Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

It’s been too hot and humid for cooking or baking recently, but then last week we had a couple of cooler days as a breather, AND a visitor was expected, so I made one of my favourite cakes… blueberry and cardamom with buttermilk. ;-)

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I made this one pictured with double quantities as a small Bundt cake, and have even tripled the recipe for a large/standard Bundt cake that I took to a party, but here’s the recipe for the smaller version, using a small 9-inch/23cm square cake tin.

BLUEBERRY CARDAMOM BUTTERMILK CAKE

  • 1/2 cup (60g) plain flour and 1/2 cup (60g) SR flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsps cardamom
  • 1/2 stick (55g) softened butter
  • 2/3 (130g) cup sugar + a 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 (120ml) cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch (23cm) cake pan.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and salt. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and vanilla sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
In three batches, add the flour, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in gently until just combined. Stir in all but a few blueberries. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Scatter the remaining blueberries on top (and extra vanilla sugar if you like!).
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Enjoy blueberry season while it lasts!

Tuesday View (5th August)

Here is the view today – a lovely sunny summer’s day, with a light breeze and much less humid than it has been the past week…

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The Perovskia is spreading its wings as you can see below, and sending up shoots nearby, while the red rose bush is bursting with new buds again. The creamy white Scabiosa ochroleuca and the pearly Succisella inflexa in the foreground add a little more airiness to the overall effect.

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I got really excited today when I spotted a huge caterpillar on my Fennel… yes, the Swallowtail caterpillar! This makes up for not seeing the butterfly this year yet!

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About 6cm long and as thick as my little finger. Isn’t it pretty? I shall be watching it carefully…

Have you seen any big caterpillars this summer?

In a Vase on Monday: Gardener’s Gold

Every Monday Cathy’s challenge (at Rambling in the Garden) is to gather flowers from our gardens to put in a vase. I can’t believe I never realised until now just how pleasurable this task can be! And everyone who joins in is saying the same thing: it’s addictive!

This week I went for gold!

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The Golden Rod is slowly opening, and I am always surprised at how beautiful this “weed” is. The other surprise is my yellow Achillea. This year I gave it the Chelsea chop when it was about 50 cm tall and that really helped it fill out and not get too leggy. So for the first time I actually like it!

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A few ostrich fern leaves and sprigs of grass seedheads were all I needed to complete my simple vase.

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I found a new spot for photos – in our entrance hall…

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I liked it there so much it will stay there for now.

Another vase was filled last week too – some of my Japanese Anemones were leaning very low after some heavy showers, so I cut them to bring indoors…

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The lovely centres continue the gold theme too.

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Do you grow any of these plants?

Have a good week, and do visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see the other vases created this week.

:)

A Butterfly Diary (July)

JulyTortoiseshell

Flutter by, butterfly,

Floating flower in the sky.

Kiss me with your petal wings—

Whisper secrets, tell of spring.

~

(Author Unknown)

~~~

There have been butterflies in numbers, but not much variety this month. I am still waiting for the elusive Swallowtail to visit me… a friend in our small village has already seen one, but it hasn’t flown in my direction yet! I am also still waiting to see a Comma and more Hawk Moths, with only two different ones making an appearance so far… so I will include them in my August diary.

~~~

The Cabbage Whites, Skippers, Common Blues and Brimstones are still very profuse, but the main visitor this month has been the Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina, Großes Ochsenauge) with the characteristic orange and the eyespot on the upper wings…

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They have been feeding on the lavender, Marjoram and Oregano, and of course my prized Centranthus ruber. The larval foodplants are mainly grasses, oats etc. They are most commonly seen in this position with the wings closed, but I also managed to get one resting with open wings, and it suddenly seemed much larger – about a 4 or 5cm wingspan…

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This was a male – less colourful then the female.

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Next, the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus, Faulbaum-Bläuling) – such a delightful sight! A small speck of blue light flashing past, and then when it stops a moment the closed wings are equally pretty, reminding me of the fans used by Japanese ladies in hot weather

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The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings.

(The words of Joyce Kilmer)

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They are common here and are typically found in and around deciduous forests. The caterpillars feed on all sorts of hedgerow plants and shrubs such as Prunus, Dogwood, Buckthorn, Vetches, etc.

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The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, Admiral) is still around. You can see a photo of its outstretched wings in my June post and this photo shows it with closed wings, which I think have such an interesting texture, as well as the beautiful markings of course.

RedAdmiral2

~~~

The Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia, Kaisermantel) has been a regular visitor and I just have to share another photo, although this already made an appearance in my  Butterfly Diary in June

Kaisermantel

Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold,
Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,
With Nature’s secrets in thy tints unrolled
Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words,
Yet dear to every child
In glad pursuit beguiled,
Living his unspoiled days mid flowers and flocks and herds!

(from Ode to a Butterfly, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson)

~~~

The Mint Moth ((Pyrausta purpuralis, Purpurrote Zünsler) featured in my April post has also been around again, very happy on the Marjoram, which has been flowering all month and has attracted so many bees and other insects…

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~~~

Another flying wonder (although not a butterfly but I’m using poetic licence here to include it!) was this dragonfly: the Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly (Libellula depressa, Plattbauch). I showed you the male back in May, and in July the female spent several days in the rockery…

PlattbauchFemale

Her colouring is completely different, with no sign of the blue of the male. She really shimmered like gold in the sunlight. Don’t we have some amazingly beautiful creatures passing through our gardens!

I have also seen many of those already featured in my past Butterfly Diary posts – Peacocks, Tortoiseshells, the Marbled White and lots of Skippers.

In the UK there was apparently a Butterfly Count last week…. if anyone hears about the result, please let me know as I might miss it! Thanks! :)

Please share with us the butterflies you have seen this month!

Links:

Beautiful North American Meadow Butterflies Video

Rare Blue Butterflies UK

Tuesday View (29th July)

I waited all day for the sun to come out properly, as it was hiding behind a humid haze, but then we had a thundery downpour… look at that rain!

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The ferns on the far left, which I cut back almost a month ago, have grown so rapidly and filled out again – the weather suits them very well.

Then, a few minutes later, the sun came through and everything was glittering, the Perovskia looking lovelier than ever…

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I found this butterfly waiting until the rain stopped completely – a Common Blue I think. (I’ll be posting my butterfly diary for July in a couple of days.)

ButterflyIn Rain

Have you had thunderstorms too?