The Rock in November

The Rock in November

Since starting this blog my camera has made me look at things from different angles…


and closer up…


This rock is even more of a focal point in the garden in winter, and makes me consider the thought that a garden does not need features other than plants, but they do enrich the view at certain times of year.

Do you have a garden feature in winter? Maybe a bird table or birdbath? A large ornament? A weather vane? A bower or gazebo? An inflatable Santa Claus? 😉

Treacle Tart

This is a recipe post I’ve had in my folder for some time now… the cold weather this week reminded me of it. A great dessert for a cold night!

GoldenSyrupAren’t the Tate and Lyle tins of Golden Syrup stylish?!

Since I’m the only one who likes treacle tart in our house (well, the dogs haven’t been given the chance to test it anyway!) I decided to add some cardamom as well as the traditional ginger…. divine! Otherwise this is the pure and simple traditional English recipe.

Treacle Tart


  • 100g (4 oz) plain flour
  • 75g (3 oz) wholemeal flour
  • 75g (3 oz) vegan butter/margarine
  • 250g (10 oz) Golden Syrup
  • 1 tsp ginger (or 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp cardamom)
  • 100g (4 oz) fresh (wholemeal) breadcrumbs
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Make the pastry first: rub the vegan butter into the flour until fine and crumbly. Stir in a little cold water – just enough to bring the dough together. Roll out and press into a greased flan dish. Prick the base all over with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake the pastry case blind for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile warm the golden syrup in a pan and add the spices, lemon juice and breadcrumbs. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared flan case and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Delicious with cream, crème fraîche or custard!


A British classic!


Tuesday View (26th November)

We had a lovely frost at last!

Today’s view at 10am…


The shady parts of the garden have looked precious all day, with temperatures hovering around freezing point, and a few flakes of snow in the air. The Persicaria looked beautiful first thing, but it will probably flop completely after this cold snap. Its leaves have been fabulous since July.


And the last rose buds were enveloped in magnificent crystals…




Have you had any pretty frosts yet?

The End of a Season

We have had no hard frosts yet, but as autumn slides into winter the chilly, damp and grey November weather has put an end to any colour in the garden…. or has it? Let’s look a little closer and see what we can find.

First of all, my patio planter. This plant with berries is called Gaultheria procumbens, and they are common seasonal plants here sold for winter containers.


A silver leaf in the planter adds to the festive look – all we need now is some snow!


A few steps further across the patio, and we can see the Persicaria amplexicaulis in the rockery, rising up against the golden Euonymous.


From the patio this apricot rose is also drawing attention to itself – just the one bloom still.


And across the top lawn we pass the Clematis tangutica – it was new in spring and flowered moderately, with all the silky seed heads remaining intact.


Just opposite the clematis the Rugosa Rose hips still look lovely – I couldn’t bring myself to pick them, so no rosehip syrup again!


In the dry part of the rockery the Euphorbia are now a lovely sight, where almost everything else has died back.


Physalis alkekengi – like golden lanterns suspended on their ghostly stems.


The occasional red leaf..


And a couple of wild strawberries…


Weeds (Fleabane) on the compost heap…


And some lush green moss!


Who said there’s no colour out there? I just needed to look a little harder!

Is anything providing you with colour in your November garden?

The Tuesday View (19th November)

After dithering all week, I finally decided on the new view!  I shall probably change the angle occasionally, but this is the view from the patio steps across the south rockery, taken at about 2.30pm on a very grey day. This side of the rockery is dry and hot in summer, damp and cold due to shade from evergreens in winter.


The Persicaria amplexicaulis (the red candles in front of the golden Euonymous on the right) is still flowering like crazy, even though the leaves are looking tattered and yellow. It has its roots in the shade in the summer, despite its sunny position, which it seems to like.

Have you ever grown Persicaria? Are there others I should look out for? Would love to hear from you!

Red Velvet Cake

My favourite niece (okay I’ve only got one, but she’s still my favourite!) gave me a sweet book for my birthday… with a sweet title too: “Sweet Tooth” by Lily Vanilli. I had never heard of Lily before, but apparently her bakery in London is rather famous…


I chose this recipe simply because it looked pretty, and I’d been wondering what is so special about this cake – I have seen so many recipes for red velvet cake, but had never eaten a piece. Until now.

Yummy! It’s really smooth, and most definitely velvety. It’s also only slightly chocolatey, not too sweet, and the colour is very attractive too. But you can easily leave out the food colouring as the texture is, I think, the best thing about it!

Red Velvet Cake


This is Lily Vanilli’s recipe, not at all adapted! (Buy her book!)

  • 115g butter
  • 280g (caster) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsps red food colouring
  • 325g plain flour
  • 30 cocoa powder
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 round cake tins or muffin pans and/or mini cake tins (I had six mini cakes and four muffins from this quantity)

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease/line baking tins.

Cream butter and sugar together for about 4 minutes with an electric mixer. It should be really smooth. Then add in the eggs and continue mixing. Add the food colouring and mix to combine. Sift the flour and cocoa together and add half to the mixture. Beat agin until just incorporated. Now beat in the buttermilk. Then add the rest of the flour/cocoa. Beat in, but don’t overmix.

Now the funny part – mix the bicarbonate of soda with the vinegar in a separate dish and watch it fizz! Pour over the batter and carefully fold it in – don’t beat it!

Divide between your pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the tins you are using. (Use a toothpick to check if the middle’s done). Cool on a rack before decorating. If you’re making a cake the filling is up to you. Lily recommends cream cheese frosting. I just plopped a little whipped cream or creme fraiche with a raspberry on top!


Have you ever had red velvet cake before?

Tuesday at Two (November 12th)


I kept it up for a whole year!

Here’s today’s view…


And precisely one year ago…


Not much difference, except for the rock, which is much brighter now since it had a clean up in the spring. And I haven’t cut back the tall Miscanthus yet.

Here’s a look back over the past few weeks, since my last round-up in the summer.

If you’d like to look back over the whole year, here’s the slide show…

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Links to Tuesday at Two:

November 2012 – January 2013 (Winter)

February 2013 – April 2013 (Spring)

May 2013 – August 2013 (Summer)

Today’s post shows August 2013 – November 2013 (Autumn)


My favourite shots were hard to choose… maybe this one from May?


May 21st

Or this one in October?

October 15th

October 15th

I shall continue with a Tuesday View, at different times of the day this time, and a different view. Let’s see how far I get this time!

What time of year is your favourite in your garden?