For this month’s farm, my husband and I decided to go for pick your own fruits. We’ve been to Claremont farm. It was the first time I’ve been on a field to pick up fruits and I loved it.
During the weekends they mention on their website that they offer tractor rides and it seemed fun, but we weren’t available in the weekend. We got to the farm one hour and a half before closing and I would say it was just enough.
This is how many strawberries we’ve picked, around 3kg. We also picked raspberries and tayberries.
We were directed to the strawberry fields, that were marked with these strawberry flags. There were a few people picking fruits. We picked a row each, took some pictures and we’ve started picking up the strawberries.
I bought a cake stand which I thought would be great for an afternoon tea. After cooking I thought it’s a great idea to share how I prepared my fancy afternoon tea at home.
From start to finish it took me two hours and a half. I don’t think it takes long and most of it can be prepped in advance and a couple of things can be made the day before. Nothing is shop-bought, beside the basics, like bread.
Looking at Master Chef I realized how important is to have a plan, so I’ve made the menu a couple of days before preparing the afternoon tea. By having a set menu, it was so much easier to know from where to start and the order in which the food is prepared.
If it’s the first time you are making and afternoon tea, make sure most of the recipes you want to include are easy to make and you’re familiar with them. This will allow you more time to experiment with the new recipes.
Menu for my afternoon tea at home
– cucumber, cheddar and cream cheese sandwich
– egg and mayo sandwich
– exotic mushrooms and cream cheese sandwich
– scones with raisins and scones with chocolate chips, served with clotted cream, rhubarb and vanilla jam and damson jam
– lime pie
– matcha pie
– chocolate cupcakes with strawberries
– chestnut mousse
Cucumber, cheddar and cream cheese sandwich with wholemeal bread. Spread a thin layer of soft cheese on both slices of bread, add some grated cheddar and thin slices of cucumber. Cut a couple of finger sandwiches.
My husband and I went to West Yorkshire a few days ago and we’ve ended up visiting East Riddlesden Hall. It’s a 17th century manor house in Keighley. The hall was built in 1642 and it had 4 storey. I was surprised to hear that, 4 storey for that time it’s quite impressive.
The house had additions built, like any other old house. It has a walled garden and before the first world war, it was likely to sold to America, dismantled brick by brick and shipped over to the US where they would have reassemble it. The trustees plan wasn’t successful. A part of the land was sold. In 1933 the house was sold and the new owner wanted to dismantle the hall. Two local brothers succeeded in buying the property and they donated the hall to the National Trust in 1934. There are a little bit more details about this on East Riddlesden Hall.
On my day in London, only by chance, I passed by a lovely Twinings shop. Without even knowing, I’ve been to a historical shop, that has been trading for over 300 years. The shop is amazing, I took a lot of pictures, so prepare for them.
The Twining family was from Gloucestershire and they were weavers and millers. After the recession, they moved to London in 1684. Thomas was 9 at that time. He followed his father’s profession and become an apprentice. At 26, in 1701, he became a Freeman. He wasn’t waving anymore and he was working for an East India Company merchant, Thomas D’Aeth. He handled early shipments of tea.
Thomas Twining bought this place in 1706, when it was Tom’s Coffee House. The coffee houses were popular at that time. By selling tea, he was able to offer something new and exciting and that differentiated him from his competition. His son, Daniel, started exporting tea to America. In 1771, Richard Twining took over the business. He was Chairman of the London Tea Dealers and his persuasion made the Prime Minister to lower the taxes on teas. This meant was more affordable. In 1787 they chose their logo and today it is the oldest commercial logo that has been in continuous use since it was made.
When my husband and I went to Crufts in March, I mentioned that in less than 5 minutes after going into the show, we were already spending £23 on a toy, a Goughnuts. I wanted to make a post if the toy was good and I waited for a longer time to see how long lasting the Goughnuts is. They said that the toy is indestructible and they offered us a lifetime guarantee. I was thinking that we might have to send it by post in a few months to get a replacement considering how easy is for Festus to destroy toys. The toy is still with us and it looks great! That was a real surprise, I can’t recommend it enough.
