Thursday is usually our Cakes & Bakes blog post slot, but today I’m having a birthday break from baking. The last year of my forties began today, so I’ve been celebrating by putting my feet up in front of the fire and have doing as little as possible.
Tonight, I’m being treated to a meal out at a little local restaurant that we’ve not tried before. Tomorrow, it’s back to the normal routine.
We had a lovely drive over to Skipton today to visit Keelham Farm Shop.
We saw the shop on television at the weekend on the Countryfile programme. We were really taken with the Huddersfield-produced halloumi that was featured.
So we decided to go buy some of that – and see what else was on offer. We filled a trolley with all manner of deliciousness!
There’s also a large ground floor restaurant and mezzanine café with a vintage industrial vibe – now bedecked in its Christmas decorations.
We found a Hygge-friendly corner! Adelle had a cute little penguin to keep her company while relaxing with a cup of coffee and slice of carrot cake.
We bought quite a selection of (mainly) Yorkshire produced food & drink… including two types of the Halloumi (or Haloum! – as they call it). A mint variety and a fiery chilli. Justin bought himself a pork pie – he always judges and establishment by its pork pies. To be honest, he bought four different kinds of pie! As well as bread, cheeses, soups, ales, biscuits and puddings.
We’ve been sampling items for both lunch and dinner – they’ve all got top marks so far! We’ll be making a return trip very soon as we really like Skipton anyway – and this shop is just one more good reason to go.
Interior decoration is all about achieving balance within a space, something that this modern rustic living room has perfected.
The backdrop of brilliant white walls with bare wood floor, ceiling and rafters act as the foundation of the room. This light coloured wood is picked up again in the handrails, skirting boards, door frame, Ercol nest of tables and log pile.
The Welsh wool tapestry cushions, playful moose throw and Bokhara rug soften the hard surfaces and provides comfort and colour.
The rustic feel is counterbalanced with touches of modernism via the sleek wood-burning stove and orange & stainless steel angled floor lamp.
- Westfire Uniq 15 DEFRA approved wood burning stove
- Anglepoise type 1228 floor lamp, orange
- Richmond armchair, indigo
- Scandinavian pure new wool throw
- Ercol Originals nest of tables
- Melin Tregwynt knot garden cushion
- Welsh wool tapestry cushions
- Bokhara rug in red
We watched a fantastic programme on television last week, all about the history of the postage stamp and stamp collecting. It was through this that I was reintroduced to the designs of David Gentleman. I say reintroduced because I had many of his designs stuck in my stamp album way back in the 1970s.
Now that the internet has been invented, it has been much quicker and easier for me to go in search of more examples of his wonderful work. Between 1962 & 2000, he designed 103 different stamps for the Post Office – for a long time, his was the most prolific output for them. He designed posters for London Transport, the National Trust, Imperial War Museum and the Public Records Office. He also designed book covers & illustrations for publishers including Penguin and Faber as well as for his own travel books.
Between his postage stamp output and his 100-metre long mural on the Northern Line platform of Charing Cross Underground Station – David Gentleman is probably one of the most widely viewed designers in the world! You can find a more extensive study and interview of the designer here.
Additional image credits:
Postal Museum | Tate
It’s been snowing for much of the day today – winter is coming, and so is Christmas. At the beginning of each December we start stockpiling food and drink to be consumed during Christmas week. This year, we plan on ordering a couple of Christmas mixed wine cases (or three). We enjoy red, white, rosé and sparkling wines – any kind of wine really! 🙂
Our local supermarket has quite a good range of wines on offer, but we like to try new things at this time of year. These days, ordering wine online is just so easy to do. There are lots of places where you can buy mixed wine cases, i.e. 12 bottles of red, white and sometimes rosé or sparkling – often from various countries and continents. The good thing about this option is that generally, you get bottles of wine that you probably wouldn’t have chosen yourself – an opportunity for surprising and delectable discoveries!
Whenever we come across a bottle of wine that we really love, we record it on the free Delectable app. – just take a photo of the label and it usually recognises the wine. It gives you other people’s reviews and ratings… and works on beers and spirits as well.
- The Winter Wonderland 12 x 75cl bottles: £71.88, Majestic Wine
- Christmas Entertaining dozen mixed case: £108.00, Tesco
- Hugh Johnson’s Christmas Collection: £119.88, Sunday Times Wine Club
I had a bit of leftover lemon curd from last week’s Pavlova recipe… I also have jar upon jar of home-made fruit jelly in the store cupboard. As someone who hates to waste anything, I thought I would make some simple lemon curd and jelly tarts.
Whether you’re rubbing in by hand or using a food mixer, the shortcrust pastry is a breeze…
…then fill with your preserve(s) of choice and bake. Start to finish in an hour or so. Perfect if you want to rustle up something quickly – or try a bit of baking with the kids.
You can leave them plain & simple – or perhaps pretty them up a bit. I garnished the top of the lemon curd tarts with a single blueberry and the jelly ones with a little sprinkle of dessicated coconut.
They’re a good finger food for a party or an afternoon or high tea. They’re simple, inexpensive and delicious – a great combination!
Lemon curd and jelly tarts
- 180g/6oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 90g/3oz cold butter, cubed
- 3-4 tbsp cold water
- 8tbsp lemon curd
- 8tbsp fruit jelly or jam
- Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whiz briefly together to mix
- Add the butter cubes and pulse briefly a dozen times or so until you have coarse crumbs
- Trickle in the water continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles rough lumps and looks a bit like overcooked and dry scrambled eggs. Add only as much water as you need
- Tip the clumped crumbs onto a sheet of cling film and gently squeeze together into a ball without pressing too hard
- Wrap & chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 6
- Lightly grease a tartlet tin
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out thinly
- Using a pastry cutter slightly larger than the circumference of a tartlet hole, cut out pastry rounds
- Press the pastry rounds evenly into each hole (I use the end of my rolling pin as a tamper)
- Fill each pastry case with about a teaspoon of lemon curd or jelly/jam
- Bake for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before attempting to remove them
- Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack
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