Eating with the season?

It’s cold and sunny here. Makes a change from grey/wet/foggy/meh.

Our flying trip to London was fun. Everyone masked on train (bar a very odd woman on way back) and most people on public transport (yes, we took the tube). Our appointment was briefer than I expected, so we ended up walking through Knightsbridge to Harrods. That was quite interesting as I’ve never really walked through that (very wealthy) area at a leisurely pace. This time, I could actually look at things, remark on the fancy blocks of flats and supercars parked along curbs.

We decided to start from the top floor of Harrods and work our way down to the food halls. I chose not to do any perfume looking or sniffing. I’d been to the new hall of fragrance a few years back and in truth I don’t find it conducive to a pleasant perfume experience. I mean most things in Harrods are over the top and cheezy, and the perfume area is no exception.

So, we wandered through furniture and housewares (beautiful Hermes and Fornasetti place settings that my son commented he would like for his house at some point …). We looked at ridiculously over-priced computers and tvs. We examined fancy men’s suits (eg, Armani – gorgeous) and shoes. I availed myself of the facilities which really need to be updated.

Then, we got to the food halls. Which are just stunning – as in stunningly beautiful fruit and veg; gorgeous bread (I got an enormous soft pretzel); lovely cakes (my son got a piece of Russian honey cake – around 20 thin layers of sponge with butter cream – I wish I’d taken a picture).

But it was the chocolate hall where we spent the most time. Right near the entrance there’s a Laduree stand and we got macaroons for us, which is a sort of tradition when we go to London. Then it was wandering through to find nice stuff to get for my German teacher (in lieu of payment I bring her ‘stuff’ each week, like wine, plants and bulbs, high end chocs, etc – she’s the mother of one of my son’s friends and was adamant she wouldn’t take payment) and the neighbours who looked after the dog while we were away. After much deliberation we ended up with neon Harrods chocs for Pippa the teacher and William Curley stuff for the neighbours. All boxed beautifully. The woman at William Curley threw in a pack of three chocs gratis so we got to sample them (really nice).

The appointment this trip has resulted in the need for another one in a couple of months, but we’ll stay the weekend that time.

Anyway, briefly on the title which relates to musings on trying to eat more seasonally and mostly failing miserably.

All I want this time of year is hot food (ie, protein seasoned to hell with chili and pepper thrown in the oven, then shredded and thrown into carb – usually rice, sometimes couscous) and stodge. I’m finding it really hard to get enough veg into me or fruit. If I just gave in I’d eat nothing but toasted bagels, oatmeal and rice with whispers of other stuff (roast chicken, roast fish, sauteed veg – see above). I am forcing myself to make veg each day. And because I’m slow on the uptake I finally realised I could throw chopped apples into cooking oatmeal and cook the apples which is how I prefer them (ie, vs raw apples – apples are not my fave fruit).

The acupuncturist ran through a list of things she felt I should be eating to ‘build heat’, many of which I can’t eat anyway due to overlapping health issues and associated drugs (ie, certain foods interfere with drug blood levels – don’t ask).

Dhal is big on her list. I’ll eat it every once in a while but not that frequently (see blood uptake issue above). She also suggested root veg (can’t eat much of those). Squash got a mention (def seasonal) which is fine. Love squash soup. And everything with a lot of pepper, garlic, ginger and cumin – I’m good with that.

Spring and summer are my seasons and I can find loads to eat during warmer weather.

So, I find it a challenge to eat seasonally during autumn and winter. I have fantasies about chicken stews but have yet to find a recipe I really like – and you won’t find much veg in them (just potatoes and/or dumplings). I crave fish and chips and burgers with onion rings. See, not high on veg or remotely healthy.

How about you? Is cold weather your time of year and you revel in associated food? If the answer is yes, do you have any foods/combos that you love and would recommend?

  • Chantillylace says:

    Try tossing frozen blueberries in you oatmeal! Super good for you, and yummy!

