Friday, 27 May 2016

Window Box

Pretty In Passion Flower

Do you remember the exotic colour that I painted my front door? Mr Whizz Kid hated it - and even more so when I continued the theme and painted the door to the studio on the side in the same garish hue. I then found a small bistro table and chairs in the exact colour and placed it outside in the front garden, which gets the evening sun. Then came the pots around the door, and a lovely stool inside the front door, which mirrored the colour, and then a small painting ... oh the list goes on.

So it was with some surprise that he chose to make me a matching window box for the front garden, under the studio window on the side of the house, and guess what - he painted it in the same shade: (it is by Dulux and is called Passion Flower). I love it. What do you think?

The drinks on the table? They were Pimms!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Sarah Raven's Rhubarb Syllabub

 Thank You Sarah!

Sarah Raven is best known for her gardens, plants and books on gardens. She has an amazing website - here.  She is also a great cook! This dessert is to die for. I am not a particular fan of rhubarb and have never tasted syllabub before but this dessert is amazing and fairly easy to make. This is the recipe found online ... I varied it ever so slightly in that I left out the four cardamom pods - not being a fan of their particular taste. I also used the microwave to cook the rhubarb to speed up the process. So this is the recipe that I followed - slightly:

1 orange juice and zest
100g caster sugar
6 stick of rhubarb
4 star anise

250 ml double cream
1 lemon juice and zest
100g caster sugar

Cook the orange juice and zest, the caster sugar and the rhubarb along with star anise until well cooked. I did mine in the microwave for about four minutes. Drain the syrup and put in a saucepan. Place the strained rhubarb into glass dishes, (sundae dishes or just plain glasses), and leave to cool after removing the star anise.

In the saucepan, along with the orange juice and zest add the lemon juice and zest and remaining sugar and bring to the boil and boil rapidly until a thick syrup is achieved. Cool the mixture.

Meanwhile beat the double cream, and gently combine with the cooled syrup.  Top the rhubarb mixture with the syllabub. Chill and enjoy!

Sarah Raven says "This is a classic spring pudding - easy and quick to make - as well as being light, frothy and delicious". She is so right. She also suggests that this recipe is suitable for 6 - 8 persons - she is so wrong. I made two huge glasses full and we ate the lot!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Needlecraft Female Genital Mutilation

Needlecraft At Its Best

Do please watch the following YouTube video.

I thought it was brilliantly done and is very thought provoking.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Broad Bean, Onion, Asparagus Fritters

Perfect Little Snack

Asparagus is wonderful just now and I am always trying new recipes to use it. This one is a variation on a traditional vegetarian snack found online. It only takes a few minutes to produce a tasty snack.


bunch asparagus
cup broad beans - cooked
half onion
cup of flour
pepper and salt
pinch paprika
2 eggs
olive oil


Chop all ingredients finely except for the broad beans then add eggs and beans and mix
Spoon small quantities into the hot oil and fry for ten minutes turning once

Serve hot or cold with a dip, (maybe the avocado one in the previous post?)

This is my cooks treat- just a little taste before I give them to my guests. I am going to use a pretty platter, with its own dip pot, that I bought back from New Zealand, (wrapped carefully in my PJs). It was made by Hector Pottery and bought at the South Street Gallery in Nelson, South Island, where I often find many treasures.

This recipe makes about twelve small fritters
 I served mine with a sweet chili dip.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Avacado Salad Dressing

Yummy Creamy Dressing

I love avocados and at present seem to be eating my own weight in them daily. Avocado on toast for breakfast, baked avocado for lunch, avocado salad with just about anything for dinner. They are at their best at present and now that I have discovered this wonderful creamy dressing I guess there will be even more ways to use this delectable fruit/vegetable.

This recipe can be adapted for any number of portions. This size suits two persons - about 1/4 pint.

2 Avocado - very ripe
2 Garlic cloves
1 Lime or lemon - juiced
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Pinch of paprika
Handful of herbs - optional
Dash of water if needed - optional

Squeeze the avocados, the garlic, the lemon or lime juice, oil and seasonings and herbs into a food processor or liquidizer and whizz energetically until all is fully combined. Add extra oil or a little more juice until the required consistency or cold water to taste. Place in a sealed jar and keep in the fridge until all gone - which should be immediately - but will keep green for three or four days. Wonderful on crisp lettuce.

A simple salad supper with quiche and that wonderful dressing was a lovely meal.

This dressing takes minutes but tastes delicious.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Isabella Plantation - Richmond Park

Beautiful Woodland Garden

The Isabella Plantation is a forty acre woodland garden set within the grounds of Richmond Park in London. In May it is a sea of rhododendrons and azaleas and camellias and is a sight to behold. Here are some photos taken yesterday - on a chilly summer morning.

We managed to walk a total of six miles around the gardens without seeing all the sights. The trees and streams are teeming with wildlife and there are many ducks of all varieties on the many ponds set within the site.

I hope these photos give you a taste of what a beautiful place it is - I have taken many more photos but thought I might be in danger of overkill. I may use them another time. As I said in an earlier post it is hard to be home when the sun is shining - everything else can wait!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Day In Southampton

Old Southampton

This old Hampshire town is known as the "cruise capital of Europe" (yes ... really ... much to my surprise). Apparently over four million visitors visit this southern town each year and along with a thriving university it has many things to do and many interesting places to visit. The old town is largely quiet with many of the shops and restaurants moving into the new build shopping arcades, but here in the old town are many historical sites and visitor attractions. Many of the buildings and walls date from Tudor times and the main Bargate is over eight hundred years old. Henry V marched his troops through here when he departed for Agincourt and the Mayflower set sail from the docks to the new world from here in 1620. The Titanic also sadly set sail from the port here in April 1912 and it was this that was of interest to me on this visit - I was off to the Titanic Sea City Museum.

Here are a few photos I took along the way ...


I should love to give you some photos of the Titanic SeaCity Museum display but sadly all cameras were barred. For Southampton in particular the sinking affected over five thousand local households and the exhibition shows you the poignancy of this particular fact. The sights and sounds of The White Star Liners disaster are vividly shown and are depressingly sad when learning of the fate of the many passengers.

I have been rather lapse in my posts on crafts recently - perhaps the hot weather has taken me away from crafting and cooking, (the kitchen is too hot), but tomorrow promises to be wet and cool so I should be able to catch up with some more interesting stuff then ... meanwhile these are some lovely bluebells in my garden this morning.

Have a lovely sunny day!