Archive for April, 2019

Bluebells at Otterhead Lakes

This lovely little nature reserve in Otterford has some nice footpaths taking you along the two lakes and the River Otter. The two lakes which remain are all that are left of a series of pools in the landscaped gardens of Otterhead House which was built in 1845 and demolished in 1952. The site includes woodland trails with snowdrops in the Winter and bluebells in the Spring. There’s also lots of wildlife to look out for. This is one of our favourite places to go for a walk in the Spring for the beautiful carpets of bluebells.

On leaving the car park you walk down some steps to the main path down to the lakes. The sun was just glistening through the newly formed leaves of the trees.DSC03089

On the way down we saw the first of the carpets of bluebells.DSC03092

Reaching the first lake we walked down past the bridge to see the waterfall.DSC03095

An then later to a smaller one.DSC03097

Other plants were coming out too, the pink flowers of Campion and the ferns were just unfurling.DSC03106

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I stopped on a smaller bridge across the water.DSC03100

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On the way back we could see more bluebells, so lovely.DSC03110

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Come and stay with us at Lodge House and you too can visit Otterhead Lakes, its just 5 minutes drive away. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Simnel Cake

At Easter I always make a Simnel cake.

Simnel cakes are often associated with Mothering Sunday also known as Simnel-Sunday. According to historian Ronald Hutton in 17th Century Gloucestershire and Worcestershire the custom of live-in apprentices and domestic servants going home to visit their mothers on Mothering Sunday started, checking that their families were well and taking food or money if needed. This was a time of year when food stocks were low, and the high-calorie simnel cake was useful nutrition. The cake later became simply an Easter cake.

The ingredients are as follows:

  • 175g      light muscavado sugar or soft brown sugar (I also use coconut sugar)
  • 175g      butter softened
  • 175g      self raising flour (I used wholemeal)
  • 3      large free range eggs
  • 2      tablespoons of milk
  • 500g      sultanas,  dried apricots pieces, chopped dates, currants, raisins and dried cranberries
  • 1      teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 2      teaspoon of ground ginger

Preparation:

    1. Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas3
    2. grease  and line the base and sides of an 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment
    3. beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy
    4. add the eggs one at a time and beat
    5. add the milk
    6. add  the flour and all the dry fruit ingredients and fold in
    7. tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin
    8. place the cake in the oven and bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until golden brown and a skewer or knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    9. place the cake on a cooling rack to cool before removing from the tin
    10. decorate  as required (I put marzipan and chocolate eggs on mine)DSC03075

Some people brown the top of the marzipan under the grill but as I have added small chocolate eggs I won’t do that.  There are 11 marzipan balls which traditionally represent the 12 Apostles less Judas.

Not to be eaten until Easter Sunday of course.

Come and share some Simnel cake with us http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Goats and piglets

Yesterday we went to Emma’s farm in Ham to buy 4 more chooks.  We have brought from her before, the chooks are reasonable and good layers. We got 4 Rhode Rock black tails and brought them home to join the flock, as we have lost a couple of hens through natural causes recently.

Whilst there we went to see Emma’s other animals.  She has a turkey called Paxo who is just a pet, not for eating, several dogs and pigs and a few orphan lambs she was bottle feeding.

But her big goat was the one that got my attention.  He leaned up out of his stall and I got the impression he wanted to plant a kiss on me!!  I tried not to get too near, but he was a handsome fella.

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She also had 2 large white pigs who had just had litters.

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One pig had 10 piglets and the other had 12 really tiny ones, just a day old that were snuggled up to Mum under the heat lamp.

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I do love seeing all the animals and wish we had space for some pigs and lambs but for now 22 chickens will have to do.

Come and visit the chickens at our B&B http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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