Saturday, 30 June 2012

Great Garden Moments

I may not be best pleased with all the rain we have had of late, coupled with a lack of sunshine, but there are always areas of the garden that adore these conditions. For the first time ever I have had an amazing crop of lettuce, mainly due to the fact that it is not relying on me to water it everyday. I also planted them this year in the raised bed that does not get full sun, so on those days when the sun is blazing hot they are no longer being scorched. The dwarf broad beans seem to love this slightly shaded bed too.
The raised beds are a great success and make gardening so much easier on the knees! Looking at them in the photos they look crammed with vegetables, and of course they are. But look closely and you will also see I have potatoes growing in bags in between them, saves me all that digging.

If I am talking about Great Garden Moments I can not stop myself from giving the Peony that flowered in the last few weeks a mention. It's never flowered in the last four years, but last year it was moved when the 'L' shaped flower bed was replanted. Behold this year it flowered, a truly Great Garden Moment, it had just the one bloom flower, but how magnificent. It may take time and patience to create these Great Garden Moments, but it's worth remembering to stop, sit down and also enjoy them. So if the sun is out it's a glass of Pimms, if the rain clouds are rolling in its a cup of tea. 

If you have a Great Garden Moment then why not share it for your chance to win a set of garden furniture and £250 Waitrose vouchers in the Great Garden Moments Competition.
Single Peony bloom

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Strawberries and Meringue

Strawberries and meringue
Strawberries, one of my favourite summer fruits. I love eating them fresh from the garden or with a dollop of cream. Alas, I did not have any fresh cream or ice cream to go with my punnet of strawberries. However, I did have some lovely meringues that I had been tempted to buy at Wellington Carnival.  

Mountainous meringues
The meringues swirled with strawberries were wonderfully crispy on the outside and sticky and chewy in the middle. 

Break up the meringue and mix with the chopped strawberries that were lovely and juicy. Easy, simple and delicious!

I'm posting this recipe as my entry into June's Tea Time Treats Challenge, the theme this month is Summer Fruits. Hosted alternatively each month by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked, Kate being this months host.


Carnival and Cake

Snowy the donkey with my niece 
The weekend saw the return of my local carnival, following a break last year. Wellington Carnival started with a parade in town making it's way to the local park, where lots of activities took place throughout the day.

The parade consisted of Girl Guiding groups, a local pub raising money for Help for Hero's, The Birmingham Irish Pipers (who were very good and I hope they come back next year), the Carnival Queen of course, Chinese Dragon dancers, the Lions Club and Boys Brigade.

In the park there was a great display from the Whitchurch Dog Display Team, a real crowd pleaser.  Feather Perfect Falconry had some magnificent birds of prey, sadly I missed the falconry display they put on in the arena. However I did get to see some of the birds up close. There were donkey rides too, much to the delight of my niece. 
I think this maybe Casper
the Common Kestrel
This year there was a special food area with a Pig Roast, Samosa, Mexican, Indian, Cakes and cake stalls to name but a few and of course a beer tent.  

Of course drawn to all the cakes displayed at The Little Round Cake Company stall. I picked three cakes, a white chocolate brownie and two massive meringues. Obviously not all for myself, something to take home and enjoy a little later.
monster meringues

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Oreo Cookie,
Millionaires Shortbread cakes
I just hope Wellington Carnival continues next year, for all those involved in its organisation - thank you!


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Easy Rhubarb Turnovers


I have started to get into the habit of bookmarking a recipe I like on a blog, or to Pin it on Pinterest. Much better than  spending hours trying to remember which of the many blogs I think I have seen a wonderful recipe on.

At this time of year I start to get quite a store of stewed rhubarb collecting in the freezer, as the harvesting of the rhubarb from the garden comes to an end. I knew I had seen a recipe that would be perfect for using defrosted fruit from the freezer, a change from the usual crumble. Rhubarb Turnovers from the wonderful Urvashi at The Botanical Baker. 

