Sunday, 18 February 2018

Lemon & buttermilk pound cake


Ingredients

  • 125g butter , plus extra for the tin
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • lemons , finely zested (save a little for the top if you like)
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 100ml buttermilk , at room temperature
  • ½ lemon , juiced

For the syrup

  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 2 large lemons , juiced (use the lemons you’ve zested)

For the icing

  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and flour a loaf tin measuring 22 x 11 x 7cm. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the lemon zest. Gradually add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix the buttermilk with the lemon juice. Fold the flour mixture into the batter, alternating with the buttermilk and lemon mixture.
  2. Scrape the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to sit for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack with a tray underneath it. Set the cake the right way up.
  3. To make the syrup, put the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Pierce the cake all over with a skewer then, while the cake is still warm, pour the syrup over slowly. Leave to cool.
  4. Gradually add the lemon juice to the icing sugar and mix until just smooth. If runny, put in the fridge for about 10 mins – you don’t want it to set, you just want it become a little firmer. Pour or spread the icing over the cake (the bits that drizzle down the side will be caught by the tray under the cooling rack). This icing won’t set hard, but do leave it to set a little before serving.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Turkish red lentil soup

Turkish Red Lentil Soup is super easy to make and perfect on cold days to warm you up. One of the best vegan soups because it is super filling and full of flavors. 


ingredients

Soup:
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili powder or flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint

instructions

  1. Combine lentils, onion, carrot, potato and spices in a large pot. Pour water over them. Cook it uncovered until it boils over medium high heat.
  2. Bring the heat to medium low and let it simmer stirring occasionally until everything is tender.
  3. Blend it until smooth using a hand blender. Put it back over the lowest heat, add in lemon juice and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. For the olive oil drizzle, heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add in chili powder and dried mint, stir once or twice and remove from the heat.
  5. Serve the soup hot in bowls with a drizzle of the spicy olive oil. You can garnish it with herbs.



Friday, 16 February 2018

The Coming Of Spring

Can you hear the impatient whisper of Spring
now the long Winter draws to a welcome end.
She begins quietly and timidly to tip toe into view
leaving her footprints as testimony in the ground.
Bulbs have pushed tentatively through the soil,
crocus now flowering in all their glorious colours
competing with the golden primroses and primulas,
their appearance bringing such cheer to us.
Cherry trees adorned with baby pink blossom,
trees and shrubs beginning to bud into life,
earth is awakening from it’s long deep slumber
and brings us the hope of renewal and rebirth.
Now the days are slowly growing longer,
warmer air blows in on a gentle breeze,
with it come the sounds of birds’ sweet song
who sense the coming of the long awaited Spring.
Jacqueline C Nash
Art Kevin Mortimer



Thursday, 15 February 2018

EVERTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CHINESE YEAR OF THE DOG


In the Western world, the New Year falls consistently on the same date, and December 31st is the day on which we celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one. However, when it comes to Chinese New Year celebrations, the date is never a fixed one, and this year one of the most colourful and buoyant global celebrations takes place on Friday, February 16th.
The celebrations often take place over a two-week period, and are based on the lunar rather than solar calendar, meaning the Chinese New Year can take place anywhere between January 21st and February 20th.
According to Chinese astrology, each Chinese New Year is related to a zodiac animal bestowed to the twelve-year cycle; and the dog lovers among us will be pleased to know that 2018 marks the year of everyone’s favourite four-legged friend, the Dog!
Our canine companions take the place of the eleventh zodiac sign, coming in before the Pig and just after the Rooster and previous years of the Dog have occurred in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, meaning if any of those birth years belong to you, your Chinese Zodiac sign is the dog.
With the Chinese New Year comes much superstition and, if you’re born in the Year of the Dog, your lucky numbers are deemed to be 3, 4 and 9; your lucky colours are red, green and purple, your lucky months are the 6th, 10th, and 12th Chinese lunar months, and both roses and cymbidium orchids are said to be your lucky flowers. In addition, there are even a set of directions considered lucky for those born in the Year of the Dog – east, south, and northeast; perhaps something to bear in mind when taking your faithful friend Fido for a walk.
As well as there being notably lucky things for Dogs, there too are things to avoid, and numbers 1, 6 and 7 are all said to be unlucky for those born in the Year of the Dog, as are the colours blue, white and gold, while a south-easterly direction should be avoided where possible.
If you want to look even further into Chinese astrology, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth, meaning, for example, that a Wood Dog comes once in a 60-year cycle.
And much like our faithful friends, those who are born in the Year of the Dog are said to embody a number of canine-like characteristics including loyalty, reliability, patience, a hard working and brave nature and an eagerness to help others.
There are many famous Dogs, whose traits certainly align with that of their Chinese Zodiac sign, and include the likes of Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa and Steven Spielberg.
And so, in celebration of the Chinese New Year this Friday, why not treat your loyal companion to a new collar in red, green or purple, or take them on a north-easterly walk to thank them for their loyalty, reliability and steadfast hard work?


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Love

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art
BRIGHT star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart, 
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
John Keats
Art Kinuko Craft

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Monday, 12 February 2018

Badger

As the dusk of a still
And a silent eve,
Descends to the arms 
Of the waiting night.
A rustle does sound
Through the lying leaves,
And the brittle twigs
Of the dying wood.
The cautious eyes
And a wary stare,
Emerge from the dark
Of the hidden sett.
As the badger roams
In the quest for food,
Through the bones
Of the tracks he wore.
Andrew Blakemore
Art Jemima Jameson