Wednesday 30 October 2019

A beach walk at Pembrey

The Northerly wind had changed to the South-West on Sunday and after 26 hours of Biblical deluges we had clear skies and sunshine.  It was too good an opportunity to miss and we decided to go for a beach walk at Pembrey, on the Blue Flag Cefn Sidan beach.  Here is the view from the top of the dunes, looking towards Rhossili and Worms Head.

This happy chap photo-bombed me!!  He was having such fun,bless him!  There were lots of people exercising their dogs.

Looking S-W, and although it looks near enough to walk to, I am sure this is the Preseli hills in the far distance - I have a good zoom on my camera.  Without the zoom you can see the pyramid shape more clearly.  They would be a good 50 miles off . . .

This is the wreck of the SC Paul, originally an American ship, who ran aground here in 1925 with her cargo of timber which she had loaded at Halifax, Newfoundland.  She was bound for Dublin but on 30th December 1925 she lost many sails and anchors in severe gales and unable to avoid it, ran aground here. Although most of the timber was recovered,it is rumoured there are some very smart garden sheds in the Gwendraeth valley to this day!

Worms Head at the very end of the Gower.  It is possible to get across to it when the tides are right - get it wrong and you're marooned for a few hours!

I tried to have this photo as a header, but resolution not good when blown up.

These are the dunes - devastated and stripped during a huge storm surge around 2013.

Sea Buckthorn.  Can be made into juice, jam, and tea etc.  LINK here.

Monday 28 October 2019

Pear & Almond Cake Recipe and other culinary delights


75 g (3 oz or 1/3 cup) butter, softened
75 g (3 oz or 1/2 cup) caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
100 g (4 oz or 1 cup) S-R flour
125 g (5 oz or 1 1/4 cups) ground almonds
1 tsp almond essence
450g (1 lb) pears, peeled, cored and halved

Beat the butter and sugar together.  Gradually add the eggs along with the flour and almonds.  Beat in the almond essence.  Pour the mixture into a greased 23cm (9 in)cake tin and arrange the pear haves over the surface.  Bake in the oven at gas mark 4, 180 deg. C or 350 deg. F for 40 mins.

Taken from The Autumn Fruits Cookbook by Charlotte Popescu.


3 eggs, beaten
6 oz or 175 g or 3/4 cup caster sugar
6 oz or 175 g or 3/4 cup plain semi-sweet chocolate (I use Lidl Raspberry 70% Equador chocolate)
5  oz or 150 g or 1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons baking margarine
4 oz or 100 g or 1 cup plain flour
8 oz or 225 g or 1 1/2 cups ripe blackberries, hulled (I use mine straight from the freezer)
4 oz or 100 g or 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Grease a 16" (40 cm)square tin (I line mine too). TBH, a 14" tin would do. Beat the eggs with the sugar in a bowl and melt the chocolate and margarine in a bowl over pan of hot water or in microwave.

Mix the egg and chocolate mixtures together thoroughly.  Add the flour and mix in.  Mix in the blackberries and chocolate chips (I don't normally use chocolate chips too).  Put the mixture into the prepared tin. 

Bake in oven at 180 deg. C or 350 deg. F or Gas Mark 4 for 25 - 30 mins.  Cool on a wire rack and cut into squares.  Remove from tin when cold.  Makes 16. (Then HIDE them!!)

No photo as I sent these back up to Yorkshire with my daughter.  Oh my goodness, but they are GOOD.

With apologies to your waistlines . . .

Today I decanted my Hay Car Park Small Plum Gin into its original bottle.  It smells divine.  I also got some Vodka last week and using the huge Morello cherries I'd got a 7 lb box of back in the summer, I made Cherry Vodka, which is still being stirred daily.  Both will be ready in time for Christmas.  You can of course use Brandy with the cherries.

Over the weekend the torrential rain made me disinclined to venture out (apart from a brief dash to pick up yet more windfall apples and pears).  Then I peeled, cored and chopped the apples, mixed them with spices and dried mixed fruit and voila, one earthenware jar of Mincemeat.  Next I shall mop up a few of the windfall pears and make Apple, Pear and Ginger Mincemeat.  At this rate I will have to go back to wine making again as I have such a surplus of fruit . . .  

Ah yes, that torrential rain - something like a month's worth in about 36 hours.  The river rose and rose (of course) and took that dead sheep walkies (or should I say, floaties).  However, it had dropped a good four of five feet overnight but the poor souls in Crickhowell didn't fare so well - the Bridge End Pub flooded and lost thousands of pounds worth of stock in the cellar.

Time to go and relax.  Happy baking from the Cake Whisperer!

Friday 25 October 2019

A busy week again

We were due two viewings this week.  One had been carried over from last week, when a second viewing was put back a week. The other were new viewers, who booked for yesterday.  Lovely people (extended family) who liked the house.  It seems to suit them.  So we will have to see.

Today's 2nd viewing lady was unable to turn up due to sudden illness.  Having had the extra viewing yesterday, I am glad I didn't do 12 hours' housework and gardening for nothing.  It was over two days - 8 hours one day and 4 the next.  I always do the windows, paintwork, etc apart from the usual tidying up and cleaning. I even bought myself a bunch of flowers to enjoy and to make the room look extra pretty.  Apparently I am strange like that, wanting to prettify the house with flowers, but there we are, I know it isn't going to make them buy the house but it does make the house look homely and cared for.

