Monday, 31 August 2015

let's cook: jam and scones

cream tea

Another cooking challenge - this time we made jam and scones. Mine are the ones with the blueberry jam on the left, and my mum's are the raspberry ones on the right.

I really enjoyed this challenge - it was nice to have two different elements which were then brought together for a nice cream tea feast. Perfect for a mid-summer challenge.

tea in the garden

So, how did we get on?

Let's start with the jam...

My mum probably deserves a bonus point as she went fruit picking and collected her own punnets of berries to use in the recipe. And she ended up making two different jams with them (one raspberry batch and one blackberry).

The jars of raspberry jam look great!

mum's jam

I found this recipe from Angela of Oh She Glows for blueberry, vanilla and chia seed jam which I was really tempted by, both because I hadn't used chia seeds in any recipes before and because it uses the natural sweetener of maple syrup, rather than white sugar, to sweeten the recipe.

I thought this might appeal to my no.1 judge (Ben) as he's always claiming he's not into super sweet things. Turns out I was wrong, as he voted it not sweet enough. Oh well!

my jam

It's nice to have a jam that contains a superfood though. The chia seeds were the magic ingredient that thickened up the jam a treat, and it has a really nice consistency.

Both me and my mum ended up with a few jars of jam so we've kept one aside to swap when we next see each other. I expect she'll agree about the sweetness though, as I found myself with the same opinion as Ben. A touch more maple syrup next time maybe?

blueberry, vanilla & chia seed jam

Now to the scones...

We both opted for plain scones (in fact I think we may have both used the same recipe from Mary Berry). I think we both wanted to keep it simple so as not to clash with the jam too much. I'd like to try some cheese scones soon though.

My mum was a bit disappointed that hers came out a little on the flat side, but she said they tasted good and they look like they've got a nice colour to them.

mum's scones

I ended up making some heart-shaped scones (it turns out I don't have a circular pastry cutter) and I was really happy with the results. They had a nice height to them and were pretty tasty.

I ended up with quite a large batch so we enjoyed them with cheese and chutney for lunch for a few days after. Mmm...

♥ scones

The results

I think my scones outdid my jam - Ben gave me a 7.5 overall which I think was a fair score.

My mum said that her jam was better than her scones but she scored very highly with 9/10 from my dad and full marks from her friends. Very good show!

afternoon tea

Next up, we'll be making stuffed breads. I've started adding some recipe inspiration over on Pinterest.
I think it's going to be a tasty one!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

things I like this July and August...

Columns (L-R):  1  •  2  •  3  •  4  •  5  •  6  •  7  •  8  •  9  •  10  •  11  •  12  •  13  •  14  •  15  •  16  •  17  •  18

Some summer Pinterest favourites. Lots of lovely things.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

sussex prairie garden

For anyone living in the Sussex area I would definitely recommend a trip to visit the Sussex Prairie Garden this summer. We went last Sunday and for nature and plant lovers it is such a treat.

The garden has been designed in a naturalistic free flowing style, with interlocking arc shapes mixing areas of open lawn with plant-filled borders. There are loads of little paths that you can follow through the planted areas which I really loved.

Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens

I couldn't believe how peaceful the garden is. It's nestled in a quiet bit of the Sussex countryside, so at times all we could hear was the rustle of the wind in the long grasses, and the sound of hundreds of bees hard at work.

Gosh, there were a lot of bees and butterflies! They were loving it.

Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens

There are loads of sculptural pieces in amongst all the plants too - and a great eclectic selection of birdhouses at the entrance to the garden. There are a few more photos over on my Flickr page.

Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens

We had a good explore, and then treated ourselves to a visit to the teashop before we went home.

The garden is open until the 11th October this year and I'd wholly recommend taking a trip down there. The sooner the better, while there are so many flowers in bloom!

They run a lot of events too, and I'll be heading back for a weekend Shibori, Sashiko and Boro dyeing and embroidery workshop in September. I'm really looking forward to it.

And I'm extra excited about eating my packed lunch in the garden.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

a rainbow chair

rainbow chair

It was Brighton Pride last weekend and I decided to decorate my desk chair to celebrate, after noticing that the holes in the back were perfectly placed for a rainbow shape.

It was a really quick little project, and nice to make use of some of the underused (very bright!) colours in my wool stash.


I'm really pleased with the end result - I keep turning round to look at it. And it's nice and tactile too.


I'm now thinking about whether to take it one step further and decorate the seat of the chair...
A project for a rainy day maybe. The perfect time for a rainbow.