This month started out on a festive note with a Christmas lunch in Babbity Bowsters restaurant in Glasgow. I took the train to the city, as I had said goodbye to my trusty Landrover during November in anticipation of a new and more economical vehicle, which had not yet been delivered. After enjoying a wonderful lunch with my writer buddies, I returned on the train but somehow, in the pitch black, I managed to get off at the wrong station! Mr Country Cottage, who was waiting to meet me, was not amused when I phoned him on my mobile phone to say I was stranded in a village almost twenty miles away. What happened next, however, was so absolutely typical of the lovely folk who live in the rural hamlets and towns in this part of Scotland. A woman on the platform, overhearing my anxious phone call, immediately offered me shelter in her home near to the station. She said I was welcome to sit by her fireside with a nice cup of tea – or something stronger if I felt it was needed. I was deeply touched by her generosity and grateful for the kind spirit of her concern. In a world were people are often shown to be uncaring and selfish, this I felt was a wonderful reminder, especially poignant at this time of the year, that there are still plenty of good and thoughtful people amongst us.
Mid month, the snow caused disruption here just as it had all over Britain. Getting out and about, by foot or in Mr Country Cottage’s van, proved difficult as the ice and snow deepened in the narrow lanes leading to our cottage. A weather warning had been issued and a white Christmas promised so I set to making lots of soup. Chestnut. Broccoli and Stilton. Scotch Broth. Pea and Ham. Bacon and Lentil. I love soup at any time of year but especially in the depths of winter!
In the sitting room: The Christmas tree decked in traditional decorations
A four-wheel-drive it isn't!
There are so many things to do with turkey leftovers. This year I made a turkey and ham pie with the leftover Boxing Day ham and white turkey meat. I made a turkey Balti curry with the leftover brown meat - and a delicious turkey soup with the absolute pickings and bones. I’m pleased to report that not a morsel was wasted. This is how I make my tasty and warming turkey soup.
Several of the larger turkey bones, scraped clean
2 carrots, chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 leek, sliced and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced into small peices
1.5 litres of chicken or turkey stock – I used 3 Knorr chicken stock cubes
Seasoning of salt, black pepper, & thyme – fresh or dried.
A splash of olive oil
A dash of cream
Simmer for 40 minutes either on the hotplate or in a simmering oven. Remove the bones. Use a hand blender or whizz in a processor to blend the soup and add a dash of cream before serving.