Sweetbriar Dreams

Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 5 February 2016

Oh That Dreaded Lurgy

Just a short post this weekend as the dreaded lurgy has decided to give me a visit.  After many weeks off after surgery I should have known that travelling to work once again would make me more susceptible to the lovely germs that love to be social.  After a visit to my GP, and getting a rather severe talking to, I have had to take his advice and rest.

Hopefully next week I will be back on fighting form once again.

Have a safe and germ free weekend.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Chocolate Melting Pot - Chocolate Truffle Torte

There are times when a chocolate indulgence is needed and after Miss Teen very disappointingly said that she missed the Chocolate Truffle Torte at Christmas, I thought I'd better remedy that.  Delia Smith's Chocolate Truffle Torte (her recipe is here) was introduced to me about twenty years ago when someone I knew in work used to bring in the most amazing cakes - after all, he was an architect!  Every birthday he would bring in an enormous torte which was the talk of our floor, then just before I left I asked him for his secret recipe.  He whispered "Have you got Delia's Christmas Book?  Well follow the recipe for the torte and add Amaretto".  That was it!  So, without further ado, I will now make you sink into a chocolate heaven.  Lets's start with a 1lb of plain chocolate - certainly a stairway to that heaven!

The recipe states a 9" tin, but as I needed to take one into work, one gluten free and one for the family, I bought two 6" tins and 1 4" for the gluten free.  If I make this for Christmas or another special occasion I use a much prettier dish but you get the idea.  The recipe asks for 3oz of Amaretti biscuits as the base for the 9" dish but I tend to use the whole bag (in this case I then covered two of the tins).  Just crush them in a freezer bag or anything else you may have.

Once crushed they look just like a richly coloured sandy beach, a little bit of sunshine was a welcome addition!  For gluten free I crushed some gluten free digestive biscuits which I am assured tasted equally as delicious.

Just layer the dish, or dishes in my case and even out.

Then the fun part!  The rich fragrant chocolate!  Heat some water in a pan and let it simmer and then put a bowl on top with about a 1lb of chocolate broken up into the bowl along with 5tbsps of liquid glucose, 3 tbsps rum and 2 tbsps of Ameretto (well, let's just say, to taste!).

(Some extra information following Sandra's question in the comments - I have searched for alternatives for those who can't get liquid glucose, apparently golden syrup works just as well or 5tbsps water mixed with 5tbsps castor sugar and microwaved.  The liquid glucose (or alternative) is to set the chocolate mix and make it well behaved).

Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and quite smooth.

While the chocolate is melting, whisk up a pint of double cream until it just starts to get stiff.

Then, take the chocolate off the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.  Add half the cream into the chocolate bowl and fold in with a metal spoon and then once that has been incorporated, fold the cream and chocolate into the cream bowl.

I just adore the marbling!  The mix looks so velvety and delicious once it has all been incorporated.

Then pour the gorgeous silky chocolatey cream onto your crushed biscuits and level off, or make swirls depending on your preference.

Cover them with cling film and put into the fridge to get nice and cold.  They are incredibly well behaved and the added bonus is that you can freeze them until you need them.  Sometimes I make them a month in advance for Christmas.

Be warned though, a slice is very rich and some people like to have single pouring cream with it, but just adjust the portion sizes accordingly.  I can guarantee you will love it and it is so incredibly simple to make and worthy enough for the very special get togethers too.

Now, who wants to lick out the bowl??!

Have a fantastic week.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

1. It's been another week of pottering around and feeling a bit more productive I am glad to say. There were some little indulgences which will affect the hips I am sure - chocolate in the form of Cadbury Mini Eggs (I am positive that the contents have lessened in quantity!) and bars of gorgeous rich plain chocolate which were melted and made into something absolutely delicious (will be shared with you in my next post).

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

2. This winter is incredibly confused.  I walked Tia down our road and couldn't believe that there was a tree full of pink blossom which is so beautiful but I hope will not be short lived if a winter bite surprises us.  The pink blossom made me potter into the garden and see what life was being born out there.  I was surprised at the blossom, daffodils, clematis and little yellow roses that were bobbing their heads in the wind.  The hellebores had hidden their heads away so I was lucky to see and pick some to bring into the house. 

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

3. A couple more pretty deliveries were received this week in the form of some flowery scissors (I don't think Mr Teen will nick these!) and some colourful hooks for up and coming projects.  Just have to remember...

One project at a time!!!!

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

The Painted Roses Blanket is coming on leaps and bounds, so only one hook will be used here.

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

4. Another potter was to go back into Spalding to see if my feet would fit into ANY boots or shoes yet.  I was so full of hope, thinking positive, sure of finding something.  Let's just say "Oh well, never mind!".  The view of the White Horse across the road was good enough with its wonderful thatched roof (some information on the new thatch is here).

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

5. I was so proud of myself today as I managed to travel to Peterborough to pop into work and hobble across the ancient cobbles.  I do miss this place so will be glad to get back to some regular routines next week.  It will be a long time before I climb the scaffolding again though!

