Category Archives: Musings

Summery Trifle – Nectarine & Lemon

At the weekend I made a trifle adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the finished result, due to the texture rather than the flavour, which I thought was delicious… Maybe I used the wrong type of sponge (Martha suggested store-bought pound cake – the nearest I could find (not having time to make a sponge myself that day) was Madeira cake) as the finished product was rather stodgy. I also wondered if I left the trifle in the fridge for too long – maybe it shouldn’t have been fridge cold when it was served. To make this dessert, nectarines (or peaches or plums) are roasted in the oven with sugar until they are slightly caramelised. You then make a lemon mousse using whipped double cream and lemon curd. ┬áIt is assembled in a similar way to the usual trifle and topped off with some lemon zest. I picked some borage flowers from the garden as I thought this added a pretty touch. In my huge Pampered Chef trifle bowl it looked good, but it didn’t live up to my expectations on the night! However, I will definitely try it again and will follow Martha’s method to the letter rather than making my own adaptations, which didn’t work out for me this time!

Apologies for the light on this photo – taken in haste as usual!


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Great Tea Shop in Winchester

On Sunday we visited Winchester to have a look at the Farmers’ Market (huge and very good!) and spotted this fabulous shop stocked with every tea you could imagine: They offer a mail order service and there is definitely something to suit every taste. I liked the idea of the local blends, for example Winchester Evening tea which is a tea blended with rosebuds. It smelt wonderful. We bought Spearmint Tea (really refreshing and good for getting rid of a bloated feeling!) and China Jasmine Tea, which we’ve yet to try…

I’ve also noticed that they do a Lavender Tea using lavender from Hampshire lavender fields blended with Char Keemun.

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Home-Made Jam

I love making jams and chutneys and have recently made batches of both raspberry and blackcurrant jam. (Those who requested blackcurrant, perhaps you’d like to help me prepare the fruit next time I make some!!) I picked the raspberries just down the road at Country Market near Bordon, brought them straight home and made the jam, which is a very satisfying thing to do. I’ve found that my sugar thermometer has “changed my life” as I so dramatically said to my husband earlier today! It really does take away the uncertainty about setting point and when fruit and sugar costs as much as it does at the moment that has to be a good thing…

Here is the raspberry bubbling away on the hob, complete with thermometer. I love the colour…

Here are the jams potted up and topped with pretty covers (tied up with my lovely coloured Nutscene string). You may notice that a lovely teapot has crept into the photograph. It is an Avoca buttons teapot and is an early wedding anniversary present from my husband – to say I was thrilled to bits with it is an understatement. Can’t wait to use it now…

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Strawberry & Chocolate Muffins

There has been a bit of a gap in posts as I have been away on holiday in Cornwall for a few days. Now back and eager to get cooking again! This is a photo of a muffin I had for breakfast at the Porthminster Cafe in St Ives last week. It was warm from the oven and had fresh strawberries in it… As you can see we had perfect weather for eating on the beach. We had a delicious meal evening meal here too – the fish is so beautifully fresh – highly recommended!

Beautiful Porthminster Beach…

More cakes soon!


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Lavender Sugar’s Big Day Out!

One day last week we decided to get out of our kitchens and head off for lunch and some shopping in Guildford. We ate at Jamie’s Italian and the food was so beautiful I took some snaps (with my phone, so sorry about the quality) as I wanted to share how good it looked! I am happy to say that it tasted even better than it looked and I can’t wait to go back. We both love trying lots of different foods so we went for a selection of antipasti and a tin of wonderful breads. These were freshly baked and totally delicious.

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Late Spring Flowers

Lavender Sugar always puts a pretty posy of flowers on the afternoon tea table and I don’t feel that my house is quite ‘right’ if there are no flowers in it! I found this very late camellia in the garden the other day and used the two little blooms on the lunch table. I was using pink, blue and green floral placemats and bright green napkins, so these looked good. I had planned a much larger bunch of flowers for the table centre, but by the time all the food is out there is never enough room! I need a bigger table…

A few days later a friend came to visit and brought me this beautiful bunch of tulips. I took the photo from above as I just love the centres of these beauties!

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My Favourite Vintage Teacup

This beautiful vintage teacup was a birthday gift from Elaine. I remarked on how lovely it was when we were out shopping for tea sets for Lavender Sugar’s first event back in September ’09. Little did I know she had been back to the antiques centre in Farnham to buy it for my birthday!

This gift has given me the idea that when our breakfast room is finally decorated (soon!) I am going to have a dresser in there, and start my own collection of pretty china… When we got married we opted for plain white crockery, which is brilliant in most circumstances, as I can use whatever table linen or flowers I like. However, a girl does need a bit of pattern and colour in her kitchen! At least now I can indulge my need for pretty china when we do afternoon tea.

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