Winter Comforts in the act of writing - A Winter stew to nourish and please

January has come with a loud bang as it always does, annoucing the new year in blaring tones. January spells true Winter to me, dreary dark days, non stop rain, misty mornings and fog coming in from the river's mouth up through the trees. Everything wet, and humid and dank. Cold, moist, slippery grounds, and a need for comfort. It's the month I most like writing. Just the thought of sitting down at my desk, a candle burning, a warm throw over my legs, utter joy running through my whole body. I imagine myself, in this dusky, moody, darkened grey light, as if I was one of the Brontë sisters, the one no one ever talks about, toiling away with her writing, fingers stained with ink, a head of dishevelled hair, mind lost in a world of her own. 

Or I could be akin to Louisa May Alcott's Jo, up in her attic in the deep of Winter writing the novels that get rejection after rejection after rejection. I didn't get many rejections, post publication, yet. I did get them previously as I did the rounds in writers' groups and was told my writing really sucked and my novels were frankly bad. Mostly, I got told off for the length of the sentences and the paragraphs, but someone actually told me not to publish because my novel read like something written by a teen who could not string two sentences together. By the time I read that email, I had already published the novel, and then someone bought it and read and didn't like it either, so I got very dispirited back then. This was what, a year ago? Well, so far that novel has sold a few copies, and some of the people who bought it actually went and got themselves book 2 and also book 3! That does make me feel happy, even though I have next to no reviews both on Goodreads and Amazon...

But it serves to put me in a writing mood, especially under this Wintery weather that serves to inspire my words and the mood of my novels. It's a comforting feel, that of putting story to paper, that of immersing myself in another world, other lives, it's pure comfort, and Winter does beg for the indulgence of comfort. I do partake of stews most of the year, except when temps are really high, but once the cold and the drizzling rain have set in, it's when I most crave them. Besides the comforting feel of eating them, it's that alluring magic of placing everything into a pot and let it simmer away, bubble away. I think this calls best to my inner witch, I do believe it is something so primordial, so anciently ingrained into my core. Magic achieved on a pot over a fire. This is the essence of a kitchen witch, I think. A nourishing, comforting, healthy and complete meal in one pot only. Maybe with a side of crusty bread, which is magical in itself as well!

So here's a stew that packs up a lot of flavour as far as I am concerned, and does the trick for me:
  • 200 gr chicken livers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 300 gr peas, frozen
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 1 can of tinned mushrooms
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • olive oil
  • salt, fresh chives, fresh parsley, dried thyme, cayenne pepper and paprika 
Start by tenderizing the onions, carrots and garlic in a glug of olive oil. Add the turnip and let it colour a bit. Now add the mushrooms, season with the herbs and allow it to cook for a few minutes, so the veggies imbibe the flavour of the seasonings. Add the livers and make sure they gain colour. Drop in the res wine and can of tomatoes, stir well and season with salt. Add a cup of water to get it brothy and turn upthe hear. Cover with a lid and let it come to a boil. Add the frozen peas, turn down the heat, allow to simmer away until everything is tender and cooked. Check the seasoning and adjust to your likings, the serve on a bowl with a slice of fresh bread. Pure Winter comfort!


  1. Kitchen witch - I like that term very much. :-) Submitting writing for critique can be very dispiriting indeed. I have found it much better to write what I love, then submit it to an editor instead of a writer's group. Editors are wonderful at polishing our words without destroying our unique voice. So proud of you for continuing to write, continuing to publish. That's the only way forward. :-)

  2. I've heard this story before by many other writers as well so it's not just you. If writing makes you happy, just keep writing dear and don't give up.

  3. Yeahhh, can't believe we both had stews on our minds!
    Just a note, there's a typo in the first line. It's announcing ;).
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm glad you spotted it, cause I sure hadn't ahahah!! Thank you!

  4. Hey Ruth, I am reading your first book. It goes slow, as I literally don't have time for reading and do it whenever I have 5 minutes (there is a huge story behind it), but I like it already so much, that I bought the other two books. Great work! Life sometimes sucks and sometimes we loos our strength. I hope you will never stop writing. And btw, I think your book would make a great movie. I'll definitely write a review on each book when I finish them.

    1. Oh my pipe dream is actually a TV series, I have the whole cast chosen already ahhahahh!! I'm so glad you're enjoying the story, I do hope it doesn't disapoint!!

  5. This looks amazing!!! :-)


Post a Comment