Tuesday, 22 September 2015

still here!

Yikes, it was over a year ago when I last blogged on here, must remedy that!

We no longer have the allotment, after humming and ahhing about it, we decided to man up and actually get too work on the weeds etc, so we hired a Rotivator for just under £40 and set to.

Worked a treat. lovely bare patch to start off our winter veg.

Then we gave up.

Ok, so that sounds like we are lazy bums, we're not - we just couldn't commit to the plot as much as we needed to, both work patterns are erratic and once we were home, we tended to stay there - with our dogs, chickens, cats, the garden, my card making taking our time up and the plot just fell by the wayside.

I hope the gentleman who took on our plot is making a go of it, and is enjoying the fruits of his labour. We did for a time.

To counteract not having the plot, we're try to buy as much seasonal veg & fruit from our local farm shop, and farmers markets when we can get to them. Plus theres also the apples, blackberries & elderflower we pick from the wild.

Last week we picked over 7lb of apples, which were made into little crumbles and frozen, and 2lb of blackberries - I made a huge blackberry and apple pie, which was just scrumptious and didn't last very long!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

So.... google 'apple sauce' and three hours later.

Been scrumping again, took the beasties on a walk and gathered 2 carrier bags full of apples, they look like braeburns, look really sweet till you take a bite and your teeth starts tingling *lol*

Mr G made two apple crumbles to freeze, and then stewed the remaining half a ton, only kidding but have you ever peeled/cored a bag of apples....... lost years off my life and made three bags up (again too freeze) ready too add to pies or crumble.
He also did a big dish of rhubarb crumble (rhubarb roasted then sprinkled with ginger)
Which we had with custard -  Oh My God - Delicious!!!

Going to get some more later in the season and am going to try bottling some and also the aforementioned apple sauce.

We need a bigger freezer..... and this is before we actually start (properly) producing our own veg from our allotment

Friday, 20 June 2014

Elderflower cordial/syrup

Our village is lucky enough to back onto a old mainline railway which also serviced the village Pit. The track has been turned into a multi-user pathway, like so many round the country. Lots of wildlife & trees & shrubs, so lots of Elderflower bushes. We took the doggies for a walk and picked a carrier bag full of Elderflower heads.
Rule of thumb for picking in the wild only take 25% or less from any one tree/flower/bush so the plant doesn't suffer and also lets other likeminded foragers have a go.

The recipe makes just under 4 x 500ml bottles - I got mine from Wilko's, (Kilner with the plastic/rubber bottle top, not the screw top.) I also got the citric acid from there at the same time - in the homebrew department - looked in other shops but couldn't find any.

The recipe:
  • 1.35kg granulated sugar
  • Flowers from 15–20 elderflower heads  (if you give the flowers a little shake this should get rid of any unwanted beasties, or a little flick under a running tap)
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  •  2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 30g tartaric (or citric) acid          
1. Put 1.15 litres water and the sugar in a saucepan, and dissolve the sugar completely before bringing to the boil.

2. Add the flowers (I found it easier to hold the stem in between right thumb and finger and pull the flowers off in one go into a bowl then put the whole bowl into to the sugar water)
And return the water to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately.

3. Put the thinly sliced fruit into a large bowl or jug.

4. Add the tartaric acid and pour over the hot syrup and  flowers.

5. Stir well and cover loosely.

Leave for 24 hours.


Some recipes say you can leave it upto 48hrs, depending on how you want it to taste but I left it just for the stated 24hrs.

I strained the mixture, using just a sieve and pressing down slightly with a fork to get the juice out of the fruit, into another bowl then strained that through a square of muslin to get rid of the few bits left.

Don't forget to sterilise your bottles and tops before you fill them up. I stuck mine in the oven at a low temperature for a couple of minutes, let them cool down - so they were just warm -  then filled them up.

Once cold, I popped mine in the fridge, sealed will keep for a few months, once opened keep chilled.

Dilute to taste, lovely with lemonade. (just sat and had a tall glass whilst typing this post!)

Undiluted can be used as a syrup.

recipe from Sarah Ravens' seasonal recipes

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Easy mincemeat cake

I've baked this a couple of times, quite easy to do and iis a lovely cake - goes down well with a cup of tea (coffee in my case!).

photo coming soon!
225g / 8oz self raising flour
140g / 5oz butter, softened
140g / 5oz light or dark soft brown sugar (I use light brown)
85g / 3oz sultanas
450g /1lb mincemeat (that's a standard jar)
2 eggs beaten

8in round cake tin (prepared)

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 160c (I use a fan oven so I put it on about 140C)
2. Put everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly
3. Pop it into the tin.
4. Bake for about 1 and 3/4 hours then transfer the cake to a wire rack and leave to completely cool.

and enjoy ; )

recipe from all recipes uk

Monday, 27 January 2014

Low Fat Spice Cake

Fancied a change from the normal fruit cake which I usually bake, spotted this on all recipes and thought I'd give it a whirl.

Low Fat Spice Cake:
250g self raising flour
150 dark brown soft sugar (I used light brown)
4 tablespoons golden syrup
250ml milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 180c/gas 4
Grease a loaf tin (couldn't find me so had to use a 8inch cake tin)
Sieve flour into a bowl, add sugar, syrup, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt.
Add milk and mix in well (doesn't look appetising but smells gorgeous!)
Pour into loaf tin and bake for 60 - 70 mins.

Well it looks ok, bit hard on the bottom (aren't we all?), texture is a bit like a ginger cake but not as sticky. Tastes nice, little bit chewy though, but goes down well with a cuppa.

We'll see if it passes flatcap's quality test.

UPDATE:  best left for one day before eating, in my opinion.

UPDATE: try having with this cake with custard, totally YUM!!