Thursday, 11 June 2009

Homey Stuff

Hello everyone, more random posting today!  Can you believe it, the sun is shining once more?  Who knows for how long but I'm very grateful it's here for now.  Today, I've been taking photos around the house and garden. I had a flash of inspiration that our red dining room could benefit from one of my cushions taking up residence.  Five minutes later, someone else had decided it was a good idea, too...

We had a new patio laid outside last Autumn and so we have been waiting patiently for some sunshine to get out and enjoy it this year.  I've enjoyed planting up many pots and we've installed a trellis for the sweet peas to clamber up.  Should I ever consider painting a trellis again, please remind me not to!  It was rather laborious to say the least.  They have some climbing to do yet, those sweet peas.

Do you remember the  pretty enamelled bucket I bought in Bridport a few weeks ago?  I decided to plant that up, too.  The plants need to get going a bit and do a bit of trailing and blooming!  

Loving this dinky little plant.  The sun was so bright on it this morning, it's washed out the details a little but I love its polka-dotty cheerfulness.  (I think it's verbena.)

Also loving the pretty blue colour of this bedding plant.  (Don't know the name, sorry.)  I enjoy buying bedding plants (although shrubs and roses are my first love).  It's quite liberating buying bedding plants because as they're only going to last for one season, there's no need for all that in depth research into where to plant it, how to feed it, how to prune it etc.  I've gone for a bold, clashing approach this year!

More planting has gone on in the form of my "tomato factory".  I've tried growing them in a bed but they succumbed to a deadly disease and yet I've always had good success with them in these pots.  They get a lot of sunshine against this wall which of course, they love.  They take a lot of watering and feeding, tying in and pinching out but I quite enjoy all that.  I also enjoy all the chutney I get to make with them!  And eating the chutney, of course.

Down into the kitchen garden and we finally planted up a bed with peas, broad beans and climbing french beans grown from seed.

But even more exciting, behind the pea and bean bed are our raspberries.  Last year was our first for cropping and we had a bumper crop from 10 canes costing £9.99. Good stuff because even at the height of the season, raspberries always seem to be relatively expensive.  I think the variety is Glen Ample.  And what do you know?  There's lots of fruit again and the first has ripened...

Here I am, enjoying just looking at the fruit.  It's now long gone in my tummy, of course! Nothing quite like picking your own fruit or veg and chomping on it there and then.

The Cox's apple tree is looking quite good too...

The strawberries are a tad disappointing.  We have lots of these Alpine strawberries which luckily, the Munchkin is happy to pick and they spread like wildfire.  You'd need an awful lot to make a decent pudding!

Ah, here's a decent strawberry.  Oh dear, still in its pot waiting to be planted out though!  I think strawberries are too "high maintenance" for us.

Back inside and a bit more eating to be done.  Yesterday, I made Mr HenHouse's fave, Rocky Road.  

Yummmmmm.  That looks good, doesn't it?  Do you fancy making some?  It's very easy...

Here is what you would need:

300g chocolate (I used a mixture of good quality milk and dark 70% cocoa, sometimes all dark chocolate can be a bit much, especially for children)
3 tbsps Golden Syrup
125g butter (unsalted)
200g Digestive Biscuits
100g Marshmallows (chopped into smallish pieces)
A Handful of Glace Cherries (halved) or you could use raisins if you prefer.

And you make it like so:

1 Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter together.  Don't let the chocolate burn and go all grainy!
2 Break the digestive biscuits into chunks, snip the marshmallows into pieces, halve the cherries.  Pour the melted chocolate/butter/syrup mixture over the top BUT keep back about 150g of the choccy mixture until stage 4 below.  All shall be revealed!  
3 Mix the choccy fruity biscuity stuff together.  It might seem like there's not a lot of chocolate at this stage but just make sure it's all fairly evenly coated.  Pour it into a baking tray lined amply with greaseproof paper.  (My tray is about 12" x 12" square and 2" deep.)  Press it down with the spoon and into all the corners.
4 Now pour the remaining melted choccy mix evenly over the top.  You will now see that this is going to sort of stick it all together.
5 And that's it!  Put it into the fridge for a good few hours (I managed to leave mine for 3 before devouring it).  It should turn out fairly easily because of the greaseproof paper.  Cut it into chunks, dust a bit of icing sugar over the top and away you go!

(This is based largely on the version in Nigella's Express, a fabby book.)

