It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, for which I can only apologise, especially as I had resolved to keep it more up to date because there is just so much I have to tell you guys! All I can say is watch this space, because trust me, you definitely don’t want to miss what’s in store! Anyway, the reason for the break…so the week before last was one of the most stressful, busy weeks at work – I’m sure you can all sympathise, we all have them. There was so much going on and so many extra hours put in to make sure all deadlines were met that between work and my everyday chores (ok, ok, by chores I actually mean horses. Any excuse to not do housework is generally fine by me) there wasn’t really much time for anything else. Last week I had the week off work and had huge plans of doing so much with the blog and generally having a productive week off, because I can never sit still and always have to be doing something much to my long-suffering Other Half’s frustration! But after taking everyone’s advice, I did decide to have a proper week off which was so needed. We didn’t go on holiday as was the original plan, instead we stayed at home and actually enjoyed our beautiful new home and indulged in our hobbies which so often get dropped because there are simply not enough hours in the day. So coming back to the blog title..it meant that I could enjoy riding my horses pretty much every day – much to their disgust, and doing some baking.
Now, here comes the disclaimer, I am by no means Mary Berry as much as I’d like to think I am, but I do really love baking when I get chance, which recently has been never. So last week during my time off I decided to indulge in a little bit of baking. I’m not exactly adventurous – I’m very good at Victoria Sponge so I tend to stick with that! But I do think a Victoria Sponge is a special thing when done correctly, particularly when using your own grown produce. I’d just like to add here that my Victoria Sponge won best cake at the Doveridge event for Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club’s National Ladies Shooting Day earlier in the year, so Mary – eat your heart out! I always use eggs from our chickens, which makes my cake so yellow and taste so much nicer, and as of last year I make my own jam. I absolutely love foraging for berries at this time of year and making stacks of jam (and alcoholic refreshments) to last through the winter. There’s something so comforting and enjoyable about the whole process. So this year is no different, whilst enjoying the fresh air on many glorious walks, I have been harvesting blackberries from the hedges at our farm and also raiding James’ parents farm for damsons and sloes. Although I have to say the Sloe harvest is not coming along as well as I’d hoped, but they do say it’s a 2 year cycle for Sloes and last years harvest was very bountiful.
Home grown produce makes everything taste better!
In anticipation of everyone thinking my baking is absolutely amazing (ha ha ha…..ha…), I thought ahead in case anyone asked me for a recipe. To be perfectly honest, for my Victoria Sponge I don’t actually have a recipe. I follow my Mum’s lead because she is most definitely the best cook ever. We have a little ‘coffee room’ at our farm which my Brother and Dad use for tea breaks but has turned into a social hub for all their farming friends and family to drop in and eat my mums cake. Apparently they’re all there to talking farming of course..! So the Victoria Sponge is a family recipe of sorts, as my Mum say’s whenever I ask her for her recipe ‘you just know what to do’. I do vary the filling though, this time I used my last batch of last year’s Damson jam and fresh cream with a little vanilla which worked a treat. I’m not a huge fan of buttercream but I do also do this to make the cake last a little longer!
This week I also tried my hand at biscuits as I had the time, so I followed a Mary Berry recipe to make the most delicious lavender shortbread (with the last of the lavender from my garden). I highly recommend you try this one, I mean if Mary say’s it’s good, who are we to argue?! I’m going to also tweak this recipe and give it a go with earl grey and lemon instead of the lavender – I’ll let you know how I get on!
I also have to mention my lovely oven gloves from So Country appearing in some of the shots, they add a subtle country touch to any kitchen and are perfect for protecting your mits whilst baking, I couldn’t recommend them enough – my mum currently has her eyes on these so I know what I’ll be getting her for Christmas!
So anyway, I just wanted to share some of my other hobbies with you – my wonderful readers because I haven’t done that much recently. I’m also looking for inspiration, my baking repertoire is limited to Victoria Sponge, Gin & Tonic cake (definitely as delicious as it sounds), scones and now lavender biscuits, so I’d love to hear what your favourite bakes are, but that is going to change – as I said, keep your eyes peeled because the blog is going to be jam-(not cake related jam)-packed full of so many amazing things in the next few weeks that I can’t wait to share with you all.
Speak (very!) soon x