Thursday, 3 August 2017

Exploring local history on a walk ....

Hi everyone

Our long summer holidays means time to get out & enjoy catching up with friends. The Godsons & their Mum joined me for a local walk that none of us had actually done before ...




We set off to explore ...



Lush, overgrown areas, hinting at their past use with old stone walls ... 




Beautiful skies & old structures ..


 The Godsons going up to explore through a very narrow gap ...


Tranquil lakes with reflections of all the lovely greenery from the woods ...


 The hills are covered in pretty natural plants that looked very pretty - nature has the best colour combinations.


With several stables & paddocks close by, they have a designated track which was good ..


The road after the horses had passed by ...




This is the perfect space for the energetic lads to burn off some energy & enjoy the outdoors as we used to do as children ...




 Lovely walks in beautiful countryside ...


The horses are enjoying the sunshine & lush grazing too ...




A pretty goat who was company for a horse ...





A lovely time with a good supply of foraged blackberries from the hedgerows  that was made in to crumbles for pudding this week ...


It was very interesting to explore something that is really close but that we have not been to yet - perfect holiday leisure time! 


I am sure we will be returning to visit this again as we did not see all of it ... I hope you have enjoyed it too, thank you for stopping by & taking the time to read & comment,
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The fruits of our foraging ....

Hi everyone,

I met up with the lovely Godsons & their Mum to catch up & we went for a lovely local walk that none of us had visited before. We started off as a walk until we came across the hedgerows full of luscious blackberries.

After a scramble around our bags, Ellie found a small plastic bag & I lined my Radley shopper with some tissues & we started picking & eating ....




Lovely blackberries ...



A handful of goodness ...


 My foraging haul - a generous little Ikea bowl of deliciousness


Who doesn't love apples & blackberries? I prepared some little individual ones ... 


I added in the very last of my blackcurrants too - they have not been as abundant this year ... 


I have moved away from carbs towards healthy alternatives but not yet confident with their individual properties. However, a random instagram post from a contact where she used the above combination for a cheesecake base gave me the inspiration ....






All ready for the crumble topping - made from almond, chick pea & coconut flours with some desiccated coconut for crunch ...



I rubbed in 2 tablespoons of each flour in to about 100g of butter, a shake of cinnamon powder for taste & then it was crumbled over the mix.


The little pots ready for the oven ... 


How good does this look?



I had mine with some thick natural yoghurt - it was really so tasty - from the hedgerow to the table in an couple of hours



I hope you have enjoyed this - will you be out foraging in the summer hedgerows?

Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to read & comment.
Dee ~♥~

Monday, 24 July 2017

Growing tomatoes .....

My regular visitors know that I am a bit of an urban gardener - I love growing salad greens & other little bits. I think the joy of actually getting some thing homegrown is half the thrill & it just makes us connect to the soil & keeps us grounded.

I bought 4 tomato plants in the sale section at the local garden centre some weeks back - they were not too big but healthy looking so I thought - why not?

They were potted in to a trough which was placed next to the side of the conservatory where it is sheltered & warm.

They have muddled along & suddenly there is a spurt of growth & energy with some flowers & some tomatoes at last!


I popped a soft cherry tomato in the soil & that has spouted all the little ones seen at the bottom of the trough ...

Even though they are still small & green, I have enjoyed watching them through the conservatory window & am hopeful to get a small crop by the end of summer.

Does anyone else grow a few bits on in summer? I shall soon have to think of something for my covered troughs for winter as the salad greens have been so brilliant over the summer  ...

Thanks for stopping by & sharing your stories,
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Scones for early visitors ...

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer break in the northern hemisphere. My end of year is always  a hectic time with students then suddenly our year ends & we can relax for 6 blissful weeks. 

Some friends were stopping by this morning & so I decided to make up a batch of scones for a treat with our tea & coffee. They had set off some hours previously so I knew they would need a treat. 

I recently baked scones with one of my students & so this was the recipe I used today.

Scones need a light touch, I did not use the mixer as they are so quick to make & I don't like to overwork the flour ... 



INSTRUCTIONS

Preparation time: about 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Makes about 20 scones
  • 450g (1 lb) self-raising flour
  • 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g (3 oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • about 225 ml (8 fl oz) milk
  1. Lightly grease two baking trays. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.
  2. Measure the flour and baking powder into a processor. Add the butter and process until a crumble, then add the sugar. Or make by hand by rubbing  the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Beat the eggs together until blended and make up to a generous 300ml (1/2 pint) with the milk, then put about 2 tablespoons of the egg/milk aside in a cup for glazing the scones later. Gradually add the egg/milk mixture to the dry ingredients until you have a soft dough. It is far better that the scone mixture is on the wet side, sticking to your fingers, as the scones will rise better.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it out with your hand, or use a rolling pin, to a thickness of 1-2 cm (1/2 – ¾ inch). Use a 5 cm (2 inch) fluted cutter to stamp out the dough by pushing the cutter straight down into the dough (as opposed to twisting the cutter) then lift it straight out. This ensures that the scones will rise evenly and keep their shape. Gently push the remaining dough together, knead very lightly then re-roll and cut more scones out as before.
  5. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking trays and brush the tops with the reserved beaten egg/milk mixture to glaze. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the scones are well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel to keep them moist. Serve as fresh as possible, cut in half and spread generously with strawberry jam and top with a good spoonful of thick cream.

Scones need a light touch, I only put in 15ml of caster sugar then I halved the mixture to keep half plain. I added a generous handful of grated cheddar cheese, about 5ml of dry mustard powder & mixed that into the second half. 

I cut them out - plain with a round cutter, cheese ones with a serrated cutter then when they came out, I could not tell the difference but put them on two separate plates - that plan did not work as well as I hoped! 


However, they were perfect with mugs of tea & filtered coffee (sometimes, especially in the early morning, only mugs of hot drinks will do .... )

They were served with butter, a choice of Peach Melba or Hedgerow jam from our local farm shop, grated cheese & extra thick cream. 

My friend Caroline arrived with a plate of freshly made banana bread which was divine ....


A perfectly relaxed early morning catch up with friends & their lovely dog Bailey who loved playing in the garden ...


I had forgotten how quick & easy it is to make scones - they will definitely be made again for visitors ...

Thank you for stopping by & taking the time to read & comment,
Dee ~♥~