Tuesday, 16 August 2016

In a Vase on Monday - dithering

Yes I am in a dithering mood...too many choices perhaps, or just indecision...and they already arranged and photographed, still not posted in time for Monday!  But I did have a friend round for lunch, it was a nice day, and had plenty of time to prepare a lovely lunch and eat out in the garden

White vase?

 or dark cloisonne vase?

It stayed in this vase in the coolness of the sitting room.  The seed pods were picked up last autumn, from the square in Kenilworth where a couple of trees names unknown grow.  Update:  Cathy asks what they are..and I have researched and can confirm that the beans are from The Golden Honey Locust Tree: Glenditsia triacanthos 'Sunburst'.  Next week I shall take and post  some pictures of the trees in the square.

and so much choice in blooms from the garden, too....

This week: Hydrangea Vanille Fraise whilst it is white and before the pink tinge starts, the seed heads of Sanguisorba officinalis 'Pink Tanna', and Persicaria Red Dragon.  This time I had Red Dragon picked and plunged in a deep bucket on Sunday evening, so Monday morning is was in good condition.  When I last used Red Dragon, it had rooted in the vase, and is already potted up and in friends' gardens!

Cathy who hosts this meme, and was the giver of the Persicaria plant, has an interesting theme this week, and has some lovely blooms grown from seed.  Do go over and have a look at her offering this week.

Sourdough Challah

Having already bought two of Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's books as presents, I was intrigued by his latest: How to Make Sourdough, and have borrowed it from the library.  I also wanted to practice a six plait loaf, so chose the Sourdough Challah.  I left it to prove overnight in the conservatory, and baked the two side by side on the same sheet.  I'm not sure what caused all those little blisters under the glaze.

The bread was light and airy...but maybe we have been having rather tasty bread recently, and they tasted rather bland.  These were the first white loaves for some time!  I shall have a go at a few other recipes and then decided whether I shall buy the book.

Bountiful Summer

Last week I was lucky enough to be offered produce from two gardens.  From Janet I received runner beans, yellow courgettes and plums, and from Roz some blackcurrants, and three small heads of garlic.  Roz did not think the garlic would have come to much as they had 'bolted'.  The seed heads were so pretty that I brought them home too.

Its ages since I had my allotment and grew garlic, but found an interesting blog on the subject, in which Justyna talks about all things garlic.  I thought the purple bulbils on these scapes were rather photogenic.  However with my Mrs Mace Preserves cap on, I decided to blanch them, and put them in a jar covered with olive oil, to give garlic infused oil for salad dressings in the next month or so.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Yukon Flapjacks

This has been our bake for the first part of August 2016 on our Facebook page.....

Being just two of us, I decided to half the ingredients given in Jane Mason's Perfecting Sourdough.  There is still more than ample, after all neither of us are on the gold prospecting trail.  At first I wondered what is so different from the English drop scones or Scotch pancakes?  These are however sourdough, so from an interest point of view, and the challenge of baking every recipe in the book, the mixture was made, and the batter cooked....they taste delicious, but more so if left to rise after all the ingredients are mixed in!

There was still more batter left over, so rather than cook all the batter, I put it into the fridge overnight, and cooked the rest for our breakfast, which we had topped with plain yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and some roasted walnuts.  The ones which has a second rise were rather superior.  I feel that the flour had time to be 'disgested' by all the lovely sourdough bacteria overnight, and the batter had far more bubbles, and I wonder whether this way, no baking powder would be necessary.

When I make these again, I will measure out the starter, and refresh at about lunch time, mix all the ingredients around early evening, and then put the mixture overnight in the fridge ready for cooking for breakfast.

Monday, 8 August 2016

In a Vase on Monday - Grace

My little apprentice has taken up The Vase Challenge again now the school holidays are here...home made vases and daisies, and butterflies too.

This week Cathy's Vase is a blaze of colour, she just kept adding more and more..and turned up all sixes.  Do go over there and see the wide variety of flowers and from there vases from far and wide.

After a severe prunning a few weeks ago, Grace is looking bonny again.  I love that apricot colour contrasting nicely with  pale green leaves.  In the vase, to 'support' grace in more ways than one, are some stems of Leycesteria Formosa Golden Lanterns.  The Lanterns have started to have purple berries, and to complement them, I popped in a few stems of Sedum Purple Emperor still in bud,and  a piece of floppy euphorbia.  I'm not sure which it is.  It self seeds around the garden, is a little prone to mildew, and is often cut down with the expectation of fresh purple leaves within a couple of weeks.  It may be amygdaloides purpurea, but I would welcome suggestions.

 Finally a couple of fern leaves which don't really show up well in this picture: Athyrium Noponicum, and Athyrium Otophorum 'Okanum', which either have a purple stem or purple bits.

It is now getting so hot that the only room to put flowers in where they will last more than a day or so is the north facing living room.  I posed the flowers with some shells which I have had for many years.  The large one is almost the same colour as the rose, my mother had this Triton Trumpet Shell up on her pelmet for many years.  Its one of my many lovely treasures.  I made up this vase a couple f days ago, when I got up early to cut the flowers, and I knew we would be lolling around Saturday and Sunday and could enjoy this one over the weekend.  Monday morning is a bit of rush for me