maandag 13 april 2015

Enjoying the garden


Hope you all had a fabulous weekend?! I spent two lovely day's with a friend, who runs a B&B in the German countryside near Kleve. I hope to show you some photo's soon.

Just before I left, two of my daughters helped me out in the garden. Days like this are special to me. It's so much fun to work together.

However, sometimes unfortunate things happen. While my middle daughter was cutting the grass with the lawnmower, the youngest one saved a large attractive brown caterpillar from it's sharp blades. They named him Ricardo. Ricardo would have probably transformed into a beautiful butterfly, were it not that I stepped on him while putting my pretty floral cups on the table for tea. I still feel awful about it........Poor Ricardo. Girls, once again SORRY!!! ;-) xox

A while ago I was asked by Callwey publishers if I was interested in posting about their gardening/cookery books. When I had a look at their catalogue and saw which books are part of their collection, I was enthusiastic straight away. When they allowed me to give two books to you, I was definitely in for it!

Of the two books that I chose, Geniessen im Garten will be this weeks giveaway.  Another giveaway will follow in the summer.  As you probably may have guessed, the book is in German, so you will have to bear that in mind.

Geniessen im Garten is about enjoying the garden with all it has to offer through the seasons. From the first spring bulbs, roses in all their glory, to the warm autumn colours and the falling of the leaves. The book is a combination of beautiful gardens, festivities in the garden and recipes.

For Easter I made a spinach pie with egg filling (from the book), which turned out beautifully and was absolutely delicious. The book is a co production with the German magazine Wohnen & Garten, which is one of my favourites. The photography is superb!

If you are interested, please say so in your comment. My youngest daughter will choose the winner next weekend.

Wishing you a lovely week. From a sunny Rotterdam.


Madelief x

zondag 5 april 2015

A pistachio cake and a vintage dress


While I was leafing through my cookery books to decide what to prepare for our Easter Sunday brunch, my middle daughter Magalie, who is a keen baker, made a pistachio loaf.  As the taste is absolutely divine and the cake is very pleasing to the eye, I thought I would share the recipe with you. It's from the book Cake Days, by the Hummingbird bakery.

As soon as the pistachio loaf was out of the oven, my spinach, feta and egg pie went in. Those of you who are on instagram, may have seen it already. The recipe was taken from a beautiful German garden book Geniessen im Garten, which was sent to me by Callway publishers.

I am giving away a copy of this book to one lucky winner. If you are interested, please have a look at next weeks blog post. I will show you the pie I baked as well.

The floral vintage dress on my photo's was one of three dresses I recently found in a lovely shop in Rotterdam, called 'Ruby Lee and the Vintage factory'. I you are looking for something special to wear, dating from the 1950's to the 1980s, for a reasonable price, this shop is worth a visit! A lovely excuse to visit my home town ;-).

Wishing you all a Happy Easter with family and friends and a good new week!


Madelief x

190g unsalted butter
190g caster sugar
3 large eggs
190g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
25ml soured cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

120g icing sugar
40g ground pistachio nuts

Preheat oven to 180C/160 Fan oven

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
Add the eggs one at a time
Sieve together flour and baking powder and add to the mix in two stages.
Stir in the sour cream, vanilla and pistachios.
Transfer into a greased loaf tin and bake for about one hour
Turn out and leave to cool while you whip up the icing
Prepare the icing.
Add the chopped pistachios 


zondag 29 maart 2015

Garden blues


One of the advantages of a cool and rainy day in the garden is that the colours of the flowers and foliage look more intense. Although I prefer sunshine, days like this are not that bad at all.

It's quiet at the allotment complex. Most people prefer to stay at home. In the garden much is happening. Blackbirds and Robbins keep me company. Looking for worms and material to build their nests with.  The trees are full of buds and even some tiny leaves. The first blossoms are visible and more and more flowers come into bloom. It's tiny blue flowers mostly: sweet forget-me-nots, lungwort, cowslip, scilla, grape hyacinths and some violets I recently planted. With the promise of many more flowers and colours to come. Tulip and alium leaves are already visible, so are the crowns of aquilegia's and lupins. I can hardly wait!

I bought several bags of fertilized garden soil and some extra manure, which I still have to spread over the garden. Hopefully the weather will improve soon. I can''t wait very much longer, because otherwise my plants have grown too much. Lets hope for a wonderful Easter weekend! 

Wishing you all a good time!


Madelief x

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