Saturday, 22 May 2010

Saturday morning news from the garden...........

Sitting outside with my breakfast cup of coffee this morning, I realised that my lovely pawlonia tomentosa has flowered for the first time; a beautiful delicate pinky lilac flower, giving rise to one of its common names, the Foxglove Tree. You won't see many of them in the UK, and I'm thrilled to bits that mine is flowering, it's absolutely beautiful :)

The other picture shows my new sun umbrella for the table by the fire pit - really pretty. I'm going to enjoy drinking my tea under that !

Friday, 21 May 2010

Watch this

Homemade cream cheese

I've just re-posted this on a forum, thought I'd share it here too.

4 pints full cream milk
1 /2 pint double cream

Warm the milk to just slightly warm to the touch, then add the rennet - a few drops. Cover and leave until the curd forms. Cut the curd and leave again until it sinks. Drain, and strain through musling. Beat the double cream into the strained curd.
You can add a little salt if you like; keep in the fridge.

That's the way I make mine, loosely based on a Katie Thear method.

You'll never buy Philadelphia again! This amkes a big quantity, so scale it down if needs be; it's really good with ramsons or Jack by the Hedge chopped into it, or mint, parsley, etc

Also, it makes the best cheesecake ever!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Homemade lavender toilet water

I made this a few weeks ago, and it's ready to use now. I'm not certain where I read about it, possibly in one of the Reader's Digest home books. It's made with 7 fl oz of vodka, 2 fl oz of water and lavender essential oil - I can't remember how many drops, but I added a lot more than the book said. I also added a drop of blue and red food colouring, to give it a lavender tint. Mix in a jar and shake, then leave for at least two weeks.
It gives a very light perfume, but is lovely and refreshing, especially a dab or two on the temples; relieved a headache for me yesterday, so worth making for that use alone.
You could try any other favourite essential oils too, to ring the changes and for different moods.
Give it a go :)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

From Amnesty International

Share the ad that the Financial Times wouldn't publish and make sure as many people as possible see it.

(click on photo to read)

Making bread............

One of my passions in life is good homemade food, which will be obvious if you read here, and an intrinsic part of my love of good food is good bread. The best bread you can make is by hand, at home, with good ingredients. I make bread regularly, aiming to progress to full time soon, but keeping up with the hungry hoards here is a real challenge! When I buy bread, I buy good bread, but the home made wins hands down every time.
I was much cheered by a conversation in the pub last night, talking to two friends, both male. One took up breadmaking when he retired, and makes all their bread now, by hand. The other has a young family, and makes bread with his 10 year old daughter, again by hand.

Wonderful, there is a spark of hope..............:))

Monday, 17 May 2010

Custard creams

4oz butter
4oz sugar
1 egg yolk
4oz plain flour
4oz custard powder
drop of vanilla extract
milk to mix

Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg yolk and vanilla, then gradually add flour and custard powder; mix to a stiff dough with milk, knead lightly. Roll out and cut into shapes and bake on a tray for 10 - 15 minutes in a hot oven until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, and when cold, sandwich together with thick vanilla glace icing.

Perfect with a cup of tea in the garden :))

Everyone should see one of these.......

......... at least once in their lifetime - a real meadow. Stunning in its simplicity, almost too beautiful on an early summer's day....makes your heart smile :)

It's only a biscuit cutter...............

This is one of my latest acquisitions, a very nice cutter, dating from, I think, WW2 or so.
Most folk wouldn't give it a second look, it's tatty and "old fashioned", which is probably why it ended up at the tip, where it was rescued and brought home by me for literally a few pennies.
Take another look at it - the history it holds is untold, but it is there. I imagine it's been through a lot, and will now serve my household very well - I even have in mind the first biscuit I will make with it!
This little cutter encapsulates my life very well; first of all, it has soul - older, used things, imbibed with a sense of their own and other's history, just not present in new things churned out by the million by machines operated by people usually with little interest in the process or the product. It is useful and beautiful (William Morris.......); it will do another turn instead of being dumped in a landfill somewhere, discarded and thought as useless; even if I never use it, it's intrinsic beauty and just a niceness to handle and look at is enough to justify it a place in my home.
So- it's not only a biscuit cutter is it?
Off to turn the stove up ready................:)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

A wasted day.....................?

I think not..............
I woke up this morning barely able to move, full of the cold, bunged up, raging headache - so I stayed in bed. All day.
OH has been making his usual "You'd feel better if you were up and about doing things" type comments, and the wasted day was from him too.
I can think of nothing less wasteful than a day in bed resting and taking it very easy, letting your body heal itself; one day taken out today will repay hundredfold next week, when I would have felt dreadful for two or three days as whatever it is I have dragged on.
So, a day well spent, I conclude :)

The rather gorgeous tree bed is by Shawn Lovell :