Lovely Lavender

It was a gorgeously sunny day on Sunday and as these seem quite rare at the moment, I spent nearly all of it in the garden. Apart from popping in for cups of tea, I enjoyed cracking on with a bit of maintenance.

I honestly didn’t know you had to put so much time into a garden. Being a city garden, ours is quite small – but thank goodness! By the time you have planted a few bits here and cut back a few bits there, a whole day has flown by! Although Ed is more interested in growing things you can eat, I’ve managed to sneak other plants and flowers in to make it look like a garden, and not an allotment. It’s a bit random, but I like that it doesn’t look too planned and organised.

When we moved into the house, the only plant in the garden was an overgrown and un-loved lavender. We cut it back and nurtured it, but after a really cold winter last year, I was very suprised to see it bounce into life in the spring. On my cutting mission, I kept all the little lavender buds (the smelly bits) and over a cup of tea, I had a think about what I could do with them.

As I’ve explained before, I have a tendancy to buy something, keep it for months and then think of something to do or make with it. In my ‘cupboard of things waiting to be used’ were some plain organza bags – you see, it all comes together in the end! So little lavender bags were in the making, however next to the bags were some reels of wire. Feeling tempted to use this as well, but not really sure how, it was back into the sun to look at my components for a while.

It’s by no means perfect, but this is what I ended up with…

And the little lavender bags…

Quite a productive pruning session I feel.

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More Cake Baking…

I don’t know whether it’s the slightly chilly weather at the moment, but I’ve been baking again!

My favourite cakes when I was little were Butterfly Cakes. I think it was the name that I liked at first and a cake with wings is always going to grab a childs attention. My mum was (and still is) fanstastic at cakes and buns.

Whereas the Harvest Festival at school was a chance for all the other mums to spring clean their kitchen cupboards – tins and containers that looked as though they were purchased in a previous century, my mum sent a box of perfect cherry buns to sit amongst the tins of soup and packets of crackers.

If there was a Birthday coming up, the cake mixer would come out and within a few hours there were racks of cherry buns, chocolate buns. butterfly cakes and more.

My attempts aren’t quite up to the standard of mums, but they’re pretty tasty all the same!

Ingredients;

100g butter

100g golden caster sugar

2 eggs mixed with 2 tsp vanilla extract

100g self raising flour

1-2 tbsp milk

100g butter

200g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6.

2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

3. Mix the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.

4. Gradually beat in the eggs and the flour.

5. Add the milk so the mixture easily drops off a spoon.

6. Put the mixture into each cake case and bake for 12 – 15 mintues until springy to the touch, golden and risen.

7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the butter icing, beat the butter with 50g icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract and the rest of the icing sugar and beat once. Scoop out the top of each cake out and cut it in half to make wings. Put a dollop of the icing mixture inside and put the wings on top.

Done!

Oh, and look whos taught herself to ice cakes properly…

Bee-ing Productive

Sometimes, when you’re not looking for it, you can stumble upon something so perfect.

Every day on the walk home from work, I go past an art shop. Usually I walk straight past, and I don’t think I’ve actually been in since I was at Uni. I was just walking up to it the other day when the heavens opened and I darted for shelter. Feeling a little sheepish that I was hovering in the doorway to avoid the raindrops, I pottered in to have a browse.

I’m always tempted by paintbrushes, and as wiered as it sounds coming from a 26 year old, there’s something quite theraputic about shopping for paint. The dilemas of shopping for clothes just aren’t applicable to picking out a new paintbrush or adding a new colour to the paint pot collection.

So there I was, dodging the typical British summer weather surrounded by crisp white pads of drawing paper, rolls of card in a rainbow of colours, packs of tiny beads and ribbon bows displayed and waiting for a creative to come and turn them into a masterpiece. Next to the door was a stand full of wooden stamps and on my way past, I spotted a very perfect and very useful stamp.


My logo and company image is a bumble bee so I’m really happy I can have proper looking stationary without having to pay a fortune on professional printing. While I’m building up the pennies for all that, my little stamp can help me out! To think I only found it from dodging raindrops.

 

Crumble Delicious

Even though I haven’t really had time to turn around over the last few weeks, I found the time the other night to have another baking session.

I love the idea of baking. Sunshine pouring into the kitchen, birds singing, fresh washing on the line blowing slightly in the breeze….I’m inside effortlessly beating eggs into a perfect victoria sponge – which comes out of the oven complete with cream, strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Ok, so not quite brave enough to tackle a cake yet – my history of icing is enough to warn me off trying to bake a full cake. It ressembled a drizzle cake and I had more icing on the plate than the cake itself. Not very Delia Smith I assure you! However, it seems I’m a master of the crumble. This little beauty was baked to perfection and tasted just as perfect warm with a dollop of yummy vanilla ice cream. Go on, give it a try!

Ingredients;

1kg cooking apples

60g soft brown sugar

half teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tbsp orange juice

180g plain flour

60g sugar

90g butter

Preheat oven to gas mark 6. Peel cooking apples, cut them in half and cut out the cores. Slice them and cook them in a saucepan with the orange juice, spice and brown sugar until soft.

Pour them into a pie dish and spread evenly.

For the crumble, sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small bits and addto the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with fingertips until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Mix in the sugar, spread the crumble over the apples and bake for around 30 – 40 minutes.

Yum, yum, yum…

Eggs-actly what our Kitchen Needed

I am now the proud owner of one gorgeously unique, custom made egg box!

I have wanted one of these since I can remember – I don’t think I even knew what it was at first, I just liked the idea of having a mini cupboard in the kitchen.

There are lots around in the shops, but some seemed quite expensive for what they were. Of course my Joiner Dad hears you say you like something once and, with a few hints and reminders from Mum, it’s usually fashioned together.

He’s made a gorgeous egg box for me. A little gold door knob, two little gold hinges – quite clearly he hasn’t spared any expense!

 

 

 

It sounds silly to say, but my new little egg box looks very proud sitting in my kitchen amongst the tea jar and my herb baskets. The only thing for me to do is to get painting…but what colour?