If you have a big dog with a lot of chewing power, then this is the toy for you. It’s a little bit more expensive than the toys we usually get for Festus, but it’s well worth it considering we don’t have to buy as many. We got the Maxx Goughnut.
Goughnuts is made in US and it has an important safety feature. If the dog manages to chew the toy, if it gets to the red core of the toy, at that point the toy is not safe anymore and it should be changed. At Crufts we had a chat and we’ve decided to get the ring instead of the stick or ball, as it’s harder for him to chew it. If you want to read more about the toys, have a look at the UK importer tufftoys4dogs.
You can see in the movie how Festus plays with it. He will also chew it for a while, but that wasn’t that exciting to film.
I might get other toys from them, like the MaXX TuG Toy, as Festus likes tug. He is trying to get my husband to play tug with him with his toy, so he would love that. I have to admit I would also like to get the Black Interactive Ball and the Stick because I’m so happy with the quality and Festus loves to play.
Sorry for the blurry pictures, Festus had the zoomies. This is why we also have to rearrange furniture before we give him any toys, as he gets so excited and can get hurt.
Last month I’ve missed the What’s cooking update, I planned to do a post about smoothies, but I forgot, so I’ll add those ideas into this post about food. In June I did a Smoothie challenge, it went well and I had a smoothie every day. I skipped 2 days of exercising, but the main focus was on the smoothies. I’ve decided to continue with the smoothies, but adding a twist, if I can’t have a smoothie, then I should have a soup.
The smoothies I’ve made from left-up are:
Banana with orange juice, Chia seeds and date nectar.
Matcha with banana, milk, Chia seeds, date nectar.
Raspberries with strawberries, banana, milk, Chia seeds.
Peanut butter, banana, sweetener, milk and Chia seeds.
Strawberries and banana, milk, Chia and flax seeds.
Banana with pear, orange juice and Chia seeds.
Blueberries and strawberries, a little bit of carrot, banana and orange-juice, Chia seeds.
Apricot with banana, orange juice and Chia seeds.
Most of the smoothies I’ve made were vegan as I don’t seem to think milk adds a lot for most smoothies. I prefer using fruit juice instead, so I have a little bit of extra flavour. To make my life easier, I’ve prepared a lot of fruit packages.
I made mixes of fruits, like these ones with strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, melon and mango. I washed and prepared all the fruits in bowls and then I’ve started packing them in 300g portions. I make 2 servings of smoothies as hubby will have a smoothie with me, so 300g is how much we need. I will also add a banana or any other fruits I have, juice or milk and Chia or flax seeds.
The next I’ve made more packages with carrot, blueberries, raspberries and I also made 150g of individual packages of grapes and nectarines. I have around 20 packages in the freezer and when I will run out, I’ll make another huge batch of fruit packages. Last year I didn’t have them and it was harder to keep up with the challenge.
I made a butter spread from butter with cold pressed rapeseed oil. It’s more spreadable, delicious and a little bit healthier than standard butter.
I had some courgettes and I’ve decided to make them grilled, in a bhaji, courgette with mayo and garlic and slices of stir-fry courgette with paprika. It was really delicious.
This is an older picture, but I bake doughnuts quite often. Hubby loves them, it takes only a few minutes to get them in the oven. Considering my recipe, most of doughnuts I made have less than 10g of sugar/piece.
I made white bread, although I usually bake wholemeal bread or a 50/50 flour mix. It was lovely and my husband was delighted by it.
I made Rhubarb and vanilla jam last year and I loved it, so this year I’ve made a bigger batch. I also took advantage to update the post I had on my food blog.
Vegan pasta with mushrooms and cauliflower sauce. It was amazing, we both enjoyed it a lot.