Sunday, 27 April 2008

Leeds Castle 27.04.08

Summer is here....I think...and what a wonderful way to have spent it in the grounds at Leeds Castle. I say the grounds, because we didn't go into the castle (We will do so on our next visit). The day was far too fine to spend any of it indoors. Leeds Castle was holding a horse and crafts fair over the weekend. There weren’t many stalls – but those that were there had really lovely things – handcrafted jewellery, children’s handmade toys and of course the delicious food stalls. We enjoyed a lamb burger with yoghurt and mint sauce for lunch. The horse events were fun to watch – a Quadrille (4 horses doing a drill to music), a side-saddle event with the riders dressed up in costume, The Mini Marvels (miniature ponies) and sheep dogs working with geese. We enjoyed the sheep dogs working with geese the most – the dogs needed to “herd” the geese across the arena and into a pen – they were guided by a man (all dressed up in his tweed coat, hat and holding a crook) who gave the dogs commands – each in a different voice depending on the dog he needed - see pics in following blog entry.

George took photographs of the ducks, a pair of swans and their chicks, a peacock (who was doing his very best to attract attention by showing off his tail feathers) and some other birds - he is adding the really good photographs to his expanding portfolio.

Dogs working with Geese 27.04.08

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The Mini Marvels 27.04.08

For Glen, Karen and Kayla...some inspiration for you. For more about the "Mini Marvels" go to
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Stunning scenery: Rapeseed fields 27.04.08

These are the "Rapeseed" fields that make a stunning scene this time of the year. It reminds me of lavendar fields - only in yellow!Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Slide show updated : Family!

As the very special people in our lives, our family members feature in the slide show. There's George's Mom, my Mom and Dad, my Brother , Glen, his wife, Karen and their daughter, Kayla, and of course - Jack and Jemma, Pippa and Wollie

Monday, 14 April 2008

Delicious muffins

I did one of my favourite things on Saturday afternoon...I baked! My recipe books arrived with the rest of our things from SA on Thursday. It was fun choosing what I wanted to bake and then exploring the baking aisle in Sainsbury's. I decided on Carrot muffins for a sweet treat (the cream cheese icing is a must) and for something savoury; Spinach, Feta and Olive muffins. Our visitors on Sunday gave my baking the "thumbs up!" Try these recipes - you won't be disappointed...

Carrot Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

500ml cake flour

15ml baking powder

3ml salt

10ml ground cinnamon

200ml sugar

100ml cooking oil

2 extra-large eggs

250ml milk

5ml vanilla essence

3 medium sized carrots (grated)

1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Add sugar.

2. In another bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk and essence. Stir into flour mixture

3. Add the carrots, but do not overmix; the batter should still be lumpy.

(I added some chopped pecan nuts for flavour and crunch)

4. Spoon into greased muffin pan, filling each to two-thirds full.

5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees celcius for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cream Cheese Icing

(I used half these measures for 12 muffins)

60g butter softened

500ml icing sugar, sifted

125g smooth cream cheese or cottage cheese

5ml vanilla essence

Cream butter and sifted icing sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and beat to a smooth consistency. DO NOT overmix as it will become runny. Ice each muffin and sprinkle some chopped pecan nuts on top.

Spinach, Feta and Olive muffins

(makes 10 muffins)

100g spinach, chopped

50g black or green olives

500ml cake flour

20ml baking powder

3ml salt

2ml cayenne pepper

100g feta cheese, crumbled

125ml milk

150ml cooking oil

2 extra-large eggs

1. Cook spinach until just soft - set aside. Remove pips and cut olives in half - set aside.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper together. Add the feta cheese, spinach and olives.

3. In another bowl, whisk the milk, oil and eggs together, then stir into dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is just moist, the bater should still be lumpy. Sppon into greased muffin pan, filling each too two-thirds full. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes. Serve hot with butter.


(Thank you to: The Ultimate Book of Baking Heilie Pienaar)

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Special visitors 13.04.08

Coffee & Muffins at home

Lunch at "The Little Brown Jug"
My cousin, Nico, and his wife, Lize, spent the day with us on Sunday. After catching up over a cup of coffee and some delicious muffins (baked by me) we took a scenic drive to "The Little Brown Jug", a pub in Chiddingstone, for a leisurely lunch.
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Monday, 7 April 2008

Winter in Spring! 06.04.08

A beautiful sight greeted us on Sunday morning when looking through our bedroom window...everything was covered in a few centimetres of snow! According to reports, the UK experienced snow at this time of the year 20 years ago...maybe a global warming affect? Anyway, our neighbours' children were having fun...a big snowman was built in the park.

George went to Knole Park (One of the few deer-parks in England to have survived the last 500 years - situated Seven Oaks a few minutes drive North of Tonbridge) and took some photographs of the deer...something he had been looking forward to but thought he would need to wait for until the end of the year. I decided to keep warm and savoured the last few chapters of my book with a delicious warm Cafe Mocha at Cafe Nero.

It was too cold to go on the walk or visit the farmer's market as planned but we did keep to the plan of visiting Hever Castle. Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn - one of Henry VIII's wives who was beheaded for alleged adultery and treason. It is smaller than I expected but beautifully restored and maintained. ( The lake, mazes and gardens are going to look stunning in Summer....another experience we will need to repeat in the coming months.

On our way home, we stopped for a late lunch at a pub, "The Little Brown Jug". Before going to our table we warmed up in front of one of quaint fire places and read the Sunday papers lounging on a very comfortable leather couch. We enjoyed the ambiance and food so much we booked a table for next Sunday for when Nico and Lize visit.

Winter in Spring Hever Castle 06.04.08

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Winter in Spring Knole Park 06.04.08

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