The perfect place to spend Christmas

Guests visiting White Moss House during the summer months often say,  "This must be a great place at Christmas". Yes! It is!
We're closed to bed and breakfast guests, but open for the family, who gather here every year in various numbers and combinations.
Right now I'm getting ready. Here's the Christmas tree in our private sitting room, known by the Wordsworths at "the West Library" apparently. The tree is in a lovely bay window from which you can just see Rydal Water. The lights are reflected in the angled windows, and this year I've created a vision of red and gold .I'm pretty pleased with it anyway!
White Moss House Christmas Tree #1

I'll add a picture of the little Christmas Tree in the Wordsworth Lounge later. Why not bookmark and come back?
By the way, over 2,500 have viewed my Traditional Sherry Trifle recipe this week! I'm making it on Friday to serve on Boxing Day.


Getting ready for a Lake District Christmas

It's wet, it's grey, but we're feeling cheerful 'cos we're getting ready for Christmas.
Whilst ordering some Christmas presents from Amazon, I got side tracked, and started ordering CDs for myself. Bad, ...but good..... I'd read a review of the Albion Band's new Christmas CD. Reader, I bought it.
It's playing now, and will be on a loop till after Xmas!

Here's the Albion Christmas Band CD that I'm listening to right now.
Pity there's not picture, but it really is excellent. Music and words for Christmas. Ashley Hutchings and Simon Nicol at their best.


Out of the garden and into the kitchen

It's dark and damp today, so there's no great incentive to get outside and tidy up the herb garden.
Instead, I'm going to try out my home made Christmas candy recipes. There will be lots of spoon licking going on.
My favourites at the moment are my homemade chocolate truffles. They're very easy to make, and you can make so many different versions.
These home made chocolate truffles taste very sophisticated, especially if you add alcoholic flavourings. My tops flavouring are rum and brandy, both of which go down well with male chocoholics ( there are many!) and then Bailey's or Cointreau for a more girlie taste.

I'm also making home made peppermint creams.

I'm going to try pretty but inexpensive ways to package them for Christmas gifts . I thin I'll be saving small cardboard boxes to recover with shiny Christmas paper.
You can see what packing is for sale by looking on my Homemde candies pages, but I think I'll be making my own this Christmas. Times are hard, money is tight, gas bills are high!


Celeriac on my mind- do you know how to use celeriac?

We've always been big fans of "the ugly one"- celeriac, here at White Moss House. Before we retired from serving dinner ( 30 years at the top of the Good Food Guide!) Peter's soups were legendary.
One of his secret weapons was celeriac. We made soups fresh every day, using home made stock with herbs from our herb garden and fresh vegetables in season. The soups were NEVER thickened with flour, but vegetables were used to give the soup texture.
As autumn comes, celeriac can be found on the vegetable counter.What do you do with it? Well, the first coice is to make soup.
You can, of course, use potato to thicken a soup, but for a different flavour, try using celeriac.
Lots of people are puzzled by this strange knobbly vegetable, but the French love it. They even eat celeriac raw as Celeriac Remoulade.
Jamie Oliver loves celeriac- his "smashed celeriac" is so tasty!
I've written an article "What the heck can I do with celeriac?". Take a look- give the ugly one a try!


We made the chutney, and apple butter, and the apple cake

Apple chutney- done.
Apple butter- done! ( as Gordon Ramsay would say!)
Now we've just made Delia's apple loaf- it's in the oven right now. Here's the link if you want to try Delia's apple and pecan loaf. It's smelling wonderful. Shame about the diet.
We've still got loads of windfalls left, and the next thing I'm planning to do with them is to make and freeze apple sauce for Christmas. I make a special apple sauce by putting a knob of butter in a heavy based pan, with just a little water, and sweating the apples till soft. I like to keep the apple as concentrated as possible. I then add sugar to taste. It all depends on what mixture of apples came down in the wind.
Add spices if you like, or you can add them at Christmas when you defrost the sauce.

If you haven't tried our Grasmere blackberry and apple crumble click on this link and take a look at this easy recipe. It's a winner!


Deer in the garden eating apples.

Aaaah don't they look sweet?
Deer do look lovely, of course they do, but if they would just stick to eating the windfall apples that would be great. Please leave everything else alone.
Actually, I'd like them to leave the apples too, as I'm planning a big chutney cook up - hunting for recipes right now.
Any good ideas, please let me know.


Lovage for lunch.

We've got lots and lots of lovage in garden. More than we know what to do with.
Today we've chopped it into a salad for a great celery like flavour.
If you want to know more about lovage, how to grow and use it, you'l find lots of information about lovage and lovage recipes here.
I feel that lovage is the sort of thing Dorothy Wordsworth would have grown- a real old fashioned herb. I don't think she mentioned in in her Grasmere journals- I'll have to re read them. She certainly mentioned White Moss though.
Here's the link to the journals for readers in the U S A. Sadly Blogger doesn't offer UK Amazon links. As soon as I work out how to do it, I'll be putting links in for UK readers.


The trouble with adsense when writing about wildlife.

Writing about bats in my first post on this new blog, I then find that all the adsense ads are about how to get rid of said lovely little things as if they were not wanted.

We must take care of our protected species. Do your worst adsense!

The most amusing bat event in retrospect was when some guests went to sleep with the light on, windows and curtains open, and rang at 3 am to say they had a b...t in the room. There's no way you can persuade a b....t to leave a room at 3am if it wants to be there, so we just moved the guests to another room , which luckily we had free. The guests were Americans- is that relevant? Anyway, they didn't make a fuss- I think we could all agree that none of us enjoyed being woken at 3am, but if you will go to sleep in the country side with your lights on a windows open, you're asking for trouble.

Life in a Wordsworth House- this house has seen lots of things during its 280 years.....follow my new blog for more exciting events!!!!!

Baby bats pay us a visit.

Living in the countryside in a old house, you get used to living with wildlife all around you. Sometimes you see the wild creatures, sometimes you hear them , and sometimes you just know they've visited, like when the deer have munched through your favourite flowers.

We have pipistrelle bats living in the eaves at White Moss House. These are the smallest, most common British bats. When you see them flying around in the evening, the bats look like birds, swallow like and pretty. At this time of year there are baby bats around, and every year we find the babies straying indoors.The baby bats are only a few inches long. They look like a leaf on the carpet, then closer examination show they are live!

Last year we rang the local bat experts to find out what to do for the best. He advised carefully taking the baby bats outside and positioning them in a crevice near to where the bast fly. We've now done this twice in the last few days. Let's hope that little battlings found their mums.