Onto other things.  Still with me?  The other day, I mentioned starting a new crochet project. Well, here is how it is going...

It's not exactly as I wanted it as I would have liked the bands a bit wider but I've decided to continue as I can't bear to undo it all.  The top picture shows the back, the bottom picture the front.  I think I actually prefer the "back".  Watch this space, people.

The Munchkin's bedroom at the cottage has appeared on the blog several times.  That is because it is relatively tidy.  Tidiness is not the Munchkin's strong point.  As such, you have never seen his bedroom here in London.  We recently bought him yet anther bookcase as he is such a bookworm and his books are usually all over the place.  New bookcase =  no excuse not to tidy.  So, he has been tasked with tidying and I ventured into his room to see how he was getting on.  Hmm, actually not too bad (lots of help from Daddy, I think).  I gave him a hand and it looks vaguely presentable.  Herewith, a rare glimpse of the Munchy One's domain!  He was very into yellow when he was younger, hence the very yellow wall.  He now mentions repainting it but can you imagine how many coats it would take to cover it!

There's been a terrific response to the giveaway, yes, a few of you lurkers have come out of the woodwork, hooray!  Any more?  You still have until next Monday.  Just comment on the post below...  Oh go on...  And have a read through all the responses.  They're very interesting.. and sometimes amusing!


  1. So juicy your soft fruit!
    Your Rocky Road (which looks very inviting!) is similar to our Chocolate Salami Dessert,but we use cocoa, pine nuts, a egg and some liqueur instead of chocolate,glace cherries and golden syrup.
    A perfect "househusband" the Munchkin ! (..mmh..I don't think you have the masculine form for housewife...)

    Have a lovely weekend

    p.s. Where will you (and Mr HH)take us next week?..or is it a surprise?..I'm joking, of course!

  2. beautiful photos, i dont know what to comment on first!

    Your garden is looking lovely :-)

    and the rocky road looks fab too!

    Rose XXX

  3. You're well ahead of us on the raspberry front - mine are still really green! I think I like the back of the cushion, too - lovely colours.

    Pomona x

  4. Isnt growing your own great!

    I have been growing four 4 years now, and I finally have a decent looking veg patch!

    I've still not taken up crocheting yet as you have seen I'm too busy patchworking.

    We had sun today but now its just rained. Oh well at least I dont have to water the garden tonight.

  5. This is such a fun-packed post! I love all the things that are going on in your garden. Even your garden is organised! The Munchkin's bedroom is incredibly tidy - wait until he reaches his teens!!! The raspberries look lovely - is there enough to make jam? x

  6. I am sooooooooo envious of your veggie garden, it is fabulous! A real inspiration, and one day, when we finally settle down permanently in France, I might try and follow your lead.

    That bright red plant with the white centre is quite something, its so incredibly bright.

    Lovely pics, thank you.

  7. Love the pictures. I think the blue flower maybe and Aster - could be wrong! The fruit looks lovely. I must try your Rocky Road recipe, its totally different from mine. The crocheting is coming on well, (I still have more patterns to send). We had a wall we couldn't get rid of the colour once, we bought wallpaper lining, stuck it up and painted over the paper no more wrong colour! His room is very tidy, and it is good he has an interest in books.

  8. Your growing is all fantastic and your tomatoes are brilliant in their matching pots, all caned and ready to go. You make me feel a lazy so and so, mine are all in their little pots on the kitchen window sill, clinging to each other to stay upright. I will pot them on tomorrow...I will...I will!!

    Rocky road is too sweet for me, and I hate marshmallows, my eldest son used to call them cotton wool balls. So I'm not temptepd there, thank goodness.

    Loving your strawberries and raspberries too. Gorgeous post.

    Sue xx

  9. Your growing is all fantastic and your tomatoes are brilliant in their matching pots, all caned and ready to go. You make me feel a lazy so and so, mine are all in their little pots on the kitchen window sill, clinging to each other to stay upright. I will pot them on tomorrow...I will...I will!!

    Rocky road is too sweet for me, and I hate marshmallows, my eldest son used to call them cotton wool balls. So I'm not temptepd there, thank goodness.

    Loving your strawberries and raspberries too. Gorgeous post.

