Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lemon Drizzle Muffins

Now that you've made your yogurt, here is a recipe you can have ready for afternoon tea..... LEMON DRIZZLE MUFFINS! 

Visit Deb's Dust Bunny to learn how to make these delicately flavoured treats.

Making Something from Almost Nothing- Yogurt

Yesterday was my bread baking day.  I made my regular white loaf and a batch of Cinnamon-Apple muffins.  Today I am making yogurt.  I use a lot of yogurt in baking. It makes muffins more moist and cake-like and it's good to eat with fresh fruit or a drop of honey and vanilla.

It sounds weird, a bit old-hippy, to say 'I am making yogurt' but like baking bread, it's a very satisfying thing to do.   It doesn't take any real effort and requires only two ingredients to make: milk and a bit of  plain organic yogurt!

 If you buy plain organic yogurt you know how extortionate the price can be.  Next time you have a bit, save a few tablespoons to use as a culture and try making a batch of your own.  You can get the instructions from the Deb's Dust Bunny Blog - just click on the highlighted text.

It's so simple, like most really good things in life.  Who doesn't enjoy taking almost nothing and making it into something!

Monday, 21 May 2012

You are HOW you eat!

I just finished setting up the bread maker to bake a loaf of fresh bread when it dawned on me how fortunate I am to have access to so many wonderful local food stuffs.  The flour in my bread maker is from locally grown, organic, wheat ground at a nearby water driven mill!

Otterton Mill has been grinding grain into flour since 1068, probably even longer.  This is just first recorded date of the mill. That fact staggers me and makes me feel linked to all the people who have come before us and baked bread from this very mill.  Placed in this historic context, bread becomes more than an ingredient in a sandwich or a bit of toast.  It takes on a more spiritual meaning, it gives you a sense of continuity and a link to the past.  Well, at least that is how I feel. 

We've all heard that old adage, 'you are what you eat'.  I am starting to believe we are HOW we eat as well.  We know we should all live more sustainable lives, eat local produce, save energy and recycle.  I try to do all these things and it sometimes feels like a bit of a chore.  But to bake bread from this flour is a privilege and a pleasure. 

I think that is how we should feel about all food and dining, grateful  and privileged.  When so many people in the world are hungry we must be more mindful of what we eat and how we acquire our food.  We  must source our food ethically, and prepare it carefully without wasting precious resources.  It's not just what we eat that matters, it's  also HOW we eat.

I can't wait to have some warm bread with butter! 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Beautiful Day in the Garden

Yesterday was about as perfect a day as one could ask for.   After a week of wild weather and a few of life's personal hiccoughs,  the sun came out and all was right with the world.   Andy worked for hours in the garden doing the dreaded mowing and trimming.  When he was done the garden looked a picture.... so I had to take a few photos.  

Hope you enjoy them!

You've got to love a lady bug!

And this sweet smelling clematis...

 it sort of smells like cloves.

These photos all have a white theme.  If you'd like to see more White Gardens, click on Deb's Dust Bunny  to visit Barrington Court and Sissinghurst Castle. They have two of the most beautiful and famous White Gardens in the world!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

On The Mend

It's been a rough couple of days here.   I think this picture says it all!

I spoke too soon in my last post.  I thought the little cat was improving but I found him behind the garden fence looking like death and very near it!  It was late Sunday afternoon  and out of hours for the Vet.  Fortunately, we have wonderful emergency service and he was receiving treatment almost immediately.  

It was scary, the Vet said she had never seen a cat with such a high temperature.   She was brilliant and kind and what ever she did worked!   The little cat is much better and I am just about to come down off the ceiling AGAIN! 

Fingers crossed, I think this time we really are on the mend!  

