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 ... 


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 ~♥~