Visit to The Eden Project in Cornwall

Last week we went down to Cornwall for a few days to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary (25 years).  The main reason for choosing Cornwall was to visit the Eden Project, which was something I had wanted to do for ages.

Upon leaving the car parks and walking down through the entrance the first thing that hits you is the view of the Biomes.  They are big and really impressive.DSC03203

We headed straight for the Rainforest Biome. DSC03208

It was humid and full of mature trees and plants.  I particularly liked the red flowers of the Pineapple Ginger.DSC03211

We walked up to the higher paths of the canopy. DSC03215

We crossed the rope bridge but it was a bit wobbly!DSC03213

After leaving the Rainforest Biome we headed for the Mediterranean Biome.  I liked the terracotta pots of flowers.DSC03218

And some beautiful Lillies.DSC03219

I posed by some pink Bougainvillia.DSC03221

There were some deep russet flowers in the Australian section.DSC03222

Outside were some lovely flower beds and I spotted a bee in a scabia.DSC03225

A large wicker bee took us by surprise.DSC03206

But then we spotted  a metal butterfly.DSC03244

The deep purple poppies were really gorgeous.DSC03238

For an extra £30 you can have a go on the zip wire but that’s not for me!.DSC03245

We were also lucky with the weather in that it was a warm day and we managed to escape the rain.

The Eden project has many different areas to see and is well worth a visit.

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We have some honey for honey cake

Neil recently took some honey from a well established bee hive, so for the first time for a long time we have some honey.  Here he is with our friend Emma in their bee suits after moving some bees.

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So I decided to make a honey cake as I’d not made one for a long time, here is the recipe.

HONEY CAKE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 170g/6oz clear honey
  • 140g/5oz butter
  • 85g/3oz light muscovado sugar (or I have used dark brown coconut sugar)
  • eggs, beaten
  • 200g/7oz self raising flour, sieved (I used wholemeal self raising flour)
  • water

Preparation method

1.      Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3 and butter and line the bottom of a 7in/18cm cake tin.

2.      Measure the honey, butter and sugar into a large pan. Add a tablespoon of water and heat gently until melted.

3.      Remove from the heat and mix in the flour.

4.      When fully mixed, add the beaten eggs and mix well

5.      Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is springy to the touch and shrinking slightly from the sides of the tin.

6.      Cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.

7.      If required you can make icing as follows:

For the icing

8.      While the cake is still warm, make the icing by mixing the sugar and honey together with 2-3 teaspoons of hot water. Trickle over the cake.  This dries as a honey crust on the cake.

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My cake was very dark brown because of the dark brown coconut sugar I used.  It made a really delicious cake.

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Guests at our B&B get offered tea and cake if they arrive in the afternoon, so if you want to try our honey cake come and stay with us. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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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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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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A lovely fruit cake for a 64th Birthday

I made a fruit cake for my hubby for his 64th birthday. DSC02808

Here is the recipe

225g of butter or margarine

225g of castor sugar (I used a mix of light brown and coconut sugar)

4 large free range eggs

225g of self raising flour

1 tsp of mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder

1 tsp of cinnamon powder

1 tsp of baking powder

450g dried mixed fruit (I used sultanas, chopped dates, chopped apricots and cranberries)

Mix the butter and sugar together to form a light fluffy mix. Add the eggs one at a time with a spoon full of flour to stop it curdling.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix slowly not to beat out the air.

Mix in the dried fruit until all is covered. Turn into an 8 inch greased and lined round baking tin and put in the oven at 160 degrees C for one and half hours.  Test to see that it is cooked all the way through, by putting a sharp knife into the middle of the cake and seeing that it comes out clean. If not return to the oven for a further 5 to 10 minutes and test again.

If you are not adding marzipan and icing to the cake you could finish like a Dundee cake by putting sliced almonds on the top of the cake mix before putting in the oven.

Result = Delicious and yummy!!DSC02802

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