Thursday, 25 May 2017

My Garden Updates - Alpines and Succulents

How to create an alpine and succulents rockeries
in a wire basket

  • Line the basket with moss or coconut planter liner
  • Half fill the container with compost - I'm using  John Innes No3 soil-based compost. 
  • Add plenty of grit or sand to the soil to keep it open and free-draining
  • Arrange the plants -  the tallest ones should go in the centre or back of the container. 
  • Gently add soil around the plants whilst pushing them firmly into place
  • Water the plants

Sedum kamtscaticum Variegatum 
Chiastophyllum oppositifolium
Rhodanthemum Casablanca
Ajuga Braunherz

 Don't throw away broken pots...
turn them into mini rockeries!

Alpines are generally native to rocky soils and sunny locations. 
You can exploit their natural requirements sucessfully in containers. 
They are also very drought tolerant, so they are ideal for rock gardens 
or for planting in cracks between paving or walls.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Blackened Cajun Salmon with Blue Cheese Sauce

Blackened Cajun Salmon with Blue Cheese Sauce

4 thick portion of boneless salmon fillets
1 tbsp blackened Cajun seasoning*
salt, to taste

Cheese Sauce:
2 oz soft cream cheese
1/4 unsweetened apple juice
3 oz Saint Agur cheese

In a small bowl, rub the salmon pieces with salt and seasoning.
Heat a large skillet with a little oil over medium heat.
Fry the fish for about 2 minutes, skin sides and additional 2 minutes per side.
Take them off the skillet and set aside.
If you prefer the fish not to be pink in the middle, increase the cooking time.

For the sauce:
In a small saucepan, using medium heat, cook the apple juice and the cream cheese
until bubbly and slightly reduced.
Add the blue cheese and whisk till smooth.

To serve, spoon cheese sauce over and top with a slice of lemon

* to make your own Blackened Cajun seasoning, mix together :

4 tablespoons smoked paprika
3 tablespoons dried granulated onion
3 tablespoons dried granulated garlic
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons white pepper
3 tablespoons finely ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons ground thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons ground oregano
(recipe adapted from Epicurious)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Out and About - New Lanark

It's nearly the end of Elsa's final exam
Just one more paper to do and she's done -
for now.
She has been working hard preparing for her dissertation and exam;
keeping us updated with her progress, anxieties and all.
All that we can hope for is for her to do her best.
Hope she does well.

Moving on...
On one of the many gloomy, cloudy days we've been having
we headed south-west in search of bluer sky.

New Lanark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once a cotton spinning village
It gained fame under the management of 
one visionary and idealist man, Robert Owen.
He set about improving the business and the life of the workers.
Though the mills ceased commercial operations in 1968,
the village still has resident population who live in the 
beautifully restored Georgian buildings

Friday, 12 May 2017

ChocWalnut Banana Cake

ChocWalnut Banana Cake

200g butter
200g light brown sugar
4 large eggs
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
3 ripe bananas, mashed
100g chopped walnuts
100g roughly chopped dark chocolate

preheat the oven to 160C.
Grease and line a 9-inch with baking parchment.

Using electric whisk, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl
after each addition.

In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients along with walnuts and chocolates.
Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture.
Mix well.
Add bananas to the batter.
Make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 60 - 75 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Out and About - Branklyn

 In our bid to escape the cold and gloomy weather of Aberdeenshire
we decided to drive down to the central belt of Scotland.
Not surprising, once we reached the next county,
as if by magic, the sun was shining and everything was sparkling
I think we need to move...