Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Day 11 of Making it in March - Delicious Syrup Sponge Pudding

Day 11 of 31, the Best Day of the Year so Far!

Making the most of the sunshine!
This morning dawned frosty and bright, so an early start was in the offing to make the most of the good weather. A good 5-mile walk with my camera built up my appetite, that's for sure! It should also have boosted my Vitamin D levels - frugal health and fitness from the free, outdoor gym.
Gorse flowering by the stream
The countryside is coming alive with colour as the grass takes on a fresh flush of green and the plentiful gorse explodes into a myriad of bright yellow flowers! I love gorse (or whins) as it is so utterly versatile! I have promised myself some gorse petal cookies and tea tomorrow, if the sun shines and I can nip out to collect some fresh flowers.

Gorse on the hillside
We are surrounded by gorse bushes - they line the roadside, line nearby fields and cover vast strips of hillside. I love the wood for burning in the stove, it is so flammable it doesn't need much drying to burn. The flowers are edible, so they can be used in salads, tea and for wine-making (or biscuit baking). In the past, this thorny evergreen has been used to fire bread-ovens - it burns exceptionally well - and makes for some unusual garden sculptures, as the wood seldom rots.

I made the extra effort to watch for wildlife and birds. We saw many chaffinches, Bluetits, great tits, pied wagtails, dunnocks and buntings, plus the familiar Yellowhammers that flit about the hawthorn. It definitely sounded spring-like out there this morning! The Greylags are still noisily grazing by the loch and the Goldfinches were where we usually see them.

Crocuses by the roadside
Along the way there are many snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils, all growing wild and spreading in their secretive way. I often wonder how the bulbs get to be in some of the places I see them flowering! Out this morning, I found a clump of them torn up by the tractor as it had been along the road hedge-cutting. I stuck what I could back into the ground nearby and brought the remains home to see if I could save them. I've stuck them in a pot out on the patio but don't know if they'll grow, as the actual bulbs have been quite crushed.

Buttercup species are poisonous
The first of the buttercups are beginning to flower but, sadly, this isn't anything edible, so no good for foraging.

The 'spooky' tree
This is what I call the spooky tree - it leans at a rather precarious angle across the road and, at dusk, looks very imposing as it looms overhead. Against an azure sky, it looks quite spectacular in it's leafless, winter form.

Catkins beginning to emerge
I remember playing with these when I was a child. We'd go into the woods and collect a handful from the nearest willow and imagine them to be tiny, furry pets, giving them names and building them houses from match boxes! Strange how memories of such simple childhood games can be recalled.

What a beautiful display the Ribes provides. It grows among the hawthorn here and has a tangle of honeysuckle around it, all growing wild by the roadside. Did you know that Ribes sanguineum was introduced into cultivation by 19th century Scottish botanist David Douglas? We do now.

Phoebe laid us another egg today, so her contribution to the household groceries helped finish off the syrup that was crystallising in the last tin in the store cupboard. 

Microwaved Syrup Sponge
Microwaved syrup sponge is yet another of my favourites because it's so simple and quick to make. If you don't have syrup, use jam. I used equal amounts of sugar, margarine and self-raising flour and beat this all together with the duck egg and a splash of milk, poured the mix over the top of the syrup in a greased, microwaveable bowl, blasted it on full power for 5 minutes and served it hot with milk over the top. Delicious! Just replaced all the calories burned during my 5-mile walk and then some!
I now have 3 duck eggs washed and ready to paint and hang in macramé plant pot holders. I WILL make these tomorrow - please remind me! Thank you.
Having forgotten to take my 'Food for Free' pocket nook with me today, I don't know if I saw anything else that was worth foraging. I'll remember it tomorrow so I can check while out collecting the gorse flowers, weather permitting.
NYK, Frugaldom


  1. Hi NYK! Today was absolutely gorgeous in my town too! Unfortunately, I was stuck inside at the office. Glad you were able to take advantage of it. Great pics! ~ Pru

    1. Thanks, Pru, it's all down to the joys of self-employment. It may take 60 hours to earn £75 but I can fit them in any time of the day or night. LOL Off out to gather gorse flowers this morning. :)

  2. Hi Frugaldom - Thanks for todays Blog - what a lovely part of the world you live in - money can't buy that - worth being frugal for - sorry you are income poor at the moment been there when we were self emlpoyed ourselves(now OAP)Something WILL turn up only hope it's soon. jac.xx(kel) can't work the profie bit out sorry hence anon.

    1. No worries, I'm actually better off now than I have ever been: no mortgage, savings in the bank, 12 hours equivalent minimum wage covers all my costs and anything else is a bonus. :)

  3. Syrup sponge pudding, very nice. I was wondering whether your buttercup is actually a celandine? - buttercups have different leaves I believe?

    1. Yes, it is probably lesser celandine, but it's still butternut related and poisonous, so I didn't thing the finer details would be necessary with regards to frugal living. My apologies.

  4. That looks scrumptious! My Nanny (grandmother) used to make sponge puddings all the time and syrup was my fave :-D
    Is it Richard Mabey's book that you use? I had a copy years ago but can't find it now (hubby probably threw it out, lol!)

    1. Yes, it's the Collins pocket gem version :)

  5. lovely to see the lovely countryside where you live. It's snowing here (SIGH)

    1. Gill, it feels cold enough to snow here, it was frosty last night again and we had this similar weather pattern last March, then got snowed in on the 25th! LOL


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