Lavender Cupcakes

July 5th, 2009 by Gilly
Lavender Cupcakes

Lavender Cupcakes

I like these :) They’re quite floral tasting, obviously, being lavender cupcakes, but a plate of these and the rose cupcakes makes a nice summery afternoon tea party. I think I’d have some lemon ones too (topped with sugarded lemonbalm leaves) to tone the flowery flavours down a bit.

To make them, simply add 1 dessertspoon of dried lavender flowers to a basic sponge mix (see the rose cupcakes below, but substitute milk for rose water) and bake for 18 minutes at 180C. Top with purple coloured glace icing and a dried lavender sprig. Pretty :)

Lavender

July 4th, 2009 by Gilly
Drying Lavender

Drying Lavender on a Baking Sheet

I’m making some lavender cupcakes tomorrow, to go with my remaining rose petal ones, so I’ve just picked a handful of lavender sprigs from the garden to dry. I laid them out on a baking sheet and popped them in my fan oven on “defrost” to dry gently. After a few hours, they’ll come out and continue to air dry overnight. Hopefully I’ll have some lovely dried lavender by the morning! I need about 8 sprigs to shred and add to to the sponge mixture, and 12 to decorate the tops of the cupcakes.

Rose Cupcakes

July 3rd, 2009 by Gilly
Rose Cupcakes

Rose Cupcakes

I’ve been meaning to make some of these for a while now, but they didn’t turn out quite as nicely as I’d hoped because I was distracted by the Murray match, lol! They’re a basic sponge mixture but with rosewater added instead of milk, and 5 cubes of chopped turkish delight added to the mixture. The icing is a simple glace icing made with rosewater instead of plain water and coloured with pink food colouring. I had a go at sugaring rose petals by brushing them with egg white, dipping them in sugar and then drying them for a few hours – not a great result as I forgot to do both sides, doh! The verdict: nice summery flavour (I’d prefer them without the turkish delight) but the non-curliness of the rose petals let the finished cakes down a bit.

To make the cakes

Heat the oven to 180C

Line a muffin tin with pink cupcake cases

Beat 125g softened butter and 125g caster sugar together

Beat in 2 free range eggs, one at a time

Sift in 125g self-raising fine milled flour

Stir in 1 1/2 T rosewater

Add 80g chopped turkish delight if desired. I dusted mine in icing sugar after chopping to prevent the pieces all sticking together

Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 20mins, or until golden, springy on top and a skewer comes out clean

Remove cakes from tin and leave to cool on a cooling rack

To make the icing

I made mine up to taste / texture, but a standard formula for glace icing is 125g icing sugar mixed with 1T of water, so substitute the water for rosewater :) If your icing is a little runny add more icing sugar. Add a few drops of pink food colouring and spread onto your cakes. I use a wet knife to help spread an even circle of icing on top of each cake.

To make the sugared rose petals

Pick twelve rose petals from your garden (or buy a bunch)

Brush both sides with egg white

Dip each side in sugar

Place on a plate, baking sheet or cooling rack and leave to dry for 3 – 5 hours until the rose petals are dry and crunchy

Place on top of your cakes :)

Finally Finished: Rose Garden Necklace

June 30th, 2009 by Gilly
Rose Garden Long Necklace

Rose Garden Long Necklace

I didn’t have time to finish this necklace as quickly as I’d hoped, but the hot weather has meant more time sitting (and lying!) in the garden so it’s given me the chance to finish wire-wrapping the beads. I spent a gorgeous evening in the garden cooling off after work today, listening to Blur (so jealous I wasn’t at Glastonbury at the weekend) and I’ve begun a new piece that I’ll be listing in my shops soon. In the meantime, this Rose Garden Long Necklace is in my Etsy and Folksy shops now.

Pink & Green Wire Wrapped Necklace

Pink & Green Wire Wrapped Necklace

The necklace features one of my flowers, in pink, set to one side and teamed with an array of lovely chunky beads. I’ve been waiting for a chance to use the sage green crocheted beads I bought ages ago from JillyBeads.com, and I’m loving the pink glass beads with a slightly marbled effect from BijouxBeads.com

Strawberry Picking

June 25th, 2009 by Gilly
Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Mmmm, delicious strawberries. I went to Syston Park Farm this afternoon to go a-strawberry-pickin :)  It was so windy up on the hill but still very warm – such a nice thing to do on a lovely day. The strawberries are sweet and ripe, so we’ll eat most of them just as they are. The fate of the rest of them is as yet undecided… I’d quite like to try a recipe for macerated strawberries with polenta cake from “Gorgeous Cakes”, or maybe make a cheesecake and pile them on top.

