Originally uploaded by T o w n i e

We chopped down the Lleylandi trees at the side of the house yesterday. They were taller than our house and out of control!

We loaded them up on top of our old Landrover Series iii, before heading off to our local recycling centre with the cuttings.

It was great fun chopping them down.. we had to leave one in place tho, because our resident wood pigeons have built a nest, my son climbed up to the top to check if there was anything inside and there was a baby chick, around 3 weeks old… so we’ll wait until it has flown the nest then that one will be cut down too.

Layers & Growers Pellets


Still on a quest to source poultry feed locally, I was surfing the net yesterday at work (during lunch 🙂  ) and happened to find this place  R H Miller, Agricultural Merchants and Traders, Dalkeith, Edinburgh & Lothians.

I gave them a call to see if they supplied poultry feed… and they do! wooohoo 🙂

Its approximately 24 miles away from where I live, so in theory can be classed as “local” as its within a 30 mile radius.

My daughter and I set off at 10am to drive over to their warehouse and pick them up… and that particular branch stocked everything equestrian too!, it was fantastic wandering around their shop looking at all the horsey stuff, I was in horsey heaven and I only went there for chicken feed lol.   I will def. be taking a trip back over there, they had a sale on and had some great fleece’s boots and jackets.

They didnt have any organic growers pellets for the young pekins, all they had was Dodson & Horrell, so I just took what they had… it was £9.35 for a 20kg sack.


They had plenty of the Organic Feed Co Organic Layers Pellets and  20kg sack was £14.50

Marjoram ~ (Origanum vulgare)

I thought i would feature another herb that I have growing in the garden…. Marjoram

The Marjoram in the garden is covered from top to toe in flowers … and bees!


Marjoram is also known as Oregano. There are three main species

  • Wild marjoram,
  • Sweet marjoram (Oreganum majorana), and
  • Pot marjoram (Oreganum onites).

Sweet marjoram tastes better, so use that in cooking. 

There are many other cultivated varieties but their properties are similar.

The name, Oregano, comes from two Greek words – ‘oros’, which means mountain, and ‘ganos’ which means joy, or happiness.

Native habitat

  • Europe
  • Central Asia
  • North America (where it has been naturalised)

It grows in hedgerows, dry pastures and scrub.

Growing conditions

  • Likes a dry, lime-rich, chalky soil
  • Prefers a sunny spot

Parts used

  • Leaves


  • Antiseptic
  • Relaxing
  • Tonic



  • Blends well with basil and thyme
  • Flavours pizzas, sausages and tomato dishes


  • Helps to relieve indigestion
  • A tea made from marjoram helps you to sleep
  • It eases coughs and colds
  • Used as a gargle for sore throats
  • Inhaling marjoram infused steam helps to clear catarrh
  • An ointment made with marjoram eases aching and stiff muscles
  • Good for baths and herbal pillows


  • Romans used it in cooking
  • Grown by monks for food flavouring and medicine
  • Used in Medieval and Tudor times as a strewing herb


  • Ancient Greeks planted it on graves because they believed it brought joy to the dead.
  • Romans thought it was a symbol of happiness and made crowns of it for couples at their weddings.

Information courtesy of The Herb Society

Rosemary (Rosmarinus oficinalis)

The Rosemary in my garden is looking great at the moment, fresh, fragrant and beautifully green 🙂

Later this month I intend to take some cuttings, so that I can have more of this yummy herb next year in the garden.

Native habitat

  • Mediterranean and other parts of Europe
  • Introduced mainly in Southern England

Growing conditions

  • Light, dry, sandy soil
  • Sunny position


  • Protect young plants from frost
  • Gather flowering tips in spring and summer and hang in bunches to dry
  • Trim bush in the autumn

Parts used

  • Flowering tops
  • Leaves


  • Pungent scent
  • Moth repellent
  • Attracts bees


  • Culinary, cosmetic and medicinal
  • Flavours food, especially soups, stews, vegetables and grilled lamb
  • Used in jellies, jams, biscuits and cakes
  • A protection against clothes moths
  • Tonic for invalids; for depression, anxiety and nervous migraine
  • Antiseptic, used externally to heal wounds and mouth infections
  • To preserve teeth
  • As a cough cure
  • To soothe bruises, falls and sprains
  • To keep you young

