29th Nov - 1 degree max

Anyone bored of my weather obsession should look away now. It might not quite have reached the 100% humidity that the BBC have forecast, but its not far off - and freezing too. Very atmospheric, looks like something from Dickens, thick, icy fog, it even hurts to breath it in its so cold and damp. But it does look quite wonderful. It seems to be just an air frost, the ground is squidgy, but all above ground level is shrouded in ice crystals. So my Saturday has been spent making intermittent forays up to the workshop decked out in my winter (fake) furry hat that Andrew says makes me look like a rabbit, then dashing back to the wood burner. Won't help my chillblains much (I thought no one suffered from them after the post war austerity years, but not so).

Click on pic. to see the beautiful structure.


Enjoy or endure - the cold

Not my favourite season, but there are things that help. My new discovery, wearing 2 pairs of socks. If you are like me and felt the cold try those little sporty socks with a big pair of (borrowed) fluffy wool ones over the top. Really keeps the chill out.

And cocoa to die for...

Here's how. Forget all memories of weak, milky horrors of childhood. This is only for grown ups. Read quantities carefully - this is a sumptuous, luscious experience. These are quantities per person. First choose a small cup, demi tasse size. This is one I made in porcelain, it's fine and very high fired and consequently the shape is slightly irregular. It's a joy to drink from. In a small saucepan pour 175ml milk, add 1 x heaped desertspoonful cocoa powder, this bit is very important, choose very carefully, our favourite is from Oxfam called Divine and rightly so, it's from the Kuapa KoKoo cooperative and is rich and smooth whereas the Green and Blacks is thin and sour and not worth bothering with. Add 1 x rounded desetspoon (or a little less) sugar. Whisk all the ingredients together and bring to boil, continuing to whisk. Keep doing this for 6 mins, do not be tempted to go away and leave it. It is worth the attention. The cocoa starts to thicken and has a smooth, velvety quality. When is starts to coat the back of a spoon, pour into chosen cup and sip glorious, intense cocoa.