I’ve been meaning to make Margot Henderson’s Turkish Coffee Cake for months having read it about in a post from  The Grazer and Easter weekend seemed as good a time as any to just get on with it. Not Turkish coffee but espresso is the recommended caffeine ingredient but maybe the real stuff would add an extra hint of the Bosphorus.  Anyway, it’s dead simple and tasty to boot – cinnamon, coriander and nutmeg mixed with 2 sorts of flour and soft brown sugar for the base and then chopped walnuts for texture with sour cream, coffee + beaten eggs mixed into 50% of  the base ingredients  for a luxurious filling.




Decided on Greek yogurt and then decided it needed more colour and a touch of acidity . .


. . and then thought it looked better the other way around.


The smoked haddock from Sonny also went through the Henderson experience. From Fergus Henderson’s book Nose to Tail Eating. I’m a bit soppy/wet/ uninterested about the offal and ‘neglected bits of animals we love to eat’ that the majority of the cookbook is based on but it’s a good read. St John B+W is one of my favourite restaurants. So  I don’t do the ‘neglected bits’ but I do like this recipe from the Fish + Shellfish chapter mainly for the flavour (saffron heaven) and the visual impact and the sense of history . . .



Taken with the food mode on the camera – not so good. Then another shot taken with the portrait mode that is much better.


A little pile of spinach was added too but eaten too fast.

Spoil the child

Spare the rod,

Open the caviare

And say Thank God.   Noel Coward  quoted in ‘The Cynic’s Lexicon by Jonathon Green (1984)

Happy Birthday JG




‘A small but special Spring Plant Fair’ (the header on the flyer) this weekend at Great Dixter offered the opportunity for a gentle stroll around the garden as well as to view, buy, make notes about and order from exquisite plant nurseries. Wandering up the drive by foot and admiring the structure of the trees around the horse pond  –  an experience often missed if entering and exiting by car. A still and misty morning . . .



. . . some plants just need more observation now such as the chusquea in relief against the castellated yew hedging.





Simon’s stacks of timber await his decisions on their reinvention into a functional item. Organised groupings and practical arrangements show clearly in the early season before the masses of ornamental vegetation take over . . .



In the field below the nursery and the shop, many small, established nurseries showed their plants, seeds and  products. Lohhof Stauden displayed many grasses and Wildside with Keith Wiley presented delicious, delicate looking but tough treasures.




Around the Lower Moat, gunnera fronds are on view – the unfurling is magnificent to behold – such stature – accompanied by new vertical growth on the iris – slim and neat in contrast.






From the orchard the house appears to retreat behind the flowering fruit at this time of year but in the Long Border the drama is centre stage. Confident planting with all companions appearing  well orchestrated. Great knobbly stems of salix, naked and as yet unadorned, punctuate the composition . . .






. . . the beauty of emerging foliage and flower heads is quite breath taking.



The Exotic Garden looks tantalising but we are not allowed in quite yet, as everything is under wraps until the temperatures rise, so the Topiary Lawn claims our attention  . . .





. . . large trumpets of lime green and piped stems of bamboo and the coppery skirts on Euphorbia x pasteuri delight my eye around the Blue Garden.






Pretty blossoms on Prunus tenella in the Sunk Garden – so feminine. And various compositions both detail at ground level and bulkier and more distant at eye level offer themselves up to those who can’t get enough . . .




. . . Fergus has a thing about euphorbias and he’s right! Marvellous with the clipped yew backdrops . .




and just to finish lines of early, fosteriana, double and late tulips. All one could wish for.



Preludes and dawns, those spare awakenings

Gone before listened to, how we miss such

Arrays of opportunities. As sun lifts up

Its wings and birds tune their large orchestra,

We are invited out of sleep, called to

Take part, share all such daily, sweet beginnings.


Dramas of dreams rise up, the haze of them

Dries in the sun and the awakened mind.

The spirit’s opportunities see flights

We seldom heed. Good moments of regret

Vanish in our wanton rummagings,

O bold designs, O short disparaged nights. Elizabeth Jennings Missed Chances


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