The snow has also made everyone so cheerful. Practically everyone we have passed whilst walking this weekend has greeted us with a cheery 'hello!' and one even offered us a go on their sledge!
Of course, it's only lovely if you have nowhere you need to go. We haven't really had to drive anywhere this weekend so it's not been a problem. I didn't much enjoy my snowy commute to work on Friday though...
So, what better to do on a snowy weekend after a long walk than to enjoy some festive food? Wherever we are spending Christmas Day itself, Rob and I always like to cook our own early Christmas Dinner, so that's what we did last night. Turkey, stuffing, bacon-wrapped chipolatas, lots of sprouts - even a Christmas Pudding. It was gorgeous!
My Christmas baking has also been done. Having salivated over Nigella's Chocolate Christmas Cake recipe and heard excellent reports of it from my online foodie friends, I decided to go with the version in Feast (very similar to the version in Nigella's Christmas). As ever the contents of my cupboards necessitated a little tweaking of the recipe (no Tia Maria? Mix up some Rum and Camp Coffee instead!), and I left out the candied peel because, well, it's gross.
The recipe made one 20cm cake, as stated, but I had quite a lot of mixture left over so managed to also make 4 cute mini loaf-cakes as well. These were very handy for giving as Christmas presents, especially when adorned with edible glitter and chocolate stars.
And the cake itself? Amazing. Gorgeous. Better than I ever expected! Even Rob, who really didn't like the idea of it, and even grimaced in disgust when he tasted the uncooked mixture, is a convert. You can't really taste the chocolate in it, but the cocoa and the coffee add a deep rich smokiness to the cake. The texture is not as dense as a traditional fruit cake, but it's heavy with moist fruit, spongy and sticky. In short, perfect.
The recipe can be found in many places online, but here's a link on the BBC Food website. I can't recommend it enough. I had a large slab of it with a cup of tea this afternoon... and now I'm a little worried about how I'll fit in my 'Boxing Day' supper of cold turkey and fried stuffing! I'm sure I'll manage.