The Crumble Challenge

Does the cold and rainy weather affect your appetite? It definitely does something to mine. Not only does my appetite increase and long for warming foods but I just want to spend more and more time lingering in the kitchen, occasionally and wistfully stirring the odd bubbling pot on the stove. 

Well, this ideal is all very well and good but in order to make such things and stir such pots, ingredients are needed and we were in short supply yesterday so we set ourselves a challenge. 

Without going to a supermarket and at 3:50pm on a rainy Saturday afternoon, could we source all the ingredients needed for an Autumnal bake?

the-search-for-crumble-ingredients

Yesterday, on Social Media, I asked whether I should make a crumble, cobbler or cake with my finds from this challenge. The resounding and totally overwhelming answer was crumble. The topping choices were more diverse and there was about a 50/50 split between cream and custard. 

So back to the adventure in question… with raincoats and wellies on we set out to explore our options.  Foraging was my first thought but was quickly squashed by the rivers of water running down the road and the muddy swamps that were appearing on the footpaths. 

We drove to a few, local farm shops but despite the warm welcomes we received, we couldn’t find both the fruit we needed for the crumble and the kale I had hoped would go with the casserole that was already in the slow cooker. 

At 3:56pm I suggested that we try Goldhill Organics in Child Okeford. The only problem was that they close at 4pm on a Saturday.  

goldhill-organics-farm-shop

As we were not going to be defeated by a mere 4 minutes, I phoned ahead and spoke to a really helpful man who said that he would keep the shop open for us (we were only about 5 minutes away by this point).

organic-onions
kale

Pretty much the first thing that I saw as I entered the shop were beautiful bags of organic kale. As you can see, I clutched a bag tightly as I wandered around the rest of the shop – I was so happy to have found some! 

I was asked how many cooking apples I needed when I stated that I was searching for some. ‘About enough for a crumble,’ was my answer. Mr D-F sniggered (he didn’t think that was an appropriate answer). However, the lovely man in the shop reassured me that it was a very good measure indeed and brought out Goldhill’s own cooking apples for me to add to my stash. 

i-see-plums

It was at this moment that I spotted plums! I think I’m actually saying ‘ooh plums!’ while the photo was being taken.  A plum and apple crumble would be just the thing! 

I also walked away with some bananas (not particularly seasonal, but I had planned for caramelised bananas and berries on porridge for the morning’s breakfast), some fresh ginger and a packet of gluten free biscuits – Mr D-F’s choice. 

gluten-free-apple-and-plum-crumble

Although our meal ended quite late, with lots of chats and catching up, the crumble was made…

…and it was delicious. 

I’m feeling in need of some more Autumnal food traditions. There’s chutneys and jams but what else is there to bake or create? If you have a thought, please shuffle down the page a bit and inspire me by leaving a comment. I know you love that bit! H x

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Travelling 1000 Miles For A Weekend Wedding

Well, not exactly 1000 miles, more like 995.2 according to Google maps. Nevertheless, it was a long way to travel for 2 days but worth it in every way as we not only got to fly, spend some time in the sunshine but more importantly, we got to be a part of the celebrations as Mr DF’s cousin and his lovely fiancée got married.

Apologies for any disjointed spelling, wobbly images or other glitches in this post (hopefully there won’t be too many); I’m currently typing as we drive through the mountains from Monaco, where the legal ceremony took place, to an 18th Century country house situated in amongst olives groves and vineyards.

As the internet connection is sketchy at best, I thought I would share just a few photos from the weekend for now, wish you a happy Sunday and have a proper catch up next week. X

August Is Over And I’ve Been…

Loney planet magazine on table

READING: Lonely Planet Magazines

I’m really feeling the pull to go and explore places that I’ve never been to or revisit those that involved too brief a stay. I’m thinking short weekends away, exploring coastal coves and trying as many different foods as possible.

me-watching-tv

WATCHING: The Dark Tourist on Netflix

See… quite clearly there is some serious wanderlust going on here. I don’t think I’ll be visiting any of the places featured on this series as most of them gave me the mega-creeps. Hence, the serious face.

Lakeland terrier at the beach in Dorset

DOING: Getting outside as much as possible

Walking, kayaking, al fresco lunching… anything involving getting out and about.  Even on the days with the downpours, full waterproofs make you feel like you can stand pretty much anything.

watermelon-and-halloumi-salad

MOSTLY EATING: Watermelon

In everything and with everything. My favourite way is to put it in salads, with a bit of salt and pepper.

editing-home-movies.

LAUGHING AT: Our home movies

It’s only when we record ourselves that we realise how much time we spend just being silly. I love silly.

So, August is officially over and we’re left wondering what September will bring. Keep an eye out on Instagram for daily updates and short videos from me (and us).

…and now it’s your turn. If you could sum up August in 5 words or highlights, how would you describe it? I can’t wait to read about it in the comments below. x

 

All A Bit Too Much

I’m in a bit of a slump. The weather has changed in the UK from being the most amazing, hot, continuously incredible weather to the more usual unsettled, cloudy, sometimes warm, sometimes tipping with rain summer weather that we are more familiar with here. With the change in the weather, comes a shift in my mood from outward looking to more inward, closed and frustrated.

I’m trying not to let the need for layers and wellies every day get me down. I really am. I’m still heading out, finding new places to visit, even if it’s pouring down but somehow it feels like everything is just that little bit harder. By the way, if anyone knows of anywhere to get great juices or smoothies in North Dorset, please let me know, I really want to find a place.

