Saturday. Cloudy skies with a few sunny breaks, but no rain. And certainly no snow or ice as was the case in the east. I put on wellies, gardening gloves, and my old fleece jacket. Garden cleanup was the sole task on my list for the day.
In the morning I snapped the tulips on the left; a few hours later, the same tulips on the right, opening to the faint sun.
The last of the winter garden vegetables. Kale was beginning to go to seed, and the carrots were becoming a bit hairy, but everything tastes just fine. Tim spread compost after I weeded and cleaned out the bed; he helped with the last bit of weeding, too. My fingers were sore from all the pulling.
After a hot shower I relaxed with a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate, and a new Country Living (UK). Small treats like this are a fine reward for a day of hard work. Of course, looking out the window and seeing the garden beds tidied is in itself, also a reward.
The "novelty" tulips purchased a week or more ago are aging beautifully: petals curling slightly, colours intensifying, and texture becoming silky.
Do you like dates? The edible kind, I mean. On Sunday afternoon I made an Easy Date Cake and then a cream and caramel sauce to go alongside. How good it was warm from the oven.
Easy Date Cake
2 cups chopped dates
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Pour the boiling water over the chopped dates. Add the baking soda and let cool for 15 minutes or so.
3. In a mixer, beat the butter until creamy, add the sugars and beat well. Add the vanilla.
4. Stir in the date mixture. The batter will look quite thin and watery.
5. Add the flour and stir well. Pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.
Cream and Caramel Sauce
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk the egg yolk, brown sugar, water, and butter until melted and smooth; bring to a boil while whisking continually; boil one minute.
Add the salt, vanilla, and cream. Heat but don't boil.
One more garden beauty - the first Centaurea Montana popped out over the weekend. Isn't she a beauty?
Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.