Cakes & Bakes: Nettle loaf

May 21st, 2015

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home-made nettle loaf

Foraging season is upon us again. A fortnight ago I made a batch of wild garlic butter.

nettle loaf ingredients

This week, the stinging nettles are just right for picking. We had a patch in a corner of our allotment that was looking lush and healthy. It’s now had a little pruning session – and is the star ingredient in a nettle loaf.

basic bread dough

Don’t forget, if you’re going to try this recipe, take a pair of gloves and only pick the tips and first two leaves – much like tea-picking, I reckon!

nettle leaves lining a banneton

The nettles make for a rustic, flavoursome and attractive loaf.

bread dough proving and nettle leaves lining a banneton

I’ve used a basic white loaf recipe; but a half & half mixture of white and wholemeal will enhance the earthy, nutty flavour of the nettles. And nettles are SO good for you

kneading nettle leaves into dough wearing kitchen gloves

Pin this recipe for later!

Nettle loaf
Yields 1
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 5g/⅙oz active dried yeast
  2. 300ml/10.5 fl oz warm water
  3. 500g/18oz plain flour
  4. 10g/⅓oz salt
  5. handful of nettle leaves
Instructions
  1. Add the yeast to the water and stir to remove any lumps. Add a teaspoon of sugar (optional) to help it along if the yeast is a bit old. Set aside for 15 minutes until it forms a foam
  2. In a colander, rinse & drain the nettle leaves removing any thick stalks. Set aside 4 or 5 of the leaves before roughly ripping the remainder
  3. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle
  4. Pour the yeast liquid into the well in the flour
  5. Bring the flour into the centre and combine
  6. Add the salt to the dough and knead to form a ball
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes
  8. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour)
  9. Lay the reserved nettle leaves, smooth side down, into a well-floured banneton if you have one. If not, lay them into a well-greased loaf tin
  10. Once proved, empty the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the nettles (this is best done wearing a pair of clean rubber gloves)
  11. Form the dough into a ball and place into the banneton (or oblong if using a loaf tin)
  12. Put the banneton/loaf tin into the large mixing bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to prove, again until doubled in size, in a warm place
  13. Preheat the oven to 240ºC/465ºF/Gas mark 9, put an empty roasting dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill a cup with cold water and set aside
  14. Once the loaf has risen, if using a banneton, grease a baking sheet and gently decant the loaf on to it, trying not to knock any air out of it
  15. Quickly & carefully pour the cup of water into the roasting dish before putting the loaf into the oven
  16. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200ºC/ 400ºF/Gas mark 6
  17. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes before taking it out of the oven
  18. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before use
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Spring bulbs

May 20th, 2015

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daffodil

Last autumn, we did some forward planning.

packs of spring bulbs

It was November to be precise – and we went to our local garden centre and chose a selection of spring bulbs.

dolly tub to be planted with spring bulbs

We had two of these lovely old galvanised dolly tubs originally used for washing clothes. They make such great planters in terms of looks and the fact that they don’t shatter after a frost.

spring bulbs being planted into a dolly tub at the beginning of November

Their large size & depth also provides the necessary space to have layers of bulbs which allows a succession of flowering and gives continued interest over many months.

shoots from snowdrops coming through the soil in early January

The first green shoots appeared in January when the snowdrops popped their noses above soil level.

snowdrops in the snow in late January

Snow drops in the snow – an exquisite sight!

Multi-coloured crocuses flowering at the beginning of March

They were followed in late February by the crocuses – a wonderful shot of colour after a long, drab winter.

Daffodils flowering in mid-April

April saw the daffodils in their prime…

Spring bulbs flowering continuously from January to May and beyond

…and the tulips arrived in May.

Tulips with daffodils flowering at the beginning of May

It’s been a real success – starting with the simple beauty of snowdrops and ending with a gorgeous mix of colour, scent and forms. Here’s a list of the bulbs we planted if you’d like to try it yourself. After each layer, add a little extra compost to cover the bulbs before adding the next layer:

Bottom layer (planted first) – Tulips Triumph Mistress of Darkness

Layer 2 – Narcissus Spring Fragrance Mixed

Layer 3 – Crocus Vernus Mixed Colours

Top layer (planted last): Snowdrops Single

On the road!

May 19th, 2015

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Vintage Galt Toys puzzle game | H is for Home

We bought a small box of vintage learning games last week – and amongst them was this gorgeous traffic puzzle that we just had to share.

Detailed view of vintage Galt Toys puzzle game | H is for Home

It was made by Galt Toys in the 1960s, a company that produced some of our absolute favourite toys from this era. The colours & graphics are wonderful.

Detailed view of vintage Galt Toys puzzle game showing the car | H is for Home Detailed view of vintage Galt Toys puzzle game showing the removal van | H is for Home

Detailed view of vintage Galt Toys puzzle game showing the caravan | H is for Home Detailed view of vintage Galt Toys puzzle game showing the caravan | H is for Home

You can remove some of the vehicle pieces to see what’s going on inside – the contents of the delivery van, the caravan’s interior or the passengers on the coach!

Detailed view of vintage Galt Toys puzzle game showing the bus | H is for Home

It’s very charming – one of those finds that will be hard to part with!

Etsy List: Do the Twist

May 18th, 2015

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'Do the Twist' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

Twists, spirals, coils and curls – enchanting forms both natural and man-made. Here are a few Etsy favourites.

Do the Twist
Curated by H is for Home

How to bring the outside in

May 17th, 2015

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modern slate-walled bathroom

Outdoor elements have a way of making us feel relaxed, refreshed and calm; so why wouldn’t we want to imitate this in our own homes? You’d be surprised at how easy it is to create a natural, calming atmosphere; and one room in particular that can often benefit from the influence of the great outdoors is the bathroom.

A space to relax and unwind after a hard day at work; ground your mood with a few of these simple steps.

The material

Instead of opting for plastic and other man-made materials, choose natural elements instead. Using substances such as cork and bamboo for flooring creates a bathroom sure to look and feel warm & inviting. Combining this with stone really maximises the outdoor to indoor theme. Try adding stone washbasins and other features such as the warm, earthy designs created by Bella Bathrooms, where they have combined grey slate effects with sandstone flooring.

Cork flooring in a bathroomimage credit

The colour

The colour of your bathroom can really make or break it. Although white is often popular for those looking to make a small bathroom feel much bigger, it can often show up any water marks and scratches much easier than colour, so can end up being quite a frustrating option to keep on top of. Be brave and venture out into using mother nature’s own colour palette. Mossy greens, duck egg blues and rich tones of mocha can create a pleasing ambiance.

modern bathroom with light wood furniture and moss green wall

Decoration

Referring back to the colour scheme, continue the theme of nature by bringing elements of the outside in. Putting stones and sand into vases and adding greenery such as ferns or bamboo is a popular way to bring a little Zen into your space. As the bathroom can be a damp and humid room, ensure to research the best plants that will suit the bathroom so that you can feel inspired. If you don’t have the room for flowers or plants why not try hanging pictures of them up on your bathroom walls instead? There are many ways to accessorise your bathroom with a nod to nature, even if you’re limited for space.

modern split-level bathroom with wooden flooring and walls

The extras

It’s the little things that count. Making sure you have natural light in your bathroom is another great way of making it feel much more fresh and spacious; sunshine bouncing off the walls makes it look much more inviting too. Let’s not forget candles and incense; ignite all of your senses with accessories that you can touch, see and smell to bring a relaxed feel to the room.

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