#Spring has Sprung

The clocks have gone forward. I’ve seen narcissi, crocuses, even daffodils. Like sap, my hopes are rising. My S.A.D (winter depression) has finally diminished. **Smiles**

Could last weekend’s plummeting temperatures have been the final door slam of that long, cold winter? About blooming time!

Most of the country had snow. Our devon garden looked pretty wearing its glossy, white overcoat. The snow was powdery. Dogs loved to pee on it. But, they didn’t stay outside any longer than necessary. I didn’t venture outside at all, except to bag up ‘dog-poo’. Temperatures were freezing. And, so cold was the weather that my pretty pink Devon Palm went to Tree Heaven!

I took a few photos:

Still time to get those easter gifts ~ click to browse my books ~

Banner

Advertisements

#PancakeDay 2018 Shrove Tuesday ~ I made 8 fantastical pancakes. Drop by and take a look.

Sharing my Gran’s recipe with you today. Why? Gran gained a Diploma in Baking back in the day. Pancakes (she could toss them high without them sticking to the ceiling) as well as her Sunday fruit cake, were the envy of all her family and friends.

Gran’s perfect pancakes: (If you’re making lots of pancakes, as I do, you might want to double the amount of flour and milk)

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour (4ozs ~ in old money)
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk (just over 1/2 pint)
  • 1 tsp oil for frying. (Gran used solid white lard)
  • pinch salt

Method

  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle. Pour in about 50ml milk. Start whisking/stirring from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, and milk. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
  2. Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. (Yes, I get lumps too…it doesn’t matter).
  3. Heat the frying pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper, or add a drop of oil. The pan should be really HOT at this point. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. If you’ve added too much mixture, quickly pour any excess batter into a jug, return the pan to the heat, then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. Pour the excess batter from the jug back into the mixing bowl. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to turn.
  4. Hold the pan handle, ease a palette knife under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against the base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 secs before turning out onto a warm plate (or FLIP into the air, if you’re brave enough). Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.

I’ll post photos of my pancakes on the day, so pop back. Better still, follow my website/blog and you’ll receive updates as they occur. I’m looking forward to hearing about your pancake experience.

Cazzy xx

February 13th, teatime at ours, and, I’m back in the room. A few photos of my pancakes 🥞 as previously promised. I doubled the flour and milk: we all love Granny’s pancakes! I made 8 pancakes 🥞 but I’m no good at ‘tossing’ them 😂 And by golly they tasted fantastical.

604E0F0F-2F73-4229-B4F6-EF837383155D

 

 

How did your pancakes turn out? I’d love to hear from you.

Cazzy xx

 

Robins. The #Winter garden cutie

On a cold, not-so-sunny, winter’s morning, few sights lift my spirits quite as much as a robin hopping across the garden showing off its beautiful red breast.

Now and then it’ll fly up to a post and sing its delightful song, cheering me even more. I’m a sufferer of SAD (winter depression) so when creatures great and small visit my garden they always manage to bring about a warm smile to my face, and lift those winter blues and feelings of doom and gloom. I will quickly add, I’ve been taking a regular small daily dose of Vitamin D since March: (a) I didn’t get my usual October heavy cold and cough (b) winter depression didn’t kick in during October as it usually does, but, was delayed until December. In my opinion, this supplement has certainly helped me a lot.

Robins look to us for sustenance during cold spells, as their natural food of earthworms and other invertebrates can be hard to find. We feed birds all year round making sure the wild birdseed hanging containers are always topped up. Ours are squirrel-proof! Sorry if you’re a squirrel lover!

Most gardeners will agree, robins have struck up an extraordinary relationship with humans and will boldly perch on a bucket edge or spade handle ready to pick up worms that have been unearthed. They have such pretty eyes. These little birds are fearsome fighters with glorious voices and which, all too often, have a sadly short lifespan. They readily chase off blackbirds, sparrows, and tantalise my 2 cocker spaniels by hopping along the six foot tall wooden fence ~ chase me, why don’t you! My dogs love the banter too.

