Family · Humour · trees

The E.I.C., The Pie, And The Empty Plate…

So after getting the Hairy Bikers pie book out of the library we’ve now had to buy it and have spread the joy. Penny at her blog and I are going to bake and blog our way through some of it’s excellent pages.

First up apple pie.

I have a great weakness for fruit pies, although I hadn’t managed to convince the rest of my family of their merits. I haven’t made sweet pastry before, but the instructions were pretty straight forward and I have an excellent large wooden rolling pin 😉

The filling was really easy, so once the pastry was done it was fast to assemble. I didn’t bother with the decorative leaves, as I thought it’d be better to make the extra pastry into shapes for the non-pie eaters. Little did I know.

As it cooked our whole kitchen started to smell like an american sit-com and Mr 12 (I don’t like hot fruit), and my dearly beloved (I only like meat pies) decided it smelt so good they’d have a tiny try……

The evidence

So the pie was a success, but it really did need some of our cooking apples to do it justice.

Our Apples

It’s too early in the season for our apples so I had to use the end of season, too sweet apples from the supermarket in it. Next time I’ll make it in season with our own apples, and I’ll buy some vanilla ice-cream-yum.



What A Lovely Wet Day

Our water-tank is looking a lot fuller! We had a lovely 42mm of rain yesterday. Which was more rain in one day than the previous eight weeks combined! And more is on the way…

Family · trees

A Fistfull Of Cherries

It was with abundant joy that I found on one of our cherry trees a handful of ripe red cherries all waiting to be picked. I of course obliged, gathering my fistful of cherries into my pocket.

Unfortunately my plan to provide photographic evidence was foiled by the E.I.C., and the smallest T.B.T., and alas the cherries were eaten. 😆

There was a distinct lack of remorse on behalf of the miscreant cherry eaters!


Recipes · trees

Pumpkin Cake And Peachcott Blossoms

One of the best buys of the new trees has to be the Peachcott. It’s pretty pink flowers are just beautiful. We may have to save up and plant ten more next year 🙂

Pretty in Pink
Pink blossom

In a completely unrelated manner the E.I.C. has a new favourite cookbook.  It’s called The Church Supper Cookbook edited by David Joachim.

The Church Supper Cookbook

She baked the following recipe.

Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup solid-pack canned pumpkin [ We roasted a pumpkin and used fresh. Who’s heard of canned pumpkin – guess that’s a US thing]

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped nuts (any kind)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, and beat. Stir in pumpkin. Sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients (not baking soda) with milk to pumpkin mixture. Then add nuts and baking soda; mix until well-blended and pour into greased and floured  10 * 10 pan. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes. Cool and frost.

We iced with orange flavoured butter icing. They recommend a cream cheese icing.

The End of The Golden Weather

Well not really, but in some ways we wish it was.

With the last of the plantings done, the tradesmen gone, everything cleared from the last property we have come to a lull in the proceedings. Whilst we have a number of jobs to do around the grounds, tidying up here, straightening this there, chopping and lugging fire wood there, a general tiredness has settled over us. I think we are a little shell shocked from the speed of everything.

The lovely sunny days weirdly enough are not helping. While it is lovely to enjoy the property in the sun, it does lend to a sense of guilt over unfinished jobs. Besides that we really, really, really need the rain! Our new trees need a good watering in and the tank needs a top up.

Maybe what we need then is cupcakes, and tea on the toadstools with the TBT’s 😆


The Fairy Ring

The Nursery

We acquired a goodly number of natives on the weekend.


We have some 60 odd plants to dig holes for. In the nursery are Lophomyrtus Kathryn, Lophomyrtus Kakapo, Phormium cookianum (Flax), Kowhai (Sophora microphylla), Pittosporum eugenioides (Lemonwood), and Cabbage Tree (Cordyline australis).  


Box Elder Maple

The third of the trees planted along the driveway is a Box Elder Maple.

Acer negundo is a species of maple native to North America. Box Elder, Boxelder Maple, and Maple Ash are its most common names in the United States. Other variant names — some of which are regional – include Ash Maple, Ash-leaf Maple, Black Ash, California Boxelder, Cutleaf Maple, Cut-leaved Maple, Negundo Maple, Red River Maple, Stinking Ash, Sugar Ash, Three-leaved Maple, and Western Boxelder. In Canada it is commonly known as Manitoba Maple and occasionally as Elf Maple. In Russia it is called American Maple (Russian: американский клён).

In the beginning there was a sapling...
But later there will be a full grown tree!
That might look like this...

Durmast Oak

The next tree to form our driveway avenue is a Durmast Oak, or Quercus petraea.

The Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea, or Quercus sessiliflora), also known as Durmast Oak, is a species of oak native to most of Europe, and into Anatolia.The Sessile Oak is a large deciduous tree up to 20-40 m tall, in the white oak section of the genus (Quercus sect. Quercus) and similar to the Pedunculate Oak, Q. robur, with which it overlaps extensively in range. The leaves are 7-14 cm long and 4-8 cm broad, evenly lobed with five to six lobes on each side, and a 1 cm petiole. The flowers are catkins, produced in the spring. The fruit is an acorn 2-3 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, which matures in about 6 months.

A little spindly now...
... but one day!