Sunday, 24 June 2012

Camping in the UK summertime!

This is our tent:
It was last used many years ago in the warm and dusty climate of equatorial Africa.
We had a lovely fish and chip supper with our friends. And getting ready for bed in the tent was fun. However, we had the double whammy of a rain-storm, coupled with a very light evening (this photo was taken around 9pm) and dawn arriving at about 4.30am.

As it turns out; the tent leaks quite badly! Here is a picture of a puddle of water inside the tent. :-(
Can you see the water streaming through the walls of the tent.
The last straw was finding out that our milk had been knocked over in the night, and when we opened the food bag, our cereal spilled everywhere.
So, we packed up as quickly as we could, and went and had hot chocolate and coffee and fresh pastries at the service station! Definitely the high point of the weekend!

Oh, and my car got stuck in the mud and had to be pushed out.
This is what we call "character-building" apparently!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Fathers' Day everyone!

I know it doesn't look like much, but this is Daddy's special breakfast of scrambled eggs and mushrooms on toast, and Fathers' Day cards made by the children.
Wishing a lovely day to all the fathers out there!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Here's the all-age, all-abilities Morris at the Fringford Beer Festival

There are some things that are fantastically British.
One of them is Morris Dancing in the drizzle at a village Beer Festival!
The two younger lads here are just gorgeous. One shaking the bells next to the accordion player, and the other one in the second pair with his very new shiny bells that kept falling down his legs.

It's been half-term here. But, if one Bank Holiday means bad weather, then two Bank Holidays means truly terrible weather! Hail stones in June - it's crazy!
 One the bright side, I got to snuggle down in a cafe and have a really lovely breakfast in the warm, while watching the rain outside. With two of my favourite people!
 Yum! Yum!
So, roll on summer. Here's hoping it comes soon!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Waxing Lyrical about Elderflowers!

The Elderflowers are out and making everything smell lovely!
I'm trying to work out whether I have the time and inclination to make Elderflower Cordial.

Just like shop-bought cordial but if there are elderflowers growing near you, this recipe is simple. For maximum flavour, pick newly opened creamy coloured flower heads.

Makes 2 litres (3 1/2 pints)

You need:
30 elderflower heads
2 lemons, scrubbed and sliced
1 x 50g pack citric acid (from good pharmacies)
1.8kg (4lb) granulated sugar

Lemon slices, to serve
Tonic water or sparkling mineral water, to serve

Muslin and 2 x 1-litre (1 3/4-pint) bottles

Turn the elderflower heads gently out on to a draining board or table top (or clean newspaper if too many heads for indoors), leave for approximately 1 hour and any tiny insects will scuttle out. Snip the main stalk from each head and let the flowers drop into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon slices, citric acid and granulated sugar. Bring 1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) of cold water to the boil and pour over the mixture. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave the mixture for 5 days, stirring it once a day. 
After this time, line a colander with a double thickness of muslin and set over a bowl. Scald the muslin by pouring over boiling water, and then discard the water. Turn the elderflower brew into the muslin-lined colander and let the cordial strain through. Discard everything left behind in the colander. Use a jug to scoop the cordial from the bowl and pour into bottles. 
To serve, pour 2-3 tablespoons of cordial into a tumbler. Add ice and a slice of lemon and fill up with water, tonic water or sparkling mineral water. 
The cordial will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months. If you want it to last for up to 1 year, introduce a campden tablet (a preservative used by home wine makers and available from pharmacies). Crush 1 tablet to a powder and mix with 1 tablespoon of cold water to dissolve. Add to the cordial after straining.

On the other hand, I might just make Elderflower Cupcakes:

Elderflower cupcakes

Preparation time:
30 minutes
Cooking time:
20 minutes
Total time:
50 minutes 50 minutes


175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
5 tbsp elderflower cordial
175g self-raising flour pearl swirl white icing flowers, for decorating (optional)


110g unsalted butter,softened
120g icing sugar
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
50g cream cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 180° gas mark 4; line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Using electric beaters, cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl for 5 - 6 minutes until pale and fluffy.
2. In a jug, gently whisk together the eggs and cordial. Add a spoonful of flour to the creamed butter then slowly pour in the egg mixture, beating constantly. Sift the remaining flour and a pinch of salt into the mixture and fold in until evenly combined.
3. Place heaped tablespoons of the batter into the cases and bake for 18 - 20 minutes until the cakes are golden and spring back when touched. Cool on a wire rack.
4. For the icing, cream the butter, icing sugar and cordial together for 3 - 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until you have a thick, creamy icing. Spread or pipe over the cupcakes and decorate with icing flowers, if liked.

 Incidentally, there's also a Diamond Jubilee on (just in case you hadn't noticed!).

No, the pictures don't have anything to do with the text - I don't have any pictures of Elderflowers! :-)