c January 2014 | Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me

What was in my Seedy Penpal Parcel?


Earlier this week the postlady delivered a package from my Seedy Penpal Karen. I was eager to discover what goodies it contained, and I was not disappointed. So very soon the seeds below will be growing in my greenhouse.
  • Gherkins
  • Courgette Defender F1
  • Pak Choi
  • Swiss Chard Ruby Red
  • Mange Tout
  • Pansy 
I have never grown Gherkins, Swiss Chard or Mange Tout, so it will be interesting to see the success I have with them. Unlike most gardeners I have never been swamped with a supply of Courgettes, so I am hoping for an ample harvest this year. Thank you Karen and happy sowing and growing to all my fellow #SeedyPenpals.




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Seeds away to my #SeedyPenpal


I have pulled together all the seed packets I think my #SeedyPenpal will like. They have all been packaged up and posted to Kay, who will hopefully nurture them through the year and will be reward with a plentiful harvest. 

Now I just need to be patient whilst I await my parcel from #SeedyPenpal Karen.

Find out more about Seedy Penpals.


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Rocky Road Cheesecake Recipe

Here it is, the first cake from my list of bakes - Rocky Road Cheesecake.  So simple to make, you just need to make sure you allow time for the chocolate base to set likewise the cheesecake topping. Taken from the Cake Magic recipe book.
Rocky Road
Rocky Road Cheesecake Recipe
Recipe Rocky Road Cheesecake

Ingredients
50g unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup
100g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
125g digestive biscuits
50g whole hazelnuts
50g marshmallows

250g cream cheese
300ml double cream (whipped)
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Grease and line a deep 7 inch loose bottomed cake tin. Melt the dark and milk chocolate along with the butter and golden syrup, use a bowl over a saucepan containing simmering water. Here is a helpful guide to melting chocolate if you are unsure how to do it.
  • Break the biscuits into large chunks into a bowl, adding the marshmallows, and hazelnuts. Pour over the chocolate sauce and mix together. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and press down, place it in the fridge to cool.
  • In a bowl beat the cream cheese until it is smooth, then in a separate bowl whip the double cream. Fold this to the cream cheese, adding the icing sugar and vanilla.
  • When the chocolate base has set, spoon the cream cheese mixture onto it and level the surface. Pop it back into the fridge for 4 hours. Top with Rocky Road treats.

I followed the recipe as shown in the book, however if I made it again I would roast the hazelnuts first and would replace some of the biscuits with glace cherries and raisins. Just because I like them.

If you love this recipe why not pin it to your favourite foodie Pinterest board.

Rocky Road
Rocky Road Cheesecake 

Casa Costello


Romanian Mum Blog
I am entering this recipe into the Foodie Friday link, this weeks theme is Sweet.
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I'm a Seedy Penpal


Planning and planting for the gardening year ahead is almost upon us. This year I am joining in with a seed swap, soon I will be paired with a fellow gardener and join the world of the Seedy Penpal.  I have already got a selection of seeds together, although obviously it depends on my Seedy Penpals garden likes and dislikes.

I will keep you all up to date on my Seedy Penpal adventures!

Seedy Penpals is organised by Carl Legge, if you want to join in or just find out more information about Seedy Penpals visit Carl Legge website or contact him through twitter @CarlLegge.


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Books, recipes, cakes and bakes for the year ahead


easy cakes to bake

I have quite a collection of recipe books, mostly  for cakes, bakes or biscuits. I spent some time during the Christmas with a cup of coffee flicking through some of them. It was then I realised there were so many great recipes that I have never actually baked. So I grabbed myself a notepad and pen and made a list of those recipes I want to bake over the year. So the next time I am required to bake a birthday cake or a pudding, I will refer to this list and not to the trusted favourites of a Victoria sponge, fruit or that classic chocolate cake. 



Most of the recipes have come from the following books, although I still have a shelf full of other books I have yet to tackle.


Keep your eyes peeled the next family birthday is imminent and the first recipe to be attempted is a Rocky Road Cheesecake. 
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Packing away Christmas, well almost.


Christmas Hyacinth
Think I need a prettier pot!
Time has come to pack Christmas way. Saturday 5 January saw Twelfth night upon us and as tradition dictates it is the final day of the Twelve days of Christmas.  As such all Christmas decorations should be removed and packed safely away until December. 

Decorations where slightly simpler this Christmas, I did not get the opportunity to make my own table decoration using holly from the garden, so settled for a few baubles on a plate. The tree had a simple theme, some lovely natural themed Christmas decorations thanks to Wilkinson. 


For the second year running the Christmas tree was a real tree, looking rather lovely in the lounge, I was lucky to win the tree from Love Plants. However next Christmas it will be an artificial tree a whooping 6 foot tall, a bargain 50% price reduction to just under £100 from  my local Wyevale store.

Wilkinson natural Christmas decorations
There is but one item that remains on display, which did not quite show it's full potential and is only just bursting into colour. The Hyacinth bulb, has after a slow start begun flowering, which I confess makes me feel Spring is not too far away. 
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