Housemates & Winter

Last week was my first week back in the UK after a wonderfully sunny holiday in South Africa. Just before heading back, I was reminded of the joys of living with housemates. They said they were heading to Tescos to do a week’s shop and asked if I wanted to join the meal-plan for the week.

Cooking in bulk for a number of people is quite an undertaking, but definitely worth it! Not only do we get to share meals together, but it works out much cheaper – and it’s fun!

On Sunday we ended off the week with a ‘toad-in-the-hole’ (a very typically British meal – also a great last meal before I go on a post-holiday detox).

The meal together captured some of the things that make UK winters better – good, warm food in a cosy home with lots of red wine. The only rival to this, I think, would be a cosy pub with a fireplace. *side-note – there are a number of lovely cosy pubs with fireplaces in Guildford. I’ll have to visit some of them and post a picture. An ever-so-selfless sacrifice for this blog… you’re welcome.

The other good thing about the cold weather and the extremely early sunsets, is that I am inspired to go to the library to work when it gets dark. The evenings feel so long that I get bored if I have to sit at home and work. Going to the library helps me focus a bit more and forces me to work because everyone around me is also working. So it just seems right.

To get back to toad-in-the-hole: what it consists of is a sausage that’s baked within a yorkshire pudding. Now a ‘yorkshire pudding’ is a glorious thing. It’s basically batter that is baked in a muffin pan so that it becomes a kind of pastry bowl. Genius.

What you then do then, is cover the little pastry bowl of sausage in gravy. I didn’t really grow up with gravy at home, so it has been a wonderful new addition to my life since moving here. The British do enjoy their gravy.

Vikki, my lovely and very-able-chef housemate, made some roasted carrots and an amazing mashed potatoes dish (complete with fried leek and bacon pieces and lots of cheese) to accompany the toad and its hole.

Honestly, and I can’t believe I’m saying it, the meal wouldn’t have been as wonderful if it was a glorious sunny evening in South Africa. Something about the cold truly makes one appreciate the warmth of company (…and central heating).