It was Canada Day last week (1st July). celebrating the foundation of the nation in 1867 – it reminded me to look out a vase my former boss Bonnie gave me a few years ago. The connection is she is Canadian, and the vase was has a famous Canadian landmark on it. I have to admit I looked it up, as I’d forgotten it’s called the CN Tower in Toronto (553 metres 1815 feet high). It’s the ninth highest free-standing building in the world. The vase is abstract and not to scale 😉
For my vase, I picked lisianthus, lavender and a chive flower. I am really suprised I’ve managed to keep the lisianthus alive and thriving. But, their common name gives it away prairie gentian, it’s very happy in my front garden.
The Brits reading this blog, will know that temperatures have been over 25 degrees for over 2 months, and only two small rain showers here in Manchester. The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill near Bolton and at Dovestones, near Oldham are only a few miles away – the acrid smoke smell hung across the city centre for a couple of days. The firefighters, Mountain Rescue and the Army still dampening down the peat. Grim. I’ve been watering the pots and key parts of garden every night – luckily I find watering plants very restful and mindful. I’d really like some overnight rain though.
Please have a look at Rambling in the Garden hosted by Cathy where people from around the world post their links of the flowers and plants they’ve picked from their gardens. She has a riot of purple this week – inspiring for me as I love purple plants in the garden.
I think I’ve written a couple of times about Bonnie on my blog. She was a huge mentor in my career, and I often think ‘what would Bonnie do?‘ She has a brain the size of the universe. but is always kind, helpful and supportive to everyone she worked with whatever their role and expertise. She’s still missed around work; she’s happily retired now, walking the hills of Yorkshire and bird watching. I mentioned her in this blog:
- In a Vase on Monday – thankful for hellebores – 6 April 2015
featuring a beautiful oversized teacup Bonnie gave me about 8 years ago.
Tea tasting with Cottonopolis WI – July 2018
We had a great meeting hearing all about tea – and tasting some awesome brews. Marcy from Parched Tea in Manchester came to speak at our meeting; we do our best to support local business and charities. As well as selling quality black and green teas, she has developed teas for Manchester central library and the Bronte museum in Haworth.
She even has a kettle that has different temperatures – green teas prefer 70 degrees not 100 degrees unlike black teas, like oolong.
I don’t think I’ve written much about my tea drinking on the blog. I love earl grey, lady greys sunshine greys, Empress grey, in fact, most gunpower teas – all drunk black. I think you might see a theme here – I’m lactose intolerant (I found out over 30 years ago). My Chap loves strong builders tea with minimal milk – strong enough to stand a spoon in 😉
Our competition this month was to make something flavoured with tea or coffee. I decided on earl grey biscuits, as they’re simple to make.
Earl Grey and Lemon Biscuits
Here’s the recipe – it’s adapted from an American one so it uses cups – Canadians tend to use cup measurements too. I adapted it a bit as I couldn’t find the vanilla extract.
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) caster sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) demerara sugar
- 1 cup (220 grams) Butter
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- about 10 drops of lemon juice (either fresh or bottled) or vanilla extract – according to taste.
- 1tsp water to help bind the dough
- 2 Earl Grey teabags – finer the leaves the better.
I used M&S Empress Grey as one of my favourites. Bagged tea is finer so it is better than loose tea for the dough mixture. You could grind loose tea in a pestle and mortar.
- leaving the dough to cool in the fridge will help the tea infuse into the mixture too.
Method – takes about half an hour
Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
Mix caster sugar and demerara sugar in a large bowl.
Add in flour, salt, and tea leaves.
Continue to mix until a soft dough forms – it will be flaky and lumpy but
Roll dough into a long sausage shape on parchment paper.
Chill in the fridge for about half an hour rolled
Cut into 3cm thick round shapes and place on baking tray.
- OR you can roll out about 3cm thick and cut with a round biscuit cutter.
Bake on a parchment paper on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Amazing – I won! and all the biscuits were eaten – they didn’t look like much but the definitely tasted nice. There were only three entries though as everyone had been really busy. Not the best picture as they disappeared so quickly. I’ll definitely make them again.
Cottonopolis WI meet on the first Tuesday of the month from 730pm at Halle St Michael’s on George Leigh Street, Ancoats Manchester. Our next meeting is on 7th August when we will be going on a history walk around Ancoats and a quiz. Visitors always welcome and we’ll have cake. We’re a friendly bunch.
Are you doing any baking this week? or is it just TOO hot? I’ll be spending time in the garden, when I’m not watching the tennis, and watering pots in the evening. I’m going on a couple of courses this week, so I’ll report back on that soon.
Love Bec xx xx xx