Fairies’ Corner

There are fairies in my garden…

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And when nobody is looking, they occasionally kiss the flowers, especially daisies or cowslips. And this…

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turns to this…

CowslipKissedByTheFairies

What do you mean, you don’t believe in fairies?

😀

Cowslip~~~ 

“Beneath the sun I dance and play, in April and in merry May”

(from The Song of the Cowslip Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker)

~~~

Eye Catcher

That’s the name of this Viridiflora tulip: “Eye Catcher” – and it certainly is! It’s definitely one of my favourites at the moment, as it stands tall…

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… and glows even when the sun goes behind a cloud.

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The raspberry ripple looking tulips on the left are Estella Rijnveld’, a parrot tulip. Here’s a closer look…

Estella Tulip

Mmm, looks good enough to eat!

Another pretty one flowering at the moment is this pinky red one – I haven’t adjusted the colours at all, it really is that vivid!

PinkyRed

What’s providing colour in your garden right now?

Rhubarbanana Bread

Recently I was wondering if bananas would go with rhubarb… surely they would add sweetness and take away some of the sharp edge of the rhubarb? Well, only a day or so later Christina (from My Hesperides Garden ) commented on my post Dreaming of Crumble and suggested adding banana. Thanks Christina!

Well the crumble hasn’t evolved yet, but my banana bread has been adapted! Try this – it’s really tasty! 😉

Rhubarbanana Bread

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  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 75g (¾ cup) ground almonds
  • 75g (1/3 cup) brown sugar
  • 75g (1/3 cup) white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup roughly mashed ripe banana, (2 large or 3 small bananas)
  • 75g (1/3 cup) butter, room temperature (75g)
  • 2 tbsps milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small banana cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 sticks young rhubarb, sliced (about 100g-125g or 1 heaped cup)

Preheat oven to 190°C and grease and flour a loaf tin or similar baking tin (I used a 500g/1 lb tin and had enough for a few cupcakes too).

Sieve flour, salt, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together. Mash bananas and butter together, and mix in milk and eggs.  Combine with the flour mixture.  Fold in the banana chunks and rhubarb slices and pour into cake tin.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until set.  Cool a little before removing from the tin.

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Good served warm (with cream!)

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And it stays nice and moist for a couple of days. (Probably longer, but we ate it too quickly! 😉 )

Enjoy!

(Another rhubarb cake recipe coming soon!)

How do you like your rhubarb?

Book Review: The Secrets of Wildflowers

“The Secrets of Wildflowers: A delightful Feast of Little-Known Facts, Folklore, and History”

by Jack Sanders

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This was a Christmas gift and I’ve been losing myself in it on and off through the spring. The word “Feast” in the title is very appropriate – and “delightful” it is too!

Although the focus is on North American flowers, many are also prevalent in Germany and Europe, some even native. In the introduction the author states that his book covers both “natives and immigrants, friends or foes, because both kinds are here and both are interesting”. I like this attitude, as I find so many non-native plants growing wild, and think they are just as valuable as the native ones.

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Divided into Spring, Summer, Late Summer and Fall, it is easy to find what is flowering now. Each flower has its own chapter, which gives some botanical information and tells you a little about the plant’s history, the common names given, uses (medicinal, culinary etc) and myths or traditions surrounding it. The chapters are broken up nicely into little chunks – very readable. The botanical details are also fed to the reader in a clear way, without getting too complicated and without being patronizing. I am learning so much and in such an enjoyable tone.

I was immediately impressed because it is the first source I have found that upholds my belief that Hepatica nobilis sometimes gives off a wonderful scent… I was beginning to think it was my imagination, but Sanders quotes the naturalist John Burroughs: “Group after group may be inspected, ranging through all shades of purple and blue, with some perfectly white, and no odor to be detected, when presently you will happen upon a little brood of them that have a most delicate and delicious fragrance.”

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Occasionally a poem or quotes are included, even a recipe or two, and the little lesser known details and legends are so fascinating! Did you know, for example, that gypsies used to smoke Coltsfoot leaves (Tussilago) for pleasure? Or that spring violet leaves are extremely high in vitamin C? Or that a German scientist counted 93 species of insect that visited the dandelion flower?…

I shall be reading each chapter as the flower appears here, learning new and interesting facts and enjoying the feast daily. This book gets top marks for writing style AND content. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves wild flowers!

Herby Stuffed Mushrooms

My chives were the first herb to appear in the garden, mid-April, and now I also have a little parsley, some sage and thyme.

Time to make something herby!

Herby Stuffed Mushrooms

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Clean/peel 400g (14 oz) large mushrooms and remove the stems – chop these and put them on one side. Whizz 70g (2 1/2 oz) wholemeal bread (about 1 slice) with a generous handful of fresh herbs in a blender/food mixer and mash in 75g (2 1/2 oz) cream cheese, some salt and black pepper and 1 egg. Mix in the reserved mushroom stems and press the filling into the mushrooms. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the top and bake for 30 minutes at 180°C. Just before they are done, sprinkle a little grated parmesan over the top.

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These can be made as herby or spicy as you wish. Nice as a starter or side dish.

Do you have fresh herbs in your garden?