PUBLISHED: 05:20 23 February 2015
Short, cold, dank, overcast days - how I love February! Still, think positive, at least there are only 28 days in the month and then the daffodils will be out and the days start to really lengthen.
Soup with fresh crusty bread is my saviour at this time of the year – warm and wholesome and easy and cheap to make, but if you haven’t got time or just can’t be bothered, try the delicious soups hand made by Honor Welford at Shouldham in west Norfolk. Honor and her husband Paul run Thistlefield Foods. They use local, seasonal produce to make their fabulous products with no added preservatives or additives. The soups are freezable as well – so you can stock up in case we have a good old dump of snow! On the menu at the moment are vegetable, spicy parsnip, beetroot and carrot, red onion and sweet chilli. You can buy Thistlefield Soups at various outlet throughout Norfolk – see their website for more details, www.thistlefield.co.uk or call Honor on 01366 347365.
Judith’s book of the month
My book of the month, perfect for February, is Long Nights and Log Fires – warming comfort food for family and friends, and is one of my all time favourite cookbooks. It has just been revised and is published by Ryland Peters and Small, priced £19.99. There are more than 180 winter recipes, from hearty soups and comfort food classics to indulgent desserts and warming hot drinks. Some are quick and easy, like the spicy carrot and chickpea tagine, ideal for weekday suppers, and others take a little longer but there are clear instructions and photographs of the finished product with each recipe.
Shrove Tuesday is on February 17 this year, and is named after the Christian ritual of shriving – confessing one’s sins and receiving absolution. Families would have a feast on this day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, to eat up all the food that wouldn’t last the next 40 days of fasting.
Don’t forget your pancake lemons, flour, free range eggs and, of course, Silver Spoon sugar – made from sugar beet produced in our region.
Wonderful Wensum White
Congratulations to Sam and Caroline Steggles of Fielding Cottage at Honingham. Sam took their newest goats’ cheese to the World Cheese Awards in London in November and won a Super Gold – one of only 62 awarded around the globe! Fielding Cottage has only been producing Wensum White, a soft Brie-like cheese, for about nine months adding to their delicious range of products made from milk from their 800-strong herd of goats.
You can buy the cheeses and other products at foodie outlets throughout Norfolk, direct from the farm at The Goat Shed, Fieldings, Colton Road, Honingham, NR9 5DJ or online at www.fieldingcottage.co.uk, or call them on 01603 880685.
On the veggie patch
Providing the soil isn’t frozen or too waterlogged, I will be out digging my veg patch and adding plenty of pig muck and compost. It’s also time to chit potatoes, force rhubarb and cover some soil with cardboard or an old bit of carpet to warm it up ready for planting later.
Perhaps February isn’t so bad after all!