|That was then...|
The one big racket unfortunately came from me, two days before Christmas. My hand-mixer developed a big, irreparable crack in its plastic housing. It was a present for my 18th birthday and it's been used virtually every week since then so it's done good service. I managed at first by using the manual whisk I keep in case of powercuts, but after a few days of that, I checked online for electric versions. On a quick visit to Cheltenham, I picked up a brand-new Dualit that was on offer in the sales.
For New Year's Day pudding, I created an edible joke for DD, our tame archaeologist. If you ever wonder what the parents and partners of archaeologists do when they aren't ferrying camping gear from site to site, take a look at the "cakes" section of Current Archaeology (yes, really). My cunning plan involved moulding a Charlotte Royale in our digital weigh-pan, which just happens to be exactly the same shape as Silbury Hill. I was going to cover the cake with green fondant icing and add a dusting of icing-sugar snow. The cake turned out beautifully, but it was already so sweet I couldn't face adding any icing. Instead, I just added a little sign for DD's benefit, saying: Micromorph THIS!
The cake was delicious and easy to make, although the process was a bit long-winded. It really put my new food mixer to the test. You can find the recipe I used here, although if you're going to make it in winter it's a lot easier and cheaper if you have home-produced eggs to spare and plenty of home-grown soft fruit in the freezer.