Thursday, 12 March 2009

Petticoat tails

One of the nicest ways to bake shortbread is to make Petticoat Tails; so-called as the patterns forked on before baking emulate lace trimmings on petticoats. Very classic, very Scottish, very tasty!

8oz plain flour
6oz butter
4 oz granulated sugar
extra sugar

Place flour and sugar in a bowl, and rub in butter until it resembles fine crumbs, then work all ingredients together until it holds; turn out on to lightly floured board, knead very lightly and roll out to a circle shape - neaten it by using a knife around an upturned teaplate. Carefully lift the round on to a baking tin. Using a sharp knife, score the round into six; decorate with a fork - use the tines around the outer edge and prick the inner triangles. Repeat with the rest of the dough. I got two circles out, then a third one from lightly kneading the trimmings from them together and repeating the cutting and forking. Sprinkle sugar over the top.
Bake in a moderate oven until lightly browned and crisp. Cool on the tin, then break along lines into triangles. Serve with a good cup of tea :)

March giveaway!

This is my giveaway for March - a lovely sea green washcloth, handknitted in organic cotton, plus a Bronnley lavender soap and a min gardenr's hand soap for those hardworking hands!
If you'd like your name to go int he hat, please post a comment, or e-mail me on Julian.Dean1@


btw - I apologise if the righthand sidebar is all over the place for you - it is for me, and I'm trying to find someone to help me with it, so please bear with me. It isn;t half annoying me, though LOL

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Tomato time!!!!


At last, time to get on with one of my very favourite tasks of spring - sowing tomatoes. I love tomatoes - sowing them, growing them, reading their names, getting the seeds through the post, seeing the first seedling unfurl towards the light, harvesting, eating from the vine, cooking with them, preserving them, savouring the very first and last ones of the season all to myself...........

I held off sowing until now this year, as I feel it's been too cold. Time felt right this morning, though, so in they went. Twelve varities this year - as usual, nothing usual LOL I managed to get hold of some very interesting varieities from an Amish seed supplier in America, so looking forward very much to seeing how they get on.
These are the ones that went in today:

Black cherry
Depp's Pink Firefly
Eva's Purple Ball
Principe Borghese (for sun-dried tomatoes)
Brooks' Special
Qyanai fen (rare Chinese variety, only one seed)
Saltspring Sunrise (grew last year, lovely flavour)
Martin's Amish
Summer Cider Apricot (couldn't resist the name :) )
Budai torpe
Eva's Amish Stripe
Mortgage Lifter (love the history behind the self-explanatory name on this one)

Roll on summer!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A candle for Tibet and her people

Today is the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising of the persecuted Tibetan people against invasion, suppression and occupation by the Chinese, who claim that Tibet has been part of China since the 13th century. The rest of the world has spectacularly failed to address the problem in any relevant way, whilst small charity and campaign groups struggle to keep the cause in the public's eye. A tragic, tragic case of ethnic cleansing on unimaginable scale by a greedy, grabbing people and government who are hellbent on destroying a peaceful and compassionate culture for the rape of their land and assets. I blieeve the Chinese are waiting in th wings until the death of the Dalai Lama, when they will move in wholesale and a whole people and culture will rapidly become extinct to assuage their greed and hunger for dominance, fear of what is morally right and a fear of the break up of their huge and powerful nation. Would that they would put their time and energies into sorting out the massive problems within China itself without inflicting such horror on others.

So, I have nothing to complain about in comparison, and would do well to remeber this mroe often, which I will try to do.

Today there will be a candle burning in my house for the poeple of Tibet, in their own country and in exile, and for the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, who have given their lives for their country. Please spare a moment's thought for them, and for all displaced and suppressd peoples around the world.

Monday, 9 March 2009


Hellebores are some of my favourite spring flowers - I lvoe them all, and love the way they are so uninhibited when it comes to breeding - a bit like aquilegias. REcent eyars have seen prices of the more common (but no less beautiful for it) ones come down considerably, and the alrger , cheaper chains are stocking more and better plants. Nothing will beat a serious nursery for collectors of them, though, but that's now what I do - I choose mine my colour and colour alone. They will seed prolifically if happy, so I pot them up when big enough and either give them away or sell them by the gate.

Winner! February giveaway...........

The winner for February is Jayne! Well done to her, may her feet be cosy LOL. E-mail me yourname and address, Jayne and I'll get them off to you. Thanks everyone for entering, and I'll get March's up and running a bit later today. A bit behind with everything due to the computer problems, I'm afraid, but it's nice to be back blogging again.

ps - last call for QUILTING CAT to contact me re the January giveaway, please!