Dark treacle cake with ginger and pears

The days are shortening. Fiery afternoon sunsets blaze behind the outlines of the ash trees at the back of the house, nightfall following quickly on their heels. Dark days bring magic at this time of year, for without them we wouldn't need the fairy lights and candle glow; the warmth and cosiness of the fire.…

Appleton Christmas Barn

Our Christmas tree is always rather eclectic: hung with an assortment hand-me-downs and newer additions. It doesn’t follow a particular style and the pervading colour scheme of reds, greens, and golds is only down to the fact that these are my favourite colours for the festive season.  Nestled in to the tree's boughs, illuminated by…

Take one jar – winter berry and evergreen tealight holders

Winter. And at this time of year evergreen leaves and crimson berries are brought into the house to make cheering natural decorations, combined with the soft glow of candlelight. To make: Place a few sprigs of evergreen inside an empty jam jar (I used box and privet) then fill with water. Add a handful of…

Take one jar . . . an autumnal hurricane vase

In the garden, the Liquidambar is shedding its leaves, spreading a blaze of autumnal colour across the lawn. The leaves are too beautiful to become garden waste just yet.   The evenings short enough to call for cosiness and candlelight.   To transform an empty coffee jar into an autumnal hurricane vase: Collect an array of…

Michaelmas daisies: the harvest and the honeybees

Yesterday was a quarter day. Michaelmas. And out in the garden there are swathes of Michaelmas daisies. In previous years we’ve pulled great clumps of them up, unrecognized. This year they’ve been left to grow unchecked at the edges of the garden while our attention has been focused on the newly-planted areas around the house.…