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Friday, 23 June 2017

Elderflower Cheesecake

I mentioned a week or so ago that Elderflower Cordial can be used in cheesecake so today I thought I would give you my recipe for this. It is a very easy recipe and actually originates from a restaurant in Kendal. The Moon restaurant was a great favourite in the 80's and 90's. It was the first place that I ever tasted Sticky Toffee Pudding. I have two little books that they produced at this time. I see the date that I have written in the front of  "More Recipes from the Moon." is 1st  September 1990.

Somewhere in the back of mind I feel I may have already given you this recipe so I apologise if I am repeating myself.

Biscuit Base (I double this bit)
2oz Butter
4oz Crushed digestive biscuits.
1/3 pint double cream
10oz cream cheese ( can use low fat)
2oz Caster sugar.
4 fl oz Elderflower Cordial
1 dessert spoon lemon juice.

1. Melt the butter and stir in the biscuit crumb.
2. Press the mixture over the base of a greased 8" loose bottom shallow cake tin. ( I use a flan dish of about 10".)
3. Using a hand mixer beat together all the ingredients until smooth.
4. Spread over the base.

I decorate this with fresh soft fruit although this is not what the recipe suggests. They suggest 2 tins of raspberries brought to the boil with arrowroot and then cooled before pouring over individual slices.

An easy but tasty dessert which it suggests you could try different cordials. I haven't done this but I would imagine that ginger would be tasty with a ginger biscuit base. I will let you know when I have tried it!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Take Three Thursday: Domes Inside and Out

 The remit for Mary - Lou's Take Three Thursday is to post three photos that have come to one's attention and that all follow a theme. This week I have chosen one of the items on the list for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. I have chosen No. 13 A Dome.
 Yesterday I had a couple of spare hours in Cardiff while waiting for my daughter. I decided to head to The National Museum partly to get out of the heat, also because it is free but also because it's large range of exhibitions was sure to have something of interest. I spent a few moments admiring the exterior and the adjoining building which is the Cardiff City Hall. It soon became obvious that this was a good opportunity for a dome!
You may recall from yesterday that my camera has gone for a bit of a MOT so I only had my iPhone with me. I really am not very good at taking pictures with this but sometimes needs must! So taken with my iPhone are 3 buildings with domes in close proximity viewed from Cathays Park.

1. The ornate dome above Cardiiff City Hall topped with a sculpture of a Welsh dragon.

2. Cardiff National Museum with it plainer but still majestic dome.

3. Seen through the trees to the left of the City Hall are two domes which are part of Cardiff Crown Courts. I believe they are matching turrets.

Anyone who knows me will know that I find it hard to stick to the rules. Today I have 3 more domes for you. Inside Cardiff National Museum the interior is quite impressive. This view from the first floor gallery looking down on the foyer below the dome gives an indication of its grandness. This was the venue for a ball that my daughter recently attended.

Then here are the interiors of three domes within the museum.

1. The interior of the large dome.

2. and 3. Two domed windows at the museum.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Free Range

 Yesterday I took my camera in for a bit of a once over to see if they can get the marks off my sensor. I'm feeling a bit lonely already without my camera. I do have my phone and can borrow one of my daughters cameras so I am sure I will survive.
Meanwhile here are a couple of photos of the hens enjoying their liberty to roam. It's good to,see them out and about. 

You can see they don't take much notice of Monty.

They are not so keen on this very hot weather preferring to stay in the shade. Pretty much like most of us really.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A Fabulous Colour

The farmer bought some lily bulbs that he brought on in pots. I planted some of them into the garden and two of them are now in flower. The colour of this one is particularly striking.

Then there is a vibrant yellow one.

There seems to be quite a lot of yellow and orange in the garden at the moment including this iris.

And this pretty rose.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Hot Chick

The temperatures have soared over the weekend with every person and every animal heading for the shade.

It's also affecting the baby birds. It's not uncommon for swallow chicks to fall out of their nests in this weather. There are 12 nests in total on the farm and their nests are close up to the hot roofs. The  chicks are getting big and they spread out to get cool in their over crowded environment and whoops! Out they come. Several were found on the ground yesterday and returned by means of a ladder.
I haven't really said much about the swallows this year but they have a nest in the stables close to the one I followed last year. Yesterday they had all flown the nest except one.

Watching from a safe the parent birds did not seem coming to feed this little one but I could only leave it for them to return. Three times later in the day we found a little swallow on the ground. The parent birds were swooping down but were cautious of coming right down. After two attempts at putting it on the wall where it flew a little way I finally I resorted to the roof where the parents came down to it. I have no idea this morning whether it recovered enough to join it's little family. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Sundial

I have taken photographs of the sundial at Tyntesfield before but on this visit it had been decorated with an array of flowers. This also could be a possibility for No. 22 A dial for the Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt.
Here are a few views of the dial.
From the seat behind.

Looking back from the kitchen garden.

A close up.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Season of Growing

This time of year is an important time of year for the crops. The warm weather we have been having is helping the crops to finish growing and mature.
The other day I took a walk alongside one of the fields with barley growing.

