We quite often have pancakes for special breakfasts, and find a reason for special breakfasts fairly often!, but a evening meal of pancakes is for pancake day. We gather with friends and family, each bringing their batter and fillings: lemon and sugar, mushrooms and garlic, nutella and brandy, butter and syrup and so on. We take it in turns to cook and flip pancakes, and share all the toppings and eat and laugh and eat some more until full. Then usually eat one more.
standard pancake batter
1/2 pint of milk
4 oz flour
blend, leave to stand if you have the time in hand, and cook in the normal way, with a little oil. Simples.
I quite often make them just a little bit thicker, with less milk, and sometimes I just make up the batter without measuring it.
Fluffy blueberry or strawberry pancakes
1/2 pint of milk
frozen blueberries or wild strawberries or other fruit.
Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff (enough to be able to hold the bowl over your head without resulting in bad hair day). Mix the egg yolks, milk and flour until smooth. Fold in the whites carefully, without knocking out all the air.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and put spoonfuls of mixture in the hot oil, and flatten out slightly – how big you make them is up to you – I have a special little ladle I use just for this.. Now sprinkle a small handful of your chosen fruit into each pancake (this works out better than adding into the mix as they all seem to clump together and you end up with some very high fruit pancakes, some fruitless). Once one side is cooked turn and cook the other. Repeat until all the batter is used up. Serve with icing sugar, or maple syrup. These pancakes are also delicious without the fruit – especially if served with maple syrup and bacon.
There are so many other types of pancakes – from crepes and galettes, to poffertjes, pikeletts and drop scones. Never yet met a pancake I didn’t like .
Posted in recipes | Tagged pancakes | 2 Comments »
Happy chance… well ok, I planned it.. found us in Cardiff at the weekend, putting us in an ideal position to buy Welsh cakes from the market. And in an amazing feat of bravery, we held off eating the until we were home and could share with extended family.
We like a mooch around Cardiff, particularly the old covered arcades and the market, which has a great looking fishmongers, butchers and veg merchants. Not being there to shop for produce, I had to make do with buying a lovely new Chinese filter cup, and then happy chance again (ok I had googled for loose tea shops) the tea stall, Gurmano Teas where I had a little tea buying based accident.
Home then and we had all the right equipment – filter tea cup, lovely tea and Welsh cakes to mark St David’s day properly. Happy chance indeed.
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It’s official. Spring has sprung.
By official I mean – according to our frog population – and they are the experts, although the snowdrops and helebores know a thing or two about it.
Interestingly, although this winter has seemed hideous long and wet, I guess because it hasn’t been that cold, the frog spawn moment is at the early end of the scale; I’ve been recording the first sighting in the same pond over some years:
A bit of warmth, a bit of sunshine and spring seems possible again.
Posted in general wittering | Tagged frogspawn, spring | 4 Comments »
Just a tad blowy last night! – We cancelled plans to go out and glad we did as the reports were full of traffic chaos, flooding where we had planned to go and trees down.
Luckily for us the only damage was the greenhouse being blown over – definitely an ex-greenhouse now. A fence in the hen run is down, and some big branches off of next door’s massive leylandii. A big scots pine is down next door across the allotments, but missing us
Was quite scary last night hearing the wind howl down the chimneys and battering the windows, and mystery clunking noises from outside. Glad we got away with so little.
So now some clearing up of glass and looking around for a new greenhouse.
Posted in general wittering, smallholding | Tagged greenhouse, storm | 8 Comments »
These biscuits are very high in cocoa and make quite a strong, bitter chocolate, which contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the ganache – definitely for adult tastes, heart shaped for valentines day
bitter chocolate biscuits with ganache filling
225g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 large egg
for the ganache:
200g black chocolate
200ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 180 C ( or esse ‘hot’ !) Rub the butter cocoa and flour together, then add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Then add the egg and mix until you have a dough that leaves the bowl clean. I tend to do this using a stand mixer, but it can easily be done by hand.
Roll the dough out to about 5 mm thick and cut using a cookie cutter. Arrange on a lined tray with some space between to allow for a little spread and cook for about 20 minutes, until firm. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the ganache, bring the cream to simmering point and then add the broken up chocolate and stir well until all the chocolate is melted and mixed in. Allow to cool enough to not drip off the biscuits.
Blob a small amount of ganach on a biscuit and sandwich with another. Allow to set.
Posted in recipes | Tagged biscuits, chocolate, ganache, valentines | 2 Comments »
We have been heeding advice and avoiding the coast lately – not too difficult a thing to do when the rain is horizontal with the gale force winds.. and we are so behind on all activities here on the smallholding, as bad weather has kept us inside.
This morning, between hail showers, we were cutting wood,clearing some of the hedging ( tree felling) we had done earlier – mostly because it is clad in ivy and the sheep like a bit of ivy. Then more hedging (coppicing the hedges) and gathering bean poles from our cuttings,and setting aside more wood for firewood cutting. We pushed harder to get the part we were working on done, as the hedging window closes.
The sun was shining and thoughts turned to our favourite beach. And then we were in the car to steal a little bit of sun and fun. We wanted to check ‘our’ beach and make sure it was relatively unharmed after the recent storms.
The beach is different, re-shaped, and covered in debris – man made and natural. There as some excellent driftwood, which made its way home with us, and some truly massive pieces that were beautiful and many were admiring it. No doubt, It will be carted off eventually…
Despite the fact it had calmed down, the waves were still huge and many surfers were taking advantage. The ‘cliffs’ were very eroded, as can be see by the post in this picture.
It was lovely to get back to the coast after so long. The black clouds swept over, and we beat a hasty retreat, driving home in another hail storm
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Today I was walking around checking the hedges after the storm, and approached the orchard from the larger paddock, which surprised the flock as they were expecting me from the other gate. They know my routine, this was a change.
They stood and stared at me.
I opened the gate to move them on – there isn’t much grass and the fields are badly poached due to the waterlogging and so I have been forced to break the usual rotation, and put them where there is actually some grazing. Which was confusing.
They stood and stared at me.
I made my “sheep-sheep-sheep! “noise, reserved for nice things only (so that they respond) – and they decided that good things must be forthcoming and pushed themselves enthusiastically into the fence. Everyewe knows the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The problem is that with the layout of the orchard, they were now standing as close as they could to me, stopped by the fence, and although they could walk through to the paddock, in order to do so, they would have to turn and walk away from me for a few meters, through the gate and then down the path to me.
They stood and stared at me.
I encourage: ‘sheep-sheep-sheep!’
You could see Betty, work it out, suddenly she turned and rushed away…. then halfway to the gate…. not looking at me any more… couldn’t remember what she was doing and stopped…. and wandered back. Ella did the same: rush off….no longer see me…stop… forget what she was doing… Then the flock press themselves ever keenly against the fence – not walking around through the gate which is sooooo close, because the minute they turn they cannot remember why they were walking that way. Sheep – not the sharpest tools in the box.
I stood and stared. They stood and stared.
They win the staring war. I sigh and walk all the way up to the gate, make my encouraging noises, they work it out, and rush into the field. Then grump, as the grass turned out not to be too much greener after all. I grump cos I am now soaked.
Posted in general wittering, livestock, sheep | 2 Comments »