Just when you thought a corner was being turned, along comes a big dump of snow.
I like winter but come February I want things to kick on. The New Year arrives and rejuvenation is renewed, often by a good session of digging. Rhubarb pops up, and suddenly I’m lulled into thinking Spring is just around the corner.
Of course, it’s not. This snow has made me feel like I’ve taken one step forward and several back. The white stuff is not showing much sign of melting, so I’m stuck for jobs on the plot, and rather down in the dumps about things. This is unlike me, so I’ve been doing my best to find some activities to keep me occupied.
Cake Friday has been one of my favourites. For the past few weeks, I’ve been baking a cake on Friday evenings, to eat over the weekend. I’ve enjoyed having a treat on Saturday and Sundays, and after making Jamie Oliver’s squash muffins using some of last year’s harvest, there is an association with the plot too.
Having a cake for the weekends reminds me of being babysat by my nan on Saturday afternoons when I was a little boy. It’s an old fashioned but satisfying indulgence. I’ve also made lemon drizzle cake, Victoria sponge, and a wholemeal honey cake since Christmas. I’m not quite ready for the Great British Bake Off yet, but I’m having fun.
Running out of supplies is another seasonal downer. My last few potatoes are well past their best, my frozen fruit has all gone and the plot is looking bare. I’m also down to my final jar of damson jam, which jeopardises another weekend treat, jam on toast.
To combat this, I’ve made my first ever batch of Seville orange marmalade, after tasting a homemade jar of the tangy preserve recently and being reminded how much I love it. I’d always been concerned that making marmalade was a faff compared to fruits such as plum, but I followed a recipe from Herne Cottage Country Living blog, which makes things straight forward and split the process over two nights.
I’ve also been entertaining myself with name ideas for my marmalade. I remembered reading on Twitter that Alys Fowler likes to name her jams and chutneys after events going on in her life or the world at the time she made them. I loved this, and so after much thought, I turned to a conversation Ailsa and I had while out messing around in the snow on the day I made the marmalade.
We both kept hold of a snowball, as a deterrent to each other. This somehow turned the discussion towards nuclear weapons, and how countries keep nukes to make sure the other ones don’t start wars, or so the theory goes.
Anyway, in a Make Love Not War fashion, we then decided to discard the snowballs and sign our own Snowball Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Naturally, Ailsa went back on this and threw one straight at the back of my head, but that’s besides the point…