Their black forms sliced through the air like stealth jets as they carried large sticks back and forth to the towering tree at my garden's edge. The pair flew overhead for hours, never seeming to rest between trips, eager to finish their nest by nightfall. Despite their largeness they flew with more ease than all of the other birds; gliding with only a flap or two, effortlessly sailing on air. They were beautiful to watch.
I only retreated indoors when the wind began to sharply nip at my ribs.
I often dream of what it would be like to see the world from a bird's eye - perched high amongst the tree tops with views past the horizon and to the earth below. Nothing but the whispering wind and rustling leaves; an all-seeing silence. It must be wonderful to be so unencumbered.
When dusk descended like a blanket, tucking us in with its indigo fingertips, I pulled a cookbook from the shelf that has remained unread. When I buy cookbooks, most often it is their photographs that pull me in. This one was filled with dreams during Winter - hearty stews and robust dumplings with warming puddings and spiced hot drinks. I have a feeling I shall be visiting its pages often in the coming frost-bitten weeks...
Apologies on slap-dash presentation
Pork and Cabbage cakes with sweet onion relish
from Snow Flakes And Schnapps by Jane Lawson
serves 4 - 6 (I say 4)
pork and cabbage cakes
400g minced pork
1 streaky bacon slice, finely chopped
1/2small brown onion, finely chopped
150g finely shredded green cabbage
200g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/8 tsp white pepper (I used 1/4)
1/2 tsp chopped marjoram
1 garlic clove, crushed (I used 2)
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
sweet onion relish
1 tbs butter
1 tbs sunflower oil (I used olive)
2 brown onions, chopped
1 tbs yellow mustard seeds (I subbed dijon mustard)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp Hungarian hot paprika
a small pinch of ground cloves
125ml cider vinegar
2 tbs soft brown sugar
poached egg and sautéed apple slices to serve
For pork and cabbage cakes combine all ingredients in non-metallic bowl and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To make relish, heat butter and oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 10mins, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, Add remaining ingredients, 1/2ts salt and 500m water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-40mins, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and cover whilst cooking the pork and cabbage cakes.
Remove pork mixture from the refrigerator and season well. Divide the mixture into eight even proportions. Using your hand, roll into a ball and flatten slightly to make patties 1.5cm thick. Lightly grease a non-stick pan and place over medium heat. Cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side or until lightly golden. Serve patties with onion relish, fried egg and sautéed apples.
prep time: 8mins to make patties (then refrigerate over night or for at least 1 hour).
cooking time: 45mins for relish and patties.
total: 52mins plus refrigeration time.
taste: 4/5. Wintry pizzaz.
Hubby loved the accompaniments, but he found the patties a little boring and would have preferred a meaty, juicy pork chop instead to go with the soft, fluffy apples, salty fried egg and acidly sweet onions. (I over-reduced my onion relish, keep it a little more viscous).
would I make it again: Yes - to the accompaniments, but served with a pork chop rather than a pattie.