  • Musette says:

    I eat the snot out of curry this time of year – well, all times of year but especially now, when I can build healthy soups and curried veg!

    That chocolate dept sounds like heaven in a handbag to me!


    • cinnamon says:

      I haven’t been great at making curries. I do make ok spicy things though. And I’m decent at soups. Indeed, the chocolate hall was rather amazing.

  • Dina C. says:

    Your trip sounds delightful, Cinnamon! I went to Harrods mothership once in March of 1983 while on a European trip with my world literature class from school. Loved the store but didn’t have time to explore all its levels. Your post makes me eager to spend an entire day exploring the whole thing. The food emporium sounds amazing. I could go for a soft pretzel right about now!

    • cinnamon says:

      I adore soft pretzels — whether from a cart in NY, the strange little shops here that stock them or from a supermarket. All good. Harrods is good value for money on the entertainment front. The only things I’d buy are in the food halls (maybe perfume but I’d likely buy stuff elsewhere if I could).

  • March says:

    Your trip to Harrods sounds divine. I mostly cook vs. dining out/takeout, and in the winter it’s a lot of hiding diced vegetables in whatever else I’m eating — like fried rice, which is roughly 50/50 rice and riced cauliflower to start with. I’ll also do sheet pans and oven-roast different chopped vegetables topped with oil and something spicy, I can eat almost any veg (even things I don’t like) roasted! And I cook several meals’ worth at a time, freeze some etc., so there’s always something in there when I want it. But yeah, otherwise I’d probably live on bread/starch all winter. I made quick-cook polenta as a side for salmon and ended up eating the whole bowl of polenta instead, it was delicious comfort food!

    • cinnamon says:

      I do that with rice or couscous vs polenta. Just dump in some tahini. Love tahini. And veg sort of as an after-thought. I do sheet roasts sometimes but I have to actually remember I can do them. Which is silly. How do you ‘rice’ cauliflower?

      • March says:

        So, I buy it riced (frozen) in the frozen veg section, lots of stores here sell it, I guess it’s keto or something lol. We got in the habit when I had to reduce carbs in one kid’s meals, and I got to like it myself. If I had to rice my own it would never happen.

        • cinnamon says:

          Hmm, never occurred to me they’d now sell it riced already. Slow person. Will have to have a look.

          • MizChris says:

            You can rice raw cauliflower in a blender or food processor. Break a head up into florets, throw it in the machine and blend/process until it’s pebbly in size. You can then steam, roast, sauce or whatever.

  • Ann says:

    Wow, Harrod’s food hall and the Russian layer cake sound so amazing…you write about such wonder things!

    I recommend steel cut oats. Quaker oats has a steel cut version it only takes four minutes to cook, and it’s so much better than the regular mushy kind.

    • cinnamon says:

      The Russian layer cake was truly beautiful (tasted good too). I think that sort of cake was once a challenge on Bake-Off. My issue with the oats is I’m not going to do the stove-top thing. The microwave oats I have are decent. I mess up stove-top every time I do them. Just toss in the apples and cinnamon (hah!) and I’m good to go.

  • Portia says:

    Heya Cinnamon,
    Harrods Food Halls are HEAVEN! We love to go there if the weather in nice, grab some food and trot across to the park and eat there. So lovely.
    Winter is my favourite food time. I love to cook Beef & Veg soup, Pumpkin soup, Chicken & Corn Noodle soup. Also, Rissoles with Mash & Veg and Korean Curry as sauce.
    My Mum used to do this thing called Savoury Mince. Get minced meat (we always used beef), cook it up with some onion, garlic, mild chilis, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce & spices to taste with some extra water, and then use up all the veg in the fridge cut into small cubes. Leave it simmering on the stove till it becomes a thick sauce. Then she’d add some frozen peas and corn kernels at the end. There’d be a huge tub of it in the fridge and we’d all grab some, reheat, throw it on some crusty bread to toast and voila. I still do this at least once every winter and it’s delicious and nutritious. Looks awful.

