Saturday, 29 March 2014

more favourite puds

 There's been a bit of a retro vibe to the puddings I've been making lately.
 This time, another favourite, Bakewell Tart ( or pudding, as it is called in the Derbyshire town from which it takes its name)
Recipes abound for this delicious treat, but most agree on a rich shortcrust shell filled with a layer of jam ( usually raspberry) and frangipane topping.
I used the last of my blackcurrant jam and blind-baked the pastry shell first.

For the frangipane topping beat together-
125g butter with
125g caster sugar
until soft,
then add
125g ground almonds
1 beaten egg and 1/2 teasp almond essence.
Mix well and spoon over the jam.

Bake at 200c/180c fan for about 35 minutes until well risen.

Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

Crunchy, almond-moist and jammy all in one mouthful!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

lately on the lottie - mid march

We have been blessed with some beautiful sunny, warm weather so far this month.
 In contrast, this time last year, we were struggling through one of the coldest springs on record.
 But over the last few days it has turned extremely windy and this afternoon I have been trying to plant garlic and onions in a howling gale!
The flat fens are notorious for strong winds, known locally as fen blows.
These can be particularly destructive for farmers in the area as precious top soil and seeds are blown away in great clouds,
 but down on the lottie it was simply a cause for annoyance as I chased seed packets across the plot and continually tried to wedge the shed door open to stop it flying off its hinges!
Apart from the garlic Arno and the onions Red Baron, I also sowed Calendula and Stocks to attract the bees.
And wandering around the plot looking closely, I saw lots of welcome buds:
firstly, on the new gooseberry bush Hinnonmaki red. I was particularly pleased to see signs of growth on this little bush planted last autumn as it was looking brown and lifeless and I feared the worst.
secondly, tiny flower buds on the wallflowers
and lots of buds on the little plum tree. Last year this tree had 3 small plums, but has put all of its energy into growing and is now a sturdy tree full of buds.

Friday, 14 March 2014

classic puds

During the week we often have fruit and/or yoghurt for dessert, but Sunday is usually a 'proper pud' day chez fenland lottie.
 Just lately, it's been the traditional favourites that I have been making.

  When lovely daughters one and two were small, pineapple upside down pudding was a favourite.
This is a variation on that using pears and my favourite spice .... ginger.

( this is a recipe I have had for a long while, so apologies that the measurements are only in imperial)
Spread 1oz butter and 1oz brown sugar into the base of an 8in sandwich tin.
Drain the fruit from a tin of pears, reserving the juice and place into the tin.
With an electric whisk, mix -
 4oz butter, 2oz brown sugar, 2 eggs, 4oz self raising flour, 1level tsp baking powder, 2 tblsp of the reserved juice and 1 tsp ground ginger 
then stir in 2 pieces of finely chopped stem ginger ( from a jar of preserved ginger).
Carefully spread the mixture over the pears and bake at 170c for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve warm with cream.

On another note, the beautiful warm weather we have been enjoying lately means that there has been much digging, weeding and tidying up down on the lottie in preparation for some serious planting in the next few weeks, but more of that another time.

 Happy weekend!


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

pancake day

Pancake day or Shrove Tuesday, traditionally the day to use up rich foods such as eggs and butter before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
Pancakes are easy to make and fun to cook. especially if you have a go at tossing them!
Pancakes can be sweet or savoury.
Sweet, they can be served with all sorts of things: jam, chocolate, fruit to name just a few ...
but my favourite way is still good old lemon and sugar.


How do you like yours?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

early morning sun

...... and a new month.
 A beautiful sunny morning to herald March and signs of spring abound in our garden.
With the new month and spring-like weather, my mind is buzzing with plans for the lottie.
A few weeks ago we bought a big blue plastic barrel which mr digandweed is going to cut in half with the idea of growing our potatoes in it for this year. The thought being that this would be space saving and might also reduce the risk of scab which affected our crop last year. With this in mind, there are some Charlotte potatoes chitting on the window sill in the spare bedroom.
There are seed packets waiting too - so far -
climbing french beans, beetroot, salad onions and mixed lettuce.
Their contents full of promise for a harvest to come.
I have more ideas too- for another raised bed, or two and some sort of storage unit from old pallets.
Mr digandweed is having trouble keeping up with my racing imagination!
Meanwhile, tucked away safely in our garden is a lovely new dwarf fruit tree, a Christmas gift from big sister and her husband.
It is Rosette a new variety introduced in 2011. It was found in a Worcestershire garden as a natural 'sport' of Discovery and its flesh has a pretty rosette pattern .
 Its buds look full of promise and we are very excited at fenland lottie at the prospect of our very own apples.

As soon as the weather is more reliable it will be joining the little plum tree on the allotment.
And finally, a lovely new notebook in which to jot down plans, planting notes and seed varieties etc.
 I hope the sun is shining on you today whatever your plans.