Will this winter never end, thought the librarycook?  Or will the arctic conditions last until Christmas?  As usual, the librarycook’s thoughts turned rapidly to food, and the September issue of Delicious didn’t let her down.

Lamb, carrot and harissa pies struck just the right note – warm, comforting, slightly spicy – future versions may up the harissa content – and, with an hour to wait while the filling cooked, time to read.  Perfect, in other words.

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Add a baked potato in its jacket, to be eaten the way librarycook’s grandmother* did, dug out with a spoon and with lots of butter, salt and pepper, along with a green veggie to balance out the plate, and the librarycook could almost forget the howling gale outside.

A week or so later, and time for the librarycook to celebrate her birthday with her colleagues.  Once again, Delicious came up trumps with a practically no-cook chocolate and almond butter slice.  Blitz some shortbread biscuits, almonds and almond meal in a food processor, melt butter, icing sugar and almond butter together, mix, and pour into a pan to set.  A chapter or two later, melt half a kilo of chocolate, liberally scatter almonds on the slice, then spread the melted chocolate over the whole thing, which now weighs about the same as a small dog.  Back in the fridge to set, and the following morning grab a sturdy bag and transport to work.  The wise librarycook will know to leave it out of the fridge for some time before attempting to cut it.  Weights, resistance training and chocolate – that seems like a healthy balanced lifestyle to the librarycook.

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*The librarycook’s grandmother lived to 97 ½, so all that butter must have been good for her.

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