Friday, 13 January 2017



What is it about even the slightest sprinkling of snow, to bring out the child in us?  It was with much excitement that I opened the shutters this morning, to see a light dusting of snow covering the garden and fields beyond.  Mr. W was less impressed with the thought of possible disrupted trains to London, but for a home based designer and blogger like myself, a day working at home was going to only be enhanced by being surrounded by this pretty winter wonderland.


My poor kitchen garden and greenhouse looked a little cold and sad this morning, and it is hard to believe that in just a few weeks, it will be all go in here with much preparation and planting to do.  

However, look a little closer and there is life in here!  We have leeks and kale to enjoy at the moment, and these beautiful 'Marveille de quatre saisons' lettuce.  Whether the latter will stand up to this snow and cold temperatures I'm not sure, but they are incredibly hardy and as their name suggests, they really are a marvel to grow all year round!


Another great success this year has been growing Brussel Sprouts, which is encouraging as it is the first time I have grown them. Love them or hate them?  Personally I love them!  If you are not so keen, just try and think of them as 'mini cabbages' and roast them or stir fry them with bacon or chorizo and maybe chestnuts or pine nuts.....a complete revelation! 


Like a number of winter vegetables, sprouts benefit from a cold snap and this brings out their sweet nuttiness beautifully.  


Followers of my instagram @sophiahomelifestyle will know that last week I tested out a delicious recipe for 'Brussel Sprout, chorizo and chestnut soup' which I can confirm was SO delicious!  It is the perfect winter warmer, and bar the small amount of chorizo (an essential addition!) which adds a wonderful rich and spicy kick, it is super healthy and perfect for all those good intentions for the new year.                                                                                                                                                                                                 


Sadly I forgot to take a photo of the end result, but trust me, it's delicious, so do try it!


400g Brussel sprouts, trimmed
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
100-150g cooking chorizo chopped
1 tsp group cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, in two equal piles
2 large tomatoes or 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
500g cooked peeled chestnuts, vacuum-packed 
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper


Separate the sprouts into two equal piles.  Cut one portion into halves and finely shred the other and keep separate.

In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onion and carrots until they start to brown.  Add the bay leaf and chorizo and continue frying for another few minutes.

Now add the halved sprouts, the cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, rosemary and half the garlic and stir for another minute.  Next add the tomato, chestnuts and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Use a hand blender or food processor to blitz the soup but don't make it too smooth - some texture is good.  Reheat in the pan, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat.  When the oil is hot, throw in the remaining garlic and the shredded sprouts and stir fry for a minute or two until the sprouts are just tender and bright green.

Stir through the soup just before serving, saving a spoonful to garnish each bowl.


Bon app├ętit!

With more snow forecast, do stay safe and warm.   I have a new delivery of seed catalogues, and shall be doing just that, and dreaming and planning for Spring, which really is not too far away.

Happy Friday!

Sophia xx

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