“Tulips From Amsterdam”…Well, My Garden…

Isn’t it funny how standards just gradually slide… away…. I say this because I have spent the last four days in my gardening trousers and dressing gown. I did get some funny looks when I ventured out, but..strange times.

We have been lucky with the weather so I have been out in the garden. I love renewing my acquaintance with the flowers of every season as they come through and at the moment it’s tulip time.

Ice cream anyone..these ones remind me of raspberry ripple!

I will spare you my rendition of “Tulips From Amsterdam” by the immortal Max Bygraves, but my grandad used to sing this song to me when I was a little girl, and it’s one of my earliest memories, walking round the gaden with him and admiring the silky petals and vibrant colours of these popular flowers.

These orange ones are fabulous, paired with the white…

Grandad had a fondness for the red tulips, I always thought the black stamens resembled spiders’ legs, but when I grew up and got my own garden I planted some tulips bulbs of my very own as a matter of course.

One for you Grandad…

Now. Although tulips are generally associated with Holland they actually originated from the Ottoman Empire – modern Turkey – where they were cultivated from a native wild flower for the pleasure of one particular sultan in the 16th century.

This year’s Suffragette Corner….

The word ‘tulip’ comes from the word for ‘turban’ or ‘material’, I think, but the shape of the petals and their silky texture always remind me of harem pants…the bulbs were imported from Turkey to Holland where they became so popular and sought after they created their own economic bubble.

I love the purity of white flowers…

They were even used as currency at one point, although I am pleased to say I buy my bulbs at a much more reasonable price, but you can see why they were – and still are – just so popular! Look…

These frilly edged ones are known as parrot tulips, the purple ones are as rich as velvet…

“Stay At Home…”

Firstly I must say that I hope everyone is safe and well. I confess I thought this staying at home thing would be easy, plenty to keep me engaged… here is a little break down of my past week.

Day 1:

Make list of everything that I need to do, then notice the sun is shining so get sidetracked and go outside where I end up moving three azaleas and planting some radish seeds.

Day 2:

Look at list. Make cheesecake. Eat cheesecake while binge watching so much “True Blood” and “American Horror Story” I feel my brain has turned to mush and will probably slide out my nose if I bend over.

Day 3:

Look at list. Think about doing at least one item on the list. Go outside. Find garden gnomes and instruct partner to repaint said garden gnomes. Argue over what to call garden gnomes. Him: “No, you can’t call them all Dave!” Me: “But why not? They all look like Daves!” Settle on compromise of calling one Dave and the others after the cast of “True Blood”. Dig large hole at the bottom of the garden and eye partner speculatively till he retreats nervously indoors.


Day 4:

Look at list. Throw list away. Make trifle. Eat trifle. Go upstairs to tidy bedroom, have a little sit down on the bed and fall asleep, only to wake up and find not only have I drooled in my hair but I missed “Gardener’s World” too.

Day 5:

Decide to go out. Make comprehensive list of everything we need. Go to shop. Discover list is at home and return with pickled beetroot and cat food, neither of which were on the list.

Day 6

Go through music on phone. Play “Crank That ” by Soulja Boy Watch “Crank That” video on YouTube. Learn steps of dance to “Crank That”. Practise steps in front of mirror. Show assembled cats my version of “Crank That” by Soulja Boy. Run after cats as they flee in horror from my “cranking back”.

“Perhaps if we keep very still she’ll just run straight past us…”

Day 7:

Tidy wardrobe and throw old clothes away. Realise you don’t know when you’ll be able to get out and buy new clothes so retrieve previously discarded clothes, carefully replacing errant woodlouse outside.

Seriously though friends, I write to raise a smile in these difficult times – it can help, as does gardening. If you don’t have a garden, try growing something from your fruit or vegetable scraps – I have a thriving celery plant that has its origins in a large supermarket..The sense of achievement is lovely, as is the sense of looking after something living and growing.

Check out some book lists – various libraries around the world are offering thousands of books to download for free. Do something physical – not necessarily “Crank That”.. – just something to get the blood moving.

My version of a sourdough starter…

Eat if not well then at least inventively… A few ideas at any rate. And of course, look after yourselves.

A Mere Trifle…!


It’s enough to make a cat laugh when we’re in the kitchen…


Now, bear with me friends as I don’t often do this sort of thing (mainly because I don’t know how and since my technical support – i.e. Alex – is still at university this is a sort of seaty-pantsy thing with the help of my lovely friend Jean from the Canadian Cats who is doing a fab new thing with the help of the equally lovely Da Phenny and Neilson…  In Puursuit of Flavours    where the idea is to share a recipe.

So here goes..I’m afraid it was just Alex’s father and I who did this as the cats were still in hiding..that will be explained in my next post.

This is our take on a recipe adapted from the truly wonderful Mary Berry, white chocolate and cherry trifle. You can make it more gown up with the addition of a suitable liqueur, or change it up by using plain sponge instead of trifle fingers…basically just make it up as you go along.

The ingredients…

Put your fingers – the sponge ones – at the bottom of the bowl then make your jelly and pour it over, cursing as the fingers float…summon partner with fork to hold them down while you pour over the rest of the jelly.

We used black cherry flavour jelly.

Pour over the totally delicious cherry pie filling…cut tongue licking the lid of the can…


Get distracted by pain in tongue and burn chocolate in microwave (I didn’t think it was possible but somehow the chocolate became one with the bowl..)


Alex’s father unleashed his inner Gordon Ramsey and took over, melting the chocolate over boiling water, then you combine the melted chocolate with the custard. In the absence of either child or cat I took over the onerous job of ..um…licking the bowl.


So..custard on top of cherry filling..what next? Ah yes! Cream…


Whip the cream till it’s standing in soft peaks – make sure you sample it plenty of times to make sure the consistency is just right – then smooth it over the top of the custard. Then you can decorate…go wild… we stuck with the cherry theme..

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However…we felt it needed a little something else so we added crumbled chocolate…


Then eat. In moderation. Of course.

I hope you enjoyed our contribution to In Puursuit of Flavour, do go and have a look at the other featured recipes.