Delicious, Lifestyle

Mum’s lemon drizzle cake

My Mum passed this recipe on to me when I began making my own home, you can make it for a song and its lovely to have to hand when someone calls over. It reminds me of her whenever I make it – which makes it taste all the more sweet!

lemon drizzle

6 oz self raising flour – sieved

4 oz margarine

6 oz caster sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 lemon rind -grated

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Chuck everything in a mixing bowl and mix well

Pour into a greased 2 LB loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at 180C gas mark 4

Make icing with the juice from the lemon and ice the cake when baked before you turn it out to cool.

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Lovely with a pot of tea…

or a cheeky glass of fizz!

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Interior Style, Lifestyle, Nature & the Coast

In to the West

Last week we embarked on an unexpected adventure. I have been on the lookout for a little dawg for a very long time. There is a fantastic dog rescue centre, Madra located on the West Coast of Ireland, and a little fella arrived there last week and when I saw him  and heard about what he was like, I knew he was the one. After lengthy phone calls & to-ing & fro-ing texts and an accommodating emergency home check to make sure the house and gardens were suitable, we decided to make the trip in the hope that everything would fall into place. When I managed to book a room in one of my favourite hotels, I had a feeling karma was on our side. So we packed the car with lots of picnic stuff and began the long journey feeling apprehensive yet excited.

After Galway City, we were done with motorways and stone walls had begun appearing for a while now and the scenery  was becoming spectacular…..

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Travelling on the Coast road to Án Spidéal, we were nearly there, so we found a gorgeous beach with the Aran Islands in the distance ,so parked up and had the first warm & sunny picnic of the year. My mum always used to say that food tastes nicer when eaten outside how true her words were. Back on the road and we eventually found our destination down a boreen and with my heart in my mouth I was brought to the kennels where all the dogs were wagging their tails saying with their eyes pick me! pick me!!

My little fella was carried out to see me and the lead handed to me and we were encouraged to go and get to know each other so we brought him to a field and sat down on a stone wall and have a chat & a pet .

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He seemed very sad but offered his chin for a tickle and leaned against our knees delighted the affection. Everyone in Madra seemed a little in love with him as he is a gentle little chap just looking for love. My mind was made up and he would come home with us tomorrow.  The adoption papers were signed and I tried to explain to him that I would be back tomorrow to take him. We then headed off to Clifden to take time out and be sure about the decision and to rest after the long journey. We stayed in the very special Quay House in the Harbour. A two hundred year old building that was originally the Harbour Master’s house.

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It is owned and run by Paddy & Julia (also proud owners of two very stylish pugs).

They were there to welcome us when we arrived and had arranged a harbour view room for us.

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The view from the window was spectacular and really made us feel we were on our holidays – all be it a short stay!

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The reason I am telling you about the Quay House is because its interiors are just fabulous, and like my style, it does not have the appearance of having been ‘interior designed’ which for me is too contrived. It is far more relaxed and has stories to tell in ever corner.  There is a mix of Colonial style – with worldly finds dotted about,

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The Nautical influence is apparent also, but in the right way, no twee-ness!

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There are also classic details  – like chequered floors and beautiful original old paintings in crumbly gold frames.

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Then there are the quirky displays dotted about.

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The key with these interiors, as with my own style,  are that although they are stylish & ambient, they do invite you to flop in to a chair and take up a good book.

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Or my favourite – standing by the mantlepiece with a glass of fizz in your hand!

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So we had a gas night out up in the town with the locals and after a walkabout the next morning we headed off back to south Connemara, this time cross country on the narrowest bog roads with all the sheep hanging about in the middle of those very roads.

We pulled up at the dog refuge and my little fella was signed off and his jaunty new colour and lead attached. Into the car and we headed home.

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He was introduced to the front garden first, a bit dazed but very calm and interested.

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Its been intense these last few days, and when he is trying to be independent, every few moments he has to come back to check and see if I am still there. But I think he is beginning to realise he has come home.

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As I sit at my desk and type, he is asleep at my feet snoring away, content. Mission accomplished.

 

 

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Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball

Have just painted a test patch of Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball, it is beautiful as a backdrop for natural finds don’t you think?

Inspiration, Interior Style, Nature & the Coast

Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball

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DIY, Floral & Gardens, Inspiration, Nature & the Coast

A ‘mini’ wreath

As many of you know I love playing with scale and as well as making the biggest wreath EVER from lleylandii, I also made this particular little wreath with rosemary but you can also use buxus or anything else from the garden with small leaves.

These are ideal for backs of chairs, in front of mirrors or hung anywhere around the house.

I started with the wooden rings that are used for embroidery – I bought these in my local haberdashery

I made small bunches using about 3 sprigs and tightly wrapped them with a little elastic band

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I attached the bunches gradually, using green garden wire

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continue this right around eventually filling the gaps with smaller sprigs

add any colour ribbon to hang it

et voila!

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Delicious

Lime Curd

I was wondering what to do with all the limes I had used as display on my stand at the Ideal Home Show last week

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yes the obvious solution was to have a G&T party! but I felt I ought to be a bit more sensible and upon my sister Fiona’s suggestion I decided to make lime curd. It is dee-lish!

Here is the recipe…..

6 limes – juice & rind

1 lemon – juice only

12oz sugar

4 free range eggs

4oz butter – ideally unsalted

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Put on some good tunes.

Finely grate the limes and squeeze out the juice from all the limes and the lemon.

Melt the butter in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water on a low heat.

Add the sugar, juice & rind and beaten eggs and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

Continue to stir and cook until the mixture thickens.

Sieve the mixture to remove the rind and pour into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Label and when cool, dollop onto a piece of toast and enjoy with a cup of tea (or a gin & tonic).

Best stored in fridge and it will keep for a couple of weeks.

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I couldn’t resist making little labels!

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Delicious

Auntie Lizzie’s banana bread

Now I thought I didn’t like banana bread  until I tasted this one! It’s a very handy snack to have in the press – great with a bit of butter on it and a cup of tea. I have even started buying bananas on the turn so that I will find myself having to make some more! – it’s easy and cheap as chips to make and keeps for ages or can be sliced and frozen. Yommers!.

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The recipe

3 very ripe bananas

2 eggs

6 oz caster sugar

8 oz plain flour

1 tsp bicarb of soda

pinch of salt

2 oz walnuts or almonds, chopped

Handful raisins or sultanas

A few chopped cherries

Mash bananas in a large bowl and gradually work in beaten eggs, sugar, sieved flour, salt and soda. Stir in the nuts, fruit and cherries.

Grease a 2lb (or 2 x 1lb) loaf tin. Place the mixture in the tin(s) and bake for approx. one hour 325oF/170oC.

Enjoy!

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