Jack arrived last night and left a blanket in his wake as thick as you like in the garden. Frost settled softly on ground, on the leaves, on the car and the chicken's drinking water was sealed with a hefty layer of ice. Brisk you might say.
It was good timing too, with most of winter's firewood stacked on the weekend, the garlic planted and the chook house cleaned and refreshed with plenty of dry straw, we are, surprisingly, ready for winter.
Inside the house, the shelves are filled with dozens of bottles of passata, preserved apricots (first time ever) preserved peaches and plums. There are bottles of sloe gin, damson gin and medlar vodka silently maturing away, hidden in dark corners away from temptation, (but we've finished summer's blackcurrant cassis already I'm afraid). And as always there is jam, tons and tons of jam, the output of summer's little jam factory.
Now while this vision may present the illusion of smug domestic accomplishment, let me assure you that beyond the kitchen and the above mentioned, my life is disorganised chaos. Truly. Laundry piled high, dust bunnies in the corners, unread school notes and boxes of outgrown clothes waiting to be taken to the opshop that have been sitting by the back door a little too long.
Sometimes I think to myself, "Ba! housework, 'tis not important" and that works for a little while, but to be honest, I don't believe it for very long and the urge to keep house calls. But before the housework gets done there is the state of the garden to consider, sure I've got the raised beds (relatively) under control with garlic, board beans, cima di rapa, english spinach and raddiccio all coming along nicely, but that's where the cheery story ends. The rest is desperate for attention. Edges need trimming, trees staked and pruned, beds weeded and remulched and the rest of those winter jobs that a more enthusiastic gardener would relish.
Well, given the chilly state outside, and the cosy state of the kitchen, indoors is where you'll find me today. For while there are chores to be done, I find nothing better than a good bout of procrastibaking is in order.
If you'd like to join me, there is plenty of tea and batch of these delicious warm biscuits waiting just for you.
Cinnamon Crackle Biscuits
These easy biscuits are crunchy on the outside with a lightly chewy centre and an irresistible gingery treacle flavour. You do need to drag out your stand mixer, but I feel if you're avoiding heavy gardening duties it's the least you can do.
125g softened butter
150g brown sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
300g self raising flour
1 tsp bi-carb soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
white sugar, for dipping
Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and golden syrup until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and beat until well combined. It may curdle but don't worry.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, bi-carb soda and spices.
Add flour mix to butter mixture and beat until just combined. The dough will be quite stiff.
Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Dip the topside into the sugar.
Place on the baking tray, sugar side up and flatten slightly with your finger tips.
Sprinkle the biscuits with a few drops of water to give them a crackle effect.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Put the kettle on and marvel at a job well done.
Wonder what else you can bake.