Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bara Brith

This post is especially for a friend who claims to be useless at cooking, but I want to show her and others of you out there this simple recipe. Anyone can make it. You just need to get yourself organised ahead of the game, because you have to soak some fruit and sugar in some hot tea. Bara Brith is a Welsh tea loaf. Here goes:

I've made two cakes, as that's what I always do! One to keep and one to give away, or freeze.

In a bowl place 350g of any dried fruit you've got lying around and add 225g soft brown sugar. If you haven't got any brown then ordinary white will do but not as good. Make a pot of strong tea and add 300ml of it to the bowl. Cover the bowl and leave either overnight or for several hours, to plump up the fruit.

Preheat the oven to Gas 2, 150 C, or 300 F.

Now all you have to do to make this cake is mix in 1 beaten egg. That's not so difficult is it.

Then mix in 275g of self raising flour.

The mixture then looks like this. That is it - nothing else to do other than put the mixture into a baking tin.

Place the mixture either in a 2lb silicone tin, which doesn't need greasing or lined with baking parchment - saving lots of tine.


In a traditional tin loaf but with a bought liner. Again saving time. Also if you are giving the cake away it looks quite nice in a liner.

Bake for 90 minutes to 105 minutes. When it should look like this:-

And when out of the tin:-

So come on you readers - surely you can make one for yourselves and say NO to shop bought cake!

It is best sliced and served with a spread of butter(Lurpak being my favourite!)

This was the amount of washing up I had, just missing the cake tin. So that didn't take very long to do.

Give it a go I dare you. Now off to give away one of the cakes.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Garden Warfare

Ok some of you may remember back in April I showed you some vegetables that I planted - well here's a follow up report.
Battle 1
Have managed to keep the chickens from escaping and diving into the raised beds, but this didn't stop the garden birds from eating ALL my dwarf runner beans - they are no more! But hallelujah, with some advice from a fellow blogger I have managed to keep the runner beans alive during the frosty evenings. But next battle has been some slugs - so apologies for any organic growers, but I have succumbed to pellets! Come on if I don't do this I will not have anything left. Two slugs managed to eat 2 runner bean plants in one night!

As you can see they are beginning to grow, as last week saw the return of the sun, HURRAY!

Battle 2
The two tomato plants I bought seemed to be doing really well on my window ledge, as it was too cold and early to put them outside. I even repotted them into a larger pot. But then tragedy - they both caught a virus and had to be thrown away! So at the weekend got two more plants, lets hope they do better.


Battle 3
The pepper plant has been slowly growing but yesterday I saw greenfly attacking it so I sprayed it with some diluted washing up liquid water (I'm sure I've read somewhere that you can use this). Today the plant looks fine so hopefully this is one battle that I have won. It's a good job I haven't got to keep any family going with my crops! Gardening programmes make it look so easy.

Saturday ended up at a garden centre with Mrs A, dad and No 3.  Ever hopeful I was tempted by a chilli plant.

Dad got me a new rosemary plant, as the one I already have has been battered by me constantly removing sprigs for yummy Sunday dinners.

Time to be frivolous - went into Wilkinsons for some garden canes and came out with this new windmill instead!

Isn't it gorgeous? Mr P was a bit worried that the chickens might be scared but they seem oblivious to the new garden addition.

Dad also came on Saturday with this lovely sunflower plant.

 He knows that I love them. When I go to France I think I must drive Mr P mad with stopping to take yet more photographs of the fields of sunflowers. I cannot resist them.

Ooh look there are some more buds underneath the top leaves! How exciting more loveliness to come.

I can now show you the finished blanket I made No 3 for her birthday.

I just love these ribbons - purchased from Fabric Guild Leicester

No 3 just loves tea and cuddly things.

Golly going so long without blogging makes me realise how much I have to say, but I promise next time I'll give you an update on horse (Trigger) with some pictures in his new abode.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Misery to Pleasure

I couldn't seem to find anything to blog about for the last week. The weather was miserable, my buddies were feeling miserable, I felt miserable and then a very dear old lady from church died. I couldn't go to the annual Malvern Quilt Show because of commitments. Then to add to my final gloomy moments Mr P went away to our lovely home in Northumberland for the week.

So all in all I felt very sorry for myself. BUT somehow those nasty miseries have all gone and I feel like my old self again. Even the weather has managed to chase the grey away and is now gloriously displaying gorgeous sunshine. The heat has been turned up to a massive 27 degrees!

Every time I turn into a road near to where I live I am greeted by this wall. This photograph was taken last autumn.

Now look how lovely it is today.

Thanks you God for sunshine and flowers.

Thanks too for changing seasons.

Number 3's presie is almost completed - in time for her home coming/birthday this weekend. Photograph to come once she's seen the finished item.

Well I'm off to enjoy this sun and mow the lawn - sorry daisies!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Competition Results

Well the time has come to reveal the winner..........

So the reader of my blog that has won is (roll of the drums please) is known as "Doctor, Doctor".

Trigger will be making his way very soon to you - well done.

And just for a little bit of extra fun - the craft group voted on the name they liked the best and the winner is........

Well done reader "Rebecca G". A small prize will be making its way to you too.

Competition - Two Hours To Go

Horse is getting very excited. He is wondering what he is to be called?

Here are the names all folded and ready for the grand draw in 2 hours. "Oh",  he says, "I hope the heart bowl will select my perfect owner?"

Fourteen different names! Some of them are Welsh and one is Cornish - so perhaps he needs a passport?

Horse is now getting his things ready.

