A warm glow

As predicted, the evening's 'blizzard' turned out to be the lightest flurry of snow that melted into the pavement as soon as it made contact.

That didn't stop me from taking deep joy in battening down the hatches. Candles were lit, pyjamas donned, board games played, tea drunk; and oodles of spaghetti and sauce consumed.

I also made my first successful batch of bread in years, testing my new halogen tabletop oven. I gave up when we had a new, terrible oven installed and couldn't hack it to bake good bread (or good anything) and have missed fresh baked bread terribly. Though I'm out of practice and started with a dough that was far too wet; and my 'rolls' merged into a giant bread flower; the bread rose beautifully and stayed soft and springy.

Yes that is a wallpaper stripper, unused and repurposed - very good for scraping, portioning and spreading.

I'm completely smitten with the halogen oven. It comes to temperature in a few minutes as an oven, and instantly as a grill. It also fills the kitchen with a fire like glow that is particularly pleasing on a dark evening; and it warms the unheated uninsulated kitchen - though nowhere near as efficiently as the main oven. My only complaint is that I would like a bigger model; and that I wish it were rectangular to take my regular baking trays.

The sun is gradually returning - the day is almost half an hour longer than it was at the winter solstice, which makes my SAD prone self very happy. But I think I've coped pretty well so far with this winter, taking care to nest and appreciate the little, cosy things. This time next month I'll be starting my tomato seedlings; and then I'll know things are on the up.

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