    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      I do savoury mince type stuff with turkey mince (don’t eat a lot of red meat). But that’s been hard to come by since early December. Def the peas and corn thing — love corn. My son and I kept wondering who does their weekly shop at Harrods.

  • ElizaC says:

    I wandered into Harrods food court when I was a young
    teenager and it was so wonderful!!! I had never seen anything like it! We have been shopping once a week during the pandemic versus deciding on the day what we want to eat. That means more planning and more veges and fruits :). We use a ton of the spice Za’atar on both meats and veges. We also really like the Rick Bayless Frontera sauce packets – super easy and really good!

    • cinnamon says:

      I use shawarma spices in a lot of stuff — or throw a mixture into oil in a pan (cumin, coriander, chilli, oregano, cloves, etc) and toss everything into that. I know I need to be more adventurous with the veg and do more soups than just squash.

  • rosarita says:

    Cold weather is my preference and we pretty much live on soups and pasta. Do you like Mexican food? That’s most of what I cook, lots of beans and tomatoes and corn, mainly frozen veg. I throw frozen broccoli and/or chopped spinach into everything, lots of peppers and onions too. Aromatic herbs and spices, lime and lemon juices. But I’m with you, I could eat buttered toast 3x daily and be happy. Harrods food hall sounds wonderful.

    • cinnamon says:

      Soups indeed and I love Mexican food. I do Mexican chicken with salsa and guac quite frequently. Never tire of that. Can’t eat spinach but use enormous quantities of peppers and onion — and garlic and ginger.

  • Alityke says:

    Harrod’s Food Hall swing by sounds delicious.
    In winter stews in tomato based sauces are my saviour. Excellent for grating courgettes & aubergines into as well as whatever meaty or fishy goodness is going into it. Takes spices & heat nicely too. Even boneless & skinless chicken thighs are delicious in an Indian style tomato based curry sauce. Add frozen petit pois or edamames or even green beans & basmati is low GI
    Have you tried shakshuka or huevos bravas or rancheros? I sneak veg into those sauces too.
    Banana cooked in porridge is tolerable.
    I’m diabetic with metabolic syndrome & wheat intolerant, on enough meds to make me rattle including the ones with the citrus warnings. Took me forever to get my head round how to eat.
    Enjoy experimenting

    • cinnamon says:

      The fruit and veg really were stunning and they weren’t styled. Sigh. I can’t eat a lot of tomato and I keep that for salsa. Ah, the issues with having health problems. There’s so much I need to steer clear of.

      • Alityke says:

        It’s proper rubbish isn’t it? Everyone thinks you’re a fussy eater when in reality the aftermath of eating things you can’t tolerate can be privately devastating.
        Big hug winging its way to you from up North

        • cinnamon says:

          Yup. And on top of it I no longer drink alcohol so in some restaurants you get the beady eye. Those shoes look amazing but pricey — yes? How do you know about all these wonderful places???

          • Alityke says:

            I research & now have the time to deep dive. Also I don’t like being the same as everyone else. Footwear is my other collection.
            Recipe book for easy authentic curries? Try Thali by Maunika Gowardhan

          • cinnamon says:

            Have you looked at Mod Shoes? Some fun and funky stuff.

      • Alityke says:

        Forgot to add Chelsea Boots… have you tried H&M or a company called Lanx?

  • Tara C says:

    I try vainly to eat more vegetables all year round. I can’t handle a lot of fiber so that limits things. I also hate cooking, yet can’t handle most raw veggies. I do better with fruit. It’s a constant challenge. Today I’m going to make a broccoli casserole in order to entice myself, with cream sauce and cheese. I’m telling myself it’s better than nothing. 🙂

    • cinnamon says:

      I do like cooking but prefer it spring/summer. Right now, I have just entered a period of lack of motivation. Unhelpful.