...a slice of homemade cake, still warm from the oven.
I've been meaning to share this recipe with you for ages. It's a variation on the madeira cake recipe from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. It's one of my regular go-to recipes but one day, while I was part way into making it, I realised that I had run out of plain flour (because, honestly, does anyone really measure out all their ingredients beforehand??) So, I substituted ground almonds instead and the result was simply delicious! So let me share it with you...
Lemon (and almond) madeira cake
240g unsalted butter or Stork (which is what I always use!)
200g caster sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice of one lemon
3 large eggs
210g self-raising flour
90g ground almonds
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add lemon zest. Mix in eggs, one at a time, with a spoonful of flour for each. Mix in the rest of the flour & almonds then, finally, the lemon juice. Spoon into a greased & lined loaf tin (approx 23x13x7cm), or better still, get one of those silicon ones that need no greasing! Sprinkle the top with a little caster sugar then pop into your oven at Gas 4/180C for approx 1hr or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool (for as long as you can restrain yourself...) then enjoy!
There's another reason for me feeling happy today. The dark cloud that was hanging over us has moved on. Just before the kids broke up from school, we found out that Peter's job was at risk. We have been in limbo all through the hols and, yesterday, he had to re-interview for his job. But, a couple of hours ago, he got the call that he has been successful, his job is safe. Of course, I do feel bad for the chap that has now lost his job, but rather him than us. We have been in this position before, you see. 20 years ago, just 3 months after we were married, P was made redundant and was out of work for 2 and a half years. Luckily, I had a very good job (and there were no kids then either, of course) but it was HELL. So, for now, we can breath a sigh of relief and get on with life. But I think it might be time to look for a little part-time job for me as well, just in case.
Recently I was lucky enough to win a Pay It Forward gift from the lovely Kerry and, this morning, this little beauty arrived through my letter box.
The most adorable little pincushion, made especially for me and with my initial on the side too!
Thank you so much Kerry, I love it!
And now of course, I need to "pay it forward". Would you like to receive a little handmade gift from me? The first three people to comment will receive something from me, at some point in the next 365 days (you won't know when, so it'll be a lovely surprise!) There are a couple of conditions though:
* If you win, you must promise to "pay it forward" by offering to make a little gift for 3 of your readers
* With that in mind, you must therefore have an active blog to participate
That's it! Please make sure that I am able to contact you via your comment - no "no-reply" bloggers please!
These festive fabrics were purchased recently for my upcoming quilt-along with Rhonda (which, by the way, we are hoping to kick off at the end of September). They are from the Flurry range by Kate Spain, and were purchased from Shawna at 1 Choice 4 Quilting. This is a great little shop, stocking mostly Moda fabrics, but there are some others too, and they seem to have a permanent sale on, so some fab discounts to be had. Their customer service is brilliant too - on the website fabric is sold in 1yd increments, but I requested a bundle of half yard cuts and they sorted it out for me, no problem. They also include little freebies with each order - being overseas I thought this might just be a few little extra fabric scraps but, no, they sent me a pretty nail file and a pair of scissors!
On the subject of buying fabric from overseas though, I was concerned recently to learn that the rules concerning import vat will be changing in November (scroll down to point 2.3). Up until now I have always managed to avoid paying any extra charges by keeping my purchases under the £18 threshold, but when that threshold reduces in November, I'm slightly worried that it may no longer be worthwhile. I've purchased the majority of my fabrics from the States because a) it's cheaper - you do have to keep an eye on exchange rates but even with the extra shipping it is generally cheaper than buying in the UK, and b) there's so much more choice available. I'd be very interested to hear what other people's experiences of this are - even if you have had to pay charges, at what point does it no longer become worthwhile?
Today I received a parcel from my lovely, lovely bloggy friend Emma. She had warned me that something was on it's way but I had no idea what to expect. Imagine my surprise and delight then, when I opened the box to discover this little bounty!
Six gorgeous fat quarters of fabric, some lovely ribbons and a whole bunch of embroidery threads! (In fact, I realised after taking this pic that there were actually 3 more skeins of thread that somehow escaped the photo session)
She knew that I was feeling a bit stressed at the moment and so sent me this parcel "to make me smile" - and, boy, did it work! Thank you so much honey, you're awesome!
Last week we had our holiday in Suffolk, in a gorgeous wooden lodge in the little village of Wenhaston, not far from Southwold. This was our first holiday in 3 years, so it was very much needed and, thanks to a Christmas gift from my very generous brother we were able to push the boat out a little more than we would normally have done.
We had our own private hot tub on the deck, which was a big hit with all of us! We were so lucky with the weather, only one day was rainy and the rest, beautiful sunshine. We visited the nearby beaches at Southwold and Walberswick which was just lovely. There is something so relaxing about being by the sea, I could happily just sit and watch the waves for hours. In fact, when we were at Walberswick beach, Joe sat with me for almost an hour just watching the sea, he was incredibly calm and quiet!
Southwold is absolutely lovely, exactly how you imagine a seaside resort should be, and was the perfect hunting ground for seaglass, we found loads there!
We also visited a Maize maze, Bewilderwood near Norwich and a farm park, where we had fun feeding goats, alpacas, llamas and donkeys. And on the Wednesday Peter and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary! It was exactly what we needed. We have a little dark cloud hanging over us at the moment, which I won't bore you with, but suffice to say that it was really good to get away, switch off and forget all about our usual day-to-day stuff.
Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world. I love to receive your comments and really do appreciate them. I will try my best to reply but sometimes life just gets in the way! I hope you enjoy your visit. R x
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