It’s been grey clouds and mist for what seems like ages now, but this week we had two sunny days. With blue skies and fluffy white clouds, it began to feel like spring really was on the way. It’ll soon be time to start thinking about sowing some of the hardy annuals outdoors – not just yet though, time enough for that when the soil warms up a bit more.
Making the most of the weather, and with the soil finally drying out a bit, I’ve finished digging over the area that’s going to be the cut flower meadow. Most of the perennial weeds have been removed (I hope) and the soil is looking pretty good. I added some homemade compost, which the hens happily helped to distribute while they scratched about in search of tasty bites to eat.
Now that the days are drawing out a little, there seem to be more birds in the garden – or maybe they’re just more noticeable. The blackbirds are more territorial again, and have been chasing around to establish who’s in charge. There’s a pheasant splitting his time between scavenging for grains that the sparrows have dropped from the feeders, and scratching about on the compost heap. And our neighbour’s ducks have taken to visiting again to play on the pond – very messy, but fun to watch.
Two sunny days meant a chance to take a cup of coffee out into the garden without needing to put on a coat, scarf and gloves. I usually end up putting my coffee mug down while I get on with some work, and then forgetting about it until it’s gone cold. Either that, or one of the hens will help herself to a drink when she comes across the mug left on the ground… The best solution for this problem had to be making some cookies – then I’d have a good reason to stop for a while, drink the coffee (while still hot) and enjoy a biscuit. This is a recipe I came up with when I wanted to combine honey, almonds and lime in a sweet snack. It makes nice soft cookies, not too sweet and big enough to give you an excuse to stop gardening and sit with that cup of coffee.
Honey & Lime Cookies
100g unsalted butter
100g golden caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g ground almonds
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 large egg, beaten
For the icing –
4 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp lime juice
Preheat the oven to 180oC, 350F, gas 4. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Put the butter, sugar and honey into a small saucepan and heat gently until everything has melted.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the ground almonds and lime zest, and stir to mix.
Pour the melted honey mixture into the bowl, add the egg and stir until everything is combined.
Take tablespoon sized scoops of the cookie mixture and roll each into a ball. Place the cookie balls onto the baking sheets, leaving space for them to spread a little.
Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown but not too firm.
Cool on a wire rack.
While the cookies are cooling, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and lime juice in a small bowl. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies, put the kettle on and get out in the garden!