Monday, 18 August 2014

...must have done something good...

Home at last. We sat in our wildly overgrown garden to eat our sandwiches on that first higgeldy piggeldy day, whilst the tattooed removal men that had carried the contents of our house on their backs like giant snails, stamped out cigarette butts with booted heels and soaked up late summer sunshine. A Buddleia finger tapped me on the head as red admiral's landed in formation, welcoming, in the same way that the house and neighbourhood has, with wide open arms.

I have the roses back in my cheeks and a skip in my step once more. Yes home at last...

I am so in love with this crumbling house, with this village, with these people and this county.  I think that from first sight H had exactly the same feeling, and poor A who has had wildly extreme adventures in his life, trekking on foot over frozen mountains, being shot at for no reason, living in foreign countries where he couldn't decipher the language, did too. But strangely he's finding settling in, a little more overwhelming than I, who's probably sporting her rose coloured spectacles at the moment and can see the kitchen, minus the green cooker and over sized cupboards, the concrete un-carpeted floors, cobwebs, dust and the millions of unpacked boxes that would take an army to unwrap, and ignoring the fact that she just put her foot through the gallery floorboards. I need to restore order to his kingdom, and I will, beginning with the reassuring institution of Sunday lunch followed by an episode of The Village. 

The weekend also included lunch at this amazing bookshop  and an afternoon invitation for vanilla tea, Victoria sandwich and the moistest coffee cake baked on our awesome new neighbours aga.

But what about you? I have missed reading your adventures and plan a good catch up. How was your weekend and did yours involve any long practised institutions? 

...must go, I'm waiting for the chimney sweep..Never thought I'b be saying that to you on a Monday morning...

joining with karen for weekending.
bye for now

Thursday, 31 July 2014

This week in my kitchen 18 :: My favourite fruit cake recipe

I think this will be the last time I can share in the blog hop for a few weeks. We move next Thursday Wednesday to our little old house. We will be a bit out in the sticks and not exactly sure when we'll be conneted with the rest of the world again. 

Cooking has been fun if a little pot luck. Fridge, freezer and cupboard foraging to use up as much as possible before we go. Hence the somewhat random combinations. It's been a bit like one of those game shows where two audience members bring up a bag of random ingredients for chefs on opposite teams to attempt to produce the best meal. Surprisingly there have been a few winners that may actually get made again.

I also managed to bake two cakes using my favourite fruit cake recipe. One to snack on when we take a break from packing and the other to take with us...You never know who may drop in for a cup of coffee, and it will be nice to be able to offer them a slice of cake too...

I'll hopefully be back soon but first I'm linking over to heather's blog for her 'this week in my kitchen' blog hop, hope you can come too...

have fun

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

This week in my kitchen 17 :: Blueberry muffins

Capturing my love of whole foods, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home. 
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A little peep into some of this weeks activity...

  • Farm fresh duck, hen and guinea fowl eggs
  • Batch of muffins baked to use up the blueberries that were in danger of spoiling
  • Rainbow chard from my sister's garden
  • Poached chicken with saffron and chard and Persian barberry rice, plus the crunchy tah-dig...that I managed to break a tooth on last night and resulted in  dentist appointment this morning. My lovely Portuguese dentist who looks a lot like Matt LeBlanc is just as warm and friendly as the Joey Tribaianni character that he played so it wasn't such a bad experience...
  • Making potato salad
  • H who's now back in London, carving the roast chicken for supper
  • Celebrating with visiting relatives
  • This supper
  • Sneaking a peep at the recipe book that was intended to be one of  H's birthday gifts but arrived too late

Blueberry muffins

I used my fool proof Madeira cake recipe with a couple of tweaks to make these moist fruity muffins.

To make lots (about sixteen) muffins you will need the following ingredients:
  • eight ounces of flour (this works well with dove farm organic gluten free flour)
  • one teaspoonful of baking powder
  • five ounces of room temperature butter or dairy alternative 
  • five ounces of sugar (I used golden caster)
  • a little vanilla extract
  • two large eggs
  • five tablespoons of milk. I substituted plum sauce/syrup that I made last week with plums and maple syrup.
  • Lots of blueberries. I probably used too many but didn't want any to go to waste, and I lovely fruity cakes

  1. preheat the oven to 180c/350f or gas mark 4
  2. prepare muffin tins by lining with paper cases
  3. in a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy
  4. beat the eggs in one at a time
  5. sift the flour into the bowl and baking powder, unless you used self raising flour then fold into the mixture
  6. add the vanilla extract and milk or fruit sauce until you have achieved a good dropping consistency
  7. carefully fold in the fruit. I also adding a few stray cherries after moving the stones
  8. put spoonfuls of the mixture into the cake cases 
  9. bake for about twenty minutes or so until the muffins have risen and are golden brown on top. You can ensure they are ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean without any traces of cake batter.
  10. Leave in the tin for a couple of minutes and then remove the muffins and place on a cooling tray.
I love when the berries burst open and you get a mini explosion of sweet/sour juice when you bite into these little muffins...

joining with heather for her weekly blog hop....