zondag 27 september 2015

A riot of colour

To me one of the highlights of autumn is the time when the dahlia's in my garden are in bloom. It is such a delight to enter my garden and be welcomed by a riot of colour.

It's been two weeks since I was in my garden last. Enough time for the dahlia's to open and look their best. There are several surprises among them, like the bright pink one with the red heart in my fourth photo. The only one I miss is the Café au lait, but with so much beauty and colour around me, I don't mind in the least.

I was planning a quiet day in the garden, but while at work my eldest daughter joined me and one of my friends at the allotment complex. I love it when people stop by unexpectedly. 

My daughter helped me to clear the outdoor kitchen, wash up all my vintage china and store it in one of the cupboards in my garden house. While my daughter worked, I took loads of photo's of  my colourful bunches of happiness. Hope you like them!

Do you grow dahlia's in your garden? How are they doing?

Wishing you a happy week ahead!


Madelief x

zondag 20 september 2015

Frysian thumbs

When temperature drops and days are getting shorter and often wetter, I spend more time inside. There is still a lot that needs to be done in the garden, but somehow I want to brighten up my home, bury my nose in a book and try out some new recipes.

When leaving through one of my cookery books I came upon a recipe for a traditional Dutch cookie from the north of our country called Frisian thumbs. What makes them so special is it's shape (that of a thumb) the spices, like aniseed, ginger powder and cinnamon and the grounded nuts that go inside.  

I thought I would give you the recipe and add some vintage finds to my photo's.

- 250 gr flour
- 100 gr ground hazelnuts
- 100 gr butter
- 150 gr dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground aniseed 
- a pinch of salt

Preheat the electric oven at 170 degrees Celsius, fan oven at 150 degrees Celsius. Line the baking tray with baking paper.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg, salt, the nuts, the cinnamon, ground ginger and ground aniseed. Sieve the flower into the mixture and knead into a dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about an hour.

Sprinkle flower over your worktop and roll out the dough. It has to be 1 cm thick. Cut rectangles which are 4 cm x 2 cm. Add the cookies onto the tray, leave some gaps in between and bake for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool.

They were gone within a day in my home :-)

Wish you a happy new week!


Madelief x

* The botanical plate is by Bloomingville

zondag 13 september 2015

On top of the world

We were going up the hill behind our holiday cottage and back again. We, that is my youngest daughter Annebelle and I. We were both curious to see how the small village we stayed in, would look from above. I told my middle daughter we would be: 'back for tea in half an hour'. For sure!

Normally when we go for a walk, we are well equipped. Not this time. I was wearing a long summer dress and Annebelle a stylish leather jacket. Just before we left, we decided to change our flip flops for hiking boots and filled a bottle with water. I grabbed the map on my way out, as I wasn't sure which road to take. I am so glad I did!

We were gone for more than three hours. When up the hill, we simply couldn't stop walking and lost track of time completely. We walked along the edge of the forest, across moorland, through fields of grasses and wild flowers. We walked with heavy clouds above us, in total silence. We walked until we reached the rocks on which Elizabeth Bennett stood in the film Pride and Prejudice, when visiting the Peak District with her aunt and uncle and which Annebelle was keen to see. 

And there we looked in wonder at the amazing landscape that surrounded us. We felt on top of the world. 
To celebrate this joyous event, we sat on a rock where we had a celebratory snack (Annebelle's yesterday's sandwich which she found at the bottom of her bag) and enjoyed the beauty that the Peak district has to offer.

The photo's in today's post were taken near Baslow, Chatsworth and Curbar Edge.

Before I wish you a good week, I want to thank you for your suggestions, both on Instagram and my blog, on the curious balls that grow in my greenhouse. They are lemon cucumbers after all!           

Have a great week!


Madelief x

zondag 6 september 2015

The curious case of the round cucumber


This post probably says a lot about me and what sort of gardener I am :-)

Strange things happened in my allotment garden recently. Back in May one of the kind old men at my allotment complex gave me several plants for in my greenhouse. One of them was a cucumber plant. 

As my diary was full over summer, I had decided to keep the greenhouse empty. I accepted the plant gracefully, but was in doubt whether to be pleased with this generous gift or not. Having plants in the greenhouse means that I have to go to garden at least thrice a week. Which is a lot for a busy woman like me.

Well, you can't throw away a gift and healthy plant can you, and what if the kind old man would come and check?!  So I gave the plant a beautiful light position in the corner of the greenhouse and watered it regularly. The plant started creeping and beautiful yellow flowers appeared.

I was really surprised to find green apple sized' balls on the plant when I arrived home from holiday in August. They did not look like cucumbers at all! I had never heard of round cucumbers before, but when I Googled it, there appeared to be several varieties of round cucumber. The lemon cucumber is one of them. So, I had a lemon cucumber in my greenhouse......Lucky me!

The next time I watered the plants, the colour of the balls had changed into yellow. They couldn't be melons, could they? I asked the kind old man who gave the plant to me, about the curious case in my greenhouse. He said they were melons indeed! Lucky me to have melons in my greenhouse!

Alas......it was not to be. When I wanted to water them last week they had turned orange. I can tell you my neighbours at the complex must have thought I was out of my mind. I couldn't stop laughing.......Oh why didn't I see it before..... They are pumpkins! Lucky lucky me!

But..........are they?! I am still not sure. Their size is still that of a large apple and they are spiky. Aren't they decorative squash? Please help me out here, before I poison myself and my daughters and make pumpkin soup out of them :-). Love to hear what you think it is!

The flowers on the photo's above are a combination of clover and grasses picked from the fields. I added some Montbretia from my garden.

Wishing you a fun week!


Madelief x