BOOK REVIEW – A TREE IN THE HOUSE: FLOWERS FOR YOUR HOME, SPECIAL OCCASIONS & EVERY DAY…

My book review this month is A Tree In The House: Flowers For Your Home, Special Occasions & Every Day by Annabella Hickson.

The book provides ideas and instructions for celebratory botanical installations and arrangements, covering beautiful, seasonal bouquets, flowers for friends, table and overhead arrangements, and flower arrangements for special occasions. The instructions are wonderfully simple and cover everything from the perfect flower-to-vase proportions to how to create an overhead floral installation, and the book particularly focuses on foraged and locally and seasonally grown plants. All the floral arrangements are as zero waste as possible and include tips like how to transport flowers in vases (instead of plastic) with no water spills, and how to create a structured arrangement without floral foam.

A Tree in The House celebrates the simple, natural beauty that flowers bring to the home, with flower arranging that is in sync with nature.

Full of useful information and gorgeous photography and to be read the only way with a cup of tea and a slice of cake curled up in a deep armchair.

 

THE COFFEE SWAP – COMPOSTABLE COFFEE PODS INSTEAD OF PLASTIC ONES…

Many of us are trying our best to Eco swap many things in the house and home as well as food and drink.

Ditch the plastic pods for compostable pods with the Dualit range.

They have three types of compostable pods, including the organic Ethiopian and Colombian blend which are made from corn starch. This may be able to go into your food waste caddy but check with your local authority first.

They take 90 days and break down through industrial composting, but cannot be placed in garden waste. The Indian Monsoon box of 10, is £2.90 from Dualit. They also have a selection of teas in compostable capsules.

The Dualit EcoPresx Aluminium Capsule Recycler is a clever device which extracts coffee from used aluminium pods which can then be spread on the flowerbeds. Then you simply put the empty capsules into the recycling bin. It is compatible with all aluminium coffee pods and cost £12.49 from Dualit.

TURMERIC & ORANGE FRUIT LOAF CAKE RECIPE…

2 x Turmeric, with Orange & Star Anise teabags (Twinings, or one of your choice)
225g dried Fruit ( like raisins, sultanas etc)
225g self-raising flour
1 orange (grated)
2 large eggs (beaten)
150g light brown sugar (reserve 50g for sprinkling on top of cake)

Put two teabags in a cup or mug and fill with boiling water ( ¾ full if in a mug)
Put dried fruit into a large bowl, add the grated orange then pour over the tea and leave to soak overnight or for 2-3 hours
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/gas 4
Grease or line a 2lb loaf tin
Add the brown sugar to the beaten eggs and whisk lightly
Add the eggs and flour to the bowl of fruit and fold in completely until it represents a dough-like consistency
Spoon mixture into the lined tin and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on the top
Bake for 40-50 mins in the middle of the oven
Test by poking a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s cooked, if not give it a few more minutes
Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 mins
Remove from loaf tin and leave to cool on a wire rack

WHITTARD’S WONDERFUL TEAS…

Whittard’s have some delicious teas including this Wonderland Tea Selection @ £12 – This curious gift set packed with three traditional English teas its good enough to make even the Queen of Hearts happy.

Inside youll find subtly citrussy Earl Grey with its distinctive bergamot aroma, and our beautifully floral English Rose tea. Then theres our classic English Breakfast: with its malty richness and full-bodied intensity, its no surprise that its our number one bestseller. Theres 30 individually wrapped teabags in total, so youve got a whole month of elegantly excellent tea to enjoy. It contains 10 individually wrapped English Breakfast teabags, 10 individually wrapped Earl Grey teabags, and 10 individually wrapped English Rose teabags.

There Summer Selection includes Peaches and Cream – blended mellow peach pieces with sweet apple and a hint of rosehip for a delicate, dessert-worthy treat – and it beats making a mess of your trusty picnic rug with those tinned peaches and pots of cream…£8 for the mini caddy.

Or how about Ginger Beer a spicy-sweet medley of ginger and candied ginger, layer it with refreshing spearmint and luscious lemongrass and you have a cup with serious character. Meet their taste bud tingling infusion: Ginger Beer. Or Rhubarb Punch – Sip a cup of summer with their rowdy Rhubarb Punch: it’s their way of celebrating the brightest flavours of an English country garden. They have balanced their rhubarb with elderberries, whole apple pieces and bright hibiscus, adding mellow strawberry and blackberry leaves for body. Brew it hot for a punchy fruity infusion to wake up your taste buds; or try it loaded with ice on sunny days.

CRAFT WORKSHOP ON FARM IN COUNTY CAVAN, IRELAND…

On a regular basis Sandra Coote demonstrates craft and baking workshops on Facebook almost every day from her farm in County Cavan, Ireland.

Hundreds of people check in to follow Sandra making crafts or baking cakes. Anyone watching can type in questions and Sandra would reply in the video.

Facebook Live is not new but just being used a lot more during the lock down. Sandra likes to keep it easy and make doable and recently made a coffee Swiss role ( yummy). At the same time Sandra had posted on the Facebook page about their oldest cow in the herd who had delivered twins and was going live to meet them later.

At the moment there are a number of demos going around non crafts and baking but I have to say watching Sandra in her craft or baking mode it’s always great to watch and with the added birth of the twins it’s a great watch.