Friday, 28 October 2011

Let's hear it for Local! Devon Flats.

Devon Flats.  That's what these are.  I have to admit to never having heard of them until this time yesterday when I went in search of a simple and quick biscuit type recipe I could make some halloween biccies for work with.  They're very simple although my recipe differs from a purist one in that it uses double cream rather than the original clotted cream and has the addition of spices.  In these biscuits the cream takes the place of butter / other fat.  Anyway - here you are:
Halloween Devon Flats
8oz SR Flour
0.5tsp allspice / mixed spice
4oz Sugar
0.5tsp salt
1 egg - beaten
3.5 fl oz double cream (100ml if that's an easier measure)
Approx 1tbsp milk - plus extra for brushing
Vanilla sugar - optional

Put oven on to heat - the recipe I based these on said 190 which I reduced to 180 as mine's a fan oven but ended up back putting up to 190.  I think 200 would be better having scoped a few more recipes out now.  Greaseproof paper a couple of trays.  Again diff' recipes said you could grease them - I haven't tried it so can't vouch for any sticking / non-sticking using that method.   They didn't stick to plain greaseproof paper so I'm happy with that.
Sieve flour and spice into a bowl and mix sugar and salt through.
Stir in beaten egg and cream and enough of the tbsp milk to make a stiff dough.  All the recipes I saw said if it's sticky pop it in the fridge to firm up.  If like me you don't have time for this as you decided to do these at 7am before work rather than the night before like a sensible person then you can just add a wee bit more flour instead.
Roll out on a very well floured surface to just under 1cm thick.  Keep re-flouring both surface and rolling pin - these want to stick.
Cut into shapes of your choice, whack on the trays then brush with milk and sprinkle with vanilla sugar if liked.  You only need to leave a little space in between these as they spread but only a very little - they puff up more.  (Described as a cross between a cake and a biscuit.)
Stick 'em in the oven for 5-10 mins until golden-ish - mine looked quite pale but were cooked through.  May have had something to do with the temp' changes.
That's it - very easy and one of those recipes that can take endless variation.  Leave out the spice and use a tbsp of cocoa instead.  Or ground almonds.  Or - most things really.  Enjoy!  Oh - and I guess I shouldn't forget the obligatory WOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOOooooooHHHHH!!

As this is an old local recipe I'm going to enter it into Chris's 'Bloggers around the World - Great Britain' challenge.

What a week for the weather!

I think we've had it all this week!  Ok - so no snow down here in the South West but Monday it was torrential rain all day long, Tuesday dawned bright and lovely but had resorted to the monsoon affect by the end of the day. 

All this rain brought the river levels right up but did result in some nice rainbows.  Excuse the pic quality as these were on my phone rather than camera.

The sky was amazing yesterday evening though...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sloe gin a go-go

We went foraging for sloes at the weekend.  As the fruit has all been early this year we found the lower branches already stripped clean.  However, we gave thanks for short people as I [being the slightly taller of the pair of us] pulled over the higher branches so we could reach the berries on them, before letting them spring back unharmed. 
We collected a respectable 1.64 kg (him) and 1.8something kg (me) giving us about 3.5 kg total between the 2 of us which took us just under an hour and a half - not bad going.  We ended up a little scratched - more from the brambles growing throughout the bushes than the blackthorns themselves but it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the sun pootling along the river.  There's got to be worse places to pick sloes surely...

The sloes are now safely ensconced in the freezer (in lieu of the first frosts getting them) and we have the sugar and the le parfait jars - just the gin to get now and we're on our way.  :-)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The furry faced escapologist

A quick update.  Zeke being the sneaky little catfink he is managed to break out of the house on Thursday night meaning he couldn't have his bits snipped on Friday.  Tsk.  He's now at the vets today instead and I've just called them to check on him.  He's all fine [phew] albeit a little bleary still from being put under.  I'll be picking him up sans danglies later and no doubt spoiling him out of misplaced guilt all evening.  :-)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Autumn sky

Well the temperature fell with a thump in the last 2 days - damnably chilly on the way home last night although not helped by the revolting cold I currently have.  (Thank you very much to The Chap for that one!)  It does make for some spiffing views this time of year though.  I always love it when you see the rays of light coming through the clouds - perfect!  Here's today's pic then.
I'm hoping to have a bit more time for a decent length post soon but hope you're liking the pics meanwhile. 

