The skeleton of the Christmas tree is out on the pavement waiting to be collected. The majority of the needles have been swept up, though we did find some in our bed this morning, which is frankly, a little curious. Anyway. Itâ€™s gone. The holidays are over. In spite of theÂ unseasonablyÂ mild weather, January is beginning to bite in all kinds ofÂ insidiousÂ ways.
For some of my friends, itâ€™s the realization that they have paid up front for 11 more pilates classes and can still barely move almost a week after class one. In one extreme case, replace the word â€œpilatesâ€ with the words â€œArielâ€ and Â â€œYoga.â€
Another friend is already behind on her reading 2 novels a month schedule. â€œI had to finish Kite runner this weekend, and I have, in fact, not started it yet.â€
â€œI made two resolutionsâ€ said Karen. â€œOne was to organize my date planner better, the other was to stop feeling guilty about things. Yesterday my mom called to remind me that Iâ€™d forgotten to send a card to my niece for her birthday. Double whammy.â€
Meanwhile, one week back in America, Jon is over jet lag sleeping at night, up reading the paper in the morning like weâ€™ve never been away, whereas I seem to have taken the five hour time difference to the next level; general hibernation.
Times like these require cakes like these â€“ easy to put together, no heavy mixing required â€“ that go perfectly with a pick me up coffee, or even as a rushing out of the door breakfast. Itâ€™s somehow calming and cheering to know that thereâ€™s a cake in the kitchen. The austerity of the season is held at bay for another week.
Pear, Cranberry and Walnut Loaf Cake1 cup grated pear, wrung out in a clean dish towel Â½ cup chopped walnuts Â½ cup dried cranberries 1 Â¼ cups flour Â¾ cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder Â½ tsp baking soda Â½ tsp salt 2 eggs Â½ cup vegetable oil Â½ cup plain yogurt 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract Â
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Mix the pear, walnuts, cranberries, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl
- Mix the eggs, yogurt, oil and vanilla extract in a jug
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine
- Butter a loaf tin and pour in the cake batter
- Bake for 55 mins until golden brown
Maple Glaze1 cup confectionerâ€™s (icing) sugar 1 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp milk (if needed) 1 tsp milk (see how thick the mixture is) Â
- Sift the icing sugar to get rid of lumps then mix with themaple and lemon. If the glaze is still stiff, add the milk
- Pour over the cooled cake