Work in Progress

June 24th, 2009 by Gilly

I had some time to myself today, so I spent a blissful afternoon in the garden making some new jewellery…

My jewellery making spot

My jewellery making spot :)

It was so relaxing, with the scent of the rose bush drifting across in the breeze. And I’m finally getting a little bit of a tan – although mainly on my feet, haha :)

Climbing Rose

Climbing Rose

I made a new flower pendant in light green called “Meadow”, and started working on a wire-wrapped long chunky necklace “Rose Garden”. Tomorrow, I’m going to add one of my flowers to one side and some faux-suede cord. Hope it’s sunny!

Work in progress

Work in progress

Summer Days

June 22nd, 2009 by Gilly
Wild Stawberry

Wild Strawberry

At last, it finally feels like summer! We’ve had enough sunny days inbetween the cloud for me to believe that it really is summertime :) When I got home today I dashed out into the garden to take a few pics while the sun was still shining. Summer is my favourite time of year (apart from Spring and Autumn!) I love the bumble bees buzzing around the garden and the frogs calling to each other.

Feverfew

Feverfew

I grow the wild strawberries especially for baking, because they look so pretty topping cupcakes or cheesecake, or dropped into sparkling drinks. The feverfew is for the occasional migraine, and the catmint is a fab sedative and relaxant, so I pop a flowerhead in my lemon balm tea before bed. I have to grow the catmint in a pot, so that I can hide it from Freddie when he’s on the rampage – like all cats he goes nuts for it and would destroy the whole plant if I let him!

Catmint

Catmint

Relisted in My Etsy & Folksy Shops Today

June 20th, 2009 by Gilly
Dusk Daisy Pendant Necklace

Dusk Daisy Pendant Necklace

Just finished making this grey handmade flower pendant and  listed it in my Etsy and Folksy shops – it’s great for adding a little prettiness to workwear.  I’ve had a bit of a reshuffle in the shops, as they were looking a bit dull…. They’re looking more colourful now, and new summer items are on the way next week and the week after!

Lemon Sponge with Summer Berries and Lemon Mascarpone

June 18th, 2009 by Gilly
Lemon Sponge with Mascarpone and Summer Berries

Lemon Sponge with Mascarpone and Summer Berries

I made this simple dessert on Sunday as my Grandad was coming round for lunch. The weather was gorgeous, and this seemed like an ideal summery pudding. The lemon sponge is so yummy with mascarpone instead of cream, and you can’t go wrong with luscious berries!

To make the sponge

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4

Grease a deep 8″ cake tin

Cream 6oz organic butter and 6oz caster sugar

Beat in 3 large organic, free range eggs

Sift in 6oz fine milled self-raising flour, and fold in

Add the zest of 2 lemons

Stir in 2 tbsp lemon juice

Bake in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes until the top is springy and a skewer comes out clean

Use the skewer to poke holes in the top, then pour over 2 tbsp lemon juice mixed with 50g sugar and leave to soak into the sponge

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack

When cold, cut into 10cm square cubes and spread good quality lemon curd on top of each one.

To make the lemon mascarpone

Beat together 200g mascarpone and 80g icing sugar – add more icing sugar if you like it sweeter

Beat in 2 tbsp lemon juice and the zest of one lemon

To serve

Top the lemon sponge squares with the lemon mascarpone and serve with summer berries, such as raspberries, blackberries or strawberries. Yum!

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

June 16th, 2009 by Gilly

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

Originally uploaded by gilly.flower

Mmmm, the taste of the summer… A nice glass of sparkling elderflower cordial is just what I feel like on a lovely sunny day, so we make a batch each year to whip out when the sun makes an appearance. I picked a bagful of the flowers and steeped them in sugar syrup water with lemons for 24 hours. The cordial is best diluted with sparkling water and a few leaves of mint, and I like to drop a few wild strawberries into mine :)
Check out UK Handmade Magazine’s  new tutorial blog – elderflower cordial tutorial coming soon…