Although I did overdo it a little. The prescribed 15 stroll was half an hour in with body beginning to hurt. Whoops. So pleased a darling friend drove by and insisted on bundling me into her car and taking me home.
First baking session of the new year resulted in testing out a Madeira cake.
I know this is often viewed as an old lady's cake, bland and simple, but I have been buying this regularly from our village shop and loving it. The recipe is based upon Nigella's with a few tweeks, taken from the inspirational blog 100 Cook Books. A straight forward lift of the adapted recipe is:
200g caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice of one lemon
3 large eggs
300g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C (I reduced the temperature after 30 minutes by 10 degrees as I have a fan oven, I should have reduced it from the start as the edges of the cake were slightly dry)
Cream butter and sugar and add lemon zest
Add eggs one at a time with a little of the flour between each egg
Then gently mix in rest of flour followed by lemon juice
Dollop into a loaf tin and sprinkle with tbsp caster sugar
Bake for 1hr to 1.25hrs (until a cake tester comes out clean) - I baked mine for 55 minutes, which was enough.
I used a 2lb loaf tin without a liner, next time I'll line the tin and bake for the entire time at 160 deg C.
With a new year dawning, hopes are high for a better year in so many ways.
My day started today with my usual walk across the village to feed the hens and let them out of their coop. The girls were very chatty today and wanted to help me in my quest to fill in some rat holes that had appeared in their enclosure overnight, pecking at my rubber clad fingers with much enthusiasm!
I then rolled out the trusty bike and pootled off for a short bike ride, my first in many months. The sky was a beautiful blue and there was a lovely nip in the air which made me peddle with much enthusiasm, only stopping to make a fuss of Oliver the golden retriever and to wish his owners a happy new year.
I do so love living in this village!
The afternoon saw us heading to some dear friends for their annual drinks party - I was looking forward to sampling their coffee martinis with much enthusiasm :)
A few hours of sock knitting in front of the fire finished off this chilled out start to the year!
Finally, here's a little snapshot of our cottage's sitting room - yes, DH is snoozing on the sofa!!