15 January

couple of days ago we decided it was time to give the fridge and freezer a good post Christmas clearout. No food was to be purchased unless absolutely essential, we were going to eat down the eclectic mix of bits and bobs.

One particular favourite of ours is sweet potato and stilton pie. I know it sounds weird but the salt of the stilton and the sweet potato complement each other perfectly. It can go wrong, such as the year I let the stilton get a little too high. I did think it smelt a little strong as I took it out of the oven, but I persevered and took it to the table. Our daughters were quite young and with the honesty of youth they took one whiff of dinner and declared that under no circumstances were they eating cat food pie. It has been known as cat food pie in our family ever since.

We obviously have a thing for leftover stilton because my other post Christmas favourite is cauliflower and stilton soup. This was what my husband made at the weekend and I had a bowl for lunch yesterday. He had clearly found some double cream lurking around as well because it was rich, strong and utterly delicious. I wanted to sit there and eat bowl after bowl, but I had a meeting to go to so I reluctantly stopped at one.

We make huge pots of soup at this time of year. We freeze them in family size portions and pull them out for lunch or evenings when we don’t feel like cooking … when we want to hibernate.

Hibernation doesn’t mean starvation, you need to build yourself up for the action of spring, but you don’t want to be rushing around creating fancy meals or living on takeouts. This is where soups and stews come into their own. A day of cooking and filling the freezer means that you can spend the rest of your hibernation sustained by good restorative meals without having to cook every evening and thus giving you the time you need to read that book or knit that jumper. Hibernation is about doing a few things every now and then that give you the time to renew.