January jobs in the garden

January can be a bit hit ‘n’ miss in the garden, the weather is very changeable and a little chilly so when the sun pops its head out we take full advantage this week a bit more digging and the continual weed battle. We try to compost as much garden waste as possible and some we burn in our fire pit.

We took advantage of a chilly but bright day to empty the fire pit and sort the ash, luckily we can mix most of the ash in with our compost which we reuse in the garden. However you do need to be mindful about what you burn, as some weeds can survive the most intense heat and you can spread them right back on your borders.......

Mosaics

Mosaics date back as far as the third millennium BC, popular in ancient Greece and Rome they were widely used to decorate religious buildings often depicting religious stories. They fell out of favour during the renaissance, but in recent years have enjoyed a huge rise in popularity.

Modern mosaics are created by artisans and crafters such as Debra Stuart who will be sharing her skills with us in March and April with two exciting Mosaic workshops. Using a variety of materials tiles, glass, pebbles, old jewellery and ceramics she will show you how to create either a tree of life mosaic or a garden mirror a great addition to any home and a skill you can use to create just about any decorative mosaic.

Mosaic Wall Hanging Workshop

Garden Mirror Mosaic

Sweet Potato curry with a hint of satay a perfect winter warmer....

We’ve been researching recipes over the last few months to serve on this years residential workshops. This sweet potato curry is a firm favourite - Did you know Sweet potatoes are packed full of Vitamin C more than 70% of our required intake of vitamin C can be gleaned form a medium sized sweet potato, that’s more than double that of white potatoes! Vitamin C is so important for our bodies and if like me your not a big fan of citrus fruits then its an excellent way of keeping on top of your vitamin C levels, its so easy to make and a great winter warmer……

Ingredients

·         1 tbsp. coconut oil

·         1 onion chopped

·         2 garlic cloves, grated

·         1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger grated

·         3tbsp Thai red curry paste

·         1 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

·         500g sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks

·         400ml can of coconut milk

·         200g bag of spinach

·         1 lime juiced

·         cooked rice to serve (optional)

·         dry roasted peanuts, to serve (optional)

Method:

1.    Melt 1 tbsp. coconut oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and soften 1 chopped onion for 5 mins. Add 2 grated garlic cloves and a grated thumb-sized piece of ginger, and cook for 1 min until fragrant.

2.    Stir in 3 tbsp. Thai red curry paste, 1 tbsp. smooth peanut butter and 500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks, then add 400ml coconut milk and 200ml water.

3.    Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 mins or until the sweet potato is soft.

4.      Stir through 200g spinach and the juice of 1 lime, and season well. Serve with cooked rice, and if you want some crunch, sprinkle over a few dry roasted peanuts.

Recipe from: www.bbcgoodfood.com

The natural way - No foam floristry

I always like the start of the new year - it’s a time for reflection and a time when we tend to look inside ourselves and think about what we are going to achieve in the coming months. If, like me, you derive pleasure from buying a new diary and notepads galore – recycled, of course – it’s the perfect time to spread out your new stationary and start planning.

This year our plans include getting the cutting-garden up and running and continuing to make the flower and craft school as environmentally friendly as possible. For some time now I have been moving away from the toxic green foam that so many florists use and will be using more sustainable floristry techniques - with this in mind we have launched our first ‘no foam’ floristry workshop – SPRING, THE NATURAL WAY to share and encourage all you flower lovers to follow the same path.

Don’t forget to sign-up for our email updates to see details of all new workshops.

Festive fun & non alcoholic mulled wine

What a fantastic festive season we have had so far, so much laughter, singing and floristry fun. Our workshops have been a great place for friends and family to meet and create some wonderful memories, wreaths, trees and arrangements.

Our delicious non-alcoholic mulled wine has been a big hit this year, so we thought we’d share our not so secret recipe with you, it’s a great one for parties and is super easy to make.……

1 x 1 L Red grape juice
1 x 1 L Cranberry juice
200ml Fresh orange juice
Light soft brown sugar to sweeten (optional)
Rind of half a lemon, thinly pared
10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
1 orange to stud with cloves
1 orange for slicing

Add the cranberry, red grape and orange juice to the pan, push the cloves into one orange and slice the other add along with the lemon rind to the pan. Put the cinnamon and cardamom pods, grated nutmeg and sugar into the pan and heat gently until almost boiling. Turn down the heat to the lowest possible and simmer for 30 minutes to infuse. 

Little Miss Muffet sat on her ‘Tuffet’ for the sewing workshop.......

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey, 
along came a spider who sat down beside her
and frightened Miss Muffet away

I’ve heard this rhyme so many times and never given the rhyming words much thought, who knew a tuffet was a real thing? Well, not me . . . . I knew Little Miss Muffet was sitting on a stool but hadn’t made the connection it was called a tuffet. So when our sewing tutor Paula Smith showed me her latest tuffet creation everything fell into place.

According to Wikipedia ‘A tuffet is piece of furniture used as a footstool or low seat, distinguished from a stool in that it is completely covered in cloth so that no legs are visible, and is essentially a large hard cushion that may have an internal wooden frame to give it more rigidity, wooden feet may be added to the base to give it stability’ . . . . fascinating.

A tuffet is a colourful addition to any room, if you would like to learn how to make one then join Paula on her two-day workshop in March. For full workshop details, dates and costs please visit Tuffet Workshop

Tuffet small.jpg

Paper Blooms !!!

I love flowers their natural beauty can be quite breathtaking, so when someone mentioned paper flowers to me I was a little skeptical but when I saw the flowers that Botanical artist Bee Watson made I was sold.

Artificial and paper flowers are once again growing in popularity, ever since the Chinese invented paper in 100 B.C., people have been making paper flowers, often used for religious ceremonies the craft of making paper flowers traveled the route of ‘The Silk Road’ arriving in Europe sometime in the 11th century. In Victorian times women from the higher classes were encouraged to make paper flowers as part of their daily activities

Modern day Botanical artist, Bee, creates delicate blooms by deconstructing real flowers and creating templates then remakes the flower using specialist papers and wires. Bee has created blooms for Molten & Brown the RHS - Chelsea Garden Show and even Facebook. So when Exeter based Bee got in touch, I was delighted when she agreed to come along to ‘The Lodge’ and show us how it’s done. For full workshop details visit Paper Blooms

Creative Marbling & Book Binding..........

Great day yesterday with Kate from ‘Payhembury Marbled Papers’ and Edel form ‘Edels handmade books’ such a lovely group of ladies and some really amazing results…….

Apples apples everywhere.........

Autumn is definitely here and we are busy collecting the last of the apples from the trees in the orchard. I made a scrummy Dorset apple cake with them this morning…. Its a firm favourite with my family and our students and so easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 115g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra for greasing

  • 115g light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 6-8 tbsp milk

  • 225g Bramley or Granny Smith apple , peeled, cored and diced

  • 100g sultana

  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

  2. Mix the flour and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour using your fingers, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the light brown sugar. Beat in the egg followed by 6 - 8 tbsp of milk – you want to achieve a smooth, thick batter.

  3. Add the apples and sultanas and mix to combine. Scrape the batter into your prepared tin and gently level out. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  4. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool further. Best served still warm with a little custard.

Recipe from the BBC Good food guide

Craft at The Lodge...........

Really looking forward to welcoming Edel Hopkin and Katherine Brett to ‘The Lodge’. Book binding is one of those traditional crafts that has endured time and continues to fascinate us. This workshop not only shows you binding methods but also introduces us to the art of creating interesting and unusual papers that can be used to line the books making them unique and very personal.