Friendly flowers

Nasturtiums like poor soil. They have large seeds about the size of a pea. I think they would be great for children to grow. You can plant them in succession over a few weeks and they first put out tendrils with umbrella shaped leaves. When it rains droplets gather on their leaves. Then in late summer, or early autumn the flowers appear. Trumpet shaped, the flower from pale yellow to deep red, with diffeepatterns and stripes as well as full colour ones. You can eat the spicy leaves and flowers in salads or on cold soups. I think the victorians used to use them as food decorations.

Cupcakes

Opposite the new art venue in Middleport is a small unit called Nickiebees Cupcakes. I popped in to see what they had. I asked about cakes without frosting (too much sugar in it) and we had a chat about whether it’s possible to use a sugar substitute to make the butter cream icing. Afterwards I went back and bought a couple of freshly baked cupcakes. They looked like perfect Victoria sponges. When I got home I went and got some clotted cream and blueberries. I cut the tops off the cakes, cut the tops in half, spread the cream over the cut surface. Then I put the tops back on like butterfly wings. I spooned a little more cream on top and studdied the cream with fresh blueberries. What a tasty treat! Had with a cup of decaff coffee. Tasty and not as sugary as fully frosted!

Green peppers?

These were green when I put them in the fridge a week ago. Most of the pack still are, but these look like they have caught fire! I hope they won’t be too hot, I’ve incorporated them into a curry. The plate is Burleigh ware from Middleport pottery in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. The photo cheered me up because of the bright colours.

Hot buttered toast

When you get up after two hours lying awake at four o’clock in the morning and need comfort food. A lightly toasted slice of white bread and the spread of your choice, and a decaffeinated beverage helps. The first thing I thought last night when I woke up was ‘toast’, I’d got to take a tablet, and I didn’t want to take it on an empty stomach. I remember making toast for people for breakfast in one of my jobs. When all the residents had had theirs we were allowed a slice of toast and a cup of tea. A five minute rest in a hectic morning. And doesn’t it look good enough to eat? I’ve managed to get about three hours sleep in total and all I want to do is get back to bed. But the toast was lovely.

can anyone tell me?

As an experiment I cooked a portion of meatballs alfornio in the oven ( gas mark 7, 35 minutes) and king prawn linguini (5 minutes in the microwave). Both were cooked at the same time but I put the microwave food in when the oven food was almost cooked, so they were both piping hot.

My question to the scientific minded out there is, which used the most energy? My guess is the gas oven cooked meal. But I don’t know? What is the ratio between the two? If I want to save money, which is the best? Answers please…..

Home grown

Basically windfalls, five rough pears, two apples, three green walnuts and a single green tomato. The wind must have been blowing.

For the first time we have a good crop of apples on the main tree, the pear tree is bent over with pears that are growing slowly larger. The walnuts are being stolen by squirrels who bury them and the tomatoes are growing in a hanging basket and in a grow bag surrounded by other plants. They are all having to take their chances while there is less rain, but they are well established plants and I think the fruit trees have deep roots. We plan to do some pruning of the garden. The blueberries are gradually ripening, the gooseberries have all been eaten as have the raspberries. I saw no strawberries this year, but I think they have been shaded out by other plants. We even have redcurrants although I misidentified them as woody nightshade (not a good idea). Earlier in the year we had a small crop of cherries and we might get a few elderberries. So all in all not a bad year of fruit and veg.

Crumpets

‘and shall we have crumpets for tea ?’

I don’t remember where that quote comes from. But that’s what we had for our meal this afternoon. Toasted to a slightly brown colour and hot so that the crumpet is cooked through. I usually have butter or margarine on it but today I had butter and then as a treat a small amount of Greek honey.

The porous, sponge like consistency of the crumpet makes it good for absorbing melted butter. The top of a crumpet is full of a lattice of holes, whereas the base is solid, so these lacunae stay filled and only leak slightly. Yummy! I’ve also toasted crumpets, then grated cheese on them and then I gently microwave them for a savoury snack.

This bought back a memory of using a fork pierced through a crumpet and pushed onto the front bars of a gas fire. A tricky thing to do as the fire might burn your fingers as well as the crumpet! Cook the back first then the front, then take it off the fire and butter and eat. (Childhood memories of when life was more basic).

picnic time

Nothing nicer when you are travelling to stop off for a break. In this case we were on our way down to Falmouth and stopped off at Tewkesbury Abbey. My friend who runs Ivans_uk_tours.com provided a picnic hamper full of goodies. I want to go on another trip like this. Its great not to have the responsibility of a long drive and to have an itinerary sorted out by us but undertaken by someone else. I kept saying it was like having a butler!