Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow

It started snowing on Wednesday and it has not stopped since. For some, like Arthur here, this is great, he loves the snow, and for my daughter, for whom school was cancelled on Friday, it means an extended school break.

For me, not so great. I set off for work on Thursday in my husband's car, as the handbrake had frozen solid on the Land Rover, unfortunately I had not got a kilometre down the road before the car seemed determined to throw me into a ditch. So I turned around to head back home, and almost did not make it back up the valley to the house. Several attempts at taking a run up the slope finally saw me cresting the hill, just in time to hit the next incline. Finally got the car back and admitted defeat.

Brendan had to get the hot air gun on the handbrake - lying around on the snowy ground under the car on a piece of cardboard was not much fun for him.

Comfort food was the order of the day therefore on Thursday.

Ham and cabbage

For some reason this is one my other half's favourite comfort food recipes, I think it must come from his Irish grandmother. It is certainly hot and filling and eaten out of big bowls with some freshly baked bread it is certainly heartwarming.

I use some of my salted pork meat.

This started life very much like a side of bacon, dry salted and left for a couple of weeks, then carved up into large pieces but due to making too many bacon joints I ended up freezing some of the meat to prolong the preservation.

To de-frost, and de-salt the meat, I left it in some water overnight, then boiled it twice, changing the water every time.

Then having roughly chopped the meat into cubes. I fried some onions with pepper corns, then added the meat, added a couple of large potatoes just cut into quarters, and when the potatoes have pretty much boiled into mush, threw in a head of cabbage chopped into thick strips.

I like the potatoes boiled away to nothing as this makes the thick base, almost like a stew, that holds the cabbage and meat together. As my meat was salted park, there is no need to add any salt to season, but if you were making it with ham, you may want to add some salt with generous amounts of pepper to season. I add a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar at the end just to cut through the cabbage.

The snow continued unabated on Friday, just getting deeper and deeper. With school cancelled, there was no sign of life from my daughter's bedroom until just before midday, by the time I got back from work she had managed to get up and eat a bowl of cereal, but was still slouching around in her pjs.

With no other signs of life, all of our birds tucked away in various hangers and barns, Arthur curled up on his bed, and the kitten sprawled on the floor in front of the fire, it was difficult to get any degree of motivation to do anything other than sit in front of a film.

So I picked up my knitting needles and with Thea in charge of the DVD remote control, we made out way through a couple of episodes of NCIS, and I finished off another chunky knit hat, a chunky knit flower destined to be a brooch, and a circular piece of knitting.

I have never managed to knit anything before on circular needles and have discovered the reason why - the loop has always been too big and the needles too thin. This little loop was part of a set of knitting needles I picked up at a charity shop for a couple of euros, and I think is the perfect size to make baby hats, but while I was experimenting I thought I would just try to knit something in some surplus black wool I had at the back of the cupboard.

The finished item came out quite well, so well in fact, that once cast off, it will make a lovely little bowl - see future posts for the finished product.
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