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. 

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