Monday, October 30, 2006

A week of cakes and surprises

Our week away in the Cotswolds was lovely. Here is the cake I made for my Mum (a yummy concoction using a lot of Green and Black's organic cocoa) . I used a new recipe this time and it was a big success - moist and light (I tore it out of the Guardian newspaper a couple of weekends ago - the recipe is for Rachel's chocolate cake):

While we were in the Cotswolds we had a good time exploring the area and, as is always the case when you are on holiday in England, there was plenty to do. We went to Snowshill Manor, a beautiful house with an extensive collection of fantastically eccentric objects, including Japanese suits of armour, musical instruments and a huge variety of apple trees. The gardens are Arts and Crafts style and very rustically charming:

Continuing the Arts and Crafts theme we climbed Broadway Tower which was used by William Morris as a country retreat and has fabulous views across to Wales (although it was sadly too cloudy to appreciate the full vantage point the tower occupies):

We also had a lovely autumnal walk around Batsford Arboretum, which was absolutely beautiful and we could not have visited at a better time of year. This tree was amazing, with every shade of yellow and red imaginable - the trees on either side looked almost blue next to it:

Henry VIII's last wife Katherine Parr also lived in the area and we visited Sudeley Castle, her former home, which again has beautiful grounds (the house is privately owned by Henry and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and is not open to visitors), including some fabulous topiary:

I even managed a visit to the knitting and needlecraft shop in Shipston-on-Stour (linked to the shop in Burford) and purchased three books and some much-reduced Rowan yarn (earmarked for something for my sister - it is just her colour!):

I did do some knitting over the course of the few days we were away and have now finished the back of the Debbie Bliss cabled cardigan I am making for myself. I have also started the sleeves, and am making slow progress up them as I am doing them both at the same time, as is usual for me. I am very keen to wear this and am really hoping it will fit OK - it is hard to tell because of the ribbing!

I came back to London to find that my ISE3 scarf has arrived safely and that Julie likes it! Check out Julie's blog for a full report! I am so pleased that she likes it - I really enjoyed making it for her and loved getting together everything for the parcel I sent her. Check out her blog for some great recipes too!

I also got a parcel today! I thought it might be my ISE3 scarf but to my surprise it was a package from my Secret Pal. Look at what she sent me:

Some gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted Yarn in a beautiful purple autumnal mix of colours, called Purple Earth, some Crystal Palace dpns, which I have been wanting to try soooo badly, and a cake mix which smells heavenly and will probably be turned into a cake by the weekend! Thank you so much Secret Pal - what a fantastic surprise and what perfect choices! I am such a lucky girl!


Blogger HPNY Knits said...

your trip sounds lovely! and great package from SP.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

That sounds like a fantastically relaxing holiday, one that I'd certainly enjoy. The cake sounds delicious as well. I used to have a ceramic heart-shaped pan suitable for a shallow cake such as the flourless custardy sorts but it's since met an untimely demise. Nice package from your SP! Hopefully your own ISE package isn't too far behind.

1:31 AM  
Blogger kris said...

Mmmmmm...A cake made with Green and Black's....mmmmm...

7:24 AM  
Blogger kris said...

I just read this:

..according to all kinds of recent studies, dark chocolate is full of flavonoids, chemicals found in fruits and vegetables that have positive effects on everything from blood vessels, heart and brain to endurance and longevity. In fact, dark chocolate has higher antioxident levels than green tea, red wine, and even blueberries.

A number of studies (discussed in the article) have shown the many positive benefits of dark chocolate. The bad news is there probably won't be a lot of dark chocolate in your kids Halloween candy hordes. Most candy is made from milk chocolate that contains 50 percent less cocoa, which is the source of the health-increasing flavonoids. And that milk chocolate is often partnered with sugar and saturated fat.

10:28 PM  

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