I’ve not posted for a while now as I have been away traveling in my favourite part of the world – South East Asia – for a few weeks, visiting the temples of Cambodia, soaking up the sun and the history of Vietnam, and shopping heaven in Singapore. The weather was gloriously hot and the food was amazing, here are some regional specialties I tried…
Chicken Murtabak in Singapore
Amok curry with squid from Siem Reap, Cambodia
White Rose dumplings from Hoi An, Vietnam
Beef Pho from Saigon, Vietnam
Chicken and beef satay in Singapore
Plus a few of the obligatory scary bits…
Snake wine – yes people where actually drinking this!
Saigon food market – pigs ears, intestines, tongues, hearts and livers
And dried fish – the smell was enough to knock you over!
Starting this Saturday 14th to 26th January is Butterflies in the Glasshouse at RHS Wisley. A huge range of colourful butterflies drifting around the tropical zone. Visit the RHS website for more info.
When it’s cold and gloomy outside, us gardeners need something special to tempt us outside. If you think there isn’t much going on at this time of year then you’d be wrong, there are loads of trees, shrubs and bulbs putting on a great show right now, so make room for some of these in your garden. Plant near a window or entrance to make the most of them.
Some of the best winter flowering trees and shrubs (left to right)…Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ flowers between October to March, Camellia japonica ‘Silver Anniversary’ flowers from January to March, Hamamelis intermedia ‘Diane’ flowers in January and February, Lonicera winter honeysuckle, Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’ also has a good fragrance and flowers between November and March, another one with great fragrance Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Purple Stem’ flowers December to March.
Here are some top perennials and bulbs to mix into your borders for winter interest. Cyclamen coum flowers from January to March, Helleborus ‘Harvington Double’ flowers February to April, Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in mild winters this will flower continuously all through the year – an amazing plant, Snowdrop Galanthus ‘S Arnott’ flowers February and March, Eranthis hyemalis winter aconite flowers February and March, Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’ flowers February and March.
This fantastic offer from Selfridges is available until Sunday 13th November only, get 20% of all women’s and men’s UGG boots – visit the Selfridges website to find out more.
With glorious hot weather forecast for the next five days, and temperatures forecast to reach 28C, the summer has returned to the UK. The BBC weather report says “Fine, dry and sunny, and becoming exceptionally warm.” Perfect! Just when you thought it was all over, the days getting longer, the leaves on the turn, the winter jumpers coming out of storage – rewind back to peak summertime temperatures. The British weather is certainly unpredictable! So make the most of this indian summer and get out there and enjoy the weather.
As part of the on-going 30th Anniversary offers at Karen Millen this month, they are offering 20% off the fabulously stylish Barcelona Bag for a limited time only – offer ends Sunday 18th September.
Just launched here in the UK is Justin Biebers new perfume – Someday. Buy it right now from TheFragranceShop.co.uk, here’s the blurb…
“It’s here. Justin Bieber’s fragrance for her is full of the energy, passion and confidence that drove him to the top of the charts. It is playful, thought-provoking, fresh yet flirty and anything but ordinary. The new fragrance for her that gives back. It is the idea that someday we can change the world, make our dreams come true and even be with that one person who means everything. Take home a piece of Justin’s heart with SOMEDAY and its iconic design. Wrapped in rich tones of pink and purple, layers of blooming hearts create the cap, bursting from the glass bottle and exploding into your world. The bottle comes with a collectible crystal key and heart charm from Justin.”
Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Home-made ones are great but look at the results the professionals get, makes you want to cook up some more and try out some new decoration ideas. I frequently use the recipes in the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, the toppings are delicious, light and fluffy. Here are some pics to inspire you…
This week we have a real glut of strawberries in our house, with several plants in the garden producing handfuls or ripe fruit all at the same time, plus hubby picking up a couple more punnets down the local shop on special offer, I need a plan to get through them all and enjoy every delicious mouthful.
So here are a few ideas for very easy and quick strawberry recipes, or you could just smother them in whipped cream and crumble a chocolate flake over the top – heaven!
Eton mess – whip some cream in a bowl, crumble in some shop bought meringue nests, add handfuls of chopped strawberries and stir.
Chocolate dipped strawberries – pick some large strawberries with the stems still on and make sure they are completely dry. Break up some chocolate into small pieces and melt in the microwave for 20 second intervals until melted. Dip the strawberries into the chocolate holding the stem, place them on greaseproof paper in the fridge for 30 mins to harden.
Strawberry cocktail – chop some strawberries into a bowl, add some icing sugar to taste, them crush with a potato masher or blend into a puree. Pass this mixture through a sieve then pour into a glass until half full. Top up with champagne or sparkling wine.