Where is Spring?

Spring is really dragging its heels this year. Lots of my seedlings are starting to look a bit weedy. They should be outside beefing up in the spring sunshine and having the wind move their leaves. There seems to be a hold on the season, its still beautiful but the low temperature are holding plants and trees back.


Woodland gem

Spotted by Hilary, a carpet of Opposite leaved golden saxifrage. Here it is in the evening sunlight.


Do you care what's in your bread?

Well, the point of including this, other than to share an easy and delicious recipe is to bring up the subject of why shop-bought bread is so awful. There it sits on the supermarket shelves, a tribute to good looks and no content, they get full marks for presentation, but you get it home and cut a piece anticipating breathing in that beautiful fresh bread smell to get nothing, but a sour uninviting disappointment. This is all thanks to the Chorley Wood Process. Don't you find it interesting that that 'Taste the Difference' types with a hefty price premium don't have ingredients listed? Thanks to some studies in Chorleywood in the 60s, it was discovered that including a quantity of soya in bread made it whiter, easier to manage, better for assisting cheap, poor quality wheat, and great for speeding up the process of making bread. The downside being soya in bread tastes pretty foul, so it was recommended that only a certain percentage was used, along with ascorbic acid and suddenly the production costs went down dramatically. How long will it be before supermarkets realise that the reason that bread-makers are so popular is we don't like their bread.
A last note on this subject. I remember recently on the BBC news website seeing a photo of someone making bread in Afghanistan, with the caption, he was choosing his flour according to what gave the best flavoured bread, as though this was a novel concept! We've lost something haven't we?

Real bread

Reminicent of learning to cook as a child, I made flat bread tonight to go with the duck and sour cherries and herb yoghurt dip. V. simple to make, 400g water, 500g Dove's farm plain white flour, a little salt, 1/2 tsp yeast. I kneaded this in the bread machine (but can be done by hand)then cut up into 8 or 9 pieces and poshed them on a floured board till they were flatish. I sprinkled them with thyme and cumin during the poshing. Then put them on the aga hot plate 2 at a time, turning them over after 5 mins.


Most over fed pheasant in Shropshire

Here he is, always on the prowl for the little birds' food, getting fatter by the day. But what amazing feathers, great for showing off to all the girl pheasants.


Is this La Niña??

A week of icy winds and sub-zero temperatures at night. All the magnolias have been nipped by the frost except this one in a sheltered corner.


Still waters run deep, (except this is about 2 feet...)

Jesse and Jo grapple with skulling

This is a short clip from a lovely morning we all spent on East lake at Walcot, with John and Hilary on their beautiful skiff.