Sunday, 25 January 2009


When the Yule decorations come down the house looks a bit bare so I have put up a selection of snowflakes that I have collected over the years. One year Ruth and I made some paper snowflakes and hung them up in the window. Real snow started to fall the next day, gently drifting down behind our paper ones as we looked out of the window. It was quite magical.
At the Winter Solstice I hang my lovely suns to celebrate it's return. This will be replaced by a moon at Summer Solstice to represent the waning of the year. The sun in the picture is the glass one. I also have one made of tissue paper stuck on wood and the whole picture dyed in yellows. It is very beautiful and was made by a friend, Rae, who made it out of the paper sun she was given when she stayed with us over the Winter Solstice. We all got our little paper or wooden suns and she decided to make hers into a work of art and give it back to us the next year.
The sparkling ball you can see in the second picture was made by another friend who had the carved wooden ball in his collection of oddments (he has many). He was doodling one evening, painting the ball with some glitter sticks and decided that it was an ideal present for me. I liked it so much that I put it up last year and can't bear to put it away, so in the arrangement it stays, all year round. It does have a rather seasonless quality as it looks lovely with whatever arrangement I put in the grate.
It has been cold for the past few weeks and my cooking has become more and more comforting (lots of porridge and mashed potatoes, not together of course). This morning I made some apricot slices to have with steaming mugs of coffee or chocolate.
I used 12 ozs of dried, chopped apricots, the rind of a lime and a small amount of water (I started with 4 tablespoons).
I heated up the apricots, lime and water, adding more water if necessary, until they were soft.
I then melted 5ozs butter, added 6ozs wheat free flour, 2 ozs ground almonds, 6ozs oats and some honey and maple syrup to taste. I mixed these ingrediants together and then put half the amount into a square baking dish, pushing it down. I then spread the apricot mixture over that layer and added the rest of the oat mixture on top. Cook in the oven, gas 6 (or just over medium what ever you are using) and you have a very nice sweet nibble that will serve as a sweet or snack.
Hope you enjoyed your winter festivities. I'm off to enjoy another apricot slice.