Maybe you’re thinking that as winter is now upon us, Vanda (the motor-home) is safely tucked up for the winter (wrapped in blankets with a her wheels snug in great big knitted socks?) but we have continued to take her out and about …whatever the weather.
We had a weekend in Coniston in the Lake District, a couple of days in Clitheroe and were up in Grange over Sands last weekend: we worried (or I did) that cool, dark nights and wet days might reduce her charms a little – but no such thing, its been a pleasure to be out and about the lovelier bits of Northern England, no matter what the climate chucks at you. Apparently the Norwegians maintain that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes: we have changed our Vandering a little to suit the conditions but with a knitter/crocheter in your tribe, you’re never going to be short of warm woolly things.
Rain has been a bit trying: we got soaked to our knickers in Clitheroe walking back from the town to the camp site. My coat held out until we were five minutes from Vanda, but then I could feel the cold rain insinuating itself down my back…yuck. But hot tea, a blankie and Vanda’s warm embrace (and a little electric fan heater) were enough to get us smiling again. Last weekend in Grange it was very cold overnight (around -1 centigrade) but we have brushed cotton duvet covers, woollens galore (and one – or two – tots of good whisky) to keep us cosy. We’ve been keener to carb heavy, spicy food in Vanda’s little kitchen, and breakfasts outdoors in the sun are a distant memory. But when you can enjoy some of the UK’s most beautiful places at a moments notice without having to compete with scads of tourists, it’s all worth it!
Moroccan Pilaff a la Vanda….
Four ‘Moroccan’ style sausages (or something similarly spicy)
1 onion, chopped.
1 medium aubergine, cut into small cubes.
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped.
1/2 cup of basmati rice
1 stock cube – chicken is fine, made up to a pint of liquid with boiling water.
*a pinch of cumin, oregano, chilli flakes.
*chopped flat leaf parsley
oil for frying.
- Using your sharp knife, split the skin of the sausages and gently remove it.
- Form the sausage meat into pieces about the size of the top of your thumb. Roll them gently between dampened hands to shape into rough ‘balls’.
- Fry the balls gently in your pan with just a small splash of oil – they will give out their own oil as they cook so don’t overdo the oil.
- When they’re brown, remove them from the pan and put them on one side.
- Add the vegetables to the oil and gently fry them for a few minutes. NB the aubergine will soak up the remaining oil in the pan, but don’t be tempted to add more. Just keep the veg moving.
- Add the rice, and give everything a good stir, cook gently for a minute or so and then add half the stock.
- Season with salt and pepper and, if you have them, add the spices too.
- Cook very gently for about ten minutes, add more stock as the rice soaks it up.
- Add the balls back to the pan, and cook for a further 3 minutes adding more stock as necessary.
- Check the rice – if its as soft as you prefer, serve, if not cook for another minute or two.
- Add the parsley if you have it and serve in deep bowls with flat breads and greek-style yogurt.