oh boy. what a day. I feel like i haven’t really sat down all day (I have really).. just been go go go since i got up at around 11.30am*.. there’s a full list of everything i did on the ~ today ~ entry if you really want to know everything i did.. i just want to share the fun stuff here.

If you’re envisaging wild descriptions of looping the loop on a pensioner’s motorised wheelchair.. then no.. sorry. I mean fun for me. i.e. baking and gardening!!!  (and its long, so the rest is behind the cut. along with the photos.)

first i did some bread. I do bread every couple of days – there’s a long bit about it in the ~ food ~ section (link above or to the right) – so that’s not so special (although Michiel would probably disagree). I kneaded that, washed my hands, wiped the counter down and put it to one side to rise … while i got on with transplanting some seedlings.

transplanted peppers and tomatoesI had noticed that some peppers, which i had transplanted into filled inner toilet roll tubes, the paper tube was getting a bit mouldy. I *now* know that that’s perfectly okay and doesn’t affect the plant at all, they just grow through the tube and that the mould is a normal part of decomposition. *now* i know.. *mutters*.. after the ever-helpful Sarah filled me in during our daily MSN chat earlier tonight. oh well. Peppers and chillisBut earlier it looked rather alarming so i made the decision to move my precious babies into proper pots. So i did that. Discovered in the process that the square pots i had gotten from Wilkinsons for 79p for 10 or something like that fit rather nicely in the seed tray – 12 to a tray – which is rather handy dandy for lugging the pots around.

After that i transplanted some “tumbling tom” tomato seedlings that i’d sown at the beginning of March. The seeds cost £1.49 and i got 10 seeds! I remember opening the packet to think.. “bloody hell, where are they?”.. so i made sure to transplant every single one i could – i think i got 8 or 9 in the end up, which is not a bad germination rate. They went into similar sized square pots (you can see in the picture) so hopefully they’ll stay in there for a while now, until they’re ready to be planted into their final position. I really have to get some more of those pots, because the other tomato seedlings (Gardener’s delight and moneymaker), of which i have about 15-20, i think, will soon outgrow the little pots i transplanted them to, and those pots are the ideal size (and they fit so nicely in the seed trays which makes it super useful and easy to move outside once we go for the hardening off period).

new seedsOnce that was done i decided to sow some seed. Unfortunately all my seed trays were being used so i decided to get creative: i filled small pots (2 inches diameter) with seed compost and put one seed to each one. In this way i planted some more sweetpea (2 each of cupani, old fashioned mix, white supreme, and some sweetpea seed mom gave me from her 2002 batch – be interesting to see if they come up) and some courgettes (2 of each variety i have, Gold Rush, a lovely yellow courgette, and kojak, the regular coloured courgette you buy in supermarkets), and 2 cucumber. Of course, i can grow more – and probably will – but space is a premium so i need to clear some space before i can plant some more. Might have to wait until i get the greenhouse up.

Being out of seed trays also meant my regular propagator method was out (i have a cover for the seed trays that turns them into a propagator). So i got crafty. I keep those lil trays you get mushrooms in from the supermarkets – never know when they’re gonna come in handy – so i put the wee pots in there, stuck the labels with what each pot was down the side, then covered the trays with clingfilm. hopefully it should do the job. We’ll find out soon anyway.

After cleaning up, and knocking back the bread, i had a quick break (and shared the last of the coffee and walnut cake with Michiel) i started on the lemon drizzle cake. I’d made one in a loaf tin last weekend, but it refused to turn out of the tin and i had to bang it really hard to get it out – and it fell out, all bitty and stuff. Having said that it tasted fantastic so i decided to up the amount of mix and put it in a large round spring tin, which would enable me to peel off the outside and hopefully get the cake out more easily. Which i did. I made 1 and a half times the amount in the recipe, cooked it at gas mark 4 for the hour it reckoned on the recipe, then another 30 minutes at gas mark 3.

lemon drizzle cake - minus the icingIt was slightly overdone on top, a little browner than i would’ve liked, so next time i’ll probably cook it at gas mark 3 for the entire time (Even if it means it needs a couple hours to cook). Its quite a dense mix for a cake – very different to the coffee and walnut cake – and its down to the proportions of fat/sugar/flour that is used, as well as the type, i think. The coffee and walnut cake uses stork as opposed to the butter for the lemon drizzle cake, and more eggs (and less milk) than the lemon drizzle one. I really must write up full recipes i think.

Beef in black bean sauceOnce I’d done dinner (I do love beef in black bean sauce.. must do a recipe for that too) and watched “Gardener’s world” and “NCIS” (and there’s no NCIS next friday! *blows raspberries to channel 5*) i went and made the icing for the lemon drizzle cake. lemon drizzle cake - with icing!Now anyone who’s made lemon drizzle cake will know that the drizzle part is, while the cake is warm, made by mixing lemon juice with sugar and pouring it on top of the cake to make a glaze, right? Well, that’s what i did this time. But it was still quite a tall cake (2 inches tall) so i decided to make an icing to go in the middle, and possibly over the top. I mixed up the butter icing then got creative with the flavourings. I started out with lemon juice – but i just couldn’t taste the lemon through the butter/sugar, and i was in danger of making the whole thing too liquid in order to taste the lemon. So i pulled out a small bottle of lemon flavouring i had in the cupboard, and added the last of that. that worked well. Still needed something else. The drizzle makes the cake quite sweet, and i felt the icing needed a bit more sour, or it would be in danger of making the whole thing oversweet… and then i thought about the bottle of lime juice i had in the fridge. Taking a gamble (it could’ve been disastrous) i shook that a few times over the butter icing.. mixed it in, and took a taste. The sourness was perfect – maybe even a little oversour, but that was no bad thing. I split the cake in half, chucked most of the icing in the middle, sandwiched the two together, then put the rest of the icing ontop. I’m afraid i couldn’t wait and had to have a bit there and then (and give Michiel a bit too, of course), and it was totally delicious. I didn’t bother with decoration (as it was a bit of an experimental cake anyway) but next time i think i might do some lime zest twirls to scatter over the top of the icing, and that would be really really nice. Definetly one to make again.

Tomorrow: i hope to get some work on my long neglected second bed done, maybe even get it finished, because the forecast shows that next week the weather is going to be lurverley. Also going to get my french beans in, and maybe direct sow some lettuce/radishes/spring onions in the bed under the polytunnel (I’m all excited at that prospect!!). Once the second bed is in my aim is to work on preparing the ground for the greenhouse, I’ve plans to try to pin it down as much as possible by digging a trench where the frame is to stand, putting bricks down as a kind of “foundation”, then putting the frame ontop, with the cover on, then actually burying the edge of the cover beneath the earth, so that there’s nothing for the wind to whip under. Hopefully with that and some rigged guy lines it will keep it secure. We’ll see, anyway.

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* we aren’t employed outside the home – at least, not at present. Neither of us is particularly morning people. To make the world a safer place to live, we get up when we wake up. In reality, the way it works is that i get about 8 hours sleep most nights, sometimes a lil less, sometimes a lil more, i just go to bed later than most people.

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