Archive for bed and breakfast

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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Banana Cake, using up ripe bananas

Occasionally we get left with ripe bananas.  Rather than getting rid of them in the compost I make banana cake, and I made one yesterday for our guests. Here is the recipe:-

Ingredients:

125g butter

150g caster sugar (I used light brown caster sugar)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 egg beaten

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

190 self raising flour (I used wholemeal)

60 ml milk

Method:

  1.  Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Melt butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat.DSC02826DSC02827
  2.  Remove from heat and add the mashed bananas, mix well.DSC02829DSC02830
  3.  Add the egg, mix well.DSC02831
  4.  Stir in the flour and the milk.DSC02832
  5.  Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkle with a tablespoon of demerara sugar to give a crunch topping if liked.DSC02833DSC02834
  6.  Bake at 170 C / Fan 150 C / Gas 3 for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool and enjoy!DSC02841DSC02842Come to Lodge House B&B to taste a slice, all guests welcome. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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The Green Scythe Fair 2018

Yesterday we went to the Green Scythe Fair at Mulcheney, in Somerset.  It is an annual event which is as”green” as possible with power from solar panels or stationary bikes, compost loos, lots of recycling and no mains electricity on site.

There are various stalls all round the arena which is where the scything competitions take place.  But no Ross Poldark here, they all kept their shirts on inspite of the warm weather.

This is what greeted us at the entrance, wicker figures.

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There were lots of stalls selling food, some vegan, some veggie and some not.  Neil and I shared a pizza.

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Dancers formed a circle and danced along to music from a group of musicians.  People were dressed up and lots of children had their faces painted.

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Another group of musicians, this time dressed as pirates, were performing on a stage and whilst we were there, played a raucous version of “Riding on a Donkey”.

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At a green crafts area our friend Emma was teaching basket weaving.

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The fair was finishing with a ceilidh in the evening , although we didn’t stay for that.

We were lucky with the weather and it made a very enjoyable day out.

see us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

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People stuck in the snow become unexpected guests

IMG_20180301_164715On Thursday afternoon there was a red alert for snow in Devon and Somerset.  And did the snow come down, it was thick and fast, and before we knew we were knee deep in snow and drifts.

We got a call from a couple stuck in the snow on the A303 on a hill behind a lorry that couldn’t make it up the hill.  They asked if we had a room for the night and we said we did.  It wasn’t until about 7pm (after they had been stuck for over 6 hours and realised they were going nowhere that night) that they walked up the hill to our junction with the A303. Neil got suitably attired and plodded through the snow to meet them and walk them back to our house.  They were truly grateful to be in the warm and the first thing we did was make them a cup of tea.

Normally our guests would go to the local pub for evening meals but there was no way they were going to do that in the bad weather, so a I rustled up some dinner for them and we all ate together.

The next day after breakfast they togged themselves up and went back to their abandoned car to see if they could dig themselves out.  They managed to move their car a couple of 100 yards but couldn’t go any further as the A303 was still blocked and shut.

They realised they would have to stay another night.  This time I made a meat and veg chilli for us all and they shared their bottle of Cava with us to make it nice evening.

The couple had been talking to the Police who told them that snowploughs and gritters would be out all night clearing the A303 so they should be OK on Saturday morning. They duly kitted themselves out for the snow, waved us goodbye and trudged back to their car and were able to make their way slowly home.

We spent more time with them than normal B&B guests so it felt like we had made new friends.

visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Making Blackberry Gin

Having a bumper crop of blackberries this year, and having already made jam and stewed up lots for crumbles and pies in the Winter, I was thinking what else could I do with them?  Then I thought what about Blackberry Gin?  I researched on line for a recipe but there were lots of contradicting quantities so in the end I sort of made up my own from a combination of a couple of different recipes.

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First you need to wash the blackberries well, as flies are definitely attracted to them. Place the washed blackberries into a demi john. I had lots so I used 1 kilo of fruit.

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Next add the sugar, just ordinary granulated or caster will do.  I used 300g.

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Add the gin, I used 2 x 70cl bottles (the cheap stuff from Lidl).

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Add 3 dessert spoons of lemon juice.

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Then give is all a good shake.

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The gin immediately took on the colour of the blackberries, so after the 3 months infusing it, it will be dark and glorious.  Just ready in time for Christmas!! The French call it Crème de Mure.

Want to try some?  Come and visit or stay with us at Lodge House B&B. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Spring chicken thank you

Our guests who have been staying with us for 5 nights commented on how we had a chicken theme going with the crockery, the table mats, the pictures on the wall and some chicken ornaments.  We said “naturally” as we have 24 hens and one cockerel, we liked to keep to a theme.

Our guests really enjoyed their stay and on the last morning presented us with another chicken ornament which they said they just had to buy us when they saw it.  Hence “Spring chicken” has joined the flock. It’s a bit like a Wallace and Gromit figure. What a lovely thank you present!!

If you want to see our chicken collection or even our live chickens then stay with us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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