Month: February 2016

Rhubarb, Rhubarb

You may have heard of the ‘rhubarb triangle’ – not a place where rhubarb mysteriously vanishes, but rather an area in West Yorkshire bordered by Wakefield, Rothwell and Morley, where rhubarb is grown in special darkened, warmed sheds and forced to produce early stems between January and March for UK shops. Lit only by candlelight, the sheds house 1000s of rhubarb plants which send out long slender shoots in search of light. With rhubarb enjoying a revival, off I went for a tour of Oldroyd’s Farm in Carlton, near Wakefield, where you can even hear the fast-growing forced plants popping if you listen closely. Forced rhubarb from this area of Yorkshire has been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Commission. So what is so special about Yorkshire’s pink rhubarb? Forced rhubarb has a sherbet, tangy flavour and a delicate texture. It is a far cry from the tannic-flavoured overgrown outdoor stems used in harshly flavoured school pies and crumbles. Janet Hulme-Oldroyd, who worked as a scientist at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, …

February In The Garden

February is possibly the most optimistic month in the gardening year because now the garden is visibly waking up. After weeks of darkness, the days are perceivably longer, and I find it so good to get out and grab a few extra moments outdoors. Snowdrops are the highlight of my February, and there are lots of gardens open to visitors where you can see snowdrops in ‘sheets’. I am told this is ‘the’ word for a drift of snowdrops. Anyway here are a few places you can see them in all their showy glory. Goldsborough Hall, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire Burton Agnes Hall, Driffield, East Yorkshire Brodsworth Hall, Nr Doncaster, South Yorkshire Kiplin Hall, Richmond, North Yorkshire Mount Grace Priory, Northallerton, North Yorkshire Hodsock Priory, Worksop In My Garden A little flat and bland at the moment, but a small aperitif of daffys are leading up to the main event, for from now onwards the real show begins and lasts for many weeks. In Your Garden Prepare ground for hardy annuals. Clear and rake the ground …

February 2016: I’m Loving

It’s the first ‘I’m Loving’ of 2016 and whilst we love our luxury, none of these will cost any more than £9…read on! Firstly, I think spring is on its way! Soon! Very soon. The sun was out today and I needed to get out and walk. Sunshine and fresh air clears my head and I end up wondering why I spend so much time at my desk. I’ve used this GPS walking app, Runkeeper, for several years in an effort to encourage me to walk my way back to health. I know it was originally developed to keep runners on track, but it’s great for encouraging me to monitor my walking sessions, and tell me how many calories I’ve used, AND, I can connect to Spotify so have music at the same time. The basic app is free, whoopee! Second up, a ‘chance find’ I’ve been loving – Boots BB Lips. As someone who always wears a gloss, I’ve tried a few over the years.  Most are amazing but having got to the end of a fav (ok rant time, do you …

Loving Friday

Sunday is officially LOVE day world-wide!  There’s no hiding from the fact, so I thought I’d pinch some images from my albums from the last 12 months and ‘voila’! Whatever your loves are and whoever you share them with, have a great Valentines Day and spread the love.  Make plans today to surprise someone/send some flowers to a singleton or lonely old person… above all, just have fun doing it! Happy Valentines!  Ann x   and remember…………

Winter Spice Tea Time

Who’s cold and crotchety? Who’s damp and dreary? I am! I know spring is around the corner but the weather is endlessly gross. The sun poked its head out for about 45 minutes a couple of days ago, but save for that scarce glimpse, it’s been over 10 days now. Help! To pull myself out of this lousy-weather-induced slump, and warm myself up, I have begun to brew myself a pot of Winter Spice tea every single day. I start with brewing this black tea full of all kinds of delicious and aromatic spices, then adding milk and honey. This blend of Winter Spice tea is based on Chai, a centuries-old beverage originating from India. In fact, the word chai, is the generic word for “tea” in Hindi, where as in the west we are referring to “masala chai” or spiced tea, when we ask for this beverage at a café. There is no fixed recipe or preparation method for Winter Spice, so where ever you drink this beverage in the world, chances are it …