donderdag 23 februari 2017

We ought to bake a sunshine cake

It happens every year around this time. You can't say it's regular as clockwork, as it depends on the kind of weather we've been having. Sometimes the first signs are there near the end of January. This year, however, we were well into February, and I was getting a bit worried.

What a relief, when one day last week I opened the back door and a heady perfume wafted my way.







Winter box or sweet box is a small evergreen, winter-flowering shrub with the tongue twisting botanical name of Sarcococca, which has highly scented flowers.

Throughout the year, it is really just a rather boring little shrub.

What it lacks in looks, however, it makes up in abundance with its divine winter aroma emanating from its diminutive flowers.








For a week or so each year, its perfume, trapped under the glass awning outside our back door, is taking centre stage.

Our neglected little patch isn't much to look at, especially this time of year, but here and there tiny little crocuses, their bulbs planted long ago and left to their own devices, are appearing out of nowhere, almost overnight.


The winter flowering Clematis armandii is full of fat buds, out of which starry almond scented white flowers will soon burst into life.


A dash of yellow is provided by the last of the winter jasmine, soon to be followed by the first of the winter aconites, with their funny little hula skirts.



Oh, I can't wait for spring to begin in earnest!




Last Sunday, with the sun still making an appearance in the morning, we baked a cake, its delicious aroma competing with the winter box outside the kitchen window.


According to the recipe, it's a "scone cake", and it's very easy to make. I actually love baking but I hardly ever seem to find the time to do so.

The cake features apples, orange zest and blueberries, although you can use blackberries when in season, or indeed any other fruit you fancy.



The pinny I'm wearing is a true vintage one I charity shopped for a pittance a couple of years ago. It is well used, with a couple of faded spots, and its former owner really "made do and mended", which makes me love it even more.


Even though there were no disasters, this is the stage when we are starting to have some doubts.

But lo and behold, after 45-50 minutes in the oven, it comes out perfectly formed.


We'd invited over our friends Ingrid and Maurice for a long overdue visit to Dove Cottage, as life had been getting a bit in the way of socializing these last couple of months.


Now it was time for a catch up over cups of coffee and tea, with a piece of yummy home made cake.

While the boys were talking (whatever about, I wonder, they are meeting for a drink every week), the girls went upstairs for a rummage through my stash of surplus clothes, and Ingrid went home with two jackets, two dresses and a blouse.


Here's a collage Ingrid sent me of her trying-on session at home. She got the butterfly brooch as part of her birthday present from us last year.







Ingrid came bearing a gift too.

Instead of real flowers, she crocheted these and put them into a cute little retro vase.

One thing is for sure: they will never wilt!












All too soon, another weekend had gone by, and so had our short-lived taste of spring.

As from Monday, we are back in the doldrums, accompanied by rain and stormy weather, and spring once again seems a long way off.


28 opmerkingen:

  1. Ooh, cake! I think your flowers are a week or two ahead of ours, the snowdrops are still in full bloom here. We've just had hurricane Doris pass by, she's a fierce one and has knocked the temperatures well and truly back again, Spring does indeed feel a long way off xxx

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    1. Much the same here, Claire! We even had the remnants of hurricane Doris pass by too. We are usually ahead with our flowers as we have a microclimate in our walled garden ... xxx

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  2. That cake is making me hungry!

    Like you I adore vintage pieces that have been lovingly mended.

    Your signs of spring are wonderful. Although it was unusually warm and sunny here today, 17C there are no signs of spring here. It usually doesn't show up till the end of April if we are lucky.

    I love the little crocheted flowers. I often wear similar ones that my Mom made as brooches or on a handmade necklace.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Oh my, it must be frustrating to wait that long for the first signs of spring. Mind you, we have the so-called "ice saints" here in the middle of May. It is said that once they are past, it will not freeze again ... xxx

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  3. Such beautiful flowers and I love all your photographs. The scone looks amazing! Yvonne xx

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    1. Thank you Yvonne! I wondered where you'd disappeared to. Will bookmark you new page! xxx

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  4. Wonderful cake:you made an excellent job!
    Spring is on its way...I am starting the countdown!! The nature always knows how to celebrate the sweetest season...enjoy the first signs of it...

