*****LIFE'S A GARDEN*****
CHRONICLES OF A GARDENING FOODIE!
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Well, I guess I was hoping that Spring was here but we had a little snow yesterday. So my garden may not be ready to plant just yet. And I just realized how soon Easter was coming. Spring makes me think of gardening and tulips and daffodils. And daffodils and tulips make me think of Easter.
And Easter makes me think of Bunnies, both furry and chocolate.
Bunnies make me think of carrots. Planting them and eating them. Carrots are not just to crunch on when you are on a diet. There are many, many ways to prepare this orange beauty.
There is of course, Carrot Cake. There are so many recipes but this is simply delicious from the blog I KISS BETTER THAN I COOK. Stop by this is a great cooking blog.
Now I have not tried Carrot Cake Cookies but these from the lovely blog A WHISK AND A PRAYER look delicious. You can make these and have just a cookie instead of of piece of cake for a yummy little snack.
When I was little, my grandfather always made Creamed Carrots. I just loved them, creamy and buttery I can taste them now. This scrumptous Carrot Casserold from CHOW.COM look so good I think I will make this tonight.
Whatever way you prepare them Carrots are really good for you and simply delicious. If you have a recipe for Easter you would like to share send me an e-mail and a picture and I will post about it over this week along with some other cute easter recipes. Drop by my other blog WICKED FAERIE QUEEN starting tomorrow I will been featuring some Easter decorating ideas and lots of chocolate.
I adore Lilacs. When I was little, my grandparents bought an old farm that had a lot of Lilac bushes of every colour. In the spring the smell was like heaven. We picked armfulls of them and put them all over the house.
I would surprise my Grandmother with a bunch of them on a tray with her coffee and toast on Sunday mornings.
Living in the country it is such a joy in the spring to see the Lilac bushes tumbling over fences or just sitting proudly in a yard or by the roadside. The colours are so beautiful. Every shade of purple, mauve, white and pink.
Is there anything prettier on a spring day than a vase of lilacs on your table. The story of the Lilac is as lovely as the flower itself.
In Greek Mythology the beautiful nymph Syringa ( the botanical name of the lilac) was in the woods one day when she was spotted by Pan. He was so captivated by her beauty that he chased her. She became frightened and turned herself into an aromatic flowering bush, the Lilac.
I adore the deep purple Lilacs. The purple shades mean emotions of love while the white shades are for innocence.
Whatever the colour Lilacs have always meant Spring to me. They signal it is time to open the windows and let that delicous smell wash over the house.
We have broken records here in Ontario for high temperatures. I still cannot believe we are sitting on our porch in such hot weather in March.
This time of year we do see the crocus and daffodils popping out of the ground.
What I have not seen before is this much growth in my back gardens. Even my bleeding heart is already showing itself.
Not that I am complaining. I love seeing all of this new life in on the farm. Budding trees and sunshine is what I love. I just hope Mother Nature does not play a cruel trick on us and make the temperatures drop and snow. I would hate to see all of this beauty shrivel up and disappear for another month.
Spring is here! The weather is so warm today but it still cools down at night. It is a little early for most potted flowers but the hardy Pansy is ready for action.
I just love it this time of year when the Pansy is out in full glorious bloom. Everywhere you go they sell flats and pots of of them in a rainbow of colours
I am particularly fond of shades of blue and purple. I get flats of them and just fill pots and buckets and put them everywhere. They are safe with cold nights and as long as you cut them back and deadhead they last most of the summer.
Nothing makes me happier than waking up and having a cup of tea amongst the pots of happy Pansies. As a matter of fact the Pansy flower means merriment and "you occupy my thoughts." For me the Pansy brings thoughts of sunny days ahead.
The Pansy is also one of the edible flowers. When I worked at the greenhouse we were always trying the edibles. Pansy are quite nice actually. They look beautiful on a tea sandwich.
And how lovely they look on a wedding cake like this one from Martha Stewart Weddings.
Think how impressed they would be at your luncheon or tea party if you served these gorgeous Shortbreads adorned with Pansies. The recipe is available at RECIPE.COM.
