I had 3 egg whites left so rather than thinking I’d make meringues (because I rarely do), I thought I’d attempt macarons again. This time I looked in my copy of Larouse Gastronomique (after all, that would have to have the ‘right’ recipe, wouldn’t it…) and found a recipe for chocolate macarons (or macaroons, as LG calls them).
I have to admit that they’re not as smooth and shiny as I had hoped and I think perhaps using the italian meringue method works best from that point of view. They are also slightly chewier than before, which I think is a combination of the cocoa powder and of not having overcooked them. Filled with peppermint-flavoured French buttercream or cream cheese topping (leftover from Carrot Cake) with a jam centre, they are however, still little melt-in-the-mouth morsels.
I also made basil and olive focaccia, as I had some leftover basil.
I didn’t run at all on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, although I wish I had as too much rich food and then too much red wine throughout the afternoon and evening of Christmas Day led to a bit of a hangover on Boxing Day. As a result I didn’t do the long run I’d aimed to do, but instead ran up on to the Ridge, the mud marginally drier having had two days with little rain. As I ran the chill intensified as the wind picked up: Storm Bella was on her way. I don’t particularly like being out under trees in strong winds: you just never know when one might fall on you, although they weren’t creaking like they had in Gelt Woods one day many years ago.
The day before Christmas Eve, however, Penny and I had gone running down at Whinlatter Forest. I think I’m right in saying it’s the only mountain forest in England; it’s certainly hilly. There’s a measured 10km route (which was the final proof that Strava always measures my runs shorter than they actually are) which starts off on wide forest roads and then heads on to windier, narrower, pretty forest tracks. It’s a lovely route and as we ran we discussed how it would be feasible with head torches, and that it would be worth the rest of the running group coming down there sometime.
There was snow on the fell tops (as you can just about see it in one of the photos), and going to Keswick with the kids the following day the snow had got thicker and spread down the fells a bit further: Christmas Eve was one of those beautiful blue-skied winter days when the snow gleams high and white against the sky.
Storm Bella fortunately seemed to pass over this part of the country quite quickly, so today when I went out running I was met again with blue skies – although there were plenty of clouds of both dark grey and of white – and the sun creating highlights (I did try to get a photo of some trees and ground cover with the sun coming through, but the shot was useless!). Snow is forecast again for tonight, and apparently Whinlatter has been closed due to snow – so having hoped to get down there again tomorrow, I’ll have to think up somewhere else to run. But as anyone who reads this blog even semi-regularly will know, I’m not stuck for choice in this amazing county: even having to ‘stay local’.