Focaccia with Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

I have a rather old rosemary plant with no space to repot and overwinter it. Last year I risked leaving it outdoors and took cuttings. It survived the mild winter, but has lost a lot of needles this summer and has barely put on new growth. So I have been harvesting a lot, and a new smaller plant is on my list for spring. So, what can I do with all my rosemary?

My trusty calendar for October had the answer:

Calendar

:)

Rosemary Focaccia

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  • 5oog (1 lb) strong white flour
  • 10g (1 tbsp) dried instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 325ml (1 1/3 cups) warm water

Mix all the ingredients well and knead for 5 – 10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Place in a clean bowl and brush with oil. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour or two.

Divide into two, or if you like you could make up to 6 mini foccaccia. Flatten slightly and place on a lightly floured baking tray. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further twenty minutes. Preheat your oven to 250°C/475°F.

Topping:

  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and mixed into 5 tbsps olive oil
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) feta cheese, crumbled into large chunks
  • about 10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary

After the dough has rested a second time, use your knuckles to make little dimples in the top. Place the feta and tomatoes in and around these dimples and then brush the garlic oil all over – nice and generously! Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and the rosemary sprigs, which you can break up a little.

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Bake for 20-30 minutes until firm in the centre and golden and crispy on the outside.

Enjoy while still warm!

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(Tip: leftovers can be warmed in the microwave the next day and taste just as good!)

Have you ever made Focaccia?

Tuesday View (28th October)

I was actually quite surprised when I compared today’s view with last week’s – not as much change as I thought after all the wind and rain we had. We can see up into the woods now though (behind the acer).

TuesdayView28th

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The acer still has so many leaves so I thought I’d take a few pictures of the last of the autumn colour before it all fades…

Binocular man on the right is being swaped by the Cotoneaster, which will have a drastic haircut once the berries have gone!)

Binocular man on the right is being swamped by the Cotoneaster, which will have a drastic haircut once the berries have gone!

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Focussing on the positive: these bright and warm colours are a tonic on cloudy days

Even with no sunshine the acer glows

Even with no sunshine the acer glows

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And the miniature cherry has managed to retain most of its leaves this autumn too, showing some nice colour

Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai' with some Physalis to the left

Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ with some Physalis to the left and one of my favourite (no-name) Heucheras on the right

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We only had a few very brief rays of sunshine today, but to the north – as is so often the case – the sky was pale blue

Persicaria and Golden Euonymus in the rockery

Persicaria and Golden Euonymus in the rockery

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Enjoy the last few days of October!

Was it a golden month for you?

In a Vase on Monday: Saving and Savouring October

This morning the reality of the coming dark and foggy months meant I nearly didn’t go out and pick any flowers for a Monday vase. A cold and wet weekend has certainly put an end to any October glory… But Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme once again provided me with the motivation to try and find materials from my garden to bring indoors. Thanks Cathy!

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So glad I made the effort after all!

Physalis alkekengi is collapsing now but the seedheads will light up the south-west rockery for a few weeks to come.

Then there was Golden Euonymus fortunei, Heuchera, Lavender, Sedum, Hypericum…

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… Crocosmia leaves, Miscanthus, Verbena bonariensis, Persicaria, Teucrium hircanicum…

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… Centranthus ruber, and Dichromena latifolia (White Top Star Sedge).

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As you can see, getting a decent photo in poor light will be just as challenging as finding the plant material over the next few months!

Take a look at Cathy’s post at Rambling in the Garden, where she shares her vase for this week and links to many other lovely Monday vases.

Tuesday View (21st October)

An early morning photo today, with the mist in the background and pale filtered sunlight just breaking through low cloud…

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THE rose is still flowering, and the garden still looks very colourful.

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I thought I had better take my picture early as the storm that passed over the UK a couple of days ago was on the way to us. It took all day to get here though and as I write now the wind is howling and it is pouring with rain, thundering and lightning too… I’m glad I managed to tidy away a few more pots and cut down some soggy foliage earlier.

I’m also glad I got a few photos of the silvery dwarf Miscanthus in the sunshine…

DwarfMiscanthus

The pink asters have gone over now, but this snail doesn’t seem to mind

AsterSnail

I  noticed that the sedum also has a new admirer – the Cymbalaria , which has spread like mad this year, has fallen in love!

