Tag Archives: Cake

Rocking Dog Loves Trotting Around Tetbury

Not In The Show,Rocking Dog

Not In The Show

The Tetbury Flower Show arrived again at the weekend. Andyman was blowing his pipes with City of Bristol Pipes and Drums so I took the opportunity to enjoy seeing what the folk of Tetbury had grown, sewed, baked and bottled. The care that people take to raffia string onions, scrub potatoes and arrange summer fruits is both astounding and hearteningly lovely.

With a break from playing Amazing Grace, Scotland The Brave and Highland Cathedral etc..I left Real Live Rocking Dog with the piper and legged it into Tetbury. I wonder does anyone else notice door furniture? I love a good knocker, bell pull, letterbox and hand plate. There were some really good old examples as I headed to the high street. Many knockers were gloriously offset by paint colours such as “Pelt”, “Dix Blue” and “Cooking Apple Green”. I am SO easily pleased!

When in Tetbury I love a trot to “Domestic Science”. Five uneven floor-boarded floors are filled with vintage kitchenalia, French textiles, divine scented packages, patina’d aged furniture, carefully curated cards and a lovely watering hole to sit for a coffee or lunch. As ever there was lots I loved, but I was very restrained. I need to make money before I can spend money, I need a cunning plan to revive my coffers.

Thankfully many of Tetbury’s delicious antique shops were closed, it’s lovely that Sunday is still sacrosanct in some communities. My shopping purchases in town amounted to buying cake ingredients. After more piping, more sunshine and viewing the dog show (not competing as Real Live Rocking Dog’s days of shows and being humiliated are well and truly over!) Real Live Rocking Dog we know you are beautiful despite your raging halitosis and grumpiness, and frankly that’s all that matters. It really was time to head home and make that cake.

I loosely based it on Delia’s Coconut Layer Cake and topped it off with a spiky pineapple top, vanilla pods and fairy lights for a very special lady.

Hope you all have a lovely week.
Love Rocking Dog x

Tetbury Letterbox..,Rocking Dog

Tetbury Letterbox..

Tetbury Knocker..,Rocking Dog

Tetbury Knocker..

...And Another,Rocking Dog

…And Another

Delightful Dahlia,Rocking Dog

Delightful Dahlia

Dashing Dahlia,Rocking Dog

Dashing Dahlia

Know Your Onions!,Rocking Dog

Know Your Onions!

Domestic Science Vintage,Rocking Dog

Domestic Science Vintage

Domestic Science Linen,Rocking Dog

Domestic Science Linen

Domestic Science Scented,Rocking Dog

Domestic Science Scented

6.30am Leopard Footing It Down To Bristol Fruit Market

And She's Off!,Rocking Dog

And She’s Off!

Yes Rocking Dog put on her leopard “flats” and went out at 6.30 am in search of tomatoes.I have a love hate relationship with Bristol Fruit Market. I love witnessing the buzz of seeing fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants being selected and purchased for restaurants, hotels and shops. However, it is a bit of a mans world down there. In amongst the chest beating alpha males there are thankfully a few nice friendly teddy bears! Beautiful tomatoes found, aubergines, lemons, peppers, cucumbers and herbs I was pleased with my boot full of booty!

Wedding cooking continues and I am happy with the progress I have made. Brownie, meringues, salad bases, chocolate salami all made. Lists re-jigged, shopping lists redrawn and Friday and Saturday plans penned in. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes!

Lovely friend Sian has arrived from deepest darkest Wales to keep me in check and to encourage breaks (she is so right that they are a good thing) Thank you Sian for coming to cook and dance in the kitchen with me. What a kitchen hoedown we’ll have when Beth’ and Liv arrive! Diolch x

I’m going to sign off now and will see you out the other side of the weekends festivities. Have a truly wonderful wedding day and life together Josh & Ella.

Have a great weekend whatever you are doing, and I hope that the sun shines for us all

Love Rocking Dog x

Thank you in advance to the wonderful team who are serving the bubbly, carving the seven legs of lamb (!), clearing, coffee making and walking many grassy miles!

It's A Mans' World!,Rocking Dog

It’s A Mans’ World!

Tomato Treasure!,Rocking Dog

Tomato Treasure!

