It really has been the mildest of winters here in Suffolk, barely a frost, no snow, none of those long icy days of the last few years.
So the last week has been rather a surprise. A sharp, cold snap.
The sun so low and bright.
The landscape edged in frozen lace. On my daily run the trees seem frozen in the very moment. As though someone hit pause.
I rather like it. I am certainly glad we haven't had weeks of ice and slush but this, right now, this is perfect. A short declaration of winter.
That glorious feeling of a frozen woodland floor crunching beneath you. The frozen fields are bright and glistening under the low January sun.
Days like these are made for kitchen pottering.
And as it's January, the citrus fruit rules supreme. Orange and almond cake. Dense, damp sponge, the sort of slightly grown up cake that begs to be eaten early in the day with a big bowl of coffee. That oily orange zest feels positively restorative and the almond sweetly whispers of Mediterranean nut groves and summer sunshine.
I used the Orange Blossom Cake recipe from my very well thumbed copy of Nigella Lawson's How To Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food (Cookery)