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    1. Thank you Dan. I'm counting down as well, but the weather really is a bit up and down, as it usually is this time of year ... xxx

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  5. woww, such beautiful flowers!, lovely spring-like feeling!
    And your cake looks delicious, and I love particularly your cool coffee set, such a nice colorful crockery!!
    And so lovely that you shared some of your pieces with your friend, that's my kind of shopping too, swapping clothes is so much fun!
    besos

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    1. Thanks Monica. I'm glad you love our coffee set. It's from a Belgian pottery and dates from the late 1960s. We have several of their designs, which are quite collectible. xxx

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  6. I don't eat cake but yours looks like a work of art!
    We did have crocuses and snowdrops but I haven't assessed the damage caused by yesterday's storm Doris yet so they could have been blasted away by now!
    Your friend looks fab in your unused vintage - I love passing mine on to friends, too. I can still enjoy them but shut the wardrobe! xxx

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    1. I hope Doris didn't cause you too much damage. I often pass on unused vintage to friends and love it when I see them wearing it. Being able to close the wardrobe is a bonus! xxx

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  7. The cake looks delicious. And it sounds like you have great fun with your friends - spreading the vintage style around a bit too. I bet you all look amazingly chic together.

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    1. Thanks Mim! I love passing on the vintage bug. Ingrid even went to "my" vintage shop with her daughter. xxx

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  8. your garden is much more into spring - here we just see the green of the snowdrops! how sweet to give ingrid some of your clothes - she looks fab in them! having friends for coffee and cake is long overdue here too!
    huge hugs! xxxxxx

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    1. I'm always glad to pass on things I know I'll never wear again. Our garden is always into spring earlier, due to its microclimate trapped between our garden walls. But it definitely needs a revamp, as we've neglected it a little ... Will certainly plant more bulbs for next year xxx

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  9. You can't beat a bit of cake especially at this time of year. It's bee interesting to see the few random bulbs coming up in this new garden. I so want to get out there and do things but there is no point, we aren't staying and the landlord plans to build on some of the land.

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    1. It must be frustrating not being able to do things in your garden, Gisela. Maybe you could try a few thing in pots? xxx

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  10. I love the flowers at this time of year, so beautiful. We have, well I assume that we still do after Storm Doris, snowdrops below our kitchen window.

    Your cake looks yummy and I love your apron. All mine are made by me, I have never seen one in the wild xxx

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    1. I hope Doris treated you kindly, and left you some of your snowdrops! Vintage aprons often turn up in the charity shops here, and I can't resist buying them. xxx

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  11. Nice looking cake! It's always good to pass our unused items onto new homes. Breathes new life into them. I'll have to track down that plant, sounds like a super fragrance.

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    1. Thank you! That plant should be easy to track down. Near my dad's house, there's a garden with a whole border of them. Pretty boring in summer, but at this time of year, you can smell the fragrance from a distance ... xxx

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  12. Looks like you have lots of winter interest in your garden Ann...Winter/Sweet Box is a new one on me.
    How nice of you to share your wardrobe with Ingrid, it's lovely that she will really appreciate your vintage cast-offs. My mouth is watering at the sight of your cake and has tempted me to bake something this afternoon. It's cold, drizzly and
    grey here, perfect weather for baking (and eating!)xx

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    1. I love sharing my "cast-offs". I'm always talking about selling them on at a flea market, but it's much more pleasurable giving them to your friends ... xxx

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  13. I'm super fussy with cake but this does look amazing! Lovely to see you sharing your clothes with your friend-she looks great in them! It is lovely to see your crocuses and your Sarcococca!!!x

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    1. Easy to make and delicious, what's not to like about this cake. And Jos put a leftover piece in my lunchbox the next day! xxx

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