Boot Booty!,Rocking Dog

Boot Booty!

Roasted,Rocking Dog

Roasted

Chargrilled,Rocking Dog

Chargrilled

Pan Toasted,Rocking Dog

Pan Toasted

More Meringues,Rocking Dog

More Meringues

Cunning Plan!,Rocking Dog

Cunning Plan!

A Momentary Breather,Rocking Dog

A Momentary Breather

The Week That Came & Went

It's A Rocking Dog Summer Wrap,Rocking Dog

It’s A Rocking Dog Summer Wrap

Yes Rocking Dog has been a little bit quiet over the last week. A perforated ear drum in her good working ear has been naggingly painful! She has now entered a world of lip reading, shouting, subtitles and zorb like isolation. Thank goodness for antibiotics (Hallelujah!), analgesics (phew!) and TV subtitles (bliss!)

I have tried to stay calm and carry on, so my 2017 quilt is well underway. More in a future Rocking Dog blog post on that, perhaps when I have anchored the 100 or so vintage buttons to gloriously adorn it. Still on a vintage theme we were invited to a wonderful vintage birthday party and it was simply divine. Carnival glass, beaded handbags, bunting, frocks, cake and cocktails. I wrapped presents in crisp white tissue and customised Ikea baubles for summery frou! Summer Rocking Dog wrapping ideas in a blog post coming very soon.

There has been a trip to Bristol harbourside and HOW I want to stay in that crane! We ate a delicious Ploughman’s on the outside deck at Riverstation and wandered to Swoon for the best ice cream I have ever tasted (possibly some of the most expensive too!) Another trip took me to Clifton to the lovely Sahara to help choose wedding garb for my lovely friend. The staff member was just SO helpful. Thank you.

On Thursday I met oldest daughter and baby Douglas at Kilver Court. Winter wardrobe inexpensively sorted in Toast outlet and garden sorted with plant sale bargains (£1 a pot) Result! Needless to say i’ll be out in the wooded wonderland this week digging in my cut price greenery.

There has been food to cook for friends and family. Thursday Skye’s Roast chicken & bread salad with sour cherries & roasted red onions. Friday Yotams’ Meatballs with broad beans & lemon served with Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio & mixed herbs. There was Walnut & fruit crumble cream to follow. Sunday with family gathered I prepared roast lamb on a bed of baby leaf spinach with cherry tomatoes, green beans and baby roasted new potatoes. It was all drizzled with a summery mint dressing. I also cooked Toad in the Hole and a retro pud’ Pineapple Upside Down. This pudding is always the talking point of just HOW much my brother Jem hates this pudding. As a teenager I baked it twice weekly for a number of years and the mere mention of P U Down sends him into a groaning spiral. It was a good job therefore that he didn’t turn up unannounced from New York for Sunday lunch!

The week has also seen me deeply involved in menu planning, detailed shopping lists and ordering for a wedding the Dog is catering for at the end of the month. Meanwhile there are plans already underway for a Rockpipes Burn’s Night in Thornbury next January. There is the small matter of food for the masses. I rather think I have been volunteered for the task….hmmmm! Bah Haggis!

The ear is still sore and tirelessly frustrating but I hope i’ll be spreading the Rocking Dog word a little more frequently than in the week that was.

Hoping your week will be sunny and happy.

Love Rocking Dog x

2017 Quilt,Rocking Dog

2017 Quilt

Cotton Spring Clean,Rocking Dog

Cotton Spring Clean

Room In The Clouds,Rocking Dog

Room In The Clouds

Dream Ice Cream,Rocking Dog

Dream Ice Cream

Plants To Buy,Rocking Dog

Plants To Buy

Vintage Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Vintage Loveliness

Wedding Menu Planning,Rocking Dog

Wedding Menu Planning

Retro Family Food,Rocking Dog

Retro Family Food

I Hate Pineapple Upside Down!,Rocking Dog

I Hate Pineapple Upside Down!

Chocolate Roulade For The Rocking Dog Huddlers

A Taste Of Summer,Rocking Dog

A Taste Of Summer

A small but perfectly formed huddle gathered last night. We talked travel, home & abroad heat and stories of the young and of the old. Crochet was learned, calligraphy practiced, a needlepoint made to feel loved again and a wedding shopping list formulated. I also brought out my John Lewis sale buys for Christmas wrapping 2017 (I feel a Val Doonican knitted theme coming on!)

