Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Infidel's Cemetery

I first heard about this fascinatingly-named place in a crime novel set in the Peak District. (To my shame, I cannot now remember the title but the author was Stephen Booth). As a lot of local towns, villages & landmarks were either used or still recognisable from their literary counterparts, I was intrigued by the mention of an old disused graveyard on a road I frequently travelled between Wardlow and Ashford in the Water.
Research on the Ordnance Survey maps showed that, indeed, there was a plot of land marked as "burial ground", not far from the well-known beauty spot Monsal Head. Even knowing of its existence and approximate location it was very hard to spot, and on a narrow country road not easy to park up and explore on foot.
Today, however, many happy circumstances combined. I had time to spare, my camera with me, and a nice sunny day. I was able to find a field entrance to park in not too far away so I now have photographs of this forlorn and desolate last resting place.
The easy-to-miss entrance
Once through the hole in the wall, the sign reads "Thieves will be Prosecuted "

Inside the graveyard, the graves are very overgrown -- just now it is easy to see where stones and graves have been but once the brambles grow in a few weeks it will be difficult to walk around. Gravestones that are still standing lean at crazy angles and are covered in ivy.
Despite it's name, this small burial ground is not for infidels, but was used by local Baptists from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. When some of the epitaphs were recorded, it was noted that none were biblical or made any reference to God or Jesus Christ and so it was given its exotic name. According to some stories, the graveyard is haunted by a man dressed completely in black and a woman in grey who flits between the tombstones. Neither were in evidence in the bright sunshine, but I can well imagine that on a dark misty night it could be a very spooky place!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Making Whoopie!!

According to the newspapers & TV, the craze for cupcakes is over. No longer will people be eating these very pretty to look at but often over-sweet confections.

So, you may ask, how should I satisfy those cakey cravings?

The answer is -- the whoopie pie!!

Despite its name, the whoopie is not a pie - no pastry is involved at all. It consists of two cakey-biscuity rounds, sandwiched together with buttercream.

As I was on the lookout for new items to add to my Farmer's Market Stall, I decided to give them a try this weekend. They sold pretty well -- many people having seen them on TV during the week and so recognised the name.

The recipe said it made 6 large (ie cereal-bowl sized) whoopies. I decided to make them a bit smaller, so I got 9 whoopies about 3 - 4 inches out of the mixture:

the unbaked mixture

they spread a bit in the oven -- next time I might use some of my jumbo muffin cases to keep them nice and round!

However, once sandwiched with buttercream, they didn't look too bad! And tasted even better !:)

My first batch followed the recipe and so were a chocolate "pie" with vanilla buttercream, but they lend themselves well to many combinations of flavours. I am thinking of a lavender pie with lemon buttercream for the summer -- or maybe strawberries & cream for the Wimbledon fortnight!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Milestones 2

Another milestone reached is my 3rd Etsyversary -- 3 years since I opened my first shop on Etsy! Overall it is a reasonable success - although, as in real-life, sales are variable. I have just had a flurry of Easter sales, but it had been pretty quiet since Christmas.

I had hoped to reach 500 sales around the same time -- but stuck a few sales short. I am now on 493, so I am sure it won't be long before the magic figure rolls around.

Opening on Etsy was certainly the start of quite an on-line "empire" -- I now have 4 shops plus my own website and between them all I have at least one package to post most days :). Ironically, the least successfull is my craft shop, Marmaladytoo - as I had originally joined Etsy in order to sell my crafts! I have also got accounts on various other selling venues (Folksy, Coriandr, MyeHive) in order to reserve my name - though I have not yet set up shops on these sites.

Find my shops here: for baked goods & preserves for crafts for destash supplies & vintage items for baking supplies

and of course my own site:

Milestones 1

Several milestones have been reached or approached over the last few days!
Last Sunday, our Lizzie reached the "grown-up" age of 30!! Wherever did all those years go? She celebrated with a nights clubbing in Manchester on the Saturday night -- and also managed for all her various friends not to fall out with each other! (for those in the know -- this is quite a feat as there is usually at least one member of the group not talking to another one - so maybe they are all growing up after all ;) ) On the day itself was a much more sedate celebration -- a meal at an Italian restaurant for about 20 of her friends & colleagues.

Her present from us (apart from the chocolate cake!) was this superb bag from etsy seller redrubyrose:

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Mrs Beeton

One of my Christmas presents was an early edition of Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery. This is a fascinating read, as it gives an insight into the daily life & meals of the average income family pre-First World War. The book assumes that the household has a cook and one maid, so the "Lady of the House" has some supervisory and hands-on duties concerned with the running of the house.
The recipes are arranged in alphabetical order of main ingredient or name of the dish and cover quite a range of international dishes as well as plain basic British cooking. Some will be well worth trying out but others I do not fancy!
One recipe that I cannot imagine anyone eating with relish is this idea for left-over sprouts:

Brussel Sprouts Saland
Ingredients: Cooked Brussel Sprouts, salad dressing, beetroot
Method: Toss the sprouts lightly in a little salad dressing, pile in a salad bowl and decorate with beetroot.