So whether you have a lot of pots or just one, go out and get some of these hardy beauties for you porch, garden or lunch table.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. I am going to celebrate with you all today because tomorrow I will be away from Blogland until Sunday.
Let's start with a little green. These beautiful Irish Bells are so lovely. I am growing some this year because I have decided to have my front garden all white and green.
I cannot think of St. Patrick's Day without the Clover. When I was little on my grandparents farm I spend hours looking for a lucky four leaf clover. I never did find one although I did try to fool my grandfather by adding a leaf to a regular clover, he never fell for it. Now why not make your own. Whether 3 or 4 leaves these adorable cookies are an easy shortbread with green food colouring. Much more fun.
You don't have to be Irish to eat Colcannon. This delicous Irish dish of Mashed potatoes, cabbage and green onions with or without bacon is absolutely good for everyone.
INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS
2 cups of water
½ teaspoon of salt
2½ pounds of potatoes, peeled and cubed (6 medium sized)
¼ cup (½ stick) Butter
½ cup warm milk
½ small head of cabbage, shredded
1 cup chopped green onions including green portion
½ pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pinchblack pepper
Add salt to water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and return to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain.
Mash potatoes until no lumps remain. Gradually beat in milk and ¼ cup butter. Cover and set aside.
Melt ¼ cup butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and shredded cabbage for about 5 minutes.
Fold bacon and onion/cabbage mixture into mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer mixture to a large serving bowl.
*Serve warm as a side dish with slices of corned beef or pork.
And what kind of St. Patrick's Day would it be without a pint of Guinness? I prefer mine in a nice moist Chocolate Cake like this one from the blog WHAT KATIE ATE. I just discovered this incredible blog. Katie Quinn Davies is an Irish Graphics Designer turned Foodie Photographer living in Australia. I dare you to go there and not leave hungry with you mouth watering.
GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
•250 g (1 c. and 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
•250 ml (1 c.) Guinness
•75 g Dutch process cocoa ( 3/4 c.), sifted
•275 g (2 + 1/4 c.) all purpose flour, sifted
•2 tsp. baking soda
•400 g (2 c.) sugar
•2 medium eggs
•150 ml (2/3 c.) sour cream
•1 tbsp. good quality vanilla extract
•300 g (1 + 1/3 cup) cream cheese
•150 g (1+1/2 c.) powdered sugar, sifted
•150 ml (2/3 c.) cream, whipped
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Add butter, cocoa and Guinness to a saucepan. Warm over a medium heat and stir until melted. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly.
2. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Pour in the Guinness/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly combine, add the eggs and sour cream and beat everything together until well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.
3. Pour into a greased and lined 10″ angel food pan (or another straight-sided tube pan) and cook in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.*Note: This cake is very moist inside, so use your judgment regarding the skewer test. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has totally dried out — cook long enough so there is no uncooked cake on the skewer but there may be a few moist crumbs sticking to it after an hour of cooking. [Please note: Katie baked this in an 8.5" x 3.5" pan. If you make this in a regular angel food cake pan, you should start checking for doneness at least 15 minutes early.]
4. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin and placing on a wire wrack to cool completely.
1. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a low-medium speed using a whisk attachment (I find a paddle attachment tends to over-beat the cheese). Whisk until the cheese is smooth and there are no big lumps remaining.
2. Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, stop the machine, scrape any excess frosting from the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until lump free.
3. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream, mixing to fully combine.
4. Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out just to the edge without going over the side (never go over the sides of the cake) until the cake resembles a pint of the creamy black stuff!
So may the luck of the Irish be with you all tomorrow, dawn the green, grab a pint and HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY.
I am proud of my Canadian, Norwegian and British heritage, it greatly influences my art and the way I decorate my 235 year old farmhouse. I am a vegan earth mother living in Canada. My passion is my family, my furry darlings and my art. I do all that I can for the welfare of all creatures great and small. I live a life that I fill with magic, blessings and bliss for myself and my loved ones.