    Sue xx

  10. OMG....mega post!!!!!!
    SO.... the 'Love' cushion...
    ...your garden is looking so pretty especially the pots...
    ...I grow my tomatoes in pots too as I find it best...
    ...the stained glass in your door is breathtaking pretty...
    ...rocky road = yum...
    ...and the munchkins room looks very tidy!
    Hannah x
    PS - our study was painted a similar yellow and we used one coat of white (although grey is meant to be best to cover bold colours before the colour you want) and two coats of soft linen.
    PPS - mega comment over! x

  11. I very much like your approach to your garden, how you are letting it do what it can do best.

    I envy you those fresh ripe raspberries. What luxury!

    The long line of tomato plants look ready to march towards a happy ending in their red coats.

    The new crochet project is quite different, and I agree that the back is best.

    As always, it is a pleasure to visit here. xo

  12. Cannot wait to see that finished crochet project x

  13. oooooo i likey your dining room, and the garden pot, and the rocky road.....all of it really x

  14. Hiya Hen,first of all, love the wall paper in your dining room,the cushion goes really well in there!
    The crochet looks fab,really like the pattern and the colours you've used!
    Just a question,when you plant up an enamel bucket,do you have to drill holes for drainage?
    The patio looks very pretty!
    Rachel x

  15. You look pretty much self sufficient Hen! I'm very impressed. I love your new project, and I like the front side, I have to say! Is the pattern from Vintage crochet? Your new cushion in your dining room looks perfect. Have a good week, and I look forward to catching up with you when I get back from my holiday.
    Love vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  16. wowser what a post ! i love when you do these type as i can actually read it over and over in the following day as well :-)
    everything looking fab - love the cushion - garden looking gorgeous and good enough to eat ;-)
    munchkins bedroom looks fab i dont know what you were on about :-D
    and now i desperately need chocolate!!

  17. Lovely photo's Hen, your garden is looking great. Thanks for sharing the rocky road, think I might try that next week, loads cheaper then Starbucks!!! :)

  18. Really enjoyed ecclectic post! Very jealous of your gardening - cannot wait to get my own little outside space to grow some of my own vegetables! That Rocky Road looks delicious too. G

  19. Everything looks lovely...lucky you having some sunshine...we have thunder clouds ....maybe at the weekend..have a lovely weekend H

  20. Raspberries are ripe here, too and I love them. Thanks for the recipe! It sounds yummy!

  21. Looks like everything in the garden is rosy... or should that be raspberryee!


  22. Yummmm Rocky Road! We're having white chocolate rocky road on Saturday at my friends bridal shower. We usually have milk chocolate but wanted to make one to fit in with our colour scheme!!

    Victoria xx

  23. Always busy with something aren't you?!
    I love raspeberries. I had some the other night slathered with vanilla yogurt, very yummy.
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Lisa x

  24. The garden is looking lovely and the raspberries and rocky road look very yummy

  25. What a homey post filled with all kinds of loveliness. Baking, rippling, gardening, strawberries, of all the cozy things I love, Hen. Great read!

  26. Wait a minute....not strawberrries, I meant raspberries! Duh!!!!

  27. Your home is so beautiful...adorable garden pic's it, you have cheered up my day!xx

  28. HI there I must say your garden looks gorgeous and I wish my daughter's room was as tidy as the Munchkins! Your pretty blue flower is actually a Felicia in case you really wanted to know. Dev X

  29. Your garden looks good ... and, unlike ours, under control. We are still trying to compensate for years of neglect so there'll be no pics of ours yet ... maybe I should just declare it a site of special scientific interest and leave it wild!
    Lesley X

  30. Lovely to see more photos of your beautiful home and garden, gorgeous!!!
    As I write this, Little Sister is in the garden picking the first strawberry of the year, who knows, if we keep those pesky snails away we might even get a second?!

  31. Wow raspberries, I have 3 raspberry plants and not a berry on them, maybe I am tending some terrible weeds!

  32. your garden is lovely so tidy and I am envious of your vegies I never seem to get round to starting them off in time and if I do I forget to water them! If you have not been over to my blog for a while you might have missed the fact that Christine from the Sea Garden and I have arranged a Vintage/handmade fair of our own in August and we would love you to take part if you could. We are running out of spaces now but you are one of the names I kept hoping would appear on the list as I loved your stand and the stuff you make. Please come if you can. Jane xxx


You are warmly encouraged to leave a comment here. Your comments are emailed directly to me so rest assured I read and treasure every one. Thank you for supporting my blog with your comment. X