Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

It's a long while since I posted a blog. We've still been busy on the house but I guess not in such milestones as we had when the builders were here. Even so, I would like to keep a diary of the work we are doing so am planning to keep up the postings.

Christmas came and went in more than a flurry of snow in our part of the world. I think we got the first brunt of it before it covered the south and west of England. We were snowed in for a week or so but did have great fun mastering our sledging technique and building snowmen, first Mr Chilly, swiftly followed by his brother, Mr Frosty.

The winter does seem to have dragged this year. I am not the most patient person when it comes to biding time through the shorter, darker days despite trying hard to enjoy each season. Living in the country, I am even more aware of the winter months as they seem more harsh than they ever did in London and I find myself craving light in a big way by the end of winter. This year we've deicided to keep our twinkly fairy lights up permanently. It seems a shame to only enjoy them at Christmas.

Even now in April there's still a cold wind although there are signs of new life in the garden at long last. This is going to be our project this spring/summer. We didn't really give the garden much attention last year because the house was encased in scaffolding and the builders took up a large part of the garden for their building materials. So we have been out rejuvinating very tired and overgrown borders. Pictures to come as we progress!

In the meantime, the Easter holidays sprung upon us quickly this year with the children breaking up on Maundy Thursday so straight into the Easter weekend. I have made more of an effort with some decorations this year and baking too. Having the space in the kitchen has made it a nicer place to spend time I think.

Here's my Simnel cake. I made one last year as a present for our relatives in Wales who we stayed with over Easter. I made another one this year as a present and as David commented that he would like to try Simnel cake one year, I made another to take to my parents on Easter Sunday where we did get to taste it. It's a lovely moist cake and not too rich.

Last year I used a Mrs Beaton recipe but this year turned to Mary Berry's recipe from the Aga Cookbook. So this one was baked for six hours in the simmering oven. The recipe said it took between five and ten hours to bake. That's a big difference in time! I don't quite understand how their timings can vary so greatly - it was the same for the Christmas cake. Anyway, it's quite a pretty cake with its marzipan balls symbolising the eleven disciples and the eggs and chicks in the middle.

Anyway, as well as jugs in the house being filled with the requisite daffodils and pots of hyacinths giving off their disctinct scent, we also have these rather spectacular amaryllis on display. The bulbs were a lovely gift from my Dutch friend, Oscarine, for the boys at Christmas. We planted them and I half expected them to remain as a long thick stem when suddenly these gorgeous deep red flowers opened. It's really made me want to grow more indoor bulbs as these have given us a lot of pleasure to see unfold.

Well, now I am back on track with the blog I'll aim to be more disiplined in my postings so will be back with another very soon.