I cannot really create the waving effect of the wind waving the heads.

It has still some way to go before it will be ready to harvest.

The potatoes are also looking good and have benefited from both the rain and sunshine.

On looking closer the potato flowers are just coming out although obviously it is what is out of sight underground that is most important!

Fingers crossed for a good crop.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Birthday Cake

Yesterday younger daughter had a birthday. Her cousin kindly made her birthday day cake and made a very expert job of it.

The top cake was carrot cake and the bottom chocolate. She was practicing for decorating her sister's wedding cake.  It looked great and tasted delicious.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Take Three Thursday: Baler Twine

Today I have another farm related theme with which to join Mary-Lou in her Thursday meme where we post three related pictures that have come to our notice this week. Mine all revolve around this item.

Baler twine. Everyone who has had anything to do with a farmer will know the many uses of this multipurpose string as well as it's proper use to tie up bales.  It is used for everything possible on a farm from gates and fences to farmer's trousers (not farmer husband I am glad to say). My sister will tell you that she suspected I had met a farmer before I told her when she spotted my car bumper held up with this colourful twine.  Farmer husband would have every plant possible in the garden tied up with it if I didn't get there first with the green string. It makes a serviceable dog lead, grass reins on your pony and a good tow rope for your child's trike!
However today it was being used for its proper use around freshly made bales of haylage. Late afternoon I was asked to make a mad dash to the agricultural suppliers to fetch some more packs as supplies were running low. Then there was a quick trip to the field to deliver it.
This gave me a chance for my 3 photos.
1. A half finished field of grass. The dried grass roared up in rows ready for baling and the newly made big bales awaiting collection.

2. A few running maintenance matters. Connecting up the next bale of twine.

3. The baler back in action with the next big bale emerging like a giant egg.

So that's another field done and the task today will be to get them all wrapped and stacked while the weather holds.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Made from Wood

My visit to Tyntesfield gave me the opportunity to make a start on one of the items that Mary Lou has put on her Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt. She has kindly taken on the hunt this year and No.15 on the list is Something Crafted from Wood.
The old farm buildings at Tyntesfield that would have been Home Farm in it's heyday are now made into the Visitor centre. Close to the ticket office in the former farmyard are the premises of the Somerset Bodgers who work with the public making items from green wood that has been sourced on the estate. This character is one of their creations.

We made another discovery at one of the children's play areas where giant garden visitors created from wood adorn the area.
A slug.


And snail.

The wonderful creations are being gently polished by the children as they play on them. It took me quite a while to take these pictures patiently waiting for children to move on!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Cat Capers

I almost feel that I should put a statement of "no cats were harmed in the making of this post!" The cats seemed determined  to get themselves into crazy positions. Firstly Socks peeping through the door.

Then Tiggy may look stuck on a stick but he was quite happy walking along the fence.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Refreshment from the Hedgerow

The hedges are full of elderflower blooms at the moment so this is the time to be making your elderflower cordial. It is a while since I have made some so I collected some flower heads while I was out walking last week. My recipe requires 20 heads but as I had only collected 11 heads I decided to make half a batch.

The ingredients for my recipe are as follows:-
20 large elderflower heads
2 lemons chopped
2 oranges chopped
2.5 lbs sugar 
3 pints water
2 oz citric acid (usually obtainable from a chemist)

To make the cordial:-
1. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat. 
2. Pour into a deep bowl and add the citric acid stirring until it dissolves.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
4. Cover with a cloth and leave in a cool place for 4 days stirring twice a day.
5. Strain and bottle into sterilised bottles.

I completely forgot to take a photo of the finished product but I can assure you that it tastes good. I use clean, sterilised small plastic bottles . I sterilise them with Milton and rinse them with cooled boiled water. I then freeze the cordial until I want them.
My sister in law freezes the heads and then makes one or two bottles as she wants them. I believe she uses a different recipe. She has been busy collecting flower heads to make cordial for the forthcoming wedding. Quite a task to undertake!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Fresh Produce

When the Tyntesfield Estate was first bought by the National Trust the whole place was in a time warp and had gradually deteriorated from it's former glory. We were invited to some of the early tours of the house and of the gardens so saw things virtually as they were when the National Trust took over. It is consequently great to regularly see the restoration progressing.
It is possible before even stepping into the kitchen garden that there has been a massive amount of progress.

There are indeed several entrances and this sign hints at the purpose of the garden.

The first time we visited it was mainly laid down to grass. Now it is a thriving line of production!

The produce looks lush and tasty.

When you see fruit like this you can see the need for signs asking you not to touch. The temptation is great.

There are rows of different varieties of potatoes.

Asparagus beds that are now finished for the season.


And some extraordinary looking elephant garlic. 

Note in the background the carefully trained fruit trees fixed on the brick walls which are such a feature of this garden. 
The walled garden is tucked away at the far estate but is worth the walk (only about 10minutes if that)  or there is a courtesy bus if you prefer. It's well worth that little leg stretch to see what has been achieved down here.