Friday, 29 February 2008

All Squashed In?

The result of getting carried away when sowing seeds ...

... my greenhouse shelf is now full of squash plants. It's only February, where will I put everything else? My window sill in the living room is full of sweetpea and chilli plants and I have even placed a picnic table near the patio window, which is full of mainly tomato plants and a few more squashes!
I had the strong urge to bake these cranberry, pecan and white chocolate cookies this morning. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I am supposed to be on a diet!!

Hopefully the weather will be dry enough this weekend to do some calorie-burning digging at the allotment!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

An Abundance of Frogs

Sunday evening when OH was out running he said that the path behind our house was covered in frogs. The result today :

A pond full of frogs and spawn. (If you click on this photo, to enlarge it, you will see that all the "blobs" in the water are frogs.)

The purple-leaved plum is gradually blossoming in our front garden, the photo doesn't do it justice.
The viburnum is still producing the odd flower.

A few years ago I planted some mixed narcissus bulbs at the allotment for picking and this is the first bunch of the season. They smell gorgeous.

Each year I try to grow something different and this year I have chosen the asparagus pea. The packet says to plant directly into the ground, but I am going to start some in a pot as they are new to me.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Allotment time again

As you can tell from the photo, we haven't visited our allotment all winter! This is the sorry sight that greeted us this weekend.

Last year I was very busy trying to set up a craft business and the allotment was rather neglected. This year I will be more organised! After a couple of back-breaking hours, OH had dug over a large section of the allotment and I had dug up the old strawberry bed in the fruit cage and planted the new strawberry plants and cut down the old raspberry canes.

At home in the garden, I started clearing up the leaves and pruning some shrubs. I decided to risk putting the courgette plants into the cold greenhouse as they are quite big. They seem to have survived a sharp frost with the help of some bubble-wrap over them at night.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Illusion Scarf

I think I am addicted to knitting ... this is my latest scarf, knitted in Illusion by Sirdar. I've now started knitting some more fingerless gloves. This time they are for my Mum, her hands get cold when she hangs out the washing but she needs her fingers free to feel the pegs.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Red Onion & Goats Cheese Tarts

These are so quick & easy and very tasty.

Soften 2 thinly sliced red onions, herbs (your own choice) and 2 cloves of garlic in some olive oil until slightly coloured. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Roll out a slab of bought puff pastry until it is big enough to cut out 6 squares. Score each square as shown.
Place on a baking tray and top with onion mixture, keeping it inside of the scored square. Place a square of firm English goats cheese on top. Bake at 190'C for 15 - 20 minutes.

Snug As A Bug

Saturday 16th February

After deciding to have a frosty night out on the tiles ...

... Maurice spent the day curled up on the sofa.

The wild cherry plum trees are in blossom in the hedgerows and my purple-leaved plum is beginning to blossom. Will post a picture when it comes out.

It was quite chilly on Saturday and OH wasn't feeling too well, so we only went for a short walk. Our village used to be a large, medieval deer park and this is part of the ditch that surrounded it.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Last night I made these ...

Chocolate Cupcakes & Custard Creams

...well it is Valentine's Day! :))

Also I have completed my hat, gloves and scarf set, here modelled by Bruiser.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Unbelievably Warm for February

Saturday afternoon was unbelievably warm and we enjoyed another muddy walk, with only deer and birds for company. These fabulous fungi are growing in the copse behind our house.

Sunday morning my husband discovered this beautiful piece of ice in the watering can.
Sunday turned into another gloriously sunny day and in the afternoon we went on our first bike ride of the year, with our son, and took in some of the local sights, including these crocuses in the
town centre. We only managed 8.5 miles, but that was enough for the first ride, breaking in disused muscles and a hard saddle!

Recently, I seem to have developed a love of graveyards!

When we arrived back home this Barred Straw Moth was resting next to our front door. According to my insect book he should only be around during May to September, but I have noticed a lot more moths around this winter, probably because it has been so mild. I even saw a butterfly in the woods this week.

Sunday was also the day I sowed my various pumpkin and squash seeds. The sunshine has brought on the original seeds that I had sown and the courgettes will need potting on this week.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

The First Seedlings

I only sowed the seeds one week ago but already 2 types of chilli, annual climbers, sweet peas and courgette seedlings are appearing. The potatoes are starting to show signs of life also. I want to sow some more seeds but I am running out of space indoors! Hurry up warm weather so that I can fill my greenhouse!

I've nearly finished knitting my gloves, but my knitting list has lengthened ... I bought a knitting magazine, couldn't resist the free gift of a handbag clasp!! Food wise it was the traditional pancakes with lemon and sugar last night. No photos though, they weren't the best I have ever made!!!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Snowdrop Sunday

After a morning of baking that included these two items:-
Bovey Belle's Apple Gingerbread and I used Yarrow's Hobnobs to make a coffee and biscuits dessert. A calorie-burning walk after lunch was definitely called for! We came across this gorgeous drift of snowdrops. Sadly, they are growing near a new housing developement and I just hope that they will still be there to brighten the world next spring.

Recipe for Coffee & Biscuits Dessert (serves 4):-

8 of Yarrow's Hobnobs

Tia Maria

150ml Double Cream

2 tbsp Caster Sugar

Cocoa Powder

Chocolate-coated Coffee Beans

Place one hobnob upside down in each dish and soak with Tia Maria. In a bowl whisk together the sugar and a "good slosh"* of Tia Maria, to your taste. Pour in cream and whisk until softly thickened. Spoon on top of hobnobs and decorate with cocoa powder and coffee beans.

* I was going to say a "good slug" of Tia Maria, but when we were eating this dessert and discussing the recipe, you should have seen my son's face when I said I had used a good Slug! :)

Saturday, 2 February 2008

No Snow

Well, as you can see we didn't get the forecast snow so we went for a lovely, long, muddy walk. We saw deer, a woodpecker, some buzzards and one patch of primroses.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Snow Showers Forecast

Last year we had one day of snow, the children's school didn't open and they had a fun day playing in the snow.

Now snow is forecast for tomorrow - fingers crossed that there will be enough to make another snowman. The sun is shining beautifully this morning making it hard to believe that there could be snow tomorrow, but it is very cold. My fingers are aching after an hour of gardening this morning - I had to come indoors when I could nolonger feel my finger tips! I had better hurry up with knitting my new gloves - shame they are fingerless ones! ;o)