulated on the drives and alongside dual carriageways, turning them into semi-carriageways or Parkways of Abandoned Vehicles. As reliable weather websites claim now the thaw is well underway but - relax not! - black ice and flooding follows in the Beast from the East's footsteps.
Canadians, Poles and Swedes are laughing at the cataclysmic effects of a few snowflakes falling upon our country, but over there they don’t have pipes on the outside walls or boiler outlets sticking through the soffit. And we’d be laughing too if they had to suddenly cope with 342 days of rain a year.
Let them laugh. Let’s cook, shall we?
More comfort will be clearly needed this week. For instance a pumpkin fondue which is not just for Halloween, as it’s a super good comfort dish. With some crusty homemade baguettes, if you’re so inclined. Or make a steak and ale pie; or braise a nice big piece of pork shoulder. With the boiler busted, the only way to survive is with the oven on.
Confit tomatoes will keep the oven going for ages; and it’s a wonderful way to bring out some flavour from the watery winter specimens. Great as a sandwich topping - or mixed into plain fresh pasta with a generous grating of Parmesan; a twist on the pappardelle with fresh tomatoes recipe.
Jerusalem artichokes are still going strong on the market stalls and they will make a great gratin: lighter than potatoes but satisfyingly filling. Add bacon or keep it out, depending on the preference. And it’s you insist on a salad – make it a Caesar’s with a twist, with breaded chicken nuggets instead of shredded roasted bird.
Chocolate is unquestionably good for cold weather and not only as a hot beverage. Chocolate pound cake is the only chocolate cake suited to be eaten for breakfast, and it’s easy. White chocolate kladdkaka on the other hand is even easier – and the best thing to come out of Sweden. Let them laugh at us some more if we can have their kladdkaka.