Tuesday 28 December 2021

Christmas treats

 We have eaten well. (Please note, Tasker, my Yorkshire pinny!) Here is a recipe that was given to me by a friend many years ago. It is a favourite with our elder daughter who often asked me to make it for her birthday when she was small. She will be fifty in a few days time!













Langholt Layer Cake

(which is a dessert and not a cake!)

5oz flour

5oz Danish butter. Rub together and add

4oz castor sugar. 

Knead into a dough and divide into four pieces. Roll out into thin rounds and sprinkle each round with half an ounce of chopped hazelnuts. Bake the biscuit rounds on a baking sheet until golden.

When cooled layer the biscuit rounds with whipped cream and sliced peaches in alternate layers. Dust the assembled dessert with icing sugar.

If eaten promptly the biscuit will be very crisp. About eight servings.

Second helpings will be soft as the ingredients meld together. It never lasts long - we like our biscuit crisp!


 Another simple but tasty recipe to make is a chocolate log. I make a two egg fatless sponge.  I roll up the cooked sponge and when it has cooled unroll and spread with a layer of cherry jam, then a layer of whipped cream followed by a sprinkling of pitted black cherries. (I use the frozen packets of cherries from Waitrose.) Carefully rolled back up all it needs is a bit of greenery for decoration and a sprinkle of icing sugar to look very festive.


 Outside the rain fell and the wind blew - we were too full to care!

Friday 24 December 2021

Happy Christmas


Dear Bloggers 

I wish you all a very

Happy Christmas

and better times to come in 


(Baby Jesus will be in his crib tomorrow!)

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Vegetarians look away now.

There is a good amount of meat on the skinned cock pheasants. (Please note my pheasant plucker's pinny, a gift from my friend Sally!) I've looked in my recipe books to decide how to cook them.




I bought Mrs Beaton's book as an Easter present for my parents. After retirement my father became an enthusiastic cook . He behaved like a surgeon in an operating theatre. The rest of us, wife, daughter and grand-daughters scurried back and forth to the pantry, the sink, the knife cupboard to provide everything he needed for his recipes. But the results were worth it. Even the vegetarian  sighs nostalgically  at the memory of Grandad's game pie!

The book has an inscription that fixes the date of the gift.  The phone numbers of the local game dealers have been written on the flyleaf and there is a meat price list from the wild boar breeders and an invoice for venison steaks.

Recipe books are wonderful things, they are history books really.

The pilaf recipe is a light and tasty recipe and a good one for avoiding any shot. (Never bite hard on a pheasant casserole unless you want to damage a tooth!)


Louise Walker's book is one of my favourite and most often used books. The recipes are foolproof and very tasty. This is the recipe I'll be using today. Pheasant can be rather dry so I sometimes put an apple in the body cavity while it is cooking.

Sunday 19 December 2021

A gift.

 We met the Shooter on Friday when we were out gathering the pine cone branches for decorating. He is a pleasant and interesting man, it is  always enjoyable to stop and talk with him. He told me he had shot well over seventy squirrels since October. I told him that he hadn't shot the ones who like  to eat walnuts because they had stripped our entire tree of its crop the minute the nuts were ripe and ready for me to harvest. He said he had caught most of the squirrels in the area of the sweet chestnut trees where we had been gathering the branches. "Yes" I told him, "just up from our house. They come up here for dessert!" 

The  Shooter showed Himself the gun, from Czechoslovakia, the same make as the one that shot Ronald Reagan. He loaded his ammunition and demonstrated the range and power by shooting into a distant oak tree. "That will blunt someone's saw in years to come," was the response from Himself, but we were both deeply impressed by his marksmanship. He described the lift that he had to calculate to compensate for the fall of the bullet over the distance covered. I hate and distrust guns, always recalling from childhood  a girl of my age who lost the use of her legs because her father had left his loaded gun in the hall of their farmhouse.

Yesterday was a dull day with quite a strong, cold easterly wind which carried the faint sound of the shooting syndicate at play in the woods. In the afternoon we turned on the sauna and stretched out in the welcome heat. While we were there the head of the shoot left a brace of pheasant hanging outside the kitchen door, two fat, male birds. Delicious! What handsome birds they are. We've hung them from a beam in the conservatory, they will stay there for a few days for the flavour to develop.


