Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Pan Chancay Buns from Peru

This is the mid May bun bake from our Face Group baking our way through The Book of Buns.  We were out of 'breakfast buns', so I was delighted that I would be baking some slightly sweet buns.

As for the Chancay Buns with their flavour from raw cane sugar, powdered anise seed, and ground cinnamon, these will most definitely be baked again.

Yesterday I had 'struggled' with baking a sourdough loaf, and this was as a balm to my soul.  The Pan Chancay buns are lovely and light, delicious, fragrant and the little seeds on the top are a bit of a tease.  As they are held on with a melted butter glaze, they are apt to fall off, but what is a finger for but to pick up these toasted seeds from your plate.  All I can think of is how my baking has progressed as I have baked for nearly two years from this Book, and how my sourdough will improve in the next two years.

I have several tips regarding the sourdough from fellow bakers on the Facebook Group working through Jane Mason's new book: Perfecting Sourdough.   

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Bluebells and just a few white bells

A short walk from home brought us to some lovely bluebell woods.

Mr S and I frequently have a little walk there at different times of the year.  It was here that my sister Jenny was enthralled by them, so when we see the bluebells we are reminded of taking her there.

Just a few photographs, and some of the wild white wood anemones.

 And I just opened the window on this lovely sunny afternoon to listen to the newly arrived swifts and house martins, as they circle over the garden.  I'll get out the binoculars and see if I can spot some swallows too.  Hurrah, hopefully dreary winter is over, we have some nice warm weather set for the next few days.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Primula Auricula Nessun Dorma

There is just something about Auriculas that I love.  Maybe it is because there is so much variety, there is something about the shape of each individual flower that I like.  I find the plants quite difficult to grow.  I have lost many, bought many, but for now, I am staying with what I have left about six plants in pots and will hope to enjoy them.  Its been a strange growing season.  In fact despite the mild winter, they are later to come into flower compared with previous years.  Non were ready for the April Show.

This is Primula auricula Nessun Dorma, the first to flower this year.  In order to enjoy it I have brought it into the conservatory, though I am attempting to keep it as cool as possible.  When I took the following picture yesterday, where the plant usually sits, so that I can have an eye level view, I realised that there is a metal flower on the shelves very similar in shape to an auricula!

When I checked the photograph close up, I realised that greenfly were starting to emerge, and unlike my garden where I hope birds and other insects help to maintain an equilibrium, house plants need to be defended!

Yesterday I went to St Nicholas Church to a lovely birthday concert given by my friend Vita, in which she sang some lovely songs with friends.

Needle Crafts

A project which I finished just before Easter at our regular WI craft groups is this 'sewing box'.  There was much cutting, gluing, and sewing with a curved needle.  For the top, I made a dorset button inspired handle, and have started to gather a few things to put in it.

When you take the lid off, the box opens up to reveal little areas to slip in tools, and threads, and a little pin cushion in the middle.

A few years ago, at the same group, led by Kay the leader of our branch of the WI, and amongst other things a wonderful needle woman, who has been known to haunt many a Goldwork course at Denman College,  I made the large 'house wife roll', and needle case.  Luckily I had quite a large amount of the fabric in my stash.

Our very latest project is just starting off, and I am coming to grips, with not letting my threads twist.  So if anyone can give me any tips, I shall be pleased to hear from you.

Orange Tip misidentified by me as Dappled White Butterfly

A couple of days ago, as I went out to hang out the washing, I loitered in the garden as I do, and on the lovely tulips saw an unusual insect, I wasn't sure if it was a butterfly or a moth, but I know I had to try and capture it with my camera.  I had not seen one of these before, and understand that they are not at all common.  But I was wrong...this is an orange tip with its forewings folded back.

I have been trying to find out what it is,  and jumped to the conclusion that it may have been a  Dappled White.  I probably thought it might be as it mentioned Warwick, and we are about five miles from Warwick.

I didn't quite get the quality of picture I would have wanted, but did not want to scare the butterfly off nor trample on my emerging herbaceous plants.  Since looking up this butterfly, and seeing what it looks like with its wings open, I feel sure we had them flitting around the garden last year.  This one looked as if it has just freshly emerged and was drying out its wings in the sunshine.  It does say that the last butterfly was caught near Warwick in 1948!

I had excellent feed back from David Moore, from UK Butterflies.  This is what he wrote:

Your butterfly is not a Dappled White though. It's an Orange Tip (there ARE various species of 'Dappled Whites' but none are found in the UK).

The male of this species has unmistakable orange patches on his wings which, when seen in flight, rule out every other British species. The females are identical except they lack these orange markings, and at first glance could be mistaken for one of the other 'Whites'.

Orange Tips are common butterflies, widespread throughout the UK, but they prefer damp areas where their foodplant grows - Cuckoo Flower or cardamine pratensis. If you have this flower in your garden (or you have the close relative - Honesty) then this might attract both male and female Orange Tips.

The butterfly will tuck its forewings behind its hindwings when at rest so it's hard to tell which sex it is, but if you saw it in flight and didn't see any orange then it was certainly a female.

Coincidentally, I photographed a roosting male Orange Tip this afternoon, and have attached an image for you to compare it. You can find out more about this beautiful species of butterfly here:


A very nice visitor to have in your garden!!

Each year we have orange tips..at least the males visit the garden..but we don't have any cuckoo flowers or honesty.  I shall have to grow some for them!