The garden has been full of butterflies and bees this year. Having completed my ‘British Butterflies’ pop-up book in time for ‘turn the page’ I’m delighted to find that I can now identify the butterflies that visit the garden.
For the first time, I’ve made a simple concertina-fold version of the book. This has all the artwork and calligraphy of the pop-up version but is encased in a soft cover.
Both versions are available in my Etsy online shop The Museum Shelves The pop-up version at £40 and the concertina version, which comes in a pack with a postcard, at £15. There is free P&P in the UK.
I’ve also adapted the illustrations to make some rather fine greetings cards which are printed locally in Norwich. These are £3 each or 3 for £7.50 – again available from my Etsy shop and with free P&P in the UK.
Finally, I remembered to take a quick snap of some of my Etsy orders before taking them to the post office. It’s always really lovely to receive an order and I do enjoy wrapping them up beautifully so that they are a delight to to receive.
The garden is full of the most delightful scents at the moment. A couple of star performers are the David Austin rose ‘Gentle Hermoine’ which has the most delicious fragrance, repeat flowering and a lovely old rose appearance of a wonderful shell pink.
Climbing over the arch and bathing the seating area with it’s delightful fragrance is this rambling rose ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’. This rose erupts at the start of June and puts on a wonderful display throughout the entire month.
And finally, it’s so pleasing when a design idea comes to fruition. I planted this grey-leaved crataegus so that it would catch the morning sun while the plants behind it would still be in shade, so throwing it into sharp relief. This ploy of having items of interest that pull the eye to different plants or structures within the garden is a technique for making a small garden look larger. While only quite spindly at the moment, this hawthorn tree is already attracting bees and will soon start producing berries for the birds.
Still on a gardening theme this month as the recipe is for a loaf cake flavoured with the herb rosemary. No-one ever guesses what gives this delicious cake it’s lovely flavour – the addition of the rosemary just adds a subtle taste of Summer. Make it in two ways: either with a layer of icing – or add a bit more orange juice for a lovely drizzle topping. Either way, this is definitely a cake to eat with a pot of tea and a splash of sunshine.
Orange and Rosemary Loaf Cake
Makes 8-10 slices
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
175 unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
225g self-raising white flour, sifted
For the icing
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
finely grated zest of half an orange
1 tbsp orange juice
150g icing sugar, sifted
You will need
A 2lb / 900g loaf tinButter and greaseproof paper
Wooden or metal skewer
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark four.
- Lightly grease and line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper, extending it by 2cm beyond the sides of the tin.
- Put the rosemary in a bowl with the butter and caster sugar and, using an electric hand mixer, beat until pale and light in consistency.
- Continuing to use the electric hand mixer, add the eggs a little at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. If the mixture threatens to curdle add a small amount of the flour. Fold in the vanilla extract, milk and flour.
- Spoon into the tin and level the surface. Bake for about 50-60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Make the icing while the cake is baking. Place the rosemary into a small bowl and pour over 2 tbsp of boiling water. Leave to infuse and when cool strain and add to the icing sugar with the orange zest and juice. Mix to the consistency of single cream, adding a little water if necessary.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce the top with the cocktail stick and then brush over the icing ensuring it is spread evenly over the top of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
To convert this into a drizzle cake, when making the icing increase the amount of orange juice from 1 tablespoon to the juice of half an orange. The icing will then sink through the cake rather than remaining on the top as a layer of icing.