No good keeping the meat for our elder daughter to share when we collect her from the London train at the end of the week - she's vegetarian!  (Perhaps because she spent her formative years helping us to pluck feathers!)






 No wind today but very low light levels and a damp and swirling mist that makes the garden look rather mysterious. Behind the topiary yew tree is the bare-leafed walnut tree. You can see how large it is, quite a task for the squirrels to strip it of so many nuts.

Even at this unlikely time of year there is still some blossom to be found in the garden.


Friday 17 December 2021

Getting ready

 Just when I'd brought the Christmas decorations down from the attic Himself announced that the sitting room  chimney could do with a sweep. I wish he'd mentioned it  a few weeks ago  when I was washing all the china bits and bobs on the open shelving, I think that's a job I'll now have to repeat!

Anyway, a good idea to put the brush up the chimney, we put sheets down and the job was soon done.














The weather is damp and mild and it is pleasant to be out. We walked up the road to pick some branches with pine cones to decorate the windows and mantelpiece.














The cones are very resinous, they will smell lovely in the warmth of the room.

At last, it's starting to look a bit like Christmas! And the fire is burning well.

I made my mincemeat in the afternoon, just a few jars because my recipe contains no fat  and doesn't keep for long.


8oz soft dark sugar melted with

juice and rind of two lemons.

Add 2lbs chopped apple

1lb mixed fruit and candied peel

2oz chopped almonds

teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon powder.


Bring to the boil then simmer for thirty minutes until you have a mash

Bottle while hot. This makes 4 jars.



Wednesday 8 December 2021





Sunday 28 November 2021


it is just too good to be inside. Today we put on our warmest clothes and went for a walk on the beach.We scrambled down through the dunes and had the beach almost to ourselves.

 Time for a bit of exploring with Grandad, looking for stuff. (A big chunk of ambergris, known as floating gold, was recently found near here.) No luck today. Instead a bit of acrobatics. "Look at me, Grandad!"

The sun was out but it was cold!

Wednesday 17 November 2021

In Bath

I can't remember when I was last in Bath, thanks to the pandemic and the high number of cases in this area, not for a long time. But Himself has a couple of pieces of work in the city art gallery and the show ends on Saturday so, with masks and hand gel we went to have a look.

It is such a beautiful city, and, to my relief, it was not very busy.

The gallery is by Pulteney Bridge, (very near to Tom's fine city abode!)















 Someone had not moored their boat very well. 


This year's invited guest is Denise de Cordova. I like her pieces, carved and painted wood with mixed media.

Saturday 13 November 2021

Autumn colour

 Cold nights have brought some bright colour to the leaves. There is as much foliage on the ground now as remains on the trees. (And my compost bay is full to overflowing!)

A view of the road that runs through the village where we walk every day. It is lovely to kick through the dry leaves.

Monday 8 November 2021

Upside down

 I made an upside down cake with as many of the pears as I could cram into the flan case. First a coating of melted butter and soft brown sugar and on top of that the quartered pears. A two egg Victoria sponge mix,  slackened with milk, coated the pears, and into the oven for forty minutes.

Although there is a lot of soft fruit it holds together well enough to invert onto a plate as soon as it is cool.

It freezes well, although this one didn't get the chance!

Saturday 6 November 2021

This weekend

I'm sweeping leaves and eating pears.

 Mixed weather and cold nights are bringing the leaves down from the trees and each day I add another pile to the overflowing compost bay. Its an enjoyable task.

All the pears have ripened now and are at the juice-running-down-your-chin stage. I shall bake with the ones that are left and freeze the results.

The sweet peppers in the greenhouse are not ripening so I've brought a few pots into the warmth of the kitchen to sit in front of the French windows.  At last, they are reddening up.

At this time of year the sun, when it shines, slants right into the room. It is very welcome!

Sunday 31 October 2021

Half term

 Sunshine and showers, or to be more accurate, sunshine and heavy downpours. We've had a busy half term with our grandson, rolling  out pasta and air dried clay (and trying not to confuse the two!) Lots of action with the scissors cutting out bats, spiders, witches and webs to decorate the windows. We had an outing into the New Forest to a vast woodland play area. People of all ages were above our heads flying by on zip wires but we were more sedate and kept to the wooden tree top walk.

There were lots of exciting structures to climb. Four years olds have no fear!

Now we are back home. Too damp and chilly to sit in the greenhouse. When I've planted up the tulips I'll put the pots in here for the winter.