Taking Zeke off for his snip tomorrow followed by waiting in for the broadband men - I'm hoping that out of the 1-5pm slot I've been given they turn up closer to 1 as I really want to get down the allotment too.  Mind you that also depends on how much like death I feel - better keep taking the vitamin C!
Have a happy weekend all.  :-)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Random pics #3

People releasing chinese lanterns on a windy autumn evening.  nice.  :-)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Random pic #2

Walking home on Friday I came across this scene.  People practising their tight-rope walking between 2 trees in the park.  How random!  I hastily snapped this - and yes - I know it's wonky but I wanted to show you all.  The South West is a wonderful place to be!!  :-D

Friday, 14 October 2011

Swifty end of week round up

Yesterday saw a big colourful bus pulling up outside our building.  Much to our surprise it was the Olympic torch!!  You could get your photo taken with it and nominate someone to be one of the 8000 people that will carry it on it's journey before the Olympics next year.  It's going through Exeter hence this visit but it's not for the first time.  Exeter saw the torch go through back in 1948 too. 
I had my pic taken with it - you had to wear gloves and they stuck you in front of a green screen then made you choose between backgrounds comprising Tower Bridge, Stonehenge, Angel of the North and Edinburgh Castle.  You also got a free mini can of coke - I went for coke zero and it was nasty!  I'm not a great cola type drink lover tbh but if you forced me I'd go for pepsi max I think.  Anyway - I digress.

A nice freebie was my sample of new biscotti flavour Baileys.  This arrived in the post a couple of weeks after I signed up for it on Facebook - it's totally free; you 'like' the page then 'post a toast' to nominate a friend to receive one too then when they accept you both get sent the samples.  Nice.  :-)

A random note to finish - though frugal related.  Having bought the 'value' pack of mushrooms from the Co-op last night [I aways get these packs if I'll use them all up as it's so much cheaper] I was suprised to find no less than 9 'twinned' mushrooms in there!  I've never got the thinking behind a natural product like fruit or veg needing to conform to an ideal shape / size / colour but I'm more than happy if this gross stupidity in others means my purchases come that wee bit cheaper.  Hail the freak mushrooms say I - for they are beautiful and taste the same!!

Happy Friday my friends.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Foraging season

It's foraging time again - although really there's something available just about all year round.  However the fungi are most plentiful around now and I'm itching to get out there gathering.  For now though here's the little pretties I picked up last year - I also wanted to share them as part of Black & White Wednesday over on The Well-Seasoned Cook.

The other free food that should be bountiful now are sloes - we're determined to make vast amounts of sloe gin this year as last year's single batch really didn't last us long enough.  This time we're thinking dawn ladder raids and blow everyone else!  :-D  Maybe gloves this time too...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Random pic du jour

There's a major construction project going on opposite the building I work in and they're roofing it with copper.  I love the colour of copper - it's such a shame it doesn't keep it's lovely warm sheen but goes green instead.

I seem to have been waitng for what feels like weeks to get a pic of it with the sun shining off it - hopefully before it goes green and dull!  This will have to do for now.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Lovely things - and cheese!

It's fatal - they have a farmers market at work now!  Look at all these things I bought. 

Chilli choc from a different chilli farm - though it's not all for me!  Lovely tasting cordials - the lemongrass and ginger one tasted like it'd be fab in a G&T.  Seasoned salts and some 2 year old mature cheddar and a blue goats cheese from Tickelmore that do the Beenleigh blue I had a while back.  Not a bad little haul for a friday at work!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The beauty of a sphere of mahogany tinted burnished autumn colour...

...or Conkers to be precise!

They're so beautiful yet fleeting in their gorgeousness.  Only a few days pass and the shine has dulled and the covering wrinkles - a little like life in a few days - yet inside is the potential for a whole massive new life.  Truly a wondrous sight that shouts 'Autumn' to me...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Autumn views

It's that time of year again!  I spotted this fine fungi on my way home last night - not sure what this one is but all of a sudden all types seem to be springing forth as we hit these cooler drawn in times.  Here in the south we still seem to have the sun at the moment - just; though I feel this may be drastically changed by tonight.

The other item that drew my eye was this pole covered in what I presume is dead ivy - I've always loved how nature will take over; how a mere blade of grass will manage to punch up through concrete or tarmac, how we really can't stop it.  Nature - I salute you.