29.4.11

I'm not much of a royalist ... but I do love a bit of bunting

Dear Annie, 


Today was the royal wedding day. We spent the morning in Framlingham with the lovely Steff and her gorgeous family. 
The wedding was shown on a big screen in the market square. There were flags galore, and bunting, bunting, bunting (you know how much I love it!) 
I really am no royalist, but I enjoyed the festival atmosphere and ooohed and aaahed with the best of them as the bride appeared.

Afterwards, we had a picnic in front of the castle in the sunshine and an icecream in the icecream parlour.

 There really is nothing better than an extra bank holiday, spent with friends and family. I though of you, drinking tea out of your union jack mug in honour of the occasion!




Love from,

Laura

27.4.11

Junk Yard Goodies

Dear Laura,

Most of my free time at the moment is spent fixing windows. Well painting them mainly. So not lots of time for sewing although they will need curtains once they are fixed. Home furnishings are my favorite. Well one of the joys of window fixing is that we sometimes go to a junk yard to find weights for the sash windows. Of course there is more in a junk yard than just windows and doors and I found these.



I am not sure what they are but the cotton by itself is useful enough.
I also found these:


Again not sure what they are for but I liked them and I'll have to figure it out I guess.

If you have any idea...

Lots of love
Annie

25.4.11

happy days

Dear Annie,

We've had a really lovely family bank holiday weekend. Some of the highlights have been...


  
:: car boot treasures::

:: wild garlic and an Easter Egg trail at Newark Park ::

:: new Birkies ::
 
:: quiet moments of crochet in the sunshine ::

I hope that you had a fabulous weekend.

Your veg is looking fantastic! I wish our tiny patch was anywhere near as verdant...

Love from,
Laura

PS:Thank you to whoever nominated us for a MAD award. You can put in a good word for your favourite blogs here, and voting closes this evening.

24.4.11

Garden Goodness

Dear Laura,


Today is Easter Sunday hooray! Although we don't have holidays here we do have sunshine and chocolate. The spring sunshine and rain has allowed the garden to explode into life.


The broccoli
the fennel
the beans
our peach tree

to think they all started like this
ocra                                     tomatos

We have three beds, the ocra, zucchini (courgette) and butternut squash bed is at its very first stages. The broccoli, fennel and tomato bed is more of an experimental bed as I have never grown broccoli or fennel before so I am not quite sure what to do with those. Although they seem to be happy. And the third bed is exploding with life, beans, peas, two types of lettuce and mustard greens. In fact the lettuce and mustard greens are ready for thinning and eating.

ready to be plucked from their bed

washed and put in a simple salad

with a delicious piece of bread freshly baked by R


Happy Easter

Lots of love 

Annie

p.s. if you are wondering why the garden is covered in pink petals. Once a year the beautiful cherry blossom next to our house loses all its petals and sprinkles them on the garden like confetti at a wedding.













22.4.11

Easter bunnies

Dear Annie,


:: Sock bunny - look here for the tutorial.
  
:: Bunny ears (made from paper plates)
    
:: On the needles (albeit somewhat belatedly)- bunny nuggets

:: Chocolate bunnies (mmmm!)

Have a lovely Easter weekend.

Love from,

Laura

20.4.11

Buzzy Bees

Dear Laura,




Have you ever wondered what 24,000 bees in your house would look like.  For some perspective, that's twelve thousand pairs of shoes, four thousand dozens of eggs or two hundred and forty centipedes legs (120 pairs of shoes each). To be fair it really doesn't look like that many.


12,000
24,000

Pehaps I should start at the beginning. Sometimes R gets really excited about things, sometimes this disappears to nothing, sometimes it grows and grows. The first sign are the books...



I guess when I came home to find him a bee suit in the living room I realized that this was going to happen. 




Of course it wasn't just one hive we got two! So on saturday the bees were waiting for us. Jeff at DC honeybees was on hand to help with the installation (there are some great videos on his site) and being manly the bee suit was left on the sofa. 




We were all very brave although I kept pulling my jumper up for fear of bees down my neck. They were actually incredibly calm and the whole thing was really good fun.


Hoisting the hive to the roof      Getting the queen box ready

Pouring the bees into the hive                     Settling the queen in

A little bit of sugar water

All settled

My granny used to keep bees and I like these bees because they remind me of her, as well of course as her delicious honey. I have never tasted anything better so our bees have a lot to live up to. 


Lots of love


Annie

18.4.11

a second helping of rhubarb

Dear Annie,

  
One helping of rhubarb cake is never enough in my opinion, so I thought that I would share some more with you. As you may have gathered, I am very fond of rhubarb, and always try to eat as much of it as I can whilst it is in season. I frequently bake Nigella's Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake (from her Domestic Goddess book) and seldom does a summer Saturday go by without us starting the day with a batch of Soule Mama's Rhubarb and Strawberry Muffins (I do alter the recipe slightly, see * below if you're interested.) I make Rhubarb Jam, I follow my Dad's recipes for Rhubarb Compote and Rhubarb and Lemongrass Fool. I'm even partial to a Rhubarb Bellini or two. 

My favourite rhubarb recipe of all, however, is Rhubarb Shortbread. It's a recipe that I cut out of a magazine years ago, I really can't remember which one. I do have an inkling that it may have been written by Nigella - the parting instruction to "eat it with a cup of tea and a delirious grin" sounds very much like her, I always think, as does the (completely accurate) description: "juicy, aromatic, buttery and irresistible". This is how you make it... 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, gas mark 4. Mix together 125g butter, 125g plain flour, 25g cornflour and 2 level tablespoons sieved golden icing sugar until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
Line a 23cm (9in) square tin, 4cm (1.5 in) deep with foil. Press the shortbread evenly into the bottom of the tin. Prick with a fork and cook for 15-20 minutes until beginning to brown around the edges.
Chop 250g (9oz) rhubarb (3-4 sticks) into small pieces. In a bowl, beat 2 large eggs. Add 25g (1oz) plain flour, 200g (7oz) demerara sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract.
Stir in the rhubarb and spread the topping evenly over the shortbread base. Return it to the oven and cook for a further 40 minutes, or until the top is set and golden brown. 
Allow to cool in the tin, then cut into pieces. Enjoy it with a cup of tea. A delirious grin is optional, but highly likely.
With my next bundle of rhubarb, I rather think I'll have a try at Tess from driftwood's Rhubarb and Orange Cake. It sounds delish! I'll keep you posted.

Love from,


 Laura 

For the muffins, I replace the maple syrup with 1/2 a cup of golden caster sugar, and replace the buttermilk with 1/4 cup plain yoghurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk. I use 125g salted butter and omit the 1/2 tsp salt.

Edited to add: I have now made Tess's Rhubarb and Orange cake and it is indeed delish. Highly recommended!
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