Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Adapting a Favourite Recipe - Glazed Cinnamon Scones

When I first began baking, I was very young and very cautious.  I would measure everything twice and follow the recipe meticulously.   That was decades ago - now I am more cavalier than cautious.  The more you bake the more you realise that there are just a few basic recipes and everything else is a variation on the theme.  Take these Glazed Cinnamon Scones for example.

With just a few adaptations any good scone recipe can be turned into a special breakfast treat.  I used Pat's Decadent and Delicious Scone Recipe for this batch of Glazed Cinnamon Scones.  It's easy, simply add one teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the usual dry ingredients and make the scones according to the recipe.

Before putting the scones in the oven to bake:

Combine 2 Tablespoons of soft brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk or cream and generously sprinkle over the cinnamon-sugar mixture. I even dipped the cut edges of the scones into the cinnamon-sugar mixture to get as much flavour as possible.

Bake the scones in the usual way but keep an eye on them to make sure the sugar mixture doesn't begin catch.  Once the scones are baked, set them to one side to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the glaze.

In a small bowl,  combine 1/2 cup icing sugar and 1 Tablespoon of milk or cream.  If you have any cinnamon-sugar left you can add that to the bowl, too.  It will just make the scones even more delicious.  Beat the glaze with a spoon until it is smooth, adding a drop more liquid if needed.  

Spoon the glaze over the scones and serve warm with a cup of tea in the afternoon or a mug of coffee for breakfast.  Just think how many different kinds of scones we can have if we use our imagination and are adaptable!  

CLICK HERE to get Pat's superb scone recipe.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Wanted - The Best Recipe for a Chocolate Loaf Cake

I have a favour to ask of you.  I would like to find a recipe for a VERY good chocolate loaf cake.  I've tried a couple recipes but haven't found the perfect one yet. 

Today I baked a chocolate and coffee loaf cake.  It looked the business, topped with a coffee glaze.

But the texture was a little disappointing and there was a slight bitter taste to the sponge.  

It's a good cake, but not a brilliant one.  So... if you have a superb chocolate loaf cake recipe would you please share it with us?   Thank you! 

Monday, 21 April 2014

A Bluebell Wood Called Blackberry Camp

We live in an historic part of Britain.  All around us are the ruins of Roman walls, ancient castles, cathedrals, and iron age fortifications.  Many of the cottages in the area have been around for 500 years!  I love these old buildings but sometimes the most interesting thing about these places is what happens when the people abandon them and nature reclaims them.  

Blackberry Camp is one of those magical places.  It was an iron age fortress now inhabited by a bluebell woods. 

Every spring, the floor of the woods becomes a sea of tiny blue flowers and people come from miles around to walk along the raised banks and enjoy the most beautiful display.  

We had a picnic lunch there today, along with several dozens of other visitors. 

Busy as it was, it still seems a magical place.  You half expect Merlin to step out of the mossy trunk of an old tree.

If there are Sprites and Fairies, this is where they must live. 

We were a little early for the full display of colour.  These bluebells are just beginning to open.

I'd love to go back, very early in the morning, and see if I can catch the fairies as they are just waking up!  

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter Bunny Egg Cosies

I am not a great knitter but I like small, fun projects.  This is a lovely idea from the brilliant Debbie Bliss.   These Bunny Egg Cosies are adorable and would make a really cute Easter gift.  You could even dress up a chocolate egg with one of these.  

CLICK HERE to get the instructions  and you can soon have an Easter Bunny on your breakfast table!  

Monday, 14 April 2014

Early Morning Snaps of the Garden

We've had several days of warm sun which has brought out the best in the garden.  Here are some snaps of the best blooms in the garden this morning.

Acers are my favourite trees and they are now in full bloom.  The flowers are so delicate you hardly notice them.

Under the largest Acer the dark tulip are starting to open.

There are just a few yellow tulips left, they are nearly finished.

But the azaleas are now getting started.

These peach daffodils have the most delicate colour.  I really must try to plant more of these this Autumn.  

It's a dazzlingly bright day full of bees and blossom.  On a day like today, it's easy to forget the cold, wet days of winter. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Too Busy to Blog

It's been a very busy time in our garden.  We've been painting fences, mowing lawns, and weeding the borders so there hasn't been much time for baking and blogging.  I know it's the same at your house.  Spring is such a busy time.

