Every year when it starts getting cold enough to wear a coat over a jumper, part of me goes into hibernation and I become the slanket-wearing, easily-grumpied, rarely-seen-outside version of Pip (if you don’t know what a slanket is, it’s a blanket with sleeves and it will change how you view life, mainly because you’ll be viewing it from a comfortable distance shrouded in your slanket). But not this year. This year, our bills are all inclusive, and in my mind, that means we have UNLIMITED CENTRAL HEATING. If we’re not walking around in shorts and tshirts/swimming costumes at Christmas time then we’re clearly not getting our money’s worth.
So now instead of dreading the months when I have to carry a hot water bottle around the house and to my lectures, I can properly look forward to the things I love about Winter – such as:
- Conducting all work; reading, essays, emails etc. from my bed (as I’m currently doing now)
- That kind of Winter smell that starts permeating the air around mid-October/November that just smells so much crisper than at any other time of year.
- When clothing choices get simplified to ‘pair of jeans x’ and ‘oversized jumper y’, with ‘pair of jeans x’ probably only getting a wash once a week. If that. The Winter smell mentioned above will hopefully cover up the smell of your unwashed clothes.
- Lack of humidity in the air meaning my hair doesn’t explode into a shitty frizzy mess after an hour of being outside.
- Watching my friends attempt Movember
- Winter music – that kind of heavier, slower music that’s more suited for listening whilst walking on a crisp winter day. Admittedly I’d say at least 60% of my music is classed as winter music which I listen to all year round, but it sounds better when you’ve got the setting to match.
- BONFIRE NIGHT i.e. my favourite holiday of all the holidays. Nothing better than going to Cranleigh Bonfire Night and watching the 50 minute fireworks display set to classical music that has nothing to do with the display, wearing the wrong shoes because you didn’t think it would be that muddy, and nearly throwing up the hotdog and pint you had whilst riding the £3-a-go fairground rides.
- Staying up all night because the weather report said it was going to snow that night.
- It not snowing that night.
- Getting hugely excited when you actually do wake up to a whole 3cm of snow on the ground.
- Watching TV (either The Royle Family Christmas specials or Home Alone, obviously) with only the fairy lights around the christmas tree lighting the room.
Probably the thing I’m looking forward to most though, is Winter food. Bye salad, hello stews and roasts and thick soup with buttered toast and creamy curries and crispy roasted root veg and mince pies even though Christmas isn’t for another 3 months. It’s not even coat weather and I’ve already made 2 roasts and a huge curry, the latter of which I’m sharing now.
It could, obviously, be made with chicken or any sort of white fish, but because I’m lazy and I had no money, I’ve done a veg one packed with butternut squash, broccoli, peas and beans.
Coconut Butternut Squash Curry – makes enough about 4
1 tbsp oil (olive or coconut)
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 thumb of ginger, minced
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
400g chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 tin coconut milk
1 small butternut squash, cubed
1 handful of green beans
1-2 handfuls of frozen peas
1/2 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
Coriander and brown rice, to serve
- Heat the oil on medium in a large, heavy bottomed pan or casserole dish. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until soft.
- Add the garam masala, turmeric, cumin and chilli and stir until coating the onion and fragrant.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes. At this point, blend the mixture using a stick blender (this isn’t necessary but it gives a nice smooth sauce).
- Add the diced butternut squash, cover and simmer on low for 15/20 minutes, or until the squash it tender.
- Add the broccoli, green beans and peas and cook for a further 5/10 minutes.
- Serve with brown rice and coriander.