Saturday, 24 June 2017

afternoon tea..

'There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea'  Henry James A Portrait of a Lady.

I couldn't agree more.
The last few strawberries from the allotment, a slice of homemade cake and a cup of tea is more or less my idea of heaven!

Here is a cake perfect for an afternoon tea time treat.
Mary Berry's Crunchy Top Lemon Cake from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book.

A soft, fluffy cake with a pleasing hint of lemon and a crunchy top to add texture.

(I know there is a lot of sugar in this cake and sugar is one thing we all seem to be trying to reduce. But it is a tea time treat after all so I reckon it's allowed!)

Happy weekend one and all.


Monday, 12 June 2017

allotment tasks

It's a busy time on the allotment, so all help is gratefully received.

There are important tasks to be done: watering, stroking the thyme plant to release the aroma and ....

... most important of all, pouring water onto the paving stones to see how they change colour.

We picked the first of the gooseberries and several bowls of strawberries plus some radishes.
There are beetroot, broad beans and swiss chard to come soon.

And if you have red onions and cucumber, (or other crunchy veg) either homegrown or bought in your fridge, here is a very quick and simple pickle to add a pop of flavour to summer meals.

Recipe adapted from the June edition of Waitrose Food magazine.

Hoping the week ahead is a good one for you.


Sunday, 4 June 2017

a taste of summer

Is it just me or is there a proliferation of buttercups this year?
The meadows round here seem to be have an abundance of these sunny little flowers.
So good to see.

And on the kitchen windowsill, these little seedlings which with a bit of nurturing, will hopefully produce lots of delicious Butternut Squash later in the year.

On the allotment, the artichokes are growing well. I'm hoping they will be an improvement on last year's harvest.

It seems a little early to be picking them, but they are already quite big.
Not sure what to do. Any ideas?

Self seeded Sweet Williams from the allotment and cornflowers, scabious and roses from the garden.

And finally, a delicious summer lunch using English asparagus in a creamy filling on puff pastry.
The recipe is from Kellie at Food to Glow. Her blog is a real treasure trove of inspiration and information.

The recipe can be found here.

I loved the addition of capers in the filling and dressing, which gave a lovely hint of acidity.


Saturday, 20 May 2017


Beautiful Holkham beach on the North Norfolk coast.
Miles and miles of almost deserted sand.

Mr digandweed and I walked several miles along the seashore on a beautiful, albeit rather windy day, to Wells Next the Sea .....

... a pretty seaside town and harbour where we had lunch.

....and then walked back again through the pine forest and dunes which fringe the shore.

Simply beautiful!


Sunday, 14 May 2017


Climbing bean : Cobra

I have 9 of these little plants waiting to be planted out on the allotment shortly.
No long, leggy, spindly bean seedlings this year! Finally, I learnt my lesson and instead of getting carried away and sowing the seeds in March, I waited until the last week of April
It took some nerve!
Within a week of sitting on a sunny windowsill they had germinated.
Always a magical moment - how does a new plant grow from a small brown seed?
And I am rewarded with strong, sturdy plants.

I also saved some seed from last year's butternut squash.
These too have germinated and I have 4 small squash seedlings to plant out.

And at last, after a couple of very cold days last week, we have some warmer weather.
Warm enough to have lunch in the garden today.
This recipe from the April edition of Waitrose Food is light and summery.

Quick and easy to make ... and delicious too.

Hoping the week ahead is a good one for you.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Old Sulehay Forest

It was mr digandweed's birthday last weekend.
We went for a walk with Tiny Girlie, her mama and daddy to the most magical of woods not far from here.
Old Sulehay forest is just one of a few small fragments remaining of Rockingham Forest, an ancient  royal hunting ground which originally stretched from Wansford to Kettering.
We wandered through acres and acres of bluebells and wild garlic ...

amidst Oak, Ash, Field Maple and Hazel.
We listened to the birds singing high up in the branches and spotted holes in some of the tree trunks made by woodpeckers.

When our legs got tired ( that would be the older people, for Tiny Girlie seems to be able to walk for miles!) we spread out a rug for a picnic lunch. 
A nearby tree stump became a 'table' for the birthday cake and much to Tiny Girlie's delight we lit a solitary candle and sang 'Happy Birthday'

Mr Digandweed declared it to be a most perfect birthday party!

Time was short in the run up to Mr D's birthday, so the cake in the woods was a rather nice carrot cake from M&S
but later in the week, with an accumulation of bananas in the fruit bowl, I squeezed in time to try out a recipe from queen of cakes - Mary Berry.
It proved to be a success.
A delicious, moist cake with a texture not unlike gingerbread and lovely honey overtones.

Here is the recipe should you wish to try it.

I'm hoping the sun is going to make an appearance later for there is gardening to be done!

Happy weekend.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Lately on the lottie - April end ...

Mr digandweed and I spent a couple of hours sprucing up the allotment the other day.
I love it when the grass paths are freshly cut.
Everything is looking green and healthy, weeds included!
The plum blossom has gone over now. Last year the plum harvest was a bumper one. Sometimes it seems that the tree takes the following year to recover, so we will wait and see what this year's crop is like.
Lots of beautiful blossom on the apple tree too.
( The beautifully tilled earth beyond the plum tree is our neighbour's plot.)

I planted up a new bed of strawberry plants, as some of the original plants are about 5 years old and didn't fruit very well last year. But I now can't bring myself to pull up the old plants!
I'm also having a bit of an issue with the raspberry canes.
When we planted them about 3 years ago, I had no idea how invasive they would become. 
Despite digging out some of the runners the other week, yet more have appeared. They pop up all over the place, sometimes several feet away from the original canes.
What to do?!
Though they are delicious, I am seriously considering removing them altogether.

This is a busy time of year on the allotment, with seed sowing, planting and weeding to be done
.... and watering. 
So far this year Spring has been very dry and cracks are already appearing in the ground.

I pulled a few sticks of rhubarb to bring home.
And if you have rhubarb, you have to make crumble.

Gooey and crumbly - the perfect comfort food!

The sun is out.
I shall make a cup of tea and sit in the garden awhile.

Happy weekend one and all!