Most importantly we ate cake! This months confectionery was a tried and tested favourite, Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade. The recipe comes from a book called 100 Great Desserts by Mandy Wagstaff. I bought it in the 90’s from a cut price book shop, only later did I find that many but not all of the pages were written in German!

This is a great recipe for gluten free guests and a truly simple bake (promise!)

175g plain chocolate
5 eggs separated
175g caster sugar
2 tbsp brandy

Preheat oven 180 degrees (lower for fan oven). Line a 33x23cm swiss roll tin with baking paper.
Melt dark chocolate in microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering hot water.
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add the brandy.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then stir in a tbsp chocolate mix to loosen it. Fold in the remaining chocolate.
Pour mixture into the prepared tin and use a spatula to evenly spread the batter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from oven and cover with a slightly damp tea towel.

For the filling I used a small carton of double cream whisked together with a small tub of mascarpone and a little icing sugar.

Turn your Roulade out onto a surface prepared with a large sheet of baking paper. Remove the backing paper.
Spread your roulade liberally with good quality raspberry conserve. Spread cream mix evenly and sprinkle over fresh raspberries.
With the aid of the paper, roll the roulade as tightly and evenly as you can. At this point you can wrap it up in the greaseproof sheet rather like an old fashioned sweetie and chill. if you can’t wait to launch into the deliciousness move the roulade to a pretty plate and dredge with icing sugar and white chocolate shards. Voila!

(I used 1&1/2x the mixture to fill a larger swiss roll tin. Cherries and kirsch or cherry brandy would be a great alternative)

Thank you girls for the donations for Fine Cell Work inspiring and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

The Whole Deal!,Rocking Dog

The Whole Deal!

June Frou,Rocking Dog

June Frou

Little Black Books,Rocking Dog

Little Black Books

Travel,Rocking Dog

Travel

The Heat,Rocking Dog

The Heat

Calligraphy,Rocking Dog

Calligraphy

Christmas Stash,Rocking Dog

Christmas Stash

The Old & The..,Rocking Dog

The Old & The..

Young,Rocking Dog

Young

Glitter Shoed Gardening In Umbria

Hanging The Hammock,Rocking Dog

Hanging The Hammock

Good morning from Rocking Dog. I had good intentions of continuing to garden at 5.30 am on my return to the kennel, but alas….! To escape the piercing heat of the Umbrian sun I did indeed choose to garden as dawn arrived in the garden. I was awoken by my own dawn chorus of naughty chattering birds flitting busily on the ancient olive tree outside our bedroom window. I gardened in linen nightie and glittery sandals and as a result my legs are in a scratched and sorry state! The Italian version of Sticky Willy is coarse, barbed and unforgiving.

Umbria has had no rain for a few weeks now and the land is parched. It has been unusual to have such high temperatures so early in the summer season and there are real concerns for this years olive crop. The little olives have had no chance to develop before being hit by temperatures nearing 40 degrees. For those of us who pick olives as a pleasurable hobby a poor crop is sad but not an economic disaster. Meanwhile for those who depend on the crop for their livelihood a poor harvest is a severe body blow. Of course a poor crop trickles down to whole communities (pickers,olive oil pressing facilities, bottle & can suppliers,retailers etc…) Olive oil really is a way of life in Italy.

It is not only olives which have been affected, we witnessed vineyards blackened by fire and food crops struggling in the earth for moisture. A huge field of sunflowers have been planted over the garden fence and we hope that in a months time there will be a blaze of yellow on the horizon. Sunflowers are a rotational crop, so it may be a few years before the cheery yellow field reappears so close by.

Our grass resembles cattle driving prairie land. We hope rain will come soon. It was too hot to plant anything new, so leaf clearing and tidying was the order of the day. Planting will be done in October when we will assess what needs replacing after the sweltering summer.

