The only green eyed baseball playing snowman in warwickshire

Well we finally got a substantial fall of snow that stayed for more than half a day. I woke up this morning to a properly white world AND the primary school was shut, which meant the pre-school was too. I phoned in to take a day off and got in touch with my inner child…

As an adult, I hate snow. Snow is stuff for looking at through a double pane of glass with a glass of mulled wine in your hand. Fortunately, having had a brief career as the outdoor type before Spider was born I have kit designed to cope with all weathers – so Spider and I got water and windproofed to the hilt and then set out to join the rest of the village (yes the rest of the village) enjoying the winter wonderland in the farmers field over the road from our house.  It really was a lovely little communal scene, you can almost imagine what it used to be round here when the village was the centre of life and not just where you sleep.

We made a snowman, and pelted each other with snowballs and made snow angels and snow castles and then ran home laughing and giggling like 2 4 year olds (instead of 1) for a nice warm bath, muffins and hot chocolate…and then pretended we were chameleons in the living room seeing who had the longest tongue.  Spider had fun. I joined in without complaint and made sure that he had, ok not the best snowman in the village but certainly the only one with dried lime slices as eyes (the end slice you never put in your gin).

Anyway whilst I was getting all sentimental about how great it was that a village can still bond and be communal, Husband had dragged himself off his sick bed to get some milk and other essentials – he was not experiencing communal village life at its best but more the “siege mentality” and everyman from himself.  Apparently the shelves in the co op had been emptied of milk and bread within the first hour of being open and rumour has it,  it was “all the people that don’t normally come in”. Hey no problem guys, at least you are using it – now make sure you use them more often otherwise they won’t be there next time we get snowed in.

Me, admittedly I am making bread this evening, not from fear of shortage but more I actually had the time and half an open packet of yeast to use up.  We keep the freezer stocked up with short dated bread anyway ( a full freezer is more efficient) and have 2 litres of semi skimmed UHT in the cupboard at all times.

The “bread” is actually “half moon rolls” from Apples for Jam:Tessa Kiros, I have a craving for some soft white rolls…but I think there may be something wrong with my yeast…so I am not too hopeful…half moon rolls are a basic white dough recipe rolled in a particular way.

Even a Tart has a lemon in her fridge…

as Nigel Slater memorably said in one of his books (think it was Real Food) and then went on to explain that amongst other things it was indispensable for G&T’s. For me admittedly the lemon in a G&T makes the drink simply “summer in a glass”, the very sight of it just cheers me up , although bizarrely our family always drinks its gin with limes…today I could do with one as I desperately need cheering up, but I have to wait until Saturday (I’m on a once a week alcohol regime)…

I knew the economy was going wrong when the price of lemons went up – for as long as I can remember they have been about 18-20p as have limes – when they went up to 30p it was obvious something was wrong – and I object even to  paying the lower price as Dad used to grow them…but that was a long time ago “and in another country…”

When we returned to the UK, lemons most usually appeared in our kitchen in the form of Jiffy lemon – confusingly the same name as the lemon scented  sink cleaner (now CIF)…but towards the end of the 80’s they became more common in shops and I think I would find it hard to cook without them. They are one of the ingredients that I let myself off the “buy local, buy seasonal” hook for.

Tonight I need cheering up, if the finances ever recover then I’m taking the family off to Italy, to Sorrento where the lemons grow (and near Versuvius as they all have volcano obsessions) but only if we have enough airmiles…I’m not holding my breath though as just when you think you are drawing ahead of the game someone knocks you back down again…

In the meantime I appear to have lemon grass, a lemon, lemon squash, lemon essence and lemon oil in the cupboard and a recipe for cake involving SR flour (as that is all I have left in the cupboard apart from wholewheat bread flour) in mind….

If you google “nigel slater” and lemon you get a wonderful recipe for lemon polenta cake. I recommend the article itself purely as a spirit cheering exercise, it really makes you smile and feel better – but I have no limoncello and no polenta so it’s lemon muffins for me (recipe to follow when I have time to type it in).