Category Archives: Recipes

Yummy things to try.

Pulmonaria Honey

Cathy has created a sparkling golden flower honey….I love these photos!

Words and Herbs

The flowers of Pulmonaria come in various shades of pink, purple, and blue. There are also white ones (e.g. Sissinghurst White), and a true blue one (Blue Ensign) which has plain green, not variegated, leaves. I have even seen a scarlet red one. They self-seed and hybridise, so the white and blue may eventually change colour. But I don’t mind, as they are all so pretty.

I have several varieties in my rockery, so when I saw someone on Bavarian TV making flower honey with pulmonaria flowers I knew I had to try this.

The flowers look like jewels embedded in amber…

The recipe called for “Acacia” honey, which I couldn’t find, but I think any clear, runny honey would do. There are no specific quantities. I used a handful of pulmonaria flowers, some daisies, wild strawberry flowers, speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys), yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon), a…

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Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Lemon Tree at the Conservatory

We celebrated the first day of Spring with these Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.  They have a lovely, light lemon flavoring.  Thanks to Alyssa Brown for this yummy recipe.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
6 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
3 Tbsp Thawed Pink Lemonade Concentrate
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 Drop Red Food Coloring
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg Whites, Whipped
2 Cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 Cup Buttermilk mixed with 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

Combine all ingredients for 5 minutes, fold in whipped egg whites at the end.
Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Frosting
2 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
2 tsp. Thawed Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
4 Drops Red Food Coloring
8 oz. Soft Cream Cheese
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Beat until smooth.

Enjoy!

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Cookies

My favorite recipe for Sugar Cookies! Makes 4 dozen

4 C Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 C butter
1  1/2 sugar
1 egg
1/2 C sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix wet and dry separately. Preheat oven 375 F. Roll out 1/4″ thick and cut out with cookie cutters. Bake for 10-12 minutes. (Optional: Add almond extract to the mix and use cinnamon sugar for a topping.) Frost with a butter cream frosting.  Try not to eat too many!

Bulb Mixes for Continual Spring Bloom

After a long day at work, isn’t it welcome to come home to a crock pot filled with warm, simmering stew?  After the kneading and rising of yeast, nothing is better than a golden brown loaf of freshly baked bread.  Food recipes require a short time of preparation and then give us comfort and sustenance.  Flower bulb recipes take longer to ‘bake’, but the  flowers bring beauty and a confidence to our gardens.  Here are the recipes to create a long and continual season of spring bloom, from early February until the end of May.  Each mix goes from the earliest bloomer to latest.

Fresh Mix:  Snowdrop, Hyacinth, Tulip, Bluebell

Traditional Mix:  Crocus, Daffodil, Grape Hyacinth, Tulip

Romantic Mix:  Tete-a-tete Daffodil, Anemone, Fritillaria (checkered lily), Tulip

Poetic Mix:  Glory of the Snow, Giant Crocus, Ipheion (star flower), Dwarf Iris

Time:  At least six weeks, most of the winter.

Temperature:  Cold!  Bulbs require a minimum of six weeks of cold weather to stimulate root development.  Also, phosphorus is important for root growth.  Add a good organic bulb fertilizer at the time of planting so the bulbs can grow to their full potential.  The bigger the bulb, the bigger the flower will be.

There are several ways to create a display with impact.  First is to extend the bloom time, which will happen by mixing up the varieties, as in the recipes above.  Also, planting in groups or drifts will give the plants a more natural look, rather than one here and another there, which makes them seem artificial. Finally, if space is an issue, try planting in containers.  These can be planted with just one variety, for instance a whole tub of red tulips for impact, or planted as a mix to make the display continue for months.   Besides bloom time, keep in mind plant height as well as flower color.

Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall.  No matter the season, some animals are always looking for a snack.  If you are having trouble with those furry animal friends munching on your bulbs, the following bulbs are not very tasty to deer, rabbit and squirrels:  Daffodils, Narcissus, Hyacinths, Allium, Fritillaria, Iris, Anemones, Scilla,  Snowdrops, Eranthus, Chinadoxa and Muscari Grape Hyacinths.

Look beyond  macaroni and cheese and chicken noodle soup this year and try a new recipe for your garden, perhaps  something fresh or poetic.

