Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Early Morning

I usually go for a walk every day, where I used to go with my dogs. For the last few days, it's been hot by 10 a.m. so I went at 0530 this morning.

It was still quite humid, the sun was up and it was cloudy.

It's been a crazy few days, Yvonne finished another square for LoveQuilts, which has been sent off,

I made some Carrot Cake Cupcakes; for a Literary festival? It's complicated, see below.

And here's the recipe,


·         For the cupcakes
·         400g granulated sugar
·         325ml vegetable oil
·         1 tsp pure vanilla essence
·         3 extra-large eggs
·         280g plain flour
·         2 tsp ground cinnamon
·         2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
·         1 1/2 tsp salt
·         375g finely grated carrots, well drained (you will need about 600g fresh carrots to get this amount).
·         150g sultanas
·         125g chopped dates
·         For the icing
·         375g cream cheese, at room temperature
·         250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·         1 tsp pure vanilla essence
·         500g icing sugar


1) Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 4.

2) Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, sultanas, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

3) Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 200°C/gas mark 6 for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4 and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

4) For the icing, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

5) When the cupcakes are cool, ice them generously and serve.


We also had pork chops cooked in apple and stuffing,

Basically, you grease the casserole and line it with chunks of peeled apple,

add the chops, cover with more apple and top with dry stuffing mixture.

Bake at 180°C for 40 minutes, uncovered for the last 15 minutes.


Bread-wise, I made Sun-dried Tomato and Garlic rolls using a bottle of tomatoes in oil, I chopped the tomatoes and added all the oil as part of the liquid.

I used a basic bread recipe, 500g flour, a total of 350g liquid, 10g each of yeast and salt. 2tsp Chopped Garlic. 

Chop the tomatoes and add at the start. Then make the dough as normal.

You will get 8 rolls of about 110g each or you could make it as a loaf.

As I said, I made the cakes for a literary festival I attended in my author persona. A full report is on my author website HERE but I have put a couple of photos below.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Planting flowers in my wall!

One of the things I love about Devon is the wild Valerian growing out of cracks in the walls.

Now I'd like that sort of show in the wall at the end of my garden. The only question was, how could I get the plants started?
And then I had my big idea, it involved tea bags. But not any tea bags, specifically these, that come in little paper folders. And by the way, you should try these, they're delicious!!

We drink a lot of these teas, and I saved the bags while I waited for the seeds that I had ordered to arrive.

Next job was to fill the bags with moist compost and put a couple of seeds in each one.

Then I put them in cracks in my wall. Hopefully, they will grow strongly enough in the soil that when the roots break out, they will establish.

Stay tuned!