(thanks to Simon Tofield and Simon's Cat for the illustration)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Fighting Fear

We have a little black cat who adopted us about six months ago.  We had avoided getting a pet even though Andy and I both love animals.  We said we didn't want to be tied down, wanted to be free to do some travelling when ever we liked.  But the truth is, we were both afraid of having a pet, loving it and loosing it.  It's happened to both of us many times before.  You think you'd get stronger with each little loss.  It doesn't work that way, it just gets harder and harder.  

This morning I came downstairs to find the little cat curled up in a tight knot in his bed.  When I touched him he didn't move, just gave a little cry of pain.  My heart sank!  He had been in a cat fight. Over one eye was a scratch from a sharp set of claws.  The other eye was cloudy and weepy. 

I could feel panic rising in my chest.  It's the only time I feel it, when someone or something I love is hurt or unwell.  I live in fear of this little cat being run over by a car, savaged by other animals or abused by someone who doesn't value animal life the way we do.  Now I was terrified he was going to be blinded in one eye.

Fortunately, things aren't as grim as they seemed at first.  After a quiet day and lots of rest, the little cat is looking better.  He has finally eaten a bit of food and his eye is looking better,too.  We have adopted a 'wait and see' approach and if he isn't much better by morning, he is off to the Vets. 

The panic in me has subsided and I am grateful he is our cat.  I know we will do everything that can be done for him to give him a happy, healthy life.  He is such a pleasure, such good company and  so much fun.  He gives us so much more than we give him.  Our lives would be diminished without pets.  It's worth fighting the fear and dread of loss. 

This applies to people,too.   We all must be brave....not be afraid to love.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Life's Not Fair- Celebrating an Excess of Good Fortune

It's not fair!  How many times have I thought this...how many times have you?  I can still hear my Dad's voice in patient reply to my childish whinging, 'I never told you life would be fair!' 

Sometimes I still feel a little 'put upon' when doing a chore I don't enjoy, or when I've tidied the sitting room three times in one hour only to find it in disarray AGAIN!  I think,'Why are the menial tasks always my job!'  Mowing the lawn puts me in THAT mood.

It seemed like every garden task put me in that mood yesterday, then I realised how lovely the garden was beginning to look.  I watched the birds at the feeders while I had a cup of tea and my mood began to soften.

No, life isn't fair.  I have been so blessed.  I have a wonderful husband, family and friends that I love, a cosy home, a mad little cat and my health.   It's not fair for me to have so much.... I am grateful.  I still don't like mowing grass!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A Day Working in the Garden

I 've spent the day working in the garden, mowing the lawn, weeding the flower beds, and trimming the topiaries.  I am beat!  The best thing is you can see progress in a garden.  That makes the work rewarding.  It also means I haven't been a good blogger.  To make up for it I've baked some Carrot Cake Muffins.

For the recipe, please visit Deb's Dust Bunny  ..... I think you'll like these A LOT!

Movie Night

Last night my friends, Leslie and Eilean, took me to the cinema.  We saw Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and it was very good.   I like gentle films like this one.  I am not much for the 'end of the world' films. 

I won't ruin the movie by giving away the plot but  it's about pursuing mad dreams, following your passions and finding where you belong in life.  I  think  I know why I liked this film! 
Over at Deb's Dust Bunny  I'm trying to use up a 'Two for One' error by making soup.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Plain Sailing

Over on the Deb's Dust Bunny blog, I've done a little piece about the first and only time I've been sailing.   I enjoyed the experience but it isn't a hobby I'd like to pursue.  At first I was a bit frightened, then I just got a bit bored.  It was a very quiet evening so there wasn't much wind. 

It made think, just because you aren't navigating rough waters doesn't mean you are having fun.  I mean, having it easy isn't always what makes you happy. That's why they call it the doldrums, not enough wind to fill your sails.

It's good to challenge yourself sometimes or simply to make a change. Try something different or new.  You may find it's like sailing and never feel the need to repeat the experience. You may find the passion of your life!  Saying that, with stronger winds on the open sea, sailing could be exciting.  Maybe I should give it one more try.