Monday 29 March 2010

Now that we have "British Summer Time", the weather has become decidedly foul! I thought I would share some more photo's from our sunny walk around the Sculpture Park last Saturday.

The old Camelia House that belongs to Bretton Hall is in full bloom at the moment.

You've heard of toilet humour, well did you know that you could get toilet sculpture? This is a recent addition and comes straight to Wakefield directly from Central Park in New York. Not my cup of tea, but amusing.

We went through the musical archway, into the twisty woodland.

Along the brick path,

and found a secret castle.

More sculptures along the way.

I love the greenhouse that is full of mesostic poems - all describing the plant.

Latte Art - cheats tutorial

I found this on you tube, but there are plenty more on there which should give you a good idea how to make the patterns, or inspiration for your own. You do have to use an espresso machine, and if you poured your espresso into a small glass, it would have a head on it - like a small Guiness. You pour your Espresso into the cup, then add your foamed milk like in the video. When it comes to the bit where you create your pattern, the secret is to get the spout of the jug near to the surface of the cup.

I shall expect to see some of your efforts in your blogs. I am now saving up for an espresso machine as you cannot achieve this with a cafetiere!! Good Luck!

Saturday 27 March 2010

Moore and Hepworth

Henry Moore liked his work to be exhibited in the open air. I think he would have loved how they exhibit his work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Its really sad that in some places up and down the UK, they have had to move his pieces indoors to protect them from theft and vandalism.

Barbara Hepworth's pieces also work very well in the beautiful surroundings of the park. Her "Family of Man" is amazing.

What I find really poignant is that they were both born within 15 miles of the park. Both of them gravitated to the south of England later on in life, but their work feels very much at home, and is enormously appreciated back where their roots were.
I'll post a sort of tutorial tomorrow for the Latte Art - but you do need a proper coffee maker - the sort that makes Espresso and has a milk frother on it. xx

Latte Art

My friend and I attended a "Latte Art" day at YSP. It was a great day out for a coffee lover. We had a talk and demonstrations by a very nice barrista trainer from Coopers Coffee. After a great lunch, we were taught how to make "art" in our latte's.

My friends attempt was very good.

Mine, slightly less impressive!!!

It tasted good though. xxx

Sunday 21 March 2010

The finer details....

...of my Sunday walk.

things I would never have photographed before I blogged.

Wentworth Castle - Parkland

What a glorious day it has been here in South Yorkshire. We needed to stay close to home today as hubby had to go to work at 5pm, so we decided to go for a walk in the Parkland at Wentworth Castle which is a couple of miles away (at Stainborough and not actually in Wentworth - Wentworth Woodhouse is in Wentworth). The house and gardens are owned by 2 seperate entities. You may recognise the house as the college where I am currently endeavouring to "Parle Francaise". The Gardens and park are run by a charitable trust. We didnt have time to do the gardens today, but I couldn't resist the great offer they have where you can buy a season ticket for £30 (which covers myself and hubby) for a whole year. (So you will be seeing more of this place as you know I like my money's worth!!). I know that we do have quite a few tourists in South Yorkshire these days as we do have some great places round about, but this place seems to be getting better at attracting the locals more and more which is brilliant and makes financial sense. I do realise though that it will cost me a small fortune in the cafe when I use my "free" visits - but hey ho.

To do the parkland walk, you normally have to just pay for the car park (£3.50) but I get this included in my season ticket now.
The whole Estate dates back to the early 1700's and has stunning views as it is right on top of a hill - you can see the house from the M1 - its on the right hand side if you are heading south from Barnsley. I think that this used to be the main gate at one time - just wide enough for a horse and carriage.
They have spent a fortune repairing a lot of the features around the old estate - these had been left neglected and in a bad state for a very long time.

The Rotunda is getting a facelift - I hope that they open this once it is done. It contains a large room - where they used to entertain guests, and underneath there is a room where the servants would have prepared food.

There are lots of deer roaming around the park once more.

Further down, we came across column dedicated to the Duke of Argyll.

You can see why we are attracting more tourists to our region - just look at the colour of the sky!!!

On our walk round, I spotted several signs that indicate Spring has most certainly arrived.
Firstly, the bluebells are starting to poke through.

This fella - high in the sky actually felt warm on my face - I could have sat in it for ages.

I saw my first lambs of the year.

This looks lovely if you double click to enlarge it.

I saw Pussy Willows. My sister "stocks up" on these in Spring. She fills her coat pockets with them so that she can tickle her face with them throughout the year!! - we put this strange behaviour down to the fact that she didn't have a dummy when she was a baby!

The daffodils are almost out!! - well it is the frozen north!

and finally - and the most exciting by far, (the young man could not believe how giddy this made me) FROGS SPAWN!!!!!!! This takes me right back to being 5 years old and having jars full of it on the back window ledge and on the nature table at school.

