Sunday, 17 June 2012

winter survival.

auckland is knee deep in winter. and as i mentioned before, i don't handle winter very well. the cold gives me headaches and keeps me up at night. but there are things i love about winter. like winter fashion (there's a reason why new york, paris...etc are world capitols of fashion), throws and hot drinks (current favourites: rooibos and fennel tea! yum!)

after reading 3191 Miles Apart's winter survival guides, i decided we needed one of our own...

1. comfort food.
MAV has suggested to eat up! but i'm saying, eat comfort food. like a nice hot soup coming home from the cold outside. a warm rich dessert on a winters night. a hot chocolate while wandering the shops....
today i made a creme caramel for a simple dessert. our family almost never gets to eat dinner together as j works most nights, so sunday nights need something special.

here is my recipe:

70 g white sugar
20 mL hot water

400 mL fresh milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

2 whole eggs and 4 extra egg yolks
50 g caster sugar

Place sugar in a sauce pan on a medium heat, stir when melted until golden brown. Once it starts bubbling, carefully stir in hot water then remove from heat. (be careful, the caramel can spit slightly when the water hits) Lightly grease the mould(s), then fill mould(s) with caramel. Swirl the mould to coat bottom of mould when the caramel is still hot. Set aside for later use.
Bring together milk and sugar, bring to boil on low heat then stir in vanilla seeds. Turn the heat off and set aside. In a mixing bowl, lightly whisk eggs with sugar. 

Pour in milk in stream, whisk rapidly until well blended. (be gentle, as you don't want too many bubbles). Strain the mixture (this is really important, i usually strain it twice to remove all the little bits of egg white) then fill mould(s) with mixture, and bake in bain marie (or in a tray filled with water, at least filled halfway up the mould). Cover tray lightly with aluminium foil. 
Bake at preheated oven, 160ÂșC for 25 minutes. Turn the heat off, let puddings stay in the oven for further 10 minutes. Chill before serving.

i usually use a large ceramic bowl to bake one large custard rather than a few small ones. i love digging into it with a big spoon. yum!

2. bundle up and head out!
Stephanie suggests going out for a walk and i love this idea. the air is so fresh outside in winter and you'd be surprised how gorgeous it is! put on a warm jacket, wrap a warm scarf, throw on a hat and some gloves, grab your camera and go explore. she also makes the good point that you'll have most of the parks and reserves to yourself. 

a sneak peak from our garden!

3. layer and tuck.
can't agree more with MAV's layer and tuck! i always wear a plain black singlet under my clothes in winter. its my winter secret. if you tuck it into your jeans or pants, it stops the cold cold wind from getting under your clothes. i also love cardigans, cozy scarves and boots. when i'm at home, i make sure i'm tucked under a nice warm throw.

4. spend time with the people you love
whether it's time at home doing the every day things, making a special trip (j and i went to nosh today for some special ingredients to make our weekend meal- was so nice getting to spend some time with him), or organising a get-together with friends in a cafe (i met up with my high school friends this weekend at Frasers in Mt Eden), these heart-warming times are the best activities for winter. the next best thing, writing a letter to a in bed with tea. miss you dear.

love, h

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