Looking back at January

January snow

The snow coming down this morning has reminded me to look back at the first month of the year. January was a funny old month. A long Christmas break made it seem just a little shorter than normal, as did the extra-mild weather in that first week. But then we reverted, first to a bit of snow, and then to good old English rain and cold. Oh joy.

Parkrun 26 Jan

The resolutions I made are still broadly intact. I’ve been a pretty constant attendee at Parkrun. I missed one day of 750 words writing (a dinner party where we didn’t get back until after midnight), although I still need to figure out how to filter through the nonsense for things that might appear here on the blog.

The dinner diary has faired less well, with some serious gaps. Dinner has been fairly haphazard, a victim of both of our changing schedules, and we’ve eaten out a fair bit.

January is the best month for citrus fruits, because they are in season, but also because those clean, sweet-sharp flavours are just want January needs. I ordered Seville oranges with my veg box, and made marmalade with them, as well as candied peel with the rest of the skins.


I also came across bergamots in Gelupo, and took one home to experiment with. I decided on madeleines from a Stevie Parle recipe, and although they came out well, I would have had a tough time telling it was bergamot in there, and not something else.

Bergamot madeleines - finishing off batter from the weekend

There was also some brilliant Scandinavian pastries from Signe Johansen’s book Scandilicious Baking. These twists of cardamom-scented dough with an almond cream filling and crunchy sugar crystals on top are part croissant, part Danish pastry, part doughnut. I froze them all, and have been ekeing out the supply, taking one to work every now and then for a mid-morning pick-me-up. Some of my baking makes it to work to share, but not these 😉

Cardamom almond twists from @scandilicious baking.

I’ve also got back in touch with my RSS reader (currently using Reeder on both iPohne and iPad) and read some great pieces by food bloggers this month:

I came across the blog ‘Playing with fire and water’ when it was featured in January’s Saveur magazine, and I promptly devoured a stack of posts in a trance. It’s the perfect combination of scientific, exploratory, adventurous and beautiful. Then she wrote about the back story to that feature on her blog, and the story it was originally going to be, of her kitchen remodel, and it was like opening a treasure chest. And it’s a beautiful kitchen to boot.

Both Jenny Rosenstrach and Adam Roberts had funny, honest, helpful writing advice this month. I found them both inspiring, as I continue to struggle with getting posts up and onto this blog.

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I’m Louise, and I’m a compulsive baker, cookbook hoarder and a bit of a food geek. I learnt to cook at home, and later at Tante Marie’s cooking school in San Francisco. With a science degree and a background in IT analysis, I like to understand why a recipe works, not just how to do it. Why the rules are there and when they can be broken.

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