He's got his small red blanket ready for the draw at 8pm. But the posting will not be added till around 10pm.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

24 Hours To Go

Hi All,

Just a reminder that there are 24 hours left to go before the ending of the competition. So far the names put forward are:- Daisy Muncher, Margh, Puddle Jumper, Cassius, Pearl, Wobbly, Trigger 1, Dobbin, Mr Fluffy, Asyn, Poppet, Trigger 2, Horace, Ceffyl.
Horse is getting ready to leave to go to a new home - he's even done the washing up before he/she leaves!
Horse is even packing his/her bag ready for the off tomorrow night to its new owner.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Competition Update

So far we have 8 names to put into the hat for next Monday:-

Daisy Muncher

Margh  (Cornish for horse)

Puddle Jumper






So if you have not entered a name - then get thinking and posting either onto this page or my facebook page for those who know me.

Good luck.

Family Weekend

This weekend has gone by in a blur. The start of the weekend was me blitzing the house before my dad arrived. His home is always immaculate. When my sister and I were little we had one week of doing the washing up and one week of dusting and hoovering, this we alternated. Dad used to come and check that we'd done our job by wearing a white pair of gloves! If we didn't do our jobs then we would not get our pocket money. Strangely enough the television was always dusted well! The reason for me wittering on about this is that I found tucked behind the curtain a plant that a friend bought me some years ago for my birthday and I discovered through neglect it has flowered!

It was tucked in that corner where I have now moved the pottery to!

So pretty and look there are some buds - so more delights to come!

Anyway on with the weekend. Well for me it was quite exciting having dad come as he was armed with his hammer drill, hacksaw etc - no this is not to do with my cooking! You evil lot! He has come to do jobs that unfortunately Mr P is not gifted in. You see when I got married at 18 years of age I naively thought that all men can do woodwork. In defence of Mr P he's brilliant at repairing cars and has saved us thousands of pounds that we would not have had.

Well Mr P put this cupboard up after a few months of it sitting in our bathroom. But when it was up I realised that there was not enough shelving.

So "ta dah" dad comes armed with tiny bits of hardboard in order to make more shelves. It was a bit of a tall order as there was barely enough space to add the extra shelves to accommodate my spices. I can't wait now to play with them all, getting them in the right order. The picture makes it look rather small but I will have lots of space.

Fed dad lunch as a reward and then amazingly the rare yellow blob came out and I decided to introduce dad to Foxton Locks - one of Leicester's few tourist attractions.

I just love this willow tree, it looks wonderful whatever the season.

Here was one of the boats moored, waiting to go through the flight of locks. But seems as I'm always going to Foxton you'll have to wait and see more pictures of here another time.

There were some people playing folk instruments in order to raise money for the Locks. Dad and I had an argument outside the pub as to who was buying the drinks! Ended up with dad grabbing my purse out of my hand! What's he like!

Anyway back home to make dad earn his roast pork dinner - yum yum. Last summer we bought some pictures back from France and yes you've guessed they have been sitting propped against our living room wall since! I think dad was fed up of seeing them there and so he offered to put them up - hence him bringing his hammer drill.

 Apologies for the quality of my pictures, but it was so hard to take them with the light shining on them and the reflection etc.

The colours don't come out so well of this picture but we just love the blue of the shop, all the gorgeous flowers and the small girl just makes this picture.

It certainly doesn't have these stripes going across!

Oh well and the final picture dad put up was one that I found in a local charity shop.

I actually took the picture off the wall to photograph so that you could all see the amazing craftsmanship of this embroidery. It is quite old but to me it still looks quite modern in design.

Sunday was manic. Started with me collecting the minibus from an old peoples home to collect various people to take to church. We have a rota and I do this once a month. I really enjoy the banter on the minibus and it is a real privilege to do this for so many lovely people who are unable to walk so well. Obviously I took them home afterwards and then Mr P and myself journeyed to Warwickshire to visit Mr P's poorly sister in a home and then on to her daughter's for a family reunion. I'm not showing pictures of people because I feel they deserve their privacy but I will show you one member of their family! This family member belongs to my niece's son. I have to say I had to delete several photographs because they were blurred as I was shaking and scared when I took them! You must be wondering what family member could make me this way - well have a look!

This snake is only a baby - can't remember what sort it is but next year, when he is fully grown he will be 6 ft long!  Uurgh! My niece said he escaped the other night and she couldn't go to bed until he was found. Oh my word I would be petrified and I'm sure having nightmares of him  escaping into my bed if I lived there. You should have seen me when I went to the toilet - I opened the door carefully to check he was no where to be seen!

Finally a little glimpse of something I'm making for No 3's birthday! This is all she is allowed to see.

Finally, finally the evening was finished off with a glass of red wine, snuggled on the settee with Mr P, watching a nice murder (Lewis). Perfect way to end a good weekend.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Day 4 of Instructions!

OK I am having such fantastic name suggestions for "Horse" that I think after the drawing of the name out of the hat , I will hold a ballot for the best name. More details to follow when my brain is awake properly!

I will write up all the names that are appearing on facebook for you all to see - later on.

More Instructions.

It appears that some people are finding it hard to work out how to leave a name for  Horse on my blog - so after some thought I have decided that you can leave me a name on my facebook page. That is those of you who know me on facebook can do that - sorry not happy to declare my facebook address on this page.

I had no idea doing a give away competition would be so difficult!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Leaving a Message

I should say that in order to leave a message or a name for the horse you have to sign up to blogger. It does not mean that you have to be doing a blog, I think it is a way of getting you to sign up to them. So you just need a user name and a password.