Sunday, 10 January 2010

Snow day

Don't you just love it? The white stuff? Dreaming of it for Christmas not so long ago, were you?

Personally, I've always quite liked it. Provided I don't have to drive in it. And I seldom have. Since travelling to work for the first time 20 years ago from Chester to Frodsham, my daily commute has shrunk from 20 miles, to ten, to seven to one and now to none. I have about fifteen stairs to negotiate and I'm there. Others, though, aren't so fortunate. Sarah has had to travel by train to her school in a nearby town because the roads have been snow and ice-bound; Sally has to walk the two-mile round trip to her school. I'm in a minority. And not just in this family. People travel far greater distances to work these days, a practice encouraged by successive governments in an effort to create a flexible, mobile workforce. That, in short, is why so many schools are forced to close. That, and Health & Safety laws which make putting salt down on a playground a legal minefield.

Sarah has struggled in all this week, only to be told on Friday that her school was closing at eleven a.m. The reason? School buses were collecting pupils then and only then to avoid ice later in the day. And given one of the buses ended up in a ditch on Thursday, you can hardly blame them. Sally was sent home on Thursday, and had the the whole day off on Friday. Her first ever 'snow day'.

She put it to good use though, trying out the new oven and making some truly wonderful white-chocolate and raspberry muffins. Dad had to brave the elements to trudge into town to buy the ingredients. But it was worth every snow-laden step. They're lovely.

So, what did you do on your snow-day?

Stop Press: by special request, the recipe (should you fancy making them yourself). And they're called 'Brownies' apparently, not muffins. What do I know. I only eat them!

You need: 250g white chocolate; 75g butter; 125g caster sugar; 2 large eggs; 5ml vanilla essence; 150g plain flour; 2.5ml salt and 150g fresh raspberries (ours were frozen from MiL's garden last year - made no difference). 
Preheat oven to 180C and grease/line a 20cm cake tin. Break the chocolate and put 175g in a bowl and melt; whisk the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla essence then stir in the chocolate. Sift the flour and salt over the mixture and fold in. Gently add remaining chocolate and raspberries and spoon into the tin. Cook for 30-35 mins and allow to cool before cutting into squares. 



  1. So Sarah truly will be able to say to her kids that she trudged 4 miles round trip in the freezing snow...
    She looks warm and content in the kitchen however, and who could turn down chocolate raspberry muffins. Yumm!

    On our snow day we were so surprised to have snow, we quickly built a snowman before it melted. Not enough to call off school, that's for sure.

  2. I see you use the word snow day - singular, Tim. We have had four of them and they have driven me slightly mad especially as I have been trying to work from home with deadlines to meet and a 6YO snapping at me constantly wondering what exciting thins we are going to do next.
    I am ranting, I realise. The schools were open on Friday but, quite frankly, they should not have been. As you mentioned in your post, the school bus was a serious issue. I travelled home on it with my daughter and it should not have been allowed on the road. It was just too dangerous. At one point the driver had to get off to check the road leaving me responsible for a bus load of kids - probably more dangerous than the hazardous roads themselves!!

  3. We had two days, but down to heating and now snow, the school are great and manage just about anything. We had duvet days, sat under a blanket on the sofa and watched star wars, drank hot chocolate and just snuggled

  4. Our youngest has been fully converted to the joys of snow and it's all we can do to keep him in the house. I'm thinking of asking Sir Ranulph Fiennes to train him up.

  5. there are legal problems with putting salt down? I have missed this, what are they?

  6. Tim, I hate to point out the obvious BUT, from the picture Sally's magnificent efforts appear to be in CAKE form and not MUFFIN form. I'm sure Sally would want you to report with accuracy! Next time you have a snow day, feel free to deliver any more baked goods to my neck of the woods! ;)

  7. I'm sure I've made that white chocolate and raspberry muffin thing - and it was in a cake tin too, chopped up into squares. It's from a book called "Brownies", surprisingly enough!
    It's raining here, so hopefully doing the same in Boston. Bring on the thaw!!

  8. Yes, I hear parts of the States have had some unusually cold weather Serena... my sister-in-law on holiday in Florida has actually had to buy some warmer clothing!

    Well, one-and-a-half to be accurate Rosie. But they're more manageable in small quantities I'll grant you. And school transport in this weather is a real problem. Safety first should always be the motto. And I don't envy you your school bus duties!

    Sounds perfect MH. The idea of a duvet day is very attractive. I shall add it to our repertoire.

    What a brilliant idea, Steve. Mind you, he'd think minus three's for cissys!

    Oh, it's a minefield Heather, thanks the Elfen Safety and a increasingly litigious (no win/no fee) population. Miss a bit and someone slips and you're lucky not to get the death penalty.

    Well, we're BOTH wrong Karin, as apparently they're called 'Brownies'... shows how much I know! Anyway, I've added the recipe now if you fancy having a go. They're well worth it.

