Monday, April 29, 2013

Good things in Autumn 2

I don't know if I'm the only one who does this but sometimes I buy spices that I have no idea how I'll use, but they just look or sound interesting. So it was with cardamom last week. Like its many predecessors, it was almost doomed to languish in the kitchen cupboard for all eternity. Until I had a hankering to bake now that the weather is a little chillier, and I recalled that cardamom cake is very popular in Scandinavian cooking. I found this recipe online - - and it turned out quite well. One tip, be sure to grind up your cardamom pods very fine. Mine were a little large but they certainly gave the cake a good flavour hit.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Good things in Autumn 1

It is definitely starting to get cooler here. The days are gradually getting shorter and the sky is often grey. There is still the odd sunny day (of the beautiful, not-too-hot autumnal kind) but the leaves are turning brown and covering the front lawn and nature's wheel is beginning to turn.

This of course means that the time has come for some cold weather treats to come back into the schedule because, let's face it, steaming-hot milky porridge topped with honey or strawberry jam just doesn't make sense in summer!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Our chickens are laying eggs! Four have been produced so far (the one above is the very first), but only three were edible because the fourth had a hole pecked in it by chicken or chickens unknown (apparently this means that they need more calcium in their diets - which we have now remedied). I have to say that eggs from your own chickens taste so much better than other eggs!

The year is gradually moving towards winter. It is especially cool today (though the chickens are itching to get out of their coop as always) with rain and a pretty fresh wind. This little fellow retreated inside attached to the clothes being brought inside from the clothesline. I carried him outside again, but he wasn't having it, so I held out my hand and he chose a spot on the bathroom wall.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fowl Friday (sorry)

Our dominant chicken, Gladys, is in the middle, second-in-command Joyce is off to the right and shy girl Jean is hiding amongst the lemon leaves.

I don't think I've mentioned that our little group here in the Yellow Wood has expanded by three recently - a couple of weeks ago we got ourselves three chickens. They are still a little stand-offish around us and won't be picked up except under great sufferance but they are gradually (at their own pace, thank you very much) becoming more and more a part of our domestic landscape.They are absolutely bursting to get out of their coop in the mornings when I go to open up the door, they fly over the top of each other from any part of the yard when they hear me at the back door, eager to see what foodstuff I have on offer this time (or simply to see what it is I'm going to do), they stick together like glue (though they do have very distinct personalities and a - ahem - pecking order) and come nightfall (which is now of course coming a little earlier), they get themselves back into their coop and snuggle up together for a well-earned rest.


Embrace the day with vigour
Approach any opportunities that come your way with great enthusiasm
Stick close to those that love you
Know when the day is done and it's time for some respite

...I think these chickens might just be onto something!

PS We will be collecting their eggs with gratitude when they start laying, but our dear girls themselves will not end up on our plates.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stitchoodling or Dooditching

Cornelia Paczka-Wagner, Woman Embroidering

I have lately taken very much to stitching. I can’t profess any great skill so far, any major (or even minor) projects completed or any preference for one style over another but I am really just enjoying the process of admiring and being inspired by the vast array of beautiful work by others available to see online and trying my hand at various bits and pieces—the stitching equivalent of doodling, I think.

Yesterday I had a great find at the op-shop—several pieces of old linen with pre-printed patterns to embroider. Sort of like colouring-in for grown-ups! These will be nice pieces to play with. I have tried a few tiny pieces of freehand stitching and I think I still have need of lines and structure while I get my stitches a bit neater!

A corner of one of my found goodies ~

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I am up to my eyes in period dramas on tv at the moment - thoroughly enjoying the new seasons of Inspector George Gently, Call the Midwife and Mad Men.

Last week's Inspector George Gently had a distinctly folky tinge - to my delight - with the female lead, Ebony Buckle, also proving to be a lovely singer. I had never heard this song before - "Matty Groves" - but there are lots of great versions of it on You Tube - Sandy Dennis, for one, and also Alela Diane & Alina Hardin. Ebony Buckle also performed the lovely "Silver Dagger", made famous by the great Joan Baez. Great finds for me this week, accompanying me as I've been doing a bit of stitching.

What's caught your eye on the telly lately? Discovered any good music?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Out of a jam (sorry!)

Before Christmas I bought a lovely jar of rich plummy-pruney jam. It was lovely but just too much for first thing in the morning, you know? So, rather than throw it out, I remembered something my grandmother used to do. I mixed the jam together with some dried fruit, popped the lot into a pastry case and baked it at about 180 degrees celsius for roughly half an hour. Delish!

And I have been in love with this piece of music this week...

Enjoy x