Daffodils in March

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip in May

 

 


Rose Hips

Rose Hips

I recently had a friend ask me, ‘what can I do with rose hips?’  so I thought I would do a little digging and find some answers.  Seeds make plants.  Plants make flowers.  Flowers make fruit.  Fruit makes seeds.  It’s a never-ending cycle.  Rose hips are simply the fruit, or the seedpod of the rose plant.  They are produced after the flower dies and often are brightly colored red and orange, adding color and winter interest to a garden.  Old garden roses and shrub roses, especially rugosas, have showy hips.  Stop deadheading at this time of the year to ensure a good crop of rose hips.  Besides adding beauty to the winter garden, rose hips will attract wildlife, especially foraging birds.  Rose hips are edible and have many culinary uses, including teas, jellies, jams, sauces, soups and seasonings.  Here is a link to a jam/jelly recipe that looks tasty.  I wonder how it compares to other fruit jams; it’s said to be sweet and somewhat tangy.   http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/rose_hip_jelly_and_jam/     For rose hip tea, steep 4-8 fresh hips in a cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes.  Rose hips are loaded with vitamin C, so this should be a good winter drink.   Harvest is best after the first frost when hips are sweeter.  Inside the hips the seeds may be covered in fine hairs which are irritating, so remove these before using.  To prepare, trim the ends off the hips, cut in half and remove the tiny hairs and seeds.  Then rinse the hips and use them fresh or dry them for use all year.  After drying, rose hips can also be ground.  This powder will add a mildly sweet flavor to hot beverages and provide vitamin C, iron, calcium and phosphorus.  Remember when harvesting not to use the hips from any plants that have been sprayed with pesticides, so picking off the side of the road may be hazardous to your health.  This link,  http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/butler95.html,  has a recipe for rose hip syrup that is yummy on pancakes, waffles or ice cream.  What a great idea, since we don’t harvest much maple syrup in the Pacific Northwest.  Our native roses are the Bald Hip Rose and the Nootka Rose.  Go out and enjoy our native fruit!

Nootka Rose Hips

Growing Blueberries

Duke, Toro, Reka, Sunshine Blue, Chippewa, Bluecrop, Chandler and Legacy.  If you recognize these names you might be salivating at the thought of all the delicious varieties of blueberry plants that grow here in the Northwest.  Now is a good time to shop for plants because with ripening berries you can sample the fruit from different varieties to discover your favorite.  These taste tests can reveal subtle differences in flavors, ranging from mild to sweet to tart.  Plants also produce fruit at different times, early, mid-season and late.  It’s good to buy at least two different varieties to help with pollination and fruit production.  If the berries will be used all at once, for preserving or freezing, try varieties that bear at the same time.  But if you want fresh berries for as long as possible,  try planting early, mid and late fruiting varieties together in the garden to extend the harvest.  Plant in loose, well-drained soil, free of weeds and with an adequate supply of moisture for successful growth and feed with an acidic fertilizer.  Blueberry plants range in size from only 12 inches tall (Burgundy Wild Lowbush) to 3-4  feet which are great in containers (Sunshine Blue) to six feet tall (Reka) so there is something that can fit in every garden.  I have four blueberry plants, all growing well in containers.

Blueberry Plant

This is my favorite Blueberry Muffin recipe (I like the cinnamon!)

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix wet ingredients first. Add dry ingredients and mix until just moistened, then gently fold in blueberries. Bake in muffin pan for 16 to 20 minutes. Makes 10 large muffins.  From Make-A-Mix cookbook by Eliason, Harward and Westover, 1995)

This site:  http://southernfood.about.com/od/blueberryrecipes/Blueberry_Recipes.htm has lots of other delicious ways to prepare this amazing little fruit. I’m looking forward to the blueberry pizza.

Sunshine Blue in Container

Homemade Kelp Fertilizer

I just visited Alki Beach in Seattle and brought home some washed up kelp to feed my garden.  Here is a recipe I found from the book Great Garden Formulas by Benjamin and Martin (Editors) that I really want to try. It’s packed with good stuff and is even more fun if you harvest the kelp yourself!

1  part kelp meal
2  parts alfalfa meal
4  parts any combination cottonseed meal, fish meal
and/or soybean meal

1  part rock phosphate

1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly while wearing a dust mask, gloves and safety goggles.
2. Use up to 3 cups for each mature rosebush, perennial or shrub. For annuals and herbs, use only up to 11/2 cups. for midsize fruit trees, use up to 6 cups.
3. Apply two to three times a year.

Washed up Kelp

Alki Beach, Seattle

Seaweed at Alki