  9. Oh, I was so long replying to everyone else Trish that our comments must've crossed. You're right: they are called Brownies. And it's raining here this morning too, which is good news if it rains enough to wash away the snow... but I hate this slushy half-way house!

  10. We have only had one snow day (from school) and that was before Christmas. Thankfully we live in a small town and the school is quite close.

    The brownies sound lush. We have a similar recipe using dark chocolate, we cut them out into little rounds and argue over the bits left behind :-)

  11. The brownies sound lovely, unfortunately we really are snowed in and I won't be able to get the ingredients. Mine have been off since last Tuesday!!! Can't imagine it will be clear enough to get in tomorrow either.
    Must admit I quite enjoy these extra days at home. Yes agree people forget that everyone travels so far to work nowdays, so we can't expect miracles. This is exceptional weather.

  12. I'm glad I don't commute anymore.

    Don't talk to me about snow days - one's been off, the other hasn't - its been war in this house - I tell you! xx

  13. Too much snow, i could see would be a problem :) We are in TX and it's 18 degrees!! I can't imagine having to worry about kids on the buses too, that must be awful!
    Those brownies sound heavenly, we will have to try those.

  14. Lovely photos - what a clever daughter you have. She looks very pleased with herself and so she should be too. Well done Sally. We're on day 5 of being snowed in here in Devon, and now it looks like the pipes have frozen so no water. Hey ho, all good fun eh!

  15. Why is it that those 'left behind' bits always taste so good? No wonder you argue over them TV...we do the same over licking the bowl.

    I'm sure you could adapt it to what you've got CM. But we're lucky living in the centre of town. I never have to drive to the shops, Mind you, they don't always have what I'm looking for. Been some panic-buying recently, methinks!

    Oh, the worst of all possible worlds Jenny. Bet you wish you did have a journey after all...

    They are and you must SR... But 18 degrees sounds rather cool for your part of the world. Still, I'd swap a bit or warmth for some of our snow.

    Oh like faher like daughter Sharon (cough!)... You should see me with a tin-opener! Five days of snow and frozen pipes doesn't sound much fun though. The big thaw's set in here, so we're going to have plenty of water in the days to come. Hey ho as you say!

  16. Looks like Delia and Nigella had better watch out!

  17. What a great use of your daughter's spare time! Beats watching TV any time! I'm fed up with the "white stuff" by now. Although I do not commute regularly, it has had quite an impact on our family routine and I'd be quite happy to see it melting away...Have a nice week. Ciao. A.

  18. The muffins look lush, can't wait to try them ourselves.
    We had 3 snow days last week - like you we both work from home, so no real disruption for us (though far less work gets achieved!) and we try and just enjoy what the weather throws at us. A bucket load is forecast for tomorrow, though, so can see another sone day or two coming!
    (PS - can I just say that sallys socks are brilliant. A girl after my own odd-socked heart.)

  19. Hello! Do tell me I am following the right Dotterel on Twitter... under my real name this time!
    Lisa D

  20. And Gordon Ramsey, Jamie and the rest... Charlie's waiting in the wings CW. looking on with more than idle curiosity!

    You know, I think I'm with you Antonella. And more than anything I'm hating this slushy mess we're left with. A good ol' downpour to wash it all away (followed by some sun, of course) is what we need.

    I never get the sock-thing Laura... it's a test I always fail. 'You've got odd socks on' I say. 'Yes, daddy, they're meant to me' is what I get back, with a roll of the eyes and a sigh.

    Well Lisa, if it's then it's me! Don't think there are too many of us.

  21. Hi Tim, knowing your quest for healthy eating, you could cut down the amount of salt to 2 pinches only and to cut down on the cost of Sally's baking, perfect results can be obtained using granulated sugar rather than caster sugar. I never use caster sugar, even for meringues!
    Food tekky x

  22. Thanks J, sound advice... The published version was the official recipe rather than what Sally actually put in the oven. We take whatever we can find in cupboards most of the time.

  23. Ohhhh, we had a week off, it was bliss (apart from one day in with no kids). The reason? Attendance. Our school is way below the Manchester average, so to avoid a big song and dance regarding poor attendance, the school closes and, viola, 100% attendance is recorded....makes you think. Cutting my own attendance soon, 3 and a half days to 2 covering PPA...hurray,70% reduction in workload and back to blogging!!!! Phew!

  24. Well well, Katherine. Lies, damned lies and attendance figures, eh? Still, makes sense when so much is made of them. And congratulations on a welcome return to blogging!!

  25. Yummy looking brownies, Sally!

    We have had such mild weather lately that all the commuters here are quite happy as they speed down the freeway. I am always so grateful, and not only when the snow does fly, that my husband's commute is ten minutes of easy road.

  26. They're really yummy Rebecca. You must try them!


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