All in all a fabulous Sunday walk. You would never think that this was Barnsley would you?

Saturday 20 March 2010

If I kiss him, will he turn into a prince?

Look who's back. Yes its my old slug slayer Freddy Frog. He sure gave the young man a huge fright when he opened the door this morning and found him lurking on the step.
He was very dozy, and he took some budging!! We thought the driftwood was a safer place for him - I didn't want him to trap his leg in the door.
The young man and I were at a loss what to do today. After a full morning sat in A & E having his little finger looked at (after a suspected break playing Rugby at school yesterday - but its ligament damage ) I decided we would head up to Batley in West Yorkshire to visit the fabulous Redbrick Mill.

Its a fabulous place - a lovely old mill - fabulous building and some lovely stores inside. You can buy your Cath Kidston here, or visit Heals. It has 4 of the most gorgeous cafes, a lovely little deli, an art gallery, gift shops, a brilliant florist and the most stylish furniture ever! On Saturdays, they usually have a pianist or singer. Today, they had a wonderful young man singing jazz - I could have listened to him all day. I couldn't get many photos as I was "told off" by a very snooty lady who saw my camera, but I had just managed to take this photo of a very large lampshade!!

There are quite a few mill shops in Batley - its called the Yorkshire Mill Mile, and had I not had the whinging young man with me, I would have had a look round more of them - but Redbrick mill is my fave. Batley also has some spectacular Victorian architecture, but it was raining so hard I couldn't get out of the car - I shall just have to return another day!
If you want to see what was in my pamper swap to Juanita - click here. Her parcel finally arrived.

Sunday 14 March 2010

Asian Cookery

I haven't blogged recently about cooking, as I often find that we are too quick to eat, and I end up not getting any photos. However, I can assure you that I have been doing plenty! Ive been experimenting with making my own curries with really great results. This "Very simple Lamb Rogan Josh" recipe was a real winner with the family, especially as it was accompanied by "Oven baked onion bhaji's" So simple, cheap and delicious I will never buy them again!! I had to use ordinary flour the first time I made them, and these were OK, but since, I have found Chick pea flour in an Asian supermarket (which was like an Aladdins cave!!!!). I also made a huge vat of this Chicken Byryani for Hubbys party and it went down a storm. The first time I made it, I used my own paste concoction - similar to the Rogan Josh one, but for his party, I used Pataks paste and it was lovely too. I used dried apricots instead of sultanas, and any leftovers can be served cold next day mixed with a dollop of mayonnaise to make a Coronation Chicken type dish - delish. I was desperate to try Nigel Slaters Noodle Soup, after seeing this on tv the other week ( I have a bit of a thing for Nigel Slater - and no idea why!! and his kitchen and garden are gorgeous too). I can tell you that this is now a firm favourite in the Heart Shaped household and its so simple and cheap top make. It makes a superb vegetarian dish, I added Spring onions , baby corn, green beans and mushrooms (I also added a real onion when making the paste as I have found with Indian cookery that this is slightly like adding water, but more flavour). Last night I added strips of leftover ham too. It is really filling and so so tasty.

Give it a go

Monyash/Lathkill Dale

Today I would love you to join me on the Monyash Walk in Derbyshire. We often camp around here in summer, it's a truly fascinating place. As it was Mothers Day, I got to choose the walk. Incidentally, for Mothers Day I got a cup of coffee and the promise that she will make tea on Tuesday from the Dancing Queen, and the young man gave me one of his best hugs, and a homemade card that said Mothers Day was his 2nd favourite day, Match of the Day being his favourite!! Th pictureque village of Monyash lies at the head of Lathkill Dale in the Peak District.

The young man wanted to know who had built the hundreds of miles of dry stone walls? Good question!
On the way down to the Dale, we passed some great old farms.

We found some interesting articles to take home - you can see why I was the prime contributor to my infant school's nature table!!

The Dale itself is such an interesting place. It has a river running through it, but this disappears in places as there is another huge river underground too. There are lots of old Lead Mines too, and the water disappears through cracks in the rocks into these.

Everything is covered in layers of very thick moss.

The fascinating part of this area, is that although it is really high, at one time, this part of the world was on the sea bed. You can find fossils of sea shells etc embedded in the rocks. I think that takes some getting your head around.

There are signs up asking you not to paddle in the water, or let your dog swim in it as they are trying to preserve the native crayfish that are in here.

Some of the caves are pretty spectacular too. This one gushes water out after heavy rainfall.

It was a great walk and not too steep!
We had time later to call into Bakewell (which was heaving with Sunday visitors). You have no idea of the number of tourists I had to glare at to get them to vacate the shop window of the Bakewell Pudding so that I get get a decent photo!

All in all a fabulous Sunday out.
Not only is it Mothers Day, but its also my 1 year bloggy birthday!!!! I am a bit worried that I might start repeating myself now, I'm sure one of you will let me know if I do!!