With temperatures set to plummet here in the UK and warnings of thundersnow on its way (I mean, thundersnow? Sounds like a Marvel supervillain!), we’re currently bracing ourselves in anticipation of the big chill. So here are 5 easy ways to stay warm and cosy this January:
(1) EAT CHILLIES
Eating hot and spicy foods can be a great way to stay warm, and we grew such an abundance of chilli peppers in the polytunnel last year, they’re really coming into their own right now! We froze most of the chillies, turned some into sweet chilli jam, and the few we kept in a bowl in the kitchen are just beginning to wrinkle and dry out nicely. Aside from using in chilli con carne and curries, throw the little firecrackers into soups, stews, stir-fries, pasta dishes or, my new favourite, add to scrambled eggs along with onions, tomato and fresh coriander for a hearty, warming brunch.
(2) GO OUTSIDE
This may seem a counterproductive suggestion when I’m urging you to stay warm, but really, go outside. Check your plant pots and flower beds. All those bulbs you planted last autumn may have started to peek through the soil by now and is there anything more heart-warming than the sight of a tender green shoot in the middle of January? Enjoy them before they briefly disappear beneath a blanket of snow!
(3) MAKE SOUP
Our winter crops at the allotment have been providing us with soups aplenty here at Agents of Field HQ. The carrots, parsnips, beetroot, leeks and swede are all coming through thick and fast and can be easily whizzed into tasty, nutritious soups to keep those winter chills at bay. Here’s my recipe for Roasted Roots Soup which is a winner at this time of year.
(4) RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS CARDS
The Woodland Trust have teamed up with Marks and Spencer again to provide Christmas card recycling bins in selected M&S stores. For every 1000 cards received, a new tree will be funded by M&S and planted by The Woodland Trust. I dropped ours off at our local branch this morning and was pleased to see the bin was already overflowing with cards. The scheme has been running for 19 years and since then, 245,000 trees have been planted! You have until 31st January to drop off your cards and feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside for helping increase the country’s tree population!
(5) PLAN YOUR PLANTING
If you need to distract yourself from your frozen extremities, bring out the seed catalogues (in Ade’s case), or recipe books (in my case). Planning your planting ideas for the year ahead can be a welcome diversion on cold winter days when there’s little to do at the allotment, as can looking at recipe ideas for crops you’re hoping to grow. Failing that, a glance back through pictures of last year’s blooms is sure to spread a warm, happy glow. 😊
Now, bring on the Thundersnow! Agents of Field are gonna take him down!