tilly makes & bakes

Always striving to achieve a state of domestic bliss!


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National Trust Cliveden

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We had the most amazing day at Cliveden, a National Trust property near Maidenhead (Berkshire) the other day. The weather was gorgeous and the view simply breathtaking! There is a brilliant playpark for the kids which is always a bonus as not all NT places are that well equipped for children yet. The water garden was simply stunning, especially with all the trees in their full spring bloom dresses. The maze was a hit with big H and Daddy whilst I watched a sleeping little H in her buggy. We had a blissful picnic on the lawn, enjoying the stunning views across the river Thames. We made daisy chains. The tulips were at their best. The daffodils already on their way out. It felt like we had the place to ourselves even though it was a rather busy, sunny  Sunday. The grounds are just so huge that you can easily find a quiet corner. I could literally feel my shoulders relax and come down by about two inches. We took a stroll through the woods and spotted bluebells.  Down the steps we went, towards the Thames and back up again, the long way around. Without doubt, Cliveden has the best grounds of any of the National Trust properties we have visited. And with our annual pass, we have got around a fair few over the years. What a beautiful, special place. We shall be returning here again.

 

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Tomato and pepper puff pastry tart

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I made this beautiful tart on a sunny but still chilly spring evening when I was just in the mood for summery cooking. It was so easy to make and you simply must try this, the flavours are amazing. I know I’m not reinventing the wheel, these kinds of family puff pastry “pizzas” or tarts have been made in different variations by loads of different people. I just always think it’s good to be reminded of simple dinner ideas and flavour combos.

Simply mix 1 garlic and herb boursin soft cheese with half a packet of Philadelphia with peppers (one of their flavoured varieties). Thin with a dash of milk to smooth the mixture and make it spreadable. Pour and spread the cheese mix onto your puff pastry rectangle. Score along each side of the pastry rectangle to allow the crust to rise along the edges. Tear up a handful of basil leaves and sprinkle onto the cheese mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes and a cup full of frozen sliced peppers from a bag. I like to blitz the peppers in to microwave before adding to the tart. A quick twist of black pepper will season your veg nicely. Now drizzle the tart with some balsamic vinegar glaze and pop in the oven at about 200ºC for about 20-25 minutes. Do check the instructions on the pack and use this as a guide as each brand of ready made pastry might vary. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!


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Easter almond and chocolate cups

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I have made these chocolate cups in the peanut butter version before. I am glad to say they also work with almond butter! Just substitute the peanut butter with equal amounts of almond butter and top with mini eggs. I wrapped them in cellophane bags with pretty ribbon and cannot wait to give them out on Easter Sunday!

 


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Enter catchy Spring related pun here

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Spring has sprung. I have a “Spring” in my step, etc, etc. I am seriously excited that this time of year has finally arrived- but enough with the seasonal plays on words already. Equally irritating are Easter wares and activities that are proclaimed to be “eggcellent” or “eggciting”.

Waking up light like this is quite something, isn’t it? I am not a cheerful morning person- in fact you could say I am downright grumpy. It takes at least one giant mug of coffee to get me going for the day.  This is the window next to my rocking chair in the landing and I just had to take a photo of the lovely light reflections from a mosaic vase. Being greeted by sunshine so early in the morning cheered me right up. Some other highlights of my week were

♥ buying some bedding plants for the fairy garden we are planning to make during the holidays

♥ home grown rhubarb made into a crumble (I forgot to take a photo of the crumble before it was devoured)

♥ hubby built me a quick and nifty support frame for my vege bed which I have yet to drape in netting to keep the pesky cats from using it as a litter box.

♥ home made iced coffee: simply blitz up ice cubes, 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder, vanilla syrup and milk using a hand blender.

♥ a packed salad for lunch every day.

♥ putting up an Easter tree with my little lady

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