Category Archives: The Country

Hampton Court Palace

Another Sunday and another Sunday lunch. This time we ventured further from home into Hampton. We ate our roast amongst old age hipsters.old age hipsters on Hampton

beetroot starterBefore venturing over the road to the Palace

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We visited the gardens

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IMAG4033 Hampton Court palace IMAG4035 IMAG4036 IMAG4037 IMAG4042 Hampton Court palace garden IMAG4044 IMAG4045 IMAG4047 IMAG4048 Hampton Court palace sharmeen khan IMAG4050 IMAG4051 IMAG4053 IMAG4054

The lakes, ponds and fountains

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IMAG4041 Hampton Court palace fish IMAG4056

Royal/Real tennis court

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Inside the Palace

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Two Kinds of Doughnuts

I know I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about it completely. I’ve still been out here and there taking pictures for the blog. With new motivation that’s hit me I’m going to try to put them up before it fades.

Right where do I start? Ok how about this. I changed phones recently so I’ll start with the photos on my old camera with the most recent first… Doughnuts.

IMAG4082 dounghnuttingIt was a sunny day and my friends and I were out having a Sunday lunch in the sun. We wondered how we could make the most of what could possibly have been the last sunshine of the season. The answer was donutting in Aldershot.

It’s a great place for cheap lessons if you’re thinking of going skiing this winter and want to make the most of it. Here’s a link to itskis

I’m going to kill two birds with one stone here. Another thing that popped up in my photo cluster was this.

mini doughnut

I found a great recipe for mini baked doughnuts. They’re healthy don’t you know. Well sort of and they are incredibly easy to make if you have a doughnut pan. I haven’t stopped making them since.

For 12 mini doughnuts you’ll need:

  • 75g (2½oz) plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 60ml (2¼fl oz) milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil (If preferred 10g (½oz) melted butter may be added in place of the olive oil)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C/Gas 3. Lightly brush the doughnut pan with cooking oil.
  2. Take a large roomy bowl, and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into it. Add the sugar and give it a stir round to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, beaten egg, olive oil (I used browned butter) and vanilla extract together and add this to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Using a piping bag, carefully fill each of the doughnut cups around ¾ full with the batter. Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until firm, but springy to the touch. Cool slightly.

From here you can sugar them or ice them. I mixed the leftover browned butter to icing sugar and made a frosting to dip the tops of the doughnuts into. Sprinkled with chocolate while still a little wet et voila.

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The Butterfly House – Wisley Gardens

The first dry bright sunny Saturday of the year was glorious. It was not to be wasted indoors but spent out in the open with the option to seek shelter and hide when the sun inevitably faded. A giant glass house filled with fluttering butterflies at Wisley Gardens offered the best option. IMAG2967

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IMAG2970IMAG2973butterflybutterlfyIMAG2976You know that moment when you turn up to an event and there’s someone there wearing the exact same outfit as you?  It happened to me in the butterfly house…

absI got my outfit from Topshop but I didn’t realise that Caterpillar does more than just steel-capped boots.   

Sharmeen Khan

flowers

bananas in the glass housgreeneryorchids at the glasshouseThe butterflies will be around till 9 March 2014 so get down there asap although I’m reliably informed that they do return each year if you miss them.

Outside the sun was still shining.ponds at wisley gardnesIt was a bit chilly outside compared to the hot and steamy butterfly house so I put on my military jacket (from H&M) and my aviators for the first time in 2014. globeAccessories in blue and gold…gold and blue accessories100 years of flowers doorgiant applestructures

bonsai treefir cone on bonsai treescenery at wisley gardenIf you ever do visit Wisley Gardens you must try this honey and nut tart in the restaurant. They really didn’t skimp on the nuts.wisley gardens honey and nut tarthoney and nut tart amazinghoney and nut tartIt was really awesomely good with a cup of tea…..

another cup of teafinished honey and nut tart

Chocolate by Miss Witt

Normally when I tell you about something in the country it’s within half an hour’s drive from where I live on the Surrey/Hampshire border. I am about to make an exception to that untold rule because I really need to tell you about this fabulous stuff….

