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A Weekend of Sunshine, Bike Rides & Almond Cookies (Dairy Free, Egg Free, Vegan)

After one of the coldest Springs on record, the weather is finally starting to warm up.  Like us, the garden is loving it!  The Aquilegias (‘Granny’s Bonnet’) are out in full force…

Aquilegia - June 2013

and the peonies have started to bloom.

Peony May-June 2013

We had zero fruit on the apple and plum trees last year due to the poor weather conditions, but things are looking better this year.  Even the tiny apple tree growing in our rockery is covered in blossom.

Apple Tree & Peony - May-June 2013

Hopefully we’ll have lots of homegrown apples come September 🙂

Apple Blossom - May-June 2013

The weather is still very patchy at the moment though.  One day we have glorious sunshine and it’s warm, while the next day it can be cold and dark, with non stop rain.  I don’t know when (or if) the weather is going to settle down this year, so we’re just going to have to make the most of the sunshine when it appears.

This morning, before heading out on our bikes, Lil’ L and I decided to bake some Cinnamon Fruit Loaf and Almond Cookies.  As soon as the cookies were baked, we headed out into the garden to enjoy them along with a cup of raw hot chocolate.

Lil L, Almond Cookies & Hot Choc in the Garden 1

In fact, it was so sunny this morning that we needed to wear sun glasses!

Lil L, Almond Cookies & Hot Choc in the Garden 2

The almond cookies were really yummy!  Straight from the oven, they were crunchy on the outside with a softer centre.  We used chapatti flour which is so fine that you wouldn’t even guess that these cookies were wholegrain!  To boost the almond flavour, we added a little almond extract which gave them a hint of marzipan.  Next time round, we’re going to toast the almonds first to see if we can boost the almond flavour even more.

Vegan Almond Cookies

Here’s how we made them:

Fuelled up from our ‘elevenses’, we headed out on our second bike ride of the weekend, this time along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal…

Riding along the Kennet & Avon Canal Towpath

passing through the lush green countryside and wildflower meadows round Monkton Coombe, followed by a ride through the Bath Two Tunnels (it was so cool in there!)

Two Tunnels

then onto Bath city centre for cappuccinos & smoothies.    It was absolutely glorious!

I hope you had a lovely weekend too and I wish you all the best for the week ahead 🙂

What was the highlight of your weekend?

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Rainy Sunday… let’s make gingerbread!

This has got to be the rainiest day we’ve had so far this year.  It pounded down non stop all day. 

Rain Rain Rain

 As I didn’t fancy going out and getting soaked, I thought it would be a good opportunity to tackle some of the items on my ‘Save for a rainy day’ list.  Since I’m getting interested in photography, I thought I’d start by learning how to use Adobe Photoshop.  I’ve had this software for years, but have never got around to looking at it.  Well, I looked at it for about 5 minutes, was totally baffled, didn’t have a clue what any of the buttons meant, so decided to quit, log on to Amazon and order a dummy’s guide to Photoshop (or some similar named book).  I then turned the computer off and decided to do some baking with Lil L’, which is far more entertaining 🙂

Yesterday I spotted a really cute cookie cutter in the Guildhall market, in the shape of a gingerbread house.  M offered to buy it for me 🙂  We later had a look in the Kitchen Shop and found the exact same cookie cutter for £1 more!  (Note to self, always look in the Guildhall first for kitchen stuff).  Lil L’ and I had much fun making the cookies and we were really pleased with the results! 

You can find the recipe here.

Gingerbread cookies displayed on gorgeous Cath Kidston plate (part of a 3-tier cake stand) which I received as a birthday pressie from 'The Sparras'.

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