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 So have you started off the year with all sorts of good intentions – less alcohol and cake, more fruit ,veg and exercise? New hobbies taken up; old habits dropped? I ought to be determined to blog more regularly and I will try. I have to admit I rarely make resolutions but January is a good time for reflection, taking stock and making a few changes.

Whilst looking through my old Latin texbooks with one of the children recently we came across this picture of Janus, God of beginnings and endings, doorways. and economic enterprises.  I like the idea of looking back over the old year and forward to the next; maybe even pondering a few money making enterprises. Despite the appalling weather and post Christmas empty pockets I have never regarded January as a really depressing month.

January is the month for Marmalade making now that the shops and markets are stocking sevilles. I like their relatively short season, getting together with a few friends to chop and chat and restocking the pantry shelves.

I like sitting by the log fire pondering the seed catalogues and planning out what to do in the garden.

I like to see the beginnings of spring in front gardens  on the walk home from school even though I’m battling with a brolly most days.

I like making soup for lunch and eating it with a good book propped up in front of me.

And as we’ll never give up cake in this house I have embraced my inner 1950s mama wholeheartedly and reintroduced a proper Sunday tea with the best china and candles. Currently this precedes the fabulous new adaptation of Just William on CBBC and warms us up after the trials of supporting  Bradford on Avon Town Under 10s. 

On the healthy eating front, I am nothing if not sneaky in my attempts to get more vegetables inside my little darlings’ tums and the unexpected present of this book has given me a few ideas in the cake department.I used up the leftover Sevilles on St Clement’s cupcakes. last week. They’re easy and delicious and your family will never know about the secret ingredients.

Whizz up 3 eggs with 160g of caster sugar for 5 minutes. Stir in 200g finely grated butternut squash (yes, really!), finely grated rind of 2 seville oranges and 2 knobbly unwaxed lemons, 50g ground almonds, 2 tablespoons baking powder, pinch of salt and 150g rice flour (available at Waitrose among other places). Give it all a whizz for another minute and fill 12 muffin cases about 4/5 full. Bake in the oven at 180 C for half an hour.  When cool, ice with 200g icing sugar to which you have added 2 tablespoons of mixed orange and lemon juice. (About twice as much orange to lemon is best.)

Go on I dare you to give these a try.