We hung the hammock, added pretty lights and watered the thirsty geraniums. I found the most exquisite little nest on the path. It was truly an architectural masterpiece with grasses and soft pulpy seed heads. It was so soft, so delicate and tear jerkingly beautiful. I didn’t get to sit in my oak tree’d reading nook, nor use my telescope, the swinging chair remained un-sat in .. but getting close to unfamiliar plants was enjoyable.

And Suddenly it’s Evening by Salvatore Quasimodo

Everyone is alone on the heart of the earth
Pierced by a ray of sun:
and suddenly it’s evening.

It wasn’t all about work in the garden, we managed to fire up the ancient pizza oven after some remedial internal grouting. Of course the pool provided delicious respite from the unrelenting heat, and Michele’s provided the perfect escape for Prosecci and cake!

So, it’s back to verdant woodland management back at the kennel and I think wellies may be rather more sensible than glittery shoes!

Have a good week and at least the rain is on the way here.

Love Rocking Dog x

Watering The Geraniums,Rocking Dog

Watering The Geraniums

Garden Treasure,Rocking Dog

Garden Treasure

Unpromising Crop,Rocking Dog

Unpromising Crop

Lighting to Hang,Rocking Dog

Lighting to Hang

View To The Village,Rocking Dog

View To The Village

Early Morning Dip,Rocking Dog

Early Morning Dip

Escape For Cake,Rocking Dog

Escape For Cake

Fire Up The Oven,Rocking Dog

Fire Up The Oven

Back To Woodland Gardening,Rocking Dog

Back To Woodland Gardening

The Meringue Mountain Has Been Scaled & Eaten!

Marital Meringue Mountain,Rocking Dog

Marital Meringue Mountain

After the awful terrorist atrocities in London this weekend it seems somehow superficial to blog on my meringue mountain. Life does go on, children will return to the classroom after the half term break, commuters will take the tube, pick up a coffee, meet friends. People will celebrate birthdays, give birth, date, take & pass exams, care for relatives, buy & sell homes, mourn loved ones AND get married. It is a constantly ever changing cycle of life with many trials and tribulations along the way. We will no doubt give much thought in the coming days to those caught up in the recent attacks in Manchester and London. We will also undoubtedly wonder how and when these acts of terrorism will end. We are ever grateful to our emergency services and recognise the amazing acts of courage and kindness of strangers coming to the aid of those in need.

So indeed there was a wedding on Friday. Molly & Lex dodged the showers to tie the knot in a charming garden ceremony. I loved the straw bale pews bedecked with hessian coffee sacks. Rocking Dog vintage lace bunting was strung in the trees and the scene was so romantic. After clapping and cheering the happy couple down the grassy “aisle” guests enjoyed bubbly and delicious canapes. There were some really stylish outfits, feodora hats, feathers, velvets, cravats, Frida Kahlo print, florals and jewels.

Whilst the guests feasted on charcuterie platters and paella I constructed Meringue Mountain.

To make your very own 2 1/2ft Meringue Mountain :-

90 meringues (homemade of course!)
Double cream and mascarpone whipped up with a dash of Elderflower Cordial and icing sugar to sweeten
Summer Berries (I used strawberries, cherries, blueberries and raspberries)
1 jar cherry compote (I used Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Morello cherry conserve)
Icing sugar to dredge
Fairy lights, fruit, flowers and sprigs of Rosemary to decorate
Chocolate brownie (for those souls who do not like meringue)
2ft diameter tray/board

I loved putting my creation together in situ and it looked great against the woodland background. I had two very sweet and very inquisitive little princesses “helping” me, they simply couldn’t wait for the cake cutting to happen! Lanterns were lit, and the bride and groom “cut” their alternative wedding cake. Vegan guests were treated to brownie and soya cherry yoghurt. Judging by all the oohs aahhs and yums the pud’s were creamily delicious triumphs!

Molly & Lex, together with scrummy baby Dotti have a wonderful married family life.

Wishing everyone a very happy week.

Love Rocking Dog x

Let Them Eat Cake!,Rocking Dog

Let Them Eat Cake!

Berries & Cream,Rocking Dog

Berries & Cream

Vegan Deliciousness!,Rocking Dog

Vegan Deliciousness!

Love That Suit!,Rocking Dog

Love That Suit!

