Red Beetle

While taking some photos of wild strawberries the other day I noticed this beetle on a late-flowering Veronica.

A giant ladybird?

No, a Cryptocephalus bipunctatus. (My sister identified it for me!)

I’ll just call her Dotty.

By the way, the German name (Zweipunktiger Fallkäfer) translates as a Double-Spotted Falling Beetle, as it apparently drops to the ground suddenly when threatened.

Summery Flavours: Lemon Thyme

Thymus × citriodorus

(Otherwise known as Lemon Thyme)

Some of my thyme is flowering already.

Thyme to harvest some. Thyme and tide wait for no man. 😉

Lemon Thyme is lovely in salads and, with its attractive variegated leaves, it also looks pretty as a garnish. Herb butters are a good way to preserve the fresh flavours of herbs, and by adding a little lemon or orange zest they can be quite tasty. I have been looking for uses for my lemon thyme, which has a very distinctive citrus aroma – fresh and tangy – and made this:

Lemon and Lemon Thyme Butter

  • Zest of one organic lemon
  • 125g softened butter
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4 or 5 sprigs of lemon thyme, finely chopped
  • Tiny squeeze of lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients really well and either just chill and use immediately, or press into ice cube trays, cover with foil and freeze.

Tastes delicious on new potatoes. Also good with pasta or gnocchi and parmesan. Or with baby carrots…

🙂

Lemon Blueberry Bites

Sweet lemony berry treats

I just love simple recipes and this one is easy peasy! It is more or less Maria and Josh’s recipe from Two Peas and their Pod. If you’ve never seen their site, take a look. It’s fabulous!

Berry season is here and these sweet treats are perfect to celebrate. They are ideal for a warm day for two reasons: a) they do not need hours in the oven, and b) they are great served chilled and can be cut into small pieces for a little treat with afternoon tea!

Lemon Blueberry Bites

For the base:

  • 250g digestive biscuits (or similar: graham crackers, hobnobs etc)
  • 100g butter
  • zest of half a lemon

Crush biscuits. Mix with melted butter and zest. Press into a square 20cm cake tin lined with greased baking parchment. Bake for 10 mins at 180°C. Leave to cool a little.

For the topping:

  • 400g (14oz) tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • juice of 2 lemons (about half a cup)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

Whisk milk and eggs until well combined. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Stir in berries and pour over base. Bake for 20 mins at 180°C. Leave to cool in the tin, then chill. Cut into small squares just before serving – they are very sweet, but very delicious!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a nice day!

Fragaria vesca

Fragaria vesca

(Otherwise known as Wild or Woodland Strawberries or Fraises de Bois)

~~~

Since much of my garden has a “wild” touch to it, these fit very well into the landscape. The name is misleading as they grow in open sun, and not only woodland. They are, however, very wild! They send out runners and spread quickly, and as ground cover are wonderful. Not only is the greenery welcome, but the pretty white flowers from May onwards and the first fruit a few weeks later create a magical, fairytale look.

Moreover, they taste and smell delicous, although they rapidly lose their flavour when picked.

Sweet treats for the gardener!

(And for the dogs – one of which has learned to pick them herself) 😀