Wednesday, October 9
Today we have finished a strange soup I made with the vegetables that are normally frozen. Peas, broad beans, sweetcorn and spinach all stewed together with the last of the tomatoes and diced bacon for protein. We have no bread left now, but we didn’t waste a single crumb, unlike before. The last crusts, hard though they were, tasted good softened in our freezer soup.
I am annoyed with myself though for not making better use of the meat we had in the freezer. It was hard to believe that the power would not come on again in a day or two. So by the time we realised how hard things might be, we had already eaten some chicken pieces and some of the minced beef. But once we began to get a clearer idea of our predicament I decided to preserve what could be kept. So I have a belly of pork and half a leg steeped in salt, which my oldest recipe book calls ‘dry cure’ and which I am praying will help the meat keep. I have made a big pot of stew with the shin of beef and the rest of the mince I made into meatballs with a little onion and stale breadcrumbs, then cooked them through. They keep for a few days in a cool place and aren’t too dry heated up in a little flavoured stock. I used to serve them Italian style in a tomato sauce, but I am holding back on my tinned tomatoes for now.
I don’t know whether to think we are fortunate that the weather has turned colder or not. Cold means the foods normally kept in the fridge and freezer are still usable, but the drop in temperature, especially overnight, means we need to keep the fire going for warmth as well as cooking. I’ve never cooked in our inglenook fireplaces before, but Martin has rearranged the firedogs so we can hang pans and kettles over the heat. I wanted to keep both fires going in the house, but Martin says we should conserve our wood and use just the one room until we go to bed.
I am trying not to worry about the children, they are adults, after all. But the country must be safer than the towns and cities. Stephen last rang us four days ago and Jane has not been able to call for five days. I must try not to worry. The hens laid four eggs today.