Hopefully we will soon be caught up with chores, but for now we are just enjoying the good weather and the gardening.

If you know of a small bird family looking for a home, we still have one bird box free!  The old bird box is being renovated by the Blue Tit family who spend the summer with us every year.  

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Veggie Rosti and Fried Eggs for Lunch

I have a Twitter friend who was a contestant on Master Chef.  We chat about food all the time.  He is a medical doctor who believes in eating well and writes a blog to prove it.  

Yesterday he was saying that there was hardly any dish that couldn't be made delicious with the addition of good cheese or a fried egg.  He's a wise man...and he made me hungry for fried eggs!

So, for lunch today I made Veggie Rosti and Fried Eggs.  I used a medium potato, a carrot, and an onion to make these but you can use any veg that you like.  This isn't a recipe but more of a 'How To':

Dice the onion,  shred the potato and carrot.  Squeeze the extra moisture out of the potato before placing all the veg into a mixing bowl.  Add an egg, a large spoonful of flour and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Stir well to mix.  Heat up a frying pan, add one or two tablespoons of vegetable oil, spoon the veggie mixture into the pan forming  loose patty shapes, and cook for a few minutes over medium heat.  

When the veggie patties have begun to brown, flip them over and cook them until golden brown. Place the cooked rosti on a baking sheet and place them in a warm oven while you continue to fry the remaining veggie mixture.  

By now the pan is perfect for frying eggs, so plop in a few eggs to top the rosti.   This is what I love, a yummy meal all cooked in one pan!  Thanks for the inspiration Dr. T. 

Take a moment to visit Dr. Toby's blog and you can cook like a Master Chef, too!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sofa Surfing

It's cold, there is a sea mist rolling in.  No one can face going out, not even the little Dust Bunny Cat.  

So we are all just going to stay in and do some sofa surfing.

There's nothing wrong with having a relaxing Saturday every once in a while. 

Perhaps we can do some light cleaning later.  

Friday, 4 April 2014

Afternoon Blooms

After a few grey, rainy days, this afternoon has been beautifully bright and sunny.  I took the opportunity to have a closer look at what's in bloom in the garden.  I'll let the photos tell the story.  

Oh, there was one other thing I found in the garden this afternoon....

A sleeping bumble bee!  

Thursday, 3 April 2014

It's Bananas!

Did you see that news article that said we need to eat TEN portions of fruit and vegetables a day!  That's 10 full size portions a day.

Do you have any idea how much food that really is?  It's a massive amount and would require almost constant grazing to consume it.

For the past couple of days I've tried to eat as many fruits and vegetable as I can.  I haven't gotten near to eating ten.  Then a thought struck me, is this just an exercise in Psychology? 

Do they think if they tell us to eat ten servings a day, we will finally get into the habit of eating the five fruits and veg originally recommended?   Hmmm... it's food for thought.   

Click HERE for the original article on 10 A DAY.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Visiting Ancient Ancestors

Andy has been researching his family tree.  His father's family seems to have been located in a local village for more than 400 years!  Andy's mother's family have ties to Shepton Beauchamp in Somerset.

We visited the local church, St. Michael's, to see if we could find some information on the old tombstones.  

Parts of this beautiful church date back to the 13th century but the village, which was originally a manor, was well established before the Norman Conquest. 

At one time, the manor was owned by the Seymour family.  You will remember Jane Seymour was the wife the Henry VIII and mother of Edward VI.  

The church's patron saint is St. Michael.  At first we thought this was St. George.  There seems to be several dragon slaying saints. 

While Andy and Maggie, his mum, looked for family tombstones I took some photos of a few of the fascinating memorial sculptures on the grave stones. This guardian angel was particularly beautiful and even more touching because her wing has been broken.

Each sculpture is filled with symbolism.  I think this must represent the Hand of God reaching out to Susan.  

This cross carved with Madonna Lilies is a more familiar motif.  

Perhaps the most striking memorial was this one with the crucified Christ.  

The largest sculpture features the Good Shepard carrying a lamb across his shoulders.  But the stones I found most fascinating were not the most ornate.

They weren't even legible, the engraving was totally obscured by moss.

Nature is slowly, gently reclaiming her stone.