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Sunday 27 April 2008

Sunny and WARM!

Beautiful day today, sunny and WARM! I’ve been out pottering in the garden again and this time without a coat – first time this year. Oooh the joy…. the freedom! I even turned the heating off and have all the windows open – another first this year.

The willow trees are sprouting leaves, with only a few of the furry buds left on the branches (see photo above) and the rosa rugosa are leafing up nicely, with perennials starting to pop up in the border too.

Clara Cluck and her friends were again delighted that I was digging up the earth and providing them with a delicious Sunday lunch.

I’m also trying to grow some herbs. So far I’ve put in mint and chives in the border. In the house I have coriander and parsley and today planted up basil. I adore the smell of basil though I don’t use it much for cooking. It has the same effect on me as catnip does on Fitzi – though I don’t tend to roll around on the rug with a glazed expression waving my feet in the air….. but then again……

This afternoon I did some baking too. Below is a recipe I really like for a Date & Raisin cake. I’ve also experimented with a new recipe for Orange & Sultana tray bake – but I’ll need to taste that before I provide the recipe in case it’s no good!

It’s still dry tonight and I’m tempted to go out and mow the grass, but on reflection think I’ve done enough for the day and will relax in front of the TV tonight.

Date & Raisin Cake

1 cup dates (chopped)

1 cup raisins

½ cup butter

1 egg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves (I used mixed spice)

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cups sifted plain flour

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pour boiling water over the dried fruit, baking soda and essence. Leave to soak (about 1 hour). Cream the butter and sugar and add the egg. Mix well. Add the flour, spice and fruit. Bake in a tin (I used a loaf tin) lined with greaseproof paper in a moderate oven (180 degrees Centigrade) for 30-40 minutes or until done (cocktail stick somes out clean).

It is lovely and moist – very yummy.

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