Monday, 23 February 2015

better late than never

I know that I am nearly a week late with a post about pancakes, but I have an excuse...

I was struck down with a really nasty winter sickness bug, so consequently there was very little eating and even less cooking last week.
Mr digandweed , who must have the constitution of an ox, managed to avoid said bug and has been surviving on beans on toast for the past week!

But pancakes are one of our most favourite things chez fenland lottie and besides they herald the arrival of Easter, and therefore spring, in a few short weeks,
 so, as they say, - better late than never.

And pancakes with lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar is still the best way to enjoy them in my opinion.

Yesterday, a visit to the beautiful winter gardens at Anglesey Abbey. near Cambridge was just what the doctor ordered.
The house was bought by Lord Fairhaven who lived there in the 1930s and used it for entertaining friends for shooting parties and for visiting the races at nearby Newmarket.

The house and garden were bequeathed to the National Trust on his death in 1966.
At this time of year the winter gardens, in particular, look spectacular with over 270  varieties of snowdrop in bloom...
lovely witch-hazel...

and banks of beautiful coral and saffron hued dogwood

as well as an iconic silver birch tree grove.

plus a 150 year old working flour mill.

A lovely way to spend a chilly but bright February morning.

Saturday, 14 February 2015


My bbc weather app informs me that, each day, sunrise and sunset are 2 minutes earlier and later respectively than the previous day.
And so, a quick calculation shows that as each week passes we gain nearly half an hour of extra daylight!
The lengthening days have not only lightened our spirits chez fenland lottie, but are also the means of stirring nature into life again.

That's not to say that we haven't had some very cold days recently in this neck of the woods.
The ducks that appear to be walking on water in the photo below are in fact skating on ice!

But when the sun does come out, there is a definite warmth to it and last Monday was a glorious day with a hint that spring is on its way.

Down on the allotment, there are promising buds on the fruit bushes and the onion sets which I planted last autumn are poking through.
The rhubarb is springing into life too; bright pink mounds pushing through the earth.

But for all the talk of spring, winter is still here and a big bowl of soup is still one of the things I most love to eat at this time of year.
This is a roasted root vegetable soup.
An obliging recipe, since the vegetables can be varied according to what's in the fridge.
This particular batch was made with:
1 red onion
1 carrot
1 parsnip and
1 sweet potato
Chop and mix with 1 tablespoon of red thai curry paste,1 crushed clove of garlic, 2 teaspoons of honey and oil to coat before roasting in a very hot oven until nicely browned.
Reserve some of the vegetables for garnish,then puree the rest with vegetable stock- about 600 ml should be about right.
Check the seasoning and serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt.

And talking of new life, tiny girlie, our newest arrival to the family will be 16 weeks old tomorrow.
How time flies!
She melts our hearts with her big beaming smiles and earlier this week, delighted herself and us all by mastering the art of rolling from her back to her tummy!

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

making marmalade

It's that time of year again when the supermarkets and greengrocers have enticing displays of bright orange, knobbly Seville oranges, which despite their unattractive appearance surely make one of the most delicious preserves possible!

If, like me, you love making jam, then buying a kilo or so of the fruit and turning it into a pot of amber coloured marmalade, is a must. A delight even!

Of course, some people may wonder at this.
 After all it is possible to buy very good marmalade, whereas making your own does entail quite a lot of chopping and standing over a hot stove.
 To some people, drudgery

Which just shows that, one person's pleasurable task is another's chore.

So what constitutes a chore?
Some people hate ironing, whilst others like it.
I dislike washing up whereas some ( though not that many it has to be said!) profess to finding it enjoyable.

Perhaps it is simply down to attitude.
Perhaps even chores can be enjoyable when approached in the right way and pleasure found in the mundane if we look for it.
Or maybe I am being just being wildly romantic and idealistic !

Is it possible to love hoovering?

What do you think?

Meanwhile, back to the marmalade which I made following Delia's tried and tested recipe.