Book Review: Why Willows Weep

Why Willows Weep

edited by Tracy Chevalier

Why Willows Weep

Why Willows Weep is a collection of nineteen short stories written by well-known contemporary British authors (an impressive list, as you can see on the cover above!). They are all fables, explaining some of the mysteries surrounding our trees. For example, why are crab apples sour, why are lime trees sticky, and why does the horse chestnut bear white candles?

All the trees are native to the UK, and for every book sold, the Woodland Trust (the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity) will plant five native trees.

The book is magical, with a few of the stories really standing out above the others. Yet all are enjoyable. Each story is only a few pages long, and they are all linked by their style – brief and poignant. The simplicity is a gift. There is some beautiful language in there!

Some of my favourites were most definitely “Why Willows Weep”, written by Sally Vickers, “How the Blackthorn Got Its Flowers” by Susan Elderkin, and “How the Oak Tree Came to Life” by Maggie O’Farrell.

If you love words and trees, this will appeal to you… A moving, peaceful and charming read for a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Drop Scones and Spicy Blueberry Sauce

Drop scones in England are, I believe, the same as American pancakes. I assume everyone has their own pancake recipe, but this one is so easy to remember and quick to make. And the pancakes/drop scones are light and fluffy.

Ready in no time and satisfying as well. This will feed one hungry person as lunch, or two as a snack. I know it’s not the season for fresh blueberries now, but I have a freezer drawer crammed full of them! 😀

Spicy Blueberry Sauce

Heat 1 cup blueberries with 1 tbsp vanilla sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the berries pop and soften. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cardamom. Mix 1 tsp cornflour with a little water and add to the berries. Let the sauce bubble and thicken for a minute. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Drop Scones

Whisk together 4 tbsps SR flour, 2 tbsps sugar, 2 tbsps milk, 1 egg, and a pinch of salt, to form a smooth batter.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a pan – not too hot – and pour small rounds of batter into the pan. Watch carefully for bubbles to form on the top, then turn. The pancake will be done in a few seconds now. Serve immediately with the sauce.

Scrumptious!

Alternative Planting? (And a Haiku)

Requires plenty of damp grey weather, loves rain or snow, is frost hardy, tolerates shade, does not need pruning, nor feeding…

ChristmasFungus

Soon after moving here we removed the ugly evergreens threatening to take over the rockery. This tree stump is one of the last to decompose – it’s taken seven years! Perhaps I will finally be able to dig it out this spring…

Soft brown and lush green

Thriving on decaying wood

In the winter sun

~~~

Tuesdays at Two (January 8th)

The Christmas decorations have gone, and the last of the glitter has been vacuumed up. Even the WordPress snow has gone. 😦

There is a saying here that if winter hasn’t arrived by Epiphany, then it won’t come at all… well, the snowdrop shoots are visible already…

TuesdayViewJanuary8th

Still grey, and green, and foggy. A little monotonous… so just to remind me that this garden can look so beautiful in the sunshine, a bonus photo from July 2012!

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Have a good week everyone!

😀

A Little Pink Treat

My freezer will need defrosting soon… I’m waiting for the temperatures to drop so I can just pop everything outside while I de-ice it, but there’s no sign of winter yet… So in the meantime I did a stock-take and found lots and lots (and lots) of frozen berries!

And while regarding them, I had a vision… frozen raspberries (the last punnet) plus a bar of white chocolate

= White Chocolate Raspberry Bites

(I then found a bar of milk chocolate too!)

= White and Milk Chocolate Raspberry Bites

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Simply melt some white chocolate in a bain-marie and, while it’s melting, line a freezer-proof tray with parchment.

Now the fun bit – whip half a punnet of raspberries (or other berries) out of the freezer and dunk in the chocolate, roll around using a cocktail stick and put on the parchment. You have to work quickly, as the berries shouldn’t defrost!

Put them back in the freezer immediately. Repeat with the milk chocolate.

I used 100g (4oz) white and 100g milk chocolate for a 250g (1/2 lb) punnet of raspberries.

RaspberryChocs2

Can be eaten directly from the freezer, or leave them to warm up a few minutes.

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Warning: these do not keep for long (not in my household anyway!) 😉