Cymbalaria

A final picture today of one of my tomato plants. Yes! In mid-September I distributed some of my compost over part of the rockery and two self-seeded tomato plants appeared shortly after. They look so incredibly healthy. I don’t think I’ll see any tomatoes though!

Tomato

Have a good week – with calm weather!

In a Vase on Monday: a Tropical Touch

With a storm front on the way I decided to cut back my cigar plant drastically and bring some flowers indoors. The plant may survive a bit longer outdoors, but is far too big to be overwintered.

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This spring was the first time I bought a cigar plant, or Cuphea ignea, and I rather liked it simply for the incredible growth it put on; as a container plant in the full sun it did extremely well, barely wilting even on the hottest day, and producing red, cigar shaped flowers non-stop from July onwards. I can’t quite decide if I will grow one again though, as it is not really my “thing”!

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The dark green shiny leaves are also attractive, and are definitely worthy of a mention. Practically all other foliage in the garden has turned yellow or dropped already.

What was the most successful container plant you grew this summer, and is it still hanging on?

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme “In a Vase on Monday”. It is just beginning to get really challenging to find materials for a weekly vase now, as the number of flowers out there is dwindling!  Take a look at Cathy’s lovely autumny post this week as well as the other vases linked in the comments, and see how gardeners from around the world are filling vases as the seasons change.

:)

A Hedgehog Cake

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Before you start wondering, no hedgehogs were harmed!

For my birthday I always make myself a special cake, and since hedgehogs have been on my mind a lot recently it seemed only logical to finally try out my hemisphere cake pan this time round…

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Cute! It was a lot simpler than I had thought – and it tasted pretty good too!

Hedgehog Birthday Cake

For the cake:

  • one 15cm/6 inch hemisphere tin and one 20cm/8 inch sandwich cake tin, greased and floured
  • 225g (2 sticks)  softened butter
  • 225g (1 cup) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 215g (1 3/4 cups) SR flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsps milk

Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F. Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Gently fold in the sieved flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Add the milk if necessary to achieve a “dropping consistency”, i.e. the mixture drops slowly off a spoon. Divide between the two cake tins and bake until firm to touch: the sandwich tin will take about 20-25 minutes and the hemisphere tin will take longer, between 35 and 45 minutes. Leave to cool completely on a rack.

For the buttercream/decoration:

  • 125g softened butter
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 75g milk chocolate, melted
  • 2 chocolate drops for the eyes
  • 1 glace cherry for the nose
  • jam for the filling (I used strawberry)

Beat together the butter and sugar. Reserve enough to cover the nose of the hedgehog. Dip the glace cherry in your melted chocolate and put to one side. Now beat the remaining melted chocolate into the rest of the buttercream. (Make sure the chocolate is cooled but not cold when you mix it in).

Forming the cake: Place the hemisphere on top of the sponge base layer, but at the back edge and not in the centre. Cut the base around the edge of the hemisphere at the sides but leave some at the front to form the nose… I think it will be clear what I mean when you have it in front of you. Put some jam between the base and the hemisphere to stick it together. Spread some white buttercream you reserved over the front and form a nose shape, building it up a little. Use a knife dipped in warm water to help smooth it. Then coat the hemisphere with the chocolate buttercream and use a flat knife to create the “spike” effect. Add the eyes and nose. Voila!

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This moist sponge cake stays lovely and fresh for several days – just store in an airtight container. It serves a crowd too!

Enjoy!

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:)

 

 

Tuesday View (14th October)

It poured with rain last night, and when I looked out this morning I immediately noticed a change in the colours of the leaves, as well as a great number lying on the ground. And yet I think there is little change in the rockery itself compared with last week…

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The acer is possibly at its peak now, and I think the greener leaves will probably drop before changing colour this year… funny how it varies from year to year. The dwarf Miscanthus below the acer always flowers beautifully, but the giant one behind it (see an old post here for more photos) only produces a few flowers every few years… no signs of any yet…

AutumnView

There are still a few late summer flowers too – this Lychnis was a lovely surprise this morning…

Lychnis

And although the asters are starting to fade, the butterflies (here a Comma) are still visiting them…

OctoberComma

THE rose is still flowering… to defy me?!

THErose

And finally the Persicaria that I have mentioned many times is still offering sustenance to the bees…

PersicariaBee

Are you still seeing bees or butterflies?