I know one thing, I have aged in the past year - last year I could do a flat-out 14 hour day, this year I am slower and have to stagger it.  I will put it down to age.  I like to have everything pristine - though I am not house-proud for everyday living.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I actually sat down and RELAXED.  We put on an old favourite DVD of ours, The 13th Warrior, with Antonio Banderas in the lead role.  Good eye candy (and that's just his horse!)  Today we watched Casablanca, one of my old favourites. 

I have also awarded myself the weekend off and hope to get some quilt-making done . . . if we haven't floated away! 

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Gone With the Wind . . .

This morning's sunrise.  Just so beautiful and it reminded me of Gone With the Wind.  I am having to rest a bit this afternoon - my poor brain just keeps saying "sleep" but I am listening out for lot numbers at an on-line auction.  The first lot went over what we wanted to pay, but the lot WE were selling, failed to make the reserve.  Sod's Law at work!

Husband has taken daughter to the GP as she is unwell (on two fronts - such a worry) and to collect her car which had to be rescued with steering issues on Friday. 'tis an "intermittent fault . . ."

So apologies for being quiet - a busy weekend has caught up with me.  Off for a nap now and hope to post something more exciting later.

Nap interrupted before it started, by the Agent booking in another viewing for this week - so we have one on Thursday and one on Friday now.  I have been cleaning windows, touching up paintwork, tidying things away etc.  Please send positive thoughts our way please - for poorly daughter.

Thursday 17 October 2019

Some fresh air . . . and a bee sting !

This is my walk in reverse.  I didn't go far - just up to the junction and back.  The river is dropping back to usual autumn levels, though it's been up and down with all the rain we've had.

I quite liked the foreground in this, with the river hurling itself seawards behind the ferns.

Betony, still blooming in October.

Above - our version of Nessie!! This tree has been jammed in the bottom of the river for several years now.  Below - the sheep that was washed down in the flood before last - it's been there about 8 or 9 days now, gradually blowing up with gas .. .

It was about this point that I felt a leaf fall on my hair.  I put up a hand to waft it off - and was promptly stung by a bee on my scalp.  My golly gosh it HURT.  Fortunately I had already asked Tam to come and pick me up at the bottom of our hill as I didn't want to push my luck after being off colour all week. When we got in she looked up bee sting on Mr Google, removed the sting (on my hairline) with a credit card, and then it was washed with soap and water, had a cold compress on and I took an anti-histamine and some painkillers.  I know, it sounds like I'm a right baby!  I shall never understand these people who have deliberate bee-venom injections for medical reasons . . . they must be tougher than me.

It has finally calmed down now but occasionally primps itself up and it feels like I've been stung all over again.   I feel sorry for the bee, as they die once they sting, but it shouldn't go about doing leaf impressions . . .

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Threatening skies . . .

Well, we have been preparing for the 2nd viewing from one interested purchaser this week, only to hear it has been put back a week - which will give everything time to get grubby again!  I had even spoken to Next Door to move his calving/freshly calved heifers out of our top field too so that she could look at the field and woodland properly.  Ah well, they are off now and the field will lie fallow this winter.  Well, all I can say is, she's not in any hurry is she?

Above is the view out of my office window this afternoon - looking very threatening but someone further East copped it and we didn't.

Started today, some Hay Castle Car Park Very Small Plum Gin (as no Sloes locally).  The Hampstead gin is a nod to my Devon ancestors who moved there from Moretonhampstead.

Right, hopefully I shall start to feel a bit brighter tomorrow - ever since my flu jab I have been sleeping very late and feeling "off". NOT the flu jab as of course it's a dead vaccine, but obviously I have picked up a bug from somewhere.

Friday 11 October 2019

Busy in the kitchen - plus a divine cake

Swift post which may make you hungry.  Sorry to be absent but it has been a hectic 10 days and the alarm set every morning for one appt or another.  Yesterday, Eldest Daughter asked me to make these Pumpkin Pizzas - on the cover of the latest in-house mag from Tescopolis.  They are tied up with string, which was fiddly putting on and removing.  Dark colour is due to paprika egg wash.  Very tasty (inside is pasta sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni, chopped).  HERE is the link to the recipe.

Above is the Kale, Pasta and Cannellini Bean Soup from the same magazine.  Needed some oomph to it so will add smoked paprika or chilli flakes tomorrow. As you can see, mine turned out very thick, so needed letting down a bit too.

Above and below, the most DIVINE cake - Pear and Almond.  We have had the best-ever crop of pears this year - on a tree bought for £7.50 or so from Morrisons a few years back.  I am struggling to cope with its largesse.  Anyway, found this recipe in one of my books yesterday and can heartily recommend it.

Above - the Pear and Nutmeg Flapjacks. Personally - thought there was far too much Nutmeg -a teaspoon of it is approaching dangerous levels as it is toxic!  Seriously.  I would leave it out and use ground Ginger instead.

This is the book the recipe came from, by the way.

Here's a book I treated myself to recently - I love her work.  I was reading this during the night when I couldn't sleep (again).

Thursday 3 October 2019

Squeaker . . .

This is our latest addition, who has been with us for a good few months now.  He has acquired the name Squeaker as he certainly does that at mealtimes . . . Here he is, looking angelic.

And just to show he needs the kindest cut of all (he is booked in for next Thursday) - this is him after a dust-up with Theo . . .  I have to say, he looks a bit peeved . . .