An English Country Garden

What gorgeous weather we have had this weekend.  Well today was particularly lovely as it was sunny and warm but yesterday was at least warm enough to enjoy being outside.

I must share this divine smoothie recipe with you; fresh apricots and frozen banana.  That’s it. 2 simple ingredients which made a delicious smoothie that had a lovely texture and wonderful mild flavour.P1060568Some of these were too ripe or even rotten but I am not fussy so I cut off the bad bits and enjoyed the rest.P1060569

When they are blitzed with the bananas you would never know the apricots were a bit below par.P1060570I added some walnuts and coconut to the top for some healthy fats and extra nutrition.  It was really good.P1060571I want to eat this again!P1060572

Harvey and I collected Lara on Friday evening in Sutton and we had supper with my Dad and Step-Mother before heading home to Kent for the weekend.

We spent Saturday afternoon in Hastings.  We had lunch in the Pavilion in the park (jacket potato and three bean chilli) followed by a stroll to the pier.P1060622 P1060623 P1060624 I finally made it to the new pier in Hastings.P1060625 It has been quite controversial because it is a large and mainly open space but they can host films and concerts here.P1060626 P1060630 P1060631 P1060632 We all really enjoyed it.P1060633 P1060634 P1060636 I also found the Observer Building for the first time which is used as a venue for art shows etc.P1060640 After an early and light lunch in Hastings, I had my favourite snack in the afternoon when we came home.P1060642 Avocado mashed up with lime juice and coriander, eaten on crisp bread or oatcakes with tomato.  Food of the Gods.P1060643

I ate quite well during the day on Saturday and walked about 12,000 steps but undid all my good work by drinking too much in the evening.  I went over the road for supper with my fab neighbours and Lucy had made me a delicious vegetable paella.  It was excellent and I had it with ratatouille, sweet potato chips and salad.  Followed by fresh fruit and then crackers.  It was such a fun night with the best set of neighbours anyone could ever wish for.

Sorry Chris but this photo really made me laugh so I had to include it 🙂P1060644 Thank you Marion and Colin for being such amazing hosts, as always.P1060646I was a little bit fragile this morning so drank lots of tea and had a banana to keep me going until I cooked a very tasty lunch which we had earlier than usual.
P1060650 I work with a lot of colleagues from India and I sit next to Maya who prepares delicious Indian food.  She  is very generous and often brings in tasty treats for us all to share.  Last week she gave me 2 tubs of home blended spices.  This one has cumin and coriander and I am not sure what else but it smells earthy and citrusy.  Just wonderful.  P1060647So I used it on some potatoes.  I chopped the potatoes in to chunky chip shapes and in a large bowl, mixed together some sunflower oil, 1 heaped tbsp of Maya’s spice and 1 teaspoon salt.  I added the potatoes and mixed them in to the oil and spices so every piece was covered.  I put the potatoes on baking trays, spread out so they were not touching each other, and cooked them in a hot oven (180 C) for 20 minutes.  I turned them over and cooked for another 15 minutes.  They were absolutely delicious.P1060652

I also made a large salad.  The green base is a mixture of rocket and little gem lettuce.  On top of that are tomatoes, celery and cucumber.   On top of that are some griddled spring onions, courgettes and red peppers, garnished with pistachios.P1060651 We ate outside under the shade of the apple tree as it was very warm by the middle of the day.P1060654 I had a Vegan caesar dressing with my salad and enjoyed every mouthful.P1060655 We all did.P1060656We spent the afternoon with Annette at an Open Garden between Sutton Valence and Headcorn  for Heart of Kent Hospice.  I do like these Nigella’s.
P1060658 This is the amazing garden surrounding this 14th Century Wealden house.P1060659 P1060661 P1060663 P1060665 P1060666 P1060669 P1060672 I particularly liked this shade made from the trees.P1060675 Look at the size of that magnificent oak tree.P1060676 We then sat in their beautiful gardens and enjoyed a cuppa and they had soya milk which was a pleasant surprise.P1060678 Harvey and Annette had cake at the open garden but I didn’t and I felt peckish when we got home so I shared this bowl of crisps and houmous with Lara – oops!P1060680 Supper was a simple affair of a baked sweet potato with vegan cheez and oven baked cauliflower in du’cah spices.  Simple but tasty and substantial enough.P1060681

So a lovely weekend, enjoyed with both children and my lovely neighbours and which included a visit to Hastings and a beautiful local garden.  I hope you enjoyed your weekend too.