Rocking Dog Vintage Bunting,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Vintage Bunting

Ceremony Pews,Rocking Dog

Ceremony Pews

Meringues For A Marital Meringue Mountain

Gilded & Violet Sprinkled!Rocking Dog

Gilded & Violet Sprinkled!

Rocking Dog has come out of “Heaven’s Cake” retirement to construct a marital meringue mountain for Molly & Lex (together with scrummy baby Dotti). 100 meringues are baked, some plain and simple, others with a sprinkling of crystallised rose and violet petals. Then of course I love a little bit of bling so there are decadent flakes of 24 carat gold!

Later today I will build the mountain whilst the guests tuck into a marquee cooked dish of paella. The guests will pour out into the gorgeous Clifton garden to see the couple “cut” the sugar rush mountain. By that time it will have been pimped with fairy lights, summer fruits, roses, cow parsley, borage, and other foraged floristry from the Rocking Dog garden. I hope it will look magical.

Wishing the couple (and scrummy baby) a truly wonderful wedding day and an amazing married life together.

Hoping whatever you are doing this weekend there is sunshine and lots of good things around the corner.

Love Rocking Dog x

Plain & Simple,Rocking Dog

Plain & Simple

Gilded & Rose Petal'd!,Rocking Dog

Gilded & Rose Petal’d!

Enough. Enough Now. Christmas In February Over.

Habitat Angel,Rocking Dog

Habitat Angel

Enough. Enough Now. Christmas In February is indeed over! Saturday saw us host a special Burn’s Night at the kennel to pay tribute to Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Guests were asked to bring nothing but empty tummies and donations for Young Carer’s (Christmas in A Box 2017).

The evening started with Careless Whisper cocktails served in retro Babycham glasses. There were freshly baked haggis sausage rolls and Christmassy flavour crisps.

Guests arrived, some gallantly attired in 1980’s ski chalet wear. There was a very dodgy wig or two and leg warmers aplenty! It was time for music. The lounge was filled to the gunnels with RockPipe musicians who played a half hour set of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, Abba Medley, “Don’t Stop Believin'” etc..

The Haggis was piped in and addressed. It was hot in the kitchen- turning out turkey and all the trimmings for 50 was no mean feat! There were so many comments (mainly women!) that it was so lovely to be eating a Christmas meal without having had to cook it.

Menu- Free range bronze turkey, Bourbon glazed ham, Bacon wrapped sausages, Homemade white nut roast, Vegetarian and non veg’ haggis. Sprouts with chestnuts & pancetta, peas, Buttered baby carrots, Roast potatoes, Cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pud’s (SO sorry son Alex not homemade versions!), gravy and homemade spiced apple jelly.

People found places to perch, we even made one of the bedrooms into a fairy-lit
private dining space. Meanwhile back in the culinary HQ it was time to clear the decks and get puddings underway.

RockPipes noisily restarted and the set included “Last Christmas” and a wonderful rendition of “Careless Whisper”. Thank you Simon for your amazing Sax’ playing… tremendous. There was also the unforgettable YMCA complete with false moustaches. Great fun.

Puddings were served.

Menu- Black Forest inspired trifles, Hazelnut Macaroon with homemade lemon curd & Mascarpone, Mince pies, Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake. The Christmas cake was made especially for the event and given a retro snow scene.

Thank you to all who lent chairs, cutlery, lanterns, and to all those who took a turn in the kitchen sink. Thanks to cocktail shakers and all those who entered the spirit with singing and dancing.

A million thanks to those who so generously donated to our chosen charity. An incredible £515 (plus Gift Aid) will be used for making up “Christmas in the Box” for Young Carer families in particular need Christmas 2017 ( breakfast, full turkey roast with all the trimmings, tea and treats)

The £5 Ikea clearance tree is down and decorations boxed, Billy the boar who graced us with his snowbally presence is leaving Bristol for the sunnier climes of Umbria, Bon Voyage Billy! A sense of normality is gradually returning, though there is still a rather large drum kit to trip over!

Enough. Enough now!

£5 Ikea Tree,Rocking Dog

£5 Ikea Tree

Sprouty Chains,Rocking Dog

Sprouty Chains

Italy Bound Billy,Rocking Dog

Italy Bound Billy

Private Dining,Rocking Dog

Private Dining

RockPipes & Sax',Rocking Dog

RockPipes & Sax’

Cake Anyone?,Rocking Dog

Cake Anyone?

