Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!  Today is the shortest day which means sumer is on its way 🙂 .  The date varies between December 20th – 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere and occurs when the axial tilt of earth’s polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits i.e. the sun. Earth’s maximum axial tilt to the sun occurred early this morning.  So that makes today the shortest day.  An event worth celebrating, to those of us who love the sun and hate the dark.  I think the Earth was celebrating too because today was sunny and warm.

My throat felt a bit better when I woke up but a dreadful chesty cough has arrived.  Jane had kindly sent some echinacea round last night and Laura recommended a hot water drink with freshly squeezed lemon juice and cayenne pepper to boost the immune system.  Thank you both for your kindness.

I had cereal for breakfast today; Grape Nuts with some Greek yogurt and blueberries.

I love the malty crunch of this cereal which is one of my favourites but I haven’t had it for ages.  It was delicious.

For lunch I defrosted a chicken carcass and used it to make a stock which formed the basis of a sweet potato and red lentil soup.  I added some bay leaves to the stock, because recipes say to do that but I don’t know why.  I don’t get bay leaves.

They don’t seem to taste or smell of anything.  But as I happen to have a huge bay tree in the garden, I use it.  I cut off a twig and then leave it with the other herbs on the windowsill to dry out and diligently use it as recipes recommend.  But I am not sure why.

Having made the stock, I strained the liquid, put it back in a large pan and added red lentils and sweet potatoes.  I served it with bits of chicken picked from the carcass and some Shropshire Blue cheese.

We went for a lovely walk this afternoon.  I haven’t felt up to a walk for a couple of days, but now that drill sergeant is home, I was not allowed to lie on the sofa after lunch.  We went to the woods and it was so warm (relative to the very cold weather we have had in recent days) and sunny.  So good to be out in the sun.

The dogs always love a walk and splashed about happily in the water.

We all enjoyed it.

Look how long the shadows are on Solstice day.  I think we get the longest shadows today.

Supper was quick and easy comfort food.  I had bought some wild boar chipolatas from the farmer’s market.

I cooked them with mashed potato and broccoli.  Easy to cook and tasty to eat.  I had quite a small portion of sausages and potato and loads of broccoli.  I also added some butter to the potato and some mustard to eat with the sausages.

I made my first Christmas food today – sausage rolls.  They are by no means diet friendly or healthy but if you are going to eat such things, I think it is better to make your own.  Then you can use good quality meat with a lower fat content than the standard shop bought sausage rolls.  Plus, you can roll the pastry really thin so you have a much higher meat to pastry ratio,  which again reduces fat plus reduces the amount of flour you are eating.  I had some wild boar with apple sausage meat and used that, but any sausage meat will do.

Sausage Rolls


  • 450 g sausage meat
  • 3 shallots
  • ½ tbsp of thyme
  • ½ tbsp of parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Plain flour
  • 1 packet of readymade puff pastry
  • 1 egg


  • Preheat the oven to 220 ° C.
  • Put the sausage meat in to a large bowl.
  • Grate the shallots and add to the sausage meat.
  • Finely chop the thyme and parsley and add to the meat with the salt.
  • Combine all ingredients well.
  • Roll out the pastry on to a floured surface.  Roll the pastry as thin as you can, keeping it in a rectangular shape.
  • Cut the pastry in to thirds, lengthwise.
  • Place one third of the sausage meat on to one of the three pastry strips and spread the meat along the centre of the pastry.
  • Put the egg in to a small bowl and whisk.  Brush the whisked egg along one edge/length of the pastry and fold the pastry over the meat and on to the eggy edge.
  • Brush egg along the top of the pastry.
  • Press the edges together.  To save some calories, I use a pizza cutter to  remove as much spare pastry as possible.

  • Cut the long sausage roll in to smaller rolls, about 3 cm long.
  • Snip 2 small holes in the top of each one with scissors.

  • Put the sausage rolls on to a lightly oiled baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

They came out crisp and crunchy.  A delicious snack.  Very high fat so not healthy but I accept I want to eat some treats like these so I prefer to make my own so I have made them as healthy as they can be.

I had one small one with a medicinal whisky with soda.  I enjoy a quality whisky with a splash of water.  But this was a blended whisky which I usually like to have with ginger ale.  But because I was trying to be good on my diet we have run out,  I had soda instead.  A very enjoyable treat.

Happy Winter Solstice.  Cheers!


About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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