So as I already have my stewed rhubarb defrosting the only other main ingredient I need is a packet of ready made puff pastry. Which lucky for me I already had in the fridge, having used a small amount to make Salmon en croute. 


Ingredients

Stewed rhubarb
Packet of ready made puff pastry
Beaten egg
Sugar
Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C
  • You need to cut the pastry into squares, size of the squares depends on how hungry you are!  
  • Fold them diagonally lightly to form a triangle then fold it back to a square
  • Use a little egg wash around the edges and add a small amount of the stewed rhubarb.
  • Fold the pastry and seal*
  • Place on a lined baking sheet 
  • Egg wash the turnovers and sprinkle with sugar

*I loved Urvashi's tip when sealing the edges with a fork, dip it in flour to stop it sticking to the pastry - it worked a treat and looked great.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your turnovers, you will know when they are baked they will have risen evenly and be lovely and puffed up.

Leave to cool, then tuck in.

I made a number of large Rhubarb Turnovers and a few smaller ones, they looked far much more dainty. These were dished out on Fathers Day and tasted fabulous, will definitely try these with other fruits.

Rhubarb Turnovers
Rhubarb Turnovers

I am posting this recipe as part of the Bookmarked Recipes Challenge hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes and founded by Ruth from Ruth's Kitchen Experiments.



Thursday, 14 June 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone loves a biscuit, don't they?  I certainly do, I adore biscuits they compliment a cup of tea perfectly. So on a very  windy, chilly and wet day I felt the urge to bake. I pulled out my trusty Home Recipes with Be-Ro flour 39th edition from the bookshelf, and spotted a quick and simple recipe. Chocolate Chip Cookies - I've made these a few times but never this recipe, which uses golden syrup.


Chocolate Chip Cookies - Recipe


Makes approx. 18
Oven Temperature 180 degrees / Gas 4


100g softened margarine
75g soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
175g self-raising flour
100g chocolate chips
2 tbsp milk


Cream together the margarine and sugar. 
Stir in the golden syrup, flour and chocolate chips. 
Then add the milk.
Place spoonful's of the mixture onto a lined baking tray. 
Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from tray and place on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy the aroma that fills the kitchen when these wonderful Chocolate Chip Cookies come out of the oven, I bet you will not be able to resist one before they have fully cooled! These Chocolate Chip Cookies had the perfect balance of crunch on the outer side with a slight softness in the centre. Another Be-Ro recipe winner.  


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

After weeks of planning and making preparations the day of  the Diamond Jubilee Party arrived. Heavens knows how the Queen managed with all her party arrangements, although I think she may have been given a hand. With family, friends and neighbours all arriving the house soon filled up. Alas the constant rain prevented any hopes of a garden party. The house was decorated both inside and out with Union Jacks galore, and guests were invited to dress in red, white and blue. 
Food, bunting and a letter from the Queen
**Menu**
Sandwiches
Sausage and Herb Rolls
Crisps
Peanuts
Jubilee Pork Pie
Grapes or Pineapple and Cheese on Sticks
Olives

Auntie Betty's Jubilee Trifle
Fruit Cake
Jubilee Fairy Cakes
Raspberry and White Chocolate Crown Cakes
Mars Bar Chocolate Cake
Jubilee Shortbread


The centre piece of the savoury buffet was a magnificent commemorative Diamond Jubilee pork pie, from the reknown Eleys of Ironbridge. Few visitors to Ironbridge leave without calling into Eleys of Ironbridge for a pie or pasty.  
Eleys of Ironbridge Jubilee Pork Pie
There was, of course, a selection of cakes and sweets. The centre piece of the dessert buffet was Auntie Betty's Jubilee Trifle - always a big hit at family gatherings, this was the first dessert to disappear. 



It was not all about the food. My mum has quite a collection of Jubilee related material from the Coronation and the Silver and Gold Jubilees. I displayed some of these items, which made for fascinating reading.
Shropshire Star tea towel