Monthly Archives: April 2019

Spiced All Bran Cake

Spiced All Bran Cake

I don’t remember my grandma (on my Mum’s side) being much of a baker, but she did make a delicious cake made from Kellogg’s All Bran cereal.

I have inherited her cook book, which is filled with her lovely handwriting.

But unfortunately it doesn’t have her All Bran cake recipe in it. I remember it has equal measures of things in it, and, in a completely modern way for a British woman born in the 1930’s, it used cups rather than weights! Perhaps it was an American recipe? She used to make it with a mug as her measuring cup.

Fortunately, there are several recipes online, including on the Kellogg’s website, which I’ve used as inspiration for my own version.

100g All Bran (to be honest, I used Morrison’s own brand!)

100g caster sugar

150g sultanas

300ml milk (if you’re vegan a nut milk would work well I think)

100g self raising flour

1tsp allspice

Mix together the milk, All Bran, sugar and sultanas and leave to soak for at least 1 hour. My Grandma used to leave it overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade

Mix in the flour and allspice, pour it into a loaf tin (I line mine with baking paper). Bake for around an hour.

Leave it to cool a while, slice and serve with lashings of butter. The Danish have a word ‘Tandsmør’, which means ‘tooth butter’, and it’s when you have butter so thick that your teeth leave marks in it. This cake definitely deserves Tandsmør. However, I love it best warm, fresh out of the oven. It is to die for!

Houseplant Heaven – Propagating Succulents

Houseplant Heaven – Propagating Succulents

Most of my houseplants have been ordered online, and I’ve been really impressed how they have survived their journeys to my house.

However, I have found that the succulents tend to lose a few leaves in transit, which of course I can’t resist trying to turn into new plants!

The baby donkeys tail in particular lost lots and lots of leaves, which is nothing to do with how it was posted, it’s just a delicate plant!

I’ve propagated plenty of plants from cuttings, but have never tried succulent leaf propagation, so I thought I would give it a go.

I put about an inch of cactus compost in a seed tray, misted it with water, and scattered the leaves over the damp compost.

This tray (from left to right) has baby donkeys tail leaves, string of bananas leaves and variegated string of pearls leaves.

I have put them on a sunny windowsill with a plastic lid to keep the heat and moisture in. These photos were taken on the 20th January.

I received the baby donkeys tail plant about a week ago, and I have had the leaves that came off in transit in a plastic bag since then. One of the leaves already has some roots on it, so I’m hoping the rest get roots quickly. If they do, I’m going to have a lot of plants to give away!

Here is an update, on the 8th February, so less than 3 weeks later – some of them have shrivelled and died, but the vast majority are looking fine, with little roots forming on some of them.

I’ve been spritzing them regularly so they don’t dry out, and it’s been quite sunny, so they get quite warm in the daytime.

And another update on the 22nd March (so two months after I put them on the compost)- some tiny plants forming! I think I’m going to separate out the ones with plants forming and put them in their own individual modules.

And again on the 13th April. I’ve taken the largest ones and given them a small plug cell each to stop their roots getting tangled with each other.

The string of pearls has done really well (on the left) – actually better than the parent plant, so I’m glad I have some back up.

Nothing has happened to the string of bananas, just some roots forming, so I’m leaving them in the main tray for now to see if anything eventually happens.

You can see below how big the root systems are on them.

Eventually the piece they grew from will wither and die as they are getting all their nutrients from their root system.

It’s quite remarkable that in just three months I have almost 40 viable new plants for free. My friends and family will be happy, and my daughters schools fete plant stall will do well! If I was minded to try and make some money, the costs stack up well. The parent plant cost £17.50, so even if I just sold the babies in a few months for a couple of pounds each, I would be quids in, for very minimal effort!

Update… these are the plants at the end of June. Time to put them into proper pots. I’m thinking a couple put together in a small pot will soon make a nice little plant.

The ones I left in the original tray because they were too small to pot on have also done well, and one of the string of bananas finally started generating new growth. They have been joined by some leaves from some other succulents that have rooted really well just by laying them on the soil and keeping it moist with a spray. I’ve now turned them over to encourage the roots to grow into the soil. Free plants really are the best.

Copper Leaf Drinks Trolley

Copper Leaf Drinks Trolley

I have been lusting after a copper drinks trolley like this one and this one. But as most of them are at least £150 they are a little expensive.

I’ve had a blue Ikea Raskog trolley for a few years that was holding sewing supplies, and I thought I could do something with that. I don’t think they sell this colour anymore, but they still have it in different colours.

I’ve also become a little obsessed with gilding with gold leaf – I think I’ve watched too much ‘Escape to the Chateau -DIY’! I prefer copper to gold, so I thought I would try that instead.

I bought a starter kit from Wright’s Of Lymm which had brushes, copper leaf, gold size (glue) and varnish all in a handy tin.

Applying the copper leaf is pretty easy, if a little fiddly. You paint on the size and let it go tacky (like post it notes feel). Then you press on the leaf and brush over it with the soft brush that comes in the kit. It really doesn’t matter if it rips or there are gaps because you can just press on another piece, or leave the gap if you like a rustic look. The size stays tacky for ages, so there is no rush.

Beware it’s a messy job – the bits of leaf that you brush off get everywhere!

At first, I did the outside and inside of the main bits of the trolley and left the other bits blue.

However, I decided I wanted it all copper, so I thought I would try painting the legs. I had some copper coloured acrylic paint by Pebeo which I thought I would try.

It needed a couple of thin coats, but I think it looks pretty effective. I like the fact it’s a slightly different shade to the trays. I decided to leave the mesh at the bottom of the trays blue. I may spray them copper at some point in the future, but for now I’m done. I haven’t varnished it, but if I notice the copper leaf stating to chip off I will.

If I was to do this again, I would spray paint the legs and the mesh bottoms of the trays with copper paint first. That would be easier and quicker, and give a lovely even finish. Then I would apply the copper leaf. But I already had the acrylic paint, so I went with that!

My sister suggested some copper fairy lights – because apparently it wasn’t bling enough! So I added these tiny battery powered ones from Amazon

And here is the finished result…

It fits perfectly between two of my cabinets, but because it has wheels it can be pulled out if I need easy access. The lights add a nice little touch if I’m having a dinner party, and overall I’m very happy with it.