Friday, 22 June 2012

Early bird catches the...cake

Chocolate cake...
We got up early this morning and by 8am I had already changed the bed linen, fed the dog & myself and baked & decorated a chocolate cake - not bad!  It's one of those fool-proof recipes that is just so easy to make but tastes yummy at the same time - very moist and chocolatey with a hint of coffee.  Given the occasion (a friend's baby party tomorrow), I put some pink and blue sugar pearls on top of the icing.  And although it was so early in the day, I had to try a little piece - would have been rude not to :-)

I fear today will be a day for indoor chores as it is really windy and rainy again.  Probably just as well as I do have a few things to do - more washing, tidying up, cleaning, ... It never ceases to amaze me how much time can be spend keeping a house in order.  And that's with all the time/labour-saving devices we nowadays have - God knows how long it would take otherwise if we had to wash the clothes by hand, scrub the floors etc.  So here's a big hooray for irons, hoovers etc!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Summer in a bowl...
The last few days have been really sunny and we have been trying to make the most of it by doing gardening, drying washing outside, running, walking the dog... Sheets dried by the sun just smell soooo lovely!  Another one of life's little pleasures!  Talking of which, I had some delicious strawberries yesterday - don't they look beautiful?  I love the neat little rows of green seeds on them :-)  If I had to choose a favourite food, then I would definitely have to say it is fruit for me.  So many exciting flavours and all come in their only neat little packages - simply perfect!

The sunshine has definitely helped the blueberries in the garden along as well and I hope there will be more to come, so that they can ripen nicely.  The same goes for the tomatoes!  Following my last post I noticed that there are actually lots of tiny tomatoes on all of my plants - how I did not spot these earlier is a mystery to me :-)  I have now started feeding the plants with an organic tomato feed and will report on their progress.

I can't sign off today without posting this beach photo that I took on my way to the shops yesterday -looking at it reminds me just how lucky I am!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Exciting news!

First tomatoes!
Now - if this doesn't deserve a second post today, then I don't know what does :-)  I have just been out in the garden to check on the strawberries in their baskets and what can I tell you (drum roll): 
I discovered our very first baby tomatoes!!!  Not on the strawberry plants, obviously ;-)  I had planted one of my cherry tomato plants in the top tier of the basket tower and that one now has several little tomatoes on it!  I am pretty sure they weren't there a couple of days ago but maybe I just missed them - they are tiny after all.

After all the disappointment with the slugs, this is really exciting and I am ever so pleased!  I hope that the plants I have indoors will also fruit - will keep a very close eye on all of them, so I don't miss the first ones appearing.  I guess some people may say I need to get out more ;-) but to me this is just very, very exciting, especially since I grew these plants from seed.

More bread!

I have just realised that it has been far too long since I posted something food-related :-)  I have been trying new recipes and last night made focaccia, recipe courtesy of the River Cottage Handbook "Bread".  Now, I have always thought that this type of bread would be incredibly hard to make (not sure why) but in fact it was really easy and the result very tasty!  

I'd probably adjust the recipe slightly (e.g. adding a bit more salt to the dough) but otherwise this is definitely a winner.  I am particularly pleased that I was able to use some of the rosemary from the garden to sprinkle on top, so it feels even more homemade (if that makes sense).  I have put a few pieces in the freezer and will report back on how that worked but I have left a couple of pieces out for lunch today - I reckon toasted focaccia with pesto, feta cheese and lettuce should go down a treat! :-)

One of my next missions in the kitchen is to make strawberry jam and also some sort of chutney.  I've been looking at a number of recipes and as soon as I have made up my mind, I will get started.  There is just something about filling jars and bottles with tasty things to be enjoyed later in the year - it is almost like bottling summer for the colder months!  :-)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Progress in the garden...

Lily in our pond...
After days of storms and rain we have finally had lovely sunshine today!  It's amazing what a bit of warmth can do as there has been lots of progress in the garden in just a few hours such as the lily in the pond that has been opening up and looks absolutely stunning! Hopefully we will have a few more rays over the next days and weeks, so that the crops can ripen!  No good having lots of blueberries if there is no sunshine to sweeten them!  Which reminds me that I need to put up the fruit cage...don't want the birds to feast on our fruit when it is ready!  We also have a few strawberry plants now and have tasted the first couple of berries...yum!

I am so disappointed with the failure of both the broad beans and the lettuce but have now bought a couple of plastic cloches to cover the lettuce seeds I am due to sow.  Hopefully that way they will germinate and develop without being snaffled by the slugs.  Not sure if I with bother with broad beans again - it might even be too late to get those into the ground.  I'll have to check!