Saturday, 25 June 2016

Is this my Country?

As this first full 'Brexit' day dawns - I cannot sleep.
My heart is heavy.
An old man shouts..................
"I may not have long to live but I've got my country back."
"Well, old man, why are you so selfish? why didn't you think about our young whose futures have yet to come?"
I have real concerns for my country especially
when a young, hardworking MP, an adored wife and loving mother, can be shot down, stabbed, and murdered in broad daylight for her beliefs.
An outspoken humanitarian and advocate of those in need,
whose focus was on that which unites us and not that which divides us.
Kicking the 'establishment' in the teeth is happening around the globe.
We may not necessarily agree or like all that they do but they steer the ship along a steady path.
Our new road is rocky with many bends and lots of twists - it is a complete unknown.
Don't come crying when your pensions no longer meet your needs as the Stockmarkets plummet like lead balloons,
You may loose your job because your company decides to head off into Europe.
Within hours many who voted 'Brexit' are questioning what on earth they have done!
Today I feel like a stranger in my own country
 I am away from the computer

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Iris Pseudacorus Variegata

These vibrant yellow irises have been decorating the edges of our small garden pond during June. I am leaving their cheery sunshine faces with you until my return♡

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Butternut Squash Lebanese style

A tasty vegetarian dish from the Middle East

 Ingredients for 4
1 large butternut squash, deseeded, skin removed
Extra virgin olive oil
70g tahini
juice of l lemon & 1 lime
 3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 red & 1 green chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
½ tsp chilli powder, plus extra
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 small bunch of coriander chopped (use stems as well as leaves) 
 Heat oven to 190℃ (210℃ for non-fan)
Slice squash, drizzle with oil and roast on baking tray for about 30/40 mins, turning a couple of times until tender and the edges caramelise
For the dressing combine tahini, lemon & lime juice in bowl and beat in 6 tbsp water to smooth paste. Heat a little olive oil in frying pan, then add chopped garlic, chillies and chilli powder.
Cook for 1 min over medium heat then add tahini and walnuts and continue to cook for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped coriander.
Arrange squash on serving plate, cover with sauce, scatter pine nuts over top together with a light sprinkle of chilli powder only if you like your food more spicey (on the photo the pine nuts were included in the sauce but subsequently I prefer them added at the end
Whilst the tahini is out of the cupboard why not quickly whizz up some humous
drain 400g tin of chickpeas
tablespoon of tahini
1 clove garlic
tbsn extra virgin olive oil
some sea salt
small spoon chilli powder
juice of two limes or one lemon
approx 12 stalks with leaves of fresh coriander
blend all together until smooth, taste and add more seasoning if required.
Add whatever fresh herbs you prefer, or use sundried tomatoes, red pepers, the choice is almost endless 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Visitors to the Garden

Are humble Foxgloves on the rise? This year so many have planted themselves in our pots and borders wearing shades of pink, and white.
As dusk falls white Foxgloves seem to glow

Foxglove digitalis purpurea is lovely but can be toxic to some people so care should be taken. It has a whole host of common names reflecting an association with fairies - Fairy Caps, Fairy Gloves, Fairy Thimbles, Fairybells, and Fairy Herb.
Foxglove Fairy - Cicely Mary Barker
Digitalin, a cardiac glycoside that is extracted from Foxgloves is used to help steady rapid heartbeats and arrhythmias 

This one has even made itself at home inside a pot of my lilies.  
Some visitors, however, we are not so pleased to see.
I know this baby squirrel is very cute but he is trying to take the birds' nuts and seeds
but hasn't yet figured out how to get them
foiled at the moment
 but he'll be back

June is a month of pretty colours in the garden enjoy it whilst it lasts

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Bastani Ice Cream

Blogging friend Linda mentioned Persian Bastani ice cream to me, which I had never heard of before. The flavour comes from a combination of rose water, saffron, and pistachio nuts, which I added to my own ice cream recipe.
3 teaspoons of rose water essence (mine is concentrated)
15/20 Saffron threads
1 handful chopped unsalted pistachio nuts,
300 grams condensed milk
300 grams creme fresh
300 grams Greek yogurt
yield 1 litre
Soak the saffron threads, which I cut into smaller pieces, in a little warm milk, stir and leave in fridge to chill before adding to the ice cream mixture.
Mix together the condensed milk, creme fresh, and Greek yogurt. Using yogurt and creme fresh rather than double cream reduces the sweetness of the condensed milk. Add the saffron milk including threads, the rose water, and chopped nuts. If using a 'concentrated rose water extract' carefully add one teaspoonful at first, taste and then use your own judgement - some rose waters are less concentrated and may require as much as two or even three tablespoonful. You want subtle background notes from the rose water. 
Pour all of the ingredients into your ice cream machine and churn as per instructions. 
Can also be made by putting straight into the freezer and churning with a spoon from time to time. 
It's delicious
I love making and trying out new flavours of ice cream.
You can find my moreish Apricot and Amaretto ice cream here, and our all time favourite, Damson and Sloe Gin ice cream here.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Early June in our Garden

Cercis siliquastrum - Judas tree
Lonicera sempervirens 

Nectaroscordum siculum subsp.bulgaricum

Aquilegia chrysantha golden columbine

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Packwood, Warwickshire

Entrance to kitchen garden
An Auricular Theatre showcasing these pretty flowers

Packwood House is a timber framed Tudor manor house constructed for John Fetherstone in 1556. It remained in the same family for over 300 years until the last member of the family died. It was purchased by a Birmingham industrialist Alfred Ash, who left it to his son Graham Baron Ash in 1925. Graham, a bachelor, devoted the next two decades to restoring the house and gardens back to its original Tudor origins.
The Yew trees were planted over 300 years ago by the Fetherstone family
Camassia growing in the meadow