Crafty Garden Hoe Allotment inspiration on Pinterest

Hello, I know its been a while. Hope you’ve all been well? After a pretty shitty 2015 we’re back at Crafty Garden Hoe hoping for a better 2016. Though I’ve not been very active on the blog, or tweeting that much there’s one social media outlet that I have been obsessed with for some time, Pinterest. Amongst my other interests in craft, design, baking and other lovely thing I have board called “Allotment Inspiration” where I pin all things inspiring for the allotment and gardening in general. Why not join me? Grab yourself a cup of tea and loose a few hours in Pinterest with me.
       Follow Emma’s board Allotment Inspiration on Pinterest.

Carrot & Cashew Nut Cake

There’s something about a summer’s day that makes me really fancy a bit of cooling sweet  carrot cake. I love the way it sounds healthy, though despite its long association with health food shops it’s far from healthy! Sure you can hide some veggies and some nuts in there but it’s still a naughty little cake. And I love a naughty little cake!

Finding myself on a sugar craving snack hunt I found we had a lot of carrots to get through, a carton of cream cheese in need of using up and a big bag of cashews at the back of the store cupboard. To be honest I was really after some chocolate for a quick sugar fix but found these random ingredients whispering… carrot and cashew nut cake. By adapting the basic carrot cake recipe I substituted cashews instead of walnuts and added sugar cashews for topping. I must say I prefer using cashews instead of walnuts as sometimes walnuts can be bitter or catch my throat. Cashews add a lovely creamy edge and caramelised crunch to the topping.

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For the cake

150ml sunflower oil
200g light soft brown sugar
3 eggs
175g plain flower
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
75g chopped cashew nuts
150 – 200g grated carrots (I used two medium-sized carrots)

For the cream cheese frosting

250g of cream cheese (around one pack)
100g of icing sugar
zest of one lemon

For the Sugared Cashews for topping 

100g cashews
tea cup of water or around 100 ml water
25g granulated sugar
dessert spoon of Demerara sugar

Heat the oven to 180 C/160 C fan/350 F/gas 4 and line the base of your chosen tin. I used a 20cm loose bottom tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl.

Using a food processor or by hand mix the sugar and oil together until smooth incorporating the beaten eggs. Stir in the carrots and nuts to the mixture then fold in the dry ingredients.

pour into your cake tin smoothing gently with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, test with a skewer, if it comes out with only a few crumbs your cake is ready.

leave to cool completely in the tin.

Whilst cooling make the lemon cream cheese topping and your sugared cashews.

For the cream cheese frosting simple mix together the cream cheese and icing sugar gently until all the icing sugar has dissolved, stir through the lemon zest and set aside back in fridge until needed.

For the sugared cashews start by lightly toasting the cashews in a dry frying pan. Add the granulated sugar to the water heating in a small pan until simmering and the sugar has been dissolved. Pour into the warm nuts in the fry pan (be careful the pan is not too hot!) let. Leave simmering the sugar-water and nuts until becomes syrupy and add the demerara sugar. Continue to cook until the liquid has gone and the nuts are sticky. Set aside to cool.

Turn out your cooled cake, frost with the cream cheese mix and decorate with your sugared cashews. Eat immediately or keep in the fridge until consumed.

Garden Visit: The Potager Garden and Glasshouse cafe

Almost a month ago (where does the time go!) we went on our annual summer holiday down to Cornwall. This year we were blessed with sunshine for ten whole days! Ten whole days of long beach walks, collecting pebbles and shells, wildflowers,  ice cream, hikes, bike rides, national trust visits and lashings of cream teas. One thing I particularly enjoy is a visit to a kitchen garden, bit like a busman’s holiday I suppose! For the last couple of years one place has been on our list of places to go, but, we just never quite make it there, The Potager Garden and Glasshouse Cafe. This year we made a special effort to get there.

Continue reading “Garden Visit: The Potager Garden and Glasshouse cafe”

Long were the Salad Days: A Summer Salad Challenge

Homegrown salad all summer long, that’s the dream huh? Sadly for me it’s never been a reality no matter how enthusiastic I’ve been in the beginning it just takes a row of pigeon pecked lettuces, slug ravaged seedlings or bolted spinach to break my heart and dwindle my motivation.

Continue reading “Long were the Salad Days: A Summer Salad Challenge”

1 May 2014 International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day

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Every May since 2006 a group of guerilla gardeners in Brussels declared the 1st of May, International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening Day. A day for everyone everywhere with a cheeky guerilla gardening streak to spread our gardening love beyond our plots, windowsills, gardens (if your lucky!), to plant sunflowers seed in our communities in the hope that they will bring beauty and smile to peoples faces in our neighbourhoods

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What You Sow Blog Garden Party Competition

Crafty Sew & Sow

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Today I came home from work to find a mysterious missed delivery slip from our Postie waiting for me in our post box. What could it be I thought? I didn’t think I had ordered anything off the internet recently, it certainly wouldn’t have surprised me if it was some order of yarn I’d ordered on a whim and forgotten about. Seeing as the parcel depot in town a few minutes down the road opens late Wednesday evenings off I went to pick up the mysterious package.

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