Thursday 23 October 2014


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

We have a Halloween code down our road for trick or treaters.  We all carve a pumpkin and place it on the doorstep if we are happy to have them knock at our door.  Its a great way to ensure that we have fun on the night and means we don't upset any neighbours who don't want to be disturbed.

This year little George is going dressed as Ironman, as his his teddy bear Mungo.  I will get his brother and sister to help carve some pumpkins so that we can put them out on Halloween.

We have used design templates before which are useful to inspire new designs, or you can mark out the design freehand with a black felt tip pen.  You can also buy pumpkin carving tools which are handy if you want to avoid the use of sharp knifes.

Carefully slice off the top of the pumpkin, cutting around the stem. Make the hole large enough to allow you to scoop out the inside of the pumpkin (about two thirds of the diameter).   Scoop out the pumpkin to remove the flesh and seeds from inside.  

Mark out your design carefully on the pumpkin with a black felt tip, clearly showing the parts of the pumpkin you wish to remove.  Cut around these shapes and push out any pieces to reveal the pattern.

Remove any pieces of flesh from inside the pumpkin and scrape the bottom flat.  Place a tea light inside a clear glass holder and position on the bottom of the pumpkin.

Now just wait for those little rascals to knock at your door for those sweets!

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Saturday 18 October 2014


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

Its that time of year again when thoughts are starting to turn towards Christmas and all that lovely food I am going to prepare (and eat).

I make a Christmas cake very year as it is now a family tradition and I enjoy making them too.  At the moment I am just going to make the fruit cake and will think about decoration later in the season.

This recipes is for a rich Christmas cake and will serve 12 people. 


150g dried figs, chopped
150 g dried mixed berries

100 g dried cranberries
125 g glace cherries, halved
250 g dried mixed fruit
75 g stem ginger, chopped
50 g / 2 oz chopped nuts
1 orange, zest of
225g self raising flour
225g dark brown sugar
250 g butter
4 eggs
1 table spoon dark treacle
1 cooking apple, peeled and grated
100 ml Jack Daniels bourbon whisky
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Place all the fruit and ginger into a large mixing bowl.  Add the brandy and allow to soak for a few hours, preferably overnight.

Mix together the butter and sugar until creamed.  Gradually add the egg with a spoonful of flour (to prevent it from curdling). Beat the egg in.  Fold in the flour and spices.  Add the soaked fruit and mix well. Stir in the nuts, treacle and apple.

Line a deep, 8" cake tin with greaseproof paper and spoon in the mixture.  Level and make a hollow in the centre of the top to allow the cake to cook flat.

Put in a preheated oven set to gas mark 2/150C for 3 hours.  The cake is cooked when a skewer comes out clean when placed in the centre. 

Turn on to a wire rack to cool.  Remove paper.  

You can store your cake for many months prior to the Christmas, in fact it tastes better if it is left to age a little.  

Wrap the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper. Cover with a double layer of tinfoil and place the wrapped cake in an airtight container.  Store in a cool and dry place until you are ready for decorating.

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Sunday 12 October 2014


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

I have recently been diagnosed with gallstones after months of stomach pains.  I was a little surprised but apparently I shouldn't have been as I am just the right candidate for it.  So, whilst I wait for my gall bladder to be removed, I thought that I had ought to do some research on these pesky stones.

Gallstones are small stones that are formed in the gall bladder. They are usually made up from cholesterol, but also occasionally from calcium.  The gall bladder is a small pouch like organ located near the liver, just under the ribcage on the right hand side.  The purpose of the gall bladder is to store and concentrate bile, which is used to help break down our food by digesting fats.  It releases bile into the digestive system as required.

Sometimes stones can form in the gall bladder. In most cases gall stones do not cause any symptoms and do not need to be treated. However, if a gallstone becomes trapped in the opening of a duct it can trigger a biliary colic attack that lasts up to five hours.Symptoms include intense abdominal pain, especially just under the ribs.  Gallstones can also inflame the gall bladder and produce persistent pain, jaundice, high temperature of 38°C or above.  Gallstones can move to the pancreas, causing irritation and inflammation.

Gallstones can develop due to an imbalance in the chemical make up of bile inside the gall bladder, usually when cholesterol levels become too high and excess cholesterol forms into stones. You are more at risk from gall stones if you are overweight or obese, female, aged 40 or over and a mother (due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy). 

Gallstones can be accurately diagnosed by ultrasound scanning of the abdomen. You do not require your gallbladder and can function without it so it is often the recommended to remove the gallbladder.  Bile will just drip continuously into the small intestine, rather than build up in the gall bladder. Keyhole surgery to remove the gall bladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) is a relatively simple operation to perform.

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