So, today’s moment of frustration was directed at my growing collection of plants. Poor things. Most of them are the easiest plants to care for on the planet but recently I have been feeling the weight of responsibility towards them. Especially since despite my careful attentions, my misting and watering schedule, my Kentia Palm is still looking a bit brown and crispy! The plant I’m loving the most right now (although I must be careful not to show obvious favouritism) is my massive Sansevieria. He’s a beast and always looks happy, no matter what attention, or lack of, he receives!

large sansevieria

kentia-palm-looking-crispy

See what I mean? Brown and crispy. A bit like our lawn a few days ago 😦

mini-sansevieria

cacti-mantlepiece

After I have finished writing, I will take all of these little fellows above, downstairs and give them a water and maybe even a listen to the radio. Hopefully that will absolve my guilt over pretty much abandoning them for the last few weeks.

My mind has been firmly elsewhere for months. I started a new job, which needed (and still needs) a lot of focus. I also have had lots of new plans and thoughts. Last night, I couldn’t sleep for all of the exciting thoughts whizzing around my head. These little sparks of ideas are especially consuming because I am in conflict with them. My creative self (which takes at least half of my physical self) is all ready to go ahead. My anxious self (quite definitely the other half) keeps holding back.

Hmmm…

As always, you’ll be the first to know when (and if) I take the jump.

H x

 

Sunny Weekends

cinammon and ginger cookies refined sugar free

rose-buds-david-austin

hydrangea-annabelle

newly-planted-sweet-peas

Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far. Yesterday in our part of Dorset, the sun was shining, the wind was warm and it was a perfect day for messing about in the garden. We tied back the roses that have gone crazy after all of the humid weather  and noticed that there are so many more buds this year compared to last. The aphids are still my nemeses but despite their recurring appearances, I’m hoping that before long we’ll have an explosion of beautifully-scented, pink blooms from my absolute favourite – The Generous Gardener (a David Austin rose).

The Hydrangea Annabelles are also looking particularly healthy (they need lots of water too) and should soon be opening up their striking white mop-head like flowers.

Finally, after many months of procrastinating, we managed to sort out the veg bed, bordering it properly and making a little fence so that *someone* doesn’t go digging in amongst the plants.  With help from the aforementioned little terrier, I roped together the cane supports and planted the sweet-peas.  We are a bit uncertain how well the veggies will do in this bed as it gets only partial sun during the day. We might have to adapt what we plant as we go along.

All-in-all, it is turning out to be my favourite sort of weekend; dressed in scruffs, running (or ambling) about in no shoes and lots of outside eating! (By the way, the gluten and refined sugar free biscuits in the first picture were really rather good. So easy to make and very easy to eat! You can find the recipe here).

Have a great day x

eating-lunch-al-fresco

The Opening Of The New Gin House ~ Wimborne

pouring gin

freshly-poured-gin-and-tonic

I was very excited to be invited to the opening of the new Gin House in Wimborne last week.  I have fond memories of having lovely dinners in The Tickled Pig before tripping over to the opposite side of the road to visit The Gin House in its former location. I loved the ‘secret club’ feel and the timelessness and wondered, if housed in a bigger place, would it be able to retain the same atmosphere?

I needn’t have worried; the bar area has become significantly larger and they have gained an upstairs area (for functions and gin tasting evenings) – therefore addressing the main issues of the previous site. However, the whole prohibition, speakeasy vibe is still very much intact and when you walk through the heavy velvet curtains after choosing your drink of choice, it is very much a place where secret meetings and cosy discussions can be had!

conker-gin

ice-in-glass

laras-gin

rosemary-garnish

beautiful-golden-tables

I took my friend Lara, who is a bit of a gin connoisseur and has particular favourites.  She was able to talk in depth with the staff behind the bar about local gins, botanicals and general gin trivia. I on the other hand (as I don’t really drink) was served a wonderful non-alcoholic tonic and herb mixture. Yum!

If you are also a gin fan like Lara, you’ll be pleased to discover that The Gin House is featuring more than 200 new gins as well as opportunities to book ‘behind the scenes’ packages that include bespoke menus designed by experienced mixologists.

If like me you prefer to enjoy something else, they have a range of interesting and tempting gin-free drinks to excite most tastebuds!

Although I was obviously invited to attend, I honestly thought it was a fantastic upgrade to the previous Gin House location (which I loved) and Lara and I are already planning our return visit. Come and say hi if you see us! x

 

the-gin-house-wimborne-exterior

 

A Quintessential English Day Out (One For Your Diary)

crochet-monkey-for-sale

crochet-giraffe-for-sale

adult-and-child-aprons-handmade-for-sale

Hello again! Just a little post to give you all the heads up that it is Turnworth in May this weekend (on Sunday 27th from 11am – 5pm). A village with which I have very strong ties and I can say with utter certainty that this event is a special one to drop in on (I say drop in, many people hang out all day)! There’s free parking and free entry, not to mention a massive array of homemade cakes and quiet spots to sit in while you take in the beautiful surroundings.

As you can see from the pictures above, there will be stunning handmade toys, bags and aprons for sale which are really one of a kind. Although, you’ll have to race me to the monkey! He’s mine! There will also be the very popular bric-a-brac stall, which is known for some quality finds for those with a good eye as well as the very well stocked plant stall. Just a word of warning, if you get asked to buy a picture of a cat – be prepared to haggle. (Sounds bizarre? Just you wait)!!

Many of the villagers will have their gardens open for you to wander round, hopefully in the warm sunshine and will be there to talk to you, if you wish, about what they’re planting and what’s been going on in the village. 10 points to the first person who spots a runaway tortoise!

pretty-white-flowers

wisteria

yellow-alstroemeria

I will definitely be there to lounge about in the gardens and drink plenty of tea. Please come and say hi if you see me about. Have a lovely weekend x