Some Facts 🙂

  • Name comes from the Latin ros-marinus (dew of the sea), which refers to its favourite habit by salty sea spray
  • A symbol of friendship and love
  • A wreath of rosemary was worn by brides as a sign of love and loyalty
  • Once used in religious ceremonies to ward of evil spirits
  • Pungent scent was believed to protect from disease and infection
  • Used as an alternative to incense
  • Ancient Greeks believed it improved memory
  • Greek students used to wear a wreath while sitting examinations
  • Introduced into Britain by Romans

Information courtest of The Herb Society

Strawberry Sponge Cake

I made this cake yesterday, we had friends round for a spot of supper and this yummy cake and a nice pot of tea finished the evening off.

It is really easy to make…

For the Sponge:

  • 6oz Butter or Margarine
  • 6oz Caster Sugar
  • 6oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Method: ( I use my kitchenaid to mix mine)

  1. Cream the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined
  3. Add the flour gradually and give it a good mix
  4. Beat in the teaspoon of vanilla essence.
  5. Take a 7-8in round sandwich tin and spoon in the mixture
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven  at 180 degrees C for 35 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool for 10 mins then turn out to cool firther on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the sponge has cooled completely slice the sponge in half to make 2 sponges, a top and bottom.

I used my homemade strawberry jam, and spread a layer evenly over the bottom half of the cut sponge cake, place the lid back on top.

Take a carton of double cream and beat until a nice smooth thick consistency is reached.

Spread the cream over the top of the sponge cake with a pallet knife.

Take a punnet of fresh strawberries remove the husk and slice each strawberry in half,  cover the top of the cream covered cake in the strawberry halves.

Just before serving put a teaspoon of icing sugar into a fine sieve and dust the icing sugar lightly over the cake.

Then Enjoy 🙂

Onion Focaccia


Focaccia, with its characteristic texture and dimpled surface, has become hugely popular in recent years.   This version has a delectable red onion and fresh sage topping.


  • 210ml / 1 cup of water
  • 15ml/1 tbsp olive oil
  • 350g/3 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 2.5ml/half a tsp salt
  • 5ml/1tsp easy-blend (rapid rise) yeast
  • 15ml/1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 15ml/tbsp chopped red onion

For the topping:

  • 30ml/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • half a red onion thinly sliced
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 10ml/2 tsp course sea salt
  • coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Pour the water and oil into the bread pan.   Reverse the order in which you add the wet and dry ingredients, if necessary.
  2. Sprinkle over the flour, ensuring that it covers the liquid.   Add the salt and sugar in separate corners, make a small indent in the flour and add the yeast.
  3. Set the bread machine to the dough setting.   If your machine has a choice of settings use the basic or pizza dough setting and press start.
  4. Lightly oil a 25cm-28cm/ 10-11in shallow round cake tin or pizza pan.   When the cycle has finished, remove the dough from the pan and place it on a surface lightly dusted with flour.
  5. Knock the dough back (punch it down) and flatten it slightly.   Sprinkle over the sage and chopped red onion and knead gently to incorporate.   Shape the dough into a ball, flatten it, then roll it into a round of about 25-28 cm/ 10-11 in.   Place in the prepared tin.   Cover with oiled clear film (plastic wrap) and leave to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degree C / 400 Degrees F / Gas 6.   Uncover the risen focaccia, and using your fingertips, poke the dough to make deep dimples over the surface.   Cover and leave to rise for 10-15 mins or until the dough has doubles in bulk.
  7. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle wih onion, sage leaves, sea salt and black pepper.   Bake for 20-25 mins, or until golden.   Turn out on to a wire rack to cool slightly.   serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of the book “BREAD” by Christine ingram & Jennie Shapter – ISBN-10: 0-7548-1788-1


I have not had a chance to write / blog for a wee while now, since the 19th July to be exact.

I must apologise to all my bloggie friends and visitors for the lack of posts… Things have been rather busy at home.

I do have loads to post about tho’… Lots of lovely recipes, updates on the veggies and the two new additions to our family to share with you 🙂