Five on Friday - Little Indulgences @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

So that's my pottering this week.  I am hoping to go a bit further afield next week, but let's just take this one step at a time.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Five on Friday - Just Pottering Around

Five on Friday - Just Pottering Around @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

The winter chills have finally arrived and because of the mild temperatures we have been 'blessed' with, when the temperature falls it comes as a shock to the system.  And so with a Consultant and a Physiotherapist being very happy with my recovery, I can at last attempt walks and getting out a bit more without the burden of crutches (however I do miss them for support).  And so, my trips have felt like I am just pottering, but it is lovely to capture some more local shots, especially if the sky is a bit clearer.

My first 'potter' was to St James' in Moulton Chapel.  Isn't it a little cutey.  An octagon Chapel built in 1722.  It is of Dutch design due to the late 17th century fen drainers.  Unfortunately the door was locked (a sign of the times), but I have been in before and the interior is not a disappointment, especially from the gallery up some steps into the dome where you feel as though you are being pulled forward.

I think when I have the time and the inclination, I might ask for the keys to look around inside again.

My second 'potter' was to good old Spalding.  I haven't written too much about this place lately as I am always heading out elsewhere, but sometimes it is nice to walk through and see the river and its reflections, along with the old buildings.

Five on Friday - Just Pottering Around @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

But unfortunately as with so many other towns these days, shops close, boards go up, windows are smashed and the town slides into decline.  I did smile at this welcoming sign though!

My third 'potter' was while we driving through Moulton for the butchers sausage rolls (they are VERY good).  Hubby went into the butchers and I very slowly walked up to the tallest windmill in Britain.  A working windmill which is spectacular when the newly refurbished sails go round.  I will have to take you around there when the weather picks up.

My fourth 'potter' was around the garden on a very frosty morning.  Out came the camera, gloves, hat, coat and Mr Teen's very large trainers, and I was clicking away to take in the prettiness of the frost on the remaining plants.  I love the difference it makes.  But boy, it was cold!

And my fifth 'potter' was in the house and my sudden addiction to wool and hooks.  That crochet bug has hit me again.  Why is it that I finish a project and then go completely off my hook for a while and then as soon as I pick it up again it takes over my life!  I have discovered the Wool Warehouse and ordered the rest of the wool that I will need for the Painted Roses Blanket and was astonished that they arrived the next day.  Not just a simple bag of wool, but this gorgeously wrapped and ribboned bag of wool.  How pretty to receive an order this way!

I hook up a few of these very happy flowers to rest the feet, and then when they get inflamed, I walk around and potter until they go down.  Then when they get inflamed again, I sit and hook some more flowers.  It's a never ending circle at the moment.

So, that has pretty much been my week.  A bit more walking, a bit more settled in my mind and raring to get back to normal very soon!

Have a Happy Friday and wonderful weekend ahead.

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Friday, 15 January 2016

Five on Friday - A Tint of Sunshine

Five on Friday a Tint of Sunshine @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

1. With the weather being a duck's perfect holiday, it's been so hard to get out (not that I can do too much yet anyway).  It was ok for me to just look out of the rain spotted windows and look at the rich dark mud which you just knew would swallow you as soon as your foot set on it.  Thank goodness I have lots of colourful things on windowsills and strewn about the house to keep my eyes focused on something bright!  My crackle-glaze chicken in the kitchen has been doubling up as a prop for the extra heavy hyacinths, and how glorious it was when the sun came out today to highlight the blooms.

Five on Friday a Tint of Sunshine @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

2. This week I have started de-cluttering and tidying.  There's a lot I can do sitting down!  Oh the feel of very old books, the sepia colours creeping into the pages and that unmistakable smell of aged paper.  Books that have been on the shelves and safe places in boxes, waiting to have their pages turned again.  It was a heart flutter moment when I opened one of them to see a note inside from my Grandad to me.  Written many years ago and enjoyed again today.

Five on Friday a Tint of Sunshine @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

3. One attempt at going out at the beginning of the week resulted in me trying to find wool for a new project which has colours that I love during summer, Canal/Narrow boat colours.  I adore the sweet paintings on these vessels and, I'm afraid to say, rather quickly impulse bought gorgeous colours without taking a book of narrow boats with me (well the ankles were swelling and the left toe was complaining!).  I love these colours but have since found an inspiring pattern at Sandra's on Cherry Heart's blog (here).  I'll be buying the pattern today and getting the right colours to cheer me along for this year.

Five on Friday a Tint of Sunshine @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

4. Today I look out of my study window and can see the most gorgeous deep blue, something that hasn't happened in these parts for oh so long.  I have missed that crisp start in the morning with vapoured breath and cold finger tips, and then being brave enough to hang out washing without it coming back into the house wetter than it was when I hung it out to dry.  I love the smell of cold, nearly dry laundry and the freshness that it brings to the whole house.  I wish they could bottle up that smell.

Five on Friday a Tint of Sunshine @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

5. At the beginning of the week a friend popped by with the most gorgeous tulips.  If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen these little darlings earlier.  My favourite colour combination of pink, white and green and the lacy edges were the icing on the cake.  I couldn't not show you.  Isn't it wonderful when they get to that droopy stage and frame things around them so perfectly.

Five on Friday a Tint of Sunshine @ www.sweetbriardreams.blogspot.co.uk

 Well, that's my five for this week.  Please go over to Amy at Love Made My Home and Share my Cup to enjoy their link parties.

Happy Friday!!

Oh, and ps. after my post on Chatsworth House last week, guess who commented:

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