Friday, 23 September 2011
On my mind...
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...is preparing for winter.
The nights are drawing in, and there is a distinct nip in the air in the mornings and evenings. The light has got a slightly golden tinge to it, and there are the first signs of leaves dropping. Almost without realising it - our thoughts are turning to the onset of winter, and preparations for the colder weather. We aren't fortunate enough to have an open fire - there is a chimney but with three lots of neighbours above our heads having it swept ready to take a real fire would be prohibitively expensive, I suspect. We have storage heaters - which are voraciously electricity-hungry, and require you to have the weather prediction skills of Michael Fish....well, maybe NOT Michael Fish! As a result I tend to try to make sure that the cupboards are well stocked running into the winter, so that at least our food-spend can stay under control even if the heating one spirals out of it!
We've always run a "storecupboard" - in our old flat it was in the spare room - a tall, narrow cupboard into which all manner of "stuff" got put when we first moved in. Then, gradually, as our pitifully small kitchen made its limitations known, (this was the flat, bear in mind, where the fridge-freezer lived in the front room as there was no room for it in the kitchen!) things we'd bought in bulk, or jars of chutney etc that we had made, found their way into that cupboard. By the time we moved in here it was just a case of working out *which* cupboard we were going to use for the purpose - it was always a given that it would happen.
Snug in there, isn't it! Jars of jams, jellies, and chutneys. At the top are dried goods - pasta, pulses, rice, flour etc. Out of sight in this pic, at the bottom, oils, vinegar, and the all important tea-bags. We'll add to this yet ahead of the cold weather. We'll get more rice, more pasta. Another couple of jars of Coffee. Probably stock up on pulses etc to go into lovely winter stews. All good, healthy, filling food, which can be eaten simply or "tarted up" as our fancy and budget allows.
A well-stocked storecupboard not only gives you the flexibility to produce an interesting meal at short notice, it also means that when you hit that tight spot in the budget (January, anyone?) you are able to hunker down (apologies to Jane) and cope with it without resorting to mashed potato every night for a week.
What are you doing to prepare for the winter?