Our love of robins and habit of feeding them in our gardens goes back a rather long way according to legend.

Back in the sixth century, Saint Serf of Fife (most famous for slaying a dragon terrorising people near Loch Lomond) was apparently the first person to start feeding them.. His friends were so jealous they killed the bird, but fortunately it was brought back to life. I love a good ending, don’t you?

Stories about feeding robins are common because they are legendary for their tameness, and one of the few wild birds that will take food from the hand. I remember way back to when I was only about five or six years old, and my dad telling me to hold out my hand keeping my palm facing upward and flat. He would then place a few wriggly mealworms onto my hand. Well, as a little girl who loved to play in the dirt and have a strange fascination for huge long fat worms, that wasn’t a problem at all. I still rescue worms in the garden when they stray onto the patio. Yep, I pick them up by my fingers just as I did as a child and carefully put them back onto the garden. Some things never change. Teaching children to be kind to animals as well as creatures great and small was instilled into me at a very young age. My older brother would often rescue a frozen blackbird and bring it into the warm kitchen. Mother would make it a bed of straw or newspaper inside a cardboard box. Then, using a small glass dropper that she normally kept for putting olive oil into our ears to soften ear wax, she carefully applied a single drop of my dad’s best Christmas brandy onto its frozen beak. In no time at all, it’s eyes would open. Lastly, it’s wings would begin to thaw. I would always watch from afar: the bird would then hop round the warm kitchen delighted to be still alive. Only when it had thawed out fully would it be allowed back outside. The following day, we would do the same rescue for a frozen thrush or blackbird. I was five, and my brother would have been about eight at the time.

In the Twenties, former Foreign Secretary Edward Grey taught a robin to take food from his hand. He wrote about it in a best-seller, The Charm of Birds.

Recently, naturalist Hugh Warwick hand-tamed a robin in a few days. After a while, the bird would even come inside his home to beg for food, making him wonder who was in charge in their relationship. I could never do that…my eldest cocker spaniel is a bird fancier for all the wrong reasons!

We English love our robins. Two years ago it won a BBC television Springwatch poll to choose the UK’s national bird.

Robins used to nest in our evergreen holly bush, back in the fifties when I was a small child.

Another reason we connect robins with Christmas is that the early postmen wore red uniforms, and so were nicknamed ‘robins’. Anyone old enough to remember that? And, as the cards pop through your letter box over the coming days, note how many feature a robin! There are more than 300 different species in the family of birds known as old-world flycatchers and chats, including the redstart and the nightingale.

Like its cousin, the nightingale, robins often sing at night – especially in cities, where permanently lit street lamps fool them into thinking the sun is about to rise.

IMG_0788.jpgI see robins everywhere: especially in my beautiful Devon garden.

Best wishes

Caz

x

 

Buy my books on Amazon (and major online bookshops) Click the cover

Eric Seagull-promo-3

#ChristmasIsComing Christmas Countdown 2017

I’m ready. Are you? Ready for some homemade mince pies!

Mince Pies

Shopping’s done. Freezer’s topped up. Christmas cards are in the post. Grandchildren’s prezzies are wrapped.

Sighs

A couple of Christmassy pictures🎄

For those of you who are still searching for that special #ChristmasBook for the kids stocking… here’s one I wrote earlier ⛄️🎄⛄️📚

“The Christmas Circus” is Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’s third seafaring adventure set in pretty #Brixham Bay. Buy the book: The Christmas Circus  
9781781324073-hi-resMerry Christmas everyone. 

Caz

xx

Eric Seagull, storyteller, landed on my handbag

Great blog by Jessie Cahalin…

Introducing the engaging, children’s writer, Caz Greenham and her collection of seafaring adventures.  Who doesn’t love Eric Seagull?  Dear readers, I’m delighted to present an extract from my third children’s book in “The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’” 3-book-series. ‘The Christmas Circus’. The extract below is taken from one of the many short chapters, making…

Source: Eric Seagull, storyteller, landed on my handbag