chocolates by miss witt fur

The package arrived by post… how great is that….? I don’t even have to leave the house for these delicious handmade delicacies. Inside I found a sexy black and gold box of chocolates and a letter.letter from chocolate by miss witt

warning label on chocolated

I felt like I should be eating them in my boudoir sprawled out on my chaise longue as a very handsome man wafted me with a giant palm leaf. I don’t have any of those things so I settled for eating them at my dressing table with Justin Timberlake blaring from the ipod as I got ready for Valentine’s dinner with my mum (more on that later).

dressing table chocolates box of chocolates by miss witt the italian by miss witt close up of the italian by miss witt

This little Italian is my favourite so far. White chocolate, pistachio and caramelised hazelnuts. I’m nuts about nuts. It’s like a macaroon in a truffle.

earl grey truffle

I couldn’t wait to try this one. I’m a sucker for afternoon tea whatever form it may take. A white chocolate truffle with an Earl Grey tea centre. It didn’t disappoint!

The chocolate ganache is made using water instead of cream which not only means they have fewer calories but I think it also gives the chocolate a great snap, similar to the snap when you bite into a chocolate covered ice cream lolly. It also really brings out the flavour and quality of the chocolate especially in the dark chocolate truffles…. which I indulged in next….

blue ocean by miss wittOcean Daze was another spectacular truffle. As a kid did you ever have sweet chocolate and salty crisps in one mouthful? Well this is similar except more grown up. Fabulous. miss witt dark choc truffles IMAG2877 IMAG2892

The Peruvian ginger is another favourite of mine. Spicy & dark.

Finally you really must try this one…almond chocolate miss witt sweet temptationIMAG2888It really is what it says on the ‘tin’.      IMAG2878 IMAG2882

I inhaled my chocolates within minutes but I’m already planning on getting my mum a box for Mother’s day with the flavours I haven’t tried yet. Hopefully she’ll share.  If you’d like to try them too they are available from the very talented Miss Kerry Witt’s Pop Up every Saturday at Lymington Market or just pop her an email on her website to get them through the post.

Knit and Stitch It

It’s almost time  for the Knit and Stitch It show at FIVE in Farnborough. I’m sure you can guess what it’s about but there’s more information here if you want to find out more.

Last year I visited with a couple of friends. In between dodging elderly crafting enthusiasts (slightly unfair comment as there were people of all ages attending) we managed to sit down at most of the crafting tables for little taster sessions. I tried my hand at decoupage, where I made a cupcake shaped coaster, very intricate lace-making but my favourite was making these cute owls.felt craftmy owlEach one had its own personality depending on who had made it. I gave mine to my mum and even now it swings attached to her handbag.   three wise owls

With the small entrance fee you get the option of buying craft magazine for a very reasonable one British pound. My issue came with pull out patterned paper and after seeing all the crafty shenanigans at the fair I was inspired to decoupage a wooden tea tray for the perfect breakfast in bed. Yet to start knitting my tea-cosy though.

FFW: Frimley Fashion Week

It’s London Fashion Week!

Very soon all the magazines will be filled with who was on the FROW and what they were wearing. Well a few months ago I was lucky enough to be on the FROW too. It wasn’t quite the front row in London nor was it Paris or Milan. It was Frimley.frimley fashion show - natutical

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The event was organised by the KatCanDo charity, which you may remember also organised the baking tutorial by Jo Wheatley. The clothes were supplied by Travelling Trends who are experts in the charity fashion show field. The collection has a mixture of classic and fashionable lines to suit ladies of all ages, shapes and most sizes. The labels had all been cut out which turned into a bit of fun as we all still managed to shout out where they were from.

We were even encouraged to feel the clothes as the models walked past.

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frimley fashion show - feel the clothes

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Tiger in Woking

I’m looking through my phone pictures trying to find something to blog about that isn’t food related. In doing so I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending a lot of time in Woking these past few weeks. One of the reasons is that it’s close by and has a big-ish Topshop and an ice cream place called Creams which is food related so I shall stop there.

No Zara though. In amongst the usual high street names you’ll also find a hipster’s paradise. A one-stop shop for all your unusual brightly coloured novelty, sometimes practical, items. A little bit like an Ikea but without the flat packs all housed under one roof and with a Tiger on the door. They sell everything from home and kitchen ware….bird ice cream scoopto Sudoku toilet paper….emergency toilet paperstationery and food.dutch wafflesThere aren’t many stores in the UK so if you want something almost unique then you have to take a look for yourself. There’s something for everyone.