Looking for Inspiration?

On my first blogging anniversary I decided t0 start highlighting some of the posts that I’ve been reading occasionally. Well, I’ve been inspired by fellow bloggers in my kitchen and my choice of reading material recently, and really must share some of my favourite posts with you.

First of all I made some of  this fantastic Apple and Cinnamon Chutney which I found on Frugal Feeding.

Frugal Feeding is one of my favourite food sites, as there are often spicy dishes such as curries, and other traditional British recipes. This chutney just jumped out of the page at me, since I had so many apples on my hands, and it looked so tasty…

And it is! The house smelt amazing while making it! Take a look at this fabulous site – even if you’re not looking for recipes, the author’s words will impress… his style of writing is so very British!

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Then Verity at Crumpet Kitchen posted these Carrot and Ricotta Galettes. Yummy!

Verity is clearly a brilliant cook, and I’ve been tempted before by her delicious recipes; apricot tart, raspberry tiramisu, cranberry blondies… shall I go on?! The galettes were quick and easy, and very very tasty.

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Next, Claire at Promenade Plantings recently visited Great Dixter gardens in the south of England.

(Great Dixter: Picture from Wikimedia Commons)

In this lovely post about the gardens, with some beautiful photos, she mentioned a book “Dear Gardener and Friend“; it is a collection of letters between the maker of the present gardens, Christopher Lloyd, and the famous gardener Beth Chatto. Now on my reading list, it is a record of their exchanges regarding plants, successful and less successful gardening experiments, and life in general. I’m glad Claire mentioned this book, as I think it will make excellent reading in the winter months to come!

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Another inspiration recently was from Sarah at The Garden Deli. If you’re wondering what to do with your herbs before the frost gets them, take a look at this post for a red onion and thyme loaf.

A great idea, which I put into practice the other day, adapting it to what I had on hand… parsley, sage rosemary and thyme… (remember Scarborough Fair?) and making rolls instead of a loaf.

Scrummy!

Thanks to these bloggers for their wonderful posts!

Have YOU been inspired recently?

Autumn Snow

Ha! Got you there!

No, it hasn’t snowed…

Autumn Snow is the name of a pretty plant in my garden!

Lysimachia “Autumn Snow”

Lysimachia clethroides

Gooseneck Loosestrife (Schnee-Felberich or Entenschnabel-Felberich)

I found the label, and it says “thrives in moist to wet soil”. Ha ha! No such thing in my garden, so I must have overlooked that! It does, however, like full sun or half-shade, well-drained soil, and warmth. I have two in my rockery… this new one has been given a place of honour next to my newly found rock.

It is evergreen, with lovely glossy oval leaves which turn reddish-brown in autumn. Its growth is upright, and it may spread by underground rhizomes. Mine hasn’t spread, possibly due to its rather dry position. As the spires of little white flowers slowly open, they curve – like a goose neck, or ducksbill!

Extremely hardy, this perennial has pretty foliage and stems, and flowers from mid-August till late autumn. It also tolerates drought, but would prefer a bit of moisture. I like it when the spikes start to curve, as they all curve in the same direction, which looks quite cute!

😀

What the Caterpillar Said

“Eight days ago, young butterfly,
you wormed about, the same as I.
Within a fortnight from today
Two wings will bear me far away
To brighter blooms and lovelier lures,
With colors that out rival yours.
So, flutter-flit, be not so proud;
Each caterpillar is endowed
With power to make him, by and by,
A blithe and brilliant butterfly.”
~
from “The Butterfly and the Caterpillar” by Joseph Lauren
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Photographed on Lysimachia vulgaris (Yellow Loosestrife/Goldfelberich)
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Apple Strudel

My German “Oma”, in fact my partner’s grandmother, was famous for her apple strudel… the creamy, crispy edges, the juicy filling, and the soft strudel dough would make your mouth water. She often made one for us for Sunday lunch, and this was an event to be looked forward to!

The recipe was never written down (there WAS no recipe!), and her instructions were often contradictory… so her secret touch remains elusive. I’ve tried before to make her strudel, and this time it came pretty near… I shall continue to strive to recreate those edges, but in the meantime this one is not only original, but is also an extremely tasty, appley, creamy delight. No soggy pastry, no nuts and raisins, no icing sugar topping or cinnamon flavouring, no custard or ice cream, and hardly any added sugar. No, this is pure strudel!

Mmmm!

Here’s the recipe:

Apple Strudel

For the dough, mix together 350g (2 and 3/4 cups) strong/bread flour, a pinch of salt, 3 tbsps vegetable oil, 125ml (1/2 cup) lukewarm water, and 1 veg egg (1 tbsp soya flour and 3 tbsps water). Knead for at least 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide into two pieces. Put in a clean bowl, brush with oil, cover, and leave in a warm place to rest for 30 minutes.

For the filling, mix 1kg (2 lbs) aromatic apples, peeled and thinly sliced, with 3 tbsps sugar and 1tsp cornflour.

Preheat the oven to 190°C, and butter a baking dish (36 x 18cm/14 x 7 in). Roll out each piece of dough to a 20cm/8 inch square. On a floured teacloth, continue to roll out the first one as thinly as possible, retaining the rectangular shape as far as possible, to about 45 x 30cm/18 x 12in. Put half the filling on the dough and spread almost to the edges. Brush edges with a little melted vegan butter. Using the teacloth to help, roll up the dough and slide into the dish. Do the same with the second piece of dough, using the teacloth again. Brush with a little oil or melted butter.

Bake for 40-50 minutes… but now comes the most important partevery ten minutes or so, open the oven door and pour over a little vegan cream! (I used 200ml altogether, which is 3/4 to 1 cup.) Don’t forget to breathe in deeply and sigh, each time you open the oven door! It smells so good!

Enjoy the pure apple flavour!

Autumn Gold

Today is not only the first day of autumn, but the first day of the Oktoberfest in Munich. I went there once, many years ago (in the pouring rain) and decided I was not the beer festival type! (Too many people for a country bumpkin like me!)

Originally the festival was in October, but since the weather is often quite pleasant in mid-late September, it was brought forward a few days.

I do enjoy watching the news on this day, and hearing the famous words of the opening ceremony spoken by Munich’s mayor:

O’zapft is’

… which means, the first barrel of the specially brewed Oktoberfest beer has been tapped.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

If you are interested in learning more about the festival, the official website is very good (and this link is the English version): www.oktoberfest.de

Have a look at all the lovely Bavarian dresses, costumes and Lederhose! 😀

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Wishing you all a golden autumn!

Sage Honey Update and Kitchen Windowsills

The other week I showed you this photo of my sage-infused honey….

I used a normal garden sage and some pineapple sage from my pot.

Well, I did the taste test after about 10 days, and it is AMAZING!

I immediately went to buy some more honey…. 😉

Two more pots are now sitting on my windowsill, along with another small one containing a few sprigs of rosemary… I’ll let you know how that turns out in a week or so!

At the moment, as you can see, my kitchen windowsill is a bit crammed…

… with freshly delivered new herbs and spices, a pot of basil (mine has given up!), apples and butternut, liqueurs and infused honey… and a few gladioli flowers left over from a bunch brought back from the flower field.

(I’ll be posting some recipes with my new spices soon!)

So what is on YOUR kitchen windowsill at the moment?

Have a good start into the weekend everyone. Hope it’s a sunny one for you!

😀