Enjoying Recipe Testing At The Kennel

Towering Cake,Rocking Dog

Towering Cake

We had a crisis call a little while ago from oldest girl asking if she could come “home” to use our kitchen. With her own kitchen being refitted it was impossible to do her job, for a recipe developer she is!

My kitchen therefore has seen wonderful ingredients passing over the doorstep this week. Scales, whisks, copious notes, test batches, spoons, timers and a permanently hot stove have made my kitchen a true hive of industry. I’ve floated in at various points to help with some hot bubbly washing up and to do lots of oohing and ahhhing!

How very lovely to be invited to sit down and eat a raft of delicious dishes. Honest critiques were welcomed by the flagging cook and copious notes gained more ticks, stars and corrections in the process. My children always hate it when I sit to eat their lovely food and exclaim “This is gorgeous, and do you know what the very best bit about it is? …That I haven’t had to cook it!”

A run down of what we ate :-Courgette fritters (which will be eventually served with a dipping sauce),Chicken with Wild Garlic butter (though the wild garlic was substituted with watercress as wild garlic is not yet in season). There were also two bowls of healthy yumminess, Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower and a Persian Herb & Beetroot Salad. Waiting in the wings was a towering Carrot Cake with Tahini frosting. Yum, Yum Yum!  We decided the colossal cake was perhaps too towering and needed scaling down a tad.

Thank goodness recipe testing daughter is packing her whisk and copious notes, and heading home at the end of the week. My poor old waistline really couldn’t cope with being a permanent food critic!

Flavoursome Bird,Rocking Dog

Flavoursome Bird

Delicious Bowl,Rocking Dog

Delicious Bowl

....& Another Delicious Bowl!,Rocking Dog

….& Another Delicious Bowl!

Thank You To The Rocking Dog Huddlers

Chaotic Creativity,Rocking Dog

Chaotic Creativity

Poor Rocking Dog had to steady herself with a G&T last night. She wasn’t sure if anyone was going to come to the first Rocking Dog Huddle. She needn’t have worried a steady stream of lovely ladies crossed over the the kennel threshold. Thank you to all those who came. Sometimes it is all too tempting to settle in a comfy chair at home and not brave the near zero temperatures outside.

Cranberry zinger, hot chocolate and tea was drunk as we tackled projects. There was beautiful knitted bunting, a gorgeous crocheted blanket, stuffed rabbit and knitted top being crafted.There were also boring but necessary hems to be turned up and sewn. Other huddlers chose to make lavender crooked hearts.

A group largely made up of random strangers to each other, it was an evening of amazing coincidences. There were folk who had been growing up in the same Kent town and a neighbour who had been treated in the same German hospital that I had worked. Later in the evening I was talking about the dusting room at school. Yes, a room where GIRLS learnt how to dust, make a bed, lay up a tray for an invalid, arrange flowers etc.. grrrrrrr!!! It transpired that another of the huddlers remembered that same dusting room and in fact was in the same class as me at school! 1978 was the last time I saw her and here Diane was, very probably realising that me and dusting was a lost cause! It was so lovely to meet you again.

Your Abel & Cole recipe for haggis sausage rolls was appreciated by us all Sorrel. Thank you. Nigella’s cake was crumbly, chocolatey and calorific! The jury’s out on that one.

Thank you again to all who came last night and a special someone who attempted to make it but unfortunately had a little bit of a car bump. Look forward to seeing you next time.

Love Rocking Dog x

PS Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has returned to old Toby. Does this mean she saw what was under Wee Tam’s Kilt?!

Cranberry Zinger,Rocking Dog

Cranberry Zinger

Sew, Chat, Eat,Rocking Dog

Sew, Chat, Eat

Crumbly Cake,Rocking Dog

Crumbly Cake

Crooked Hearts,Rocking Dog

Crooked Hearts

Who Ate All The Pies?!,Rocking Dog

Who Ate All The Pies?!

Mrs M Back In Her Rightful Place,Rocking Dog

Mrs M Back In Her Rightful Place