Monday, 9 April 2012

Happy Easter Everybody!

Dancing Daffodils and Hot Cross Bun Chocolates!

I do hope everybody had a good Easter weekend although the weather could have been kinder to us...

The garden though, is slowly beginning to awaken from the long, cold and frankly rather wet Winter slumber...

In-between visitors over the holiday weekend, I have been busy toiling outside digging and weeding and sowing numerous seeds...

Whilst my plants may be reticent to grow, no such luck with the brambles and weeds! The wood that edges the property, continuously sends out tendrils of brambles which advances like scouts from an invading army. 

You ignore them at your peril! Once entrenched, it takes copious efforts to remove them and to stop them gaining a foothold...

The moss is more subtle...stealthily it creeps insidiously over any moist area-which given the frequent rainfall-is most of the garden...

Given all of that, it is wonderful indeed to see the cheery daffodils raising their heads above it all.

Like bright yellow sentinels they proudly look around and almost seem to shout with happiness and cheer.

This year has seen one of the best displays for many a year in my garden for daffodils. Most years the pesky squirrels have either dug up the bulbs and eaten and killed them or in the Spring chewed off the flower heads leaving just miserable lone green headless stalks...

Not so this year! Last Autumn I planted yet more daffodils which I purchased from a small British producer of miniature bulbs.

I have bought bulbs from them in the past and have to say they are a wonderful and reliable small British company producing top class bulbs.

Unfortunately the local squirrel population also thought so and I have lost many to them in the past...

Not so this time...

 Battle commenced last year and let us just say there are 28 less squirrels feasting off my garden...

Now before anybody thinks I do battle with anything in my garden, I do love the beneficial insects that visit...

Like the little ladybirds,

Another green visitor,

I love daffodils as their bobbing heads nod gently in the breeze.

They come now in so many forms from the yellow double

To the orange and white double

To some almost looking like a fried egg...

So, so lovely...

And finally, for those of you that requested, 

Lemon Balm Cheesecake


For the base:

5 Digestive biscuits
10 Ginger Nut biscuits
75 g butter
1 TBSP Welsh Heather Honey

For the topping:

500g cream cheese/mascarpone cheese
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
25g Lemon Balm (leaves only and very finely chopped)
175g Icing sugar
Sprig of Lemon Balm as the final garnish


Line a loose bottomed 8inch cake tin with parchment foil and grease with a smear of butter.
Place the Ginger Nut and Digestive biscuits in a plastic bag and whack with a rolling pin until crushed.

Meanwhile put the butter and honey in a large bowl and briefly melt in the microwave for a few seconds. Add the crushed biscuits and mix thoroughly. Press firmly into the base of the lined tin and place in the freezer to set.

Meanwhile in another large bowl gently combine the cream cheese and mascarpone together with the icing sugar, finely chopped Lemon Balm, lemon zest and the lemon juice. Take care with the lemon juice. Sometime the mascarpone and cream cheese can be quite runny-in which case do not add so much/if any lemon juice. Don’t overwork as the mixture will split. 

You may also want to add the icing sugar gradually as the mixture may be too sweet for you if you add it all at once.

In other words you may need to play around with getting the right combination!!

Spoon on top of the chilled base and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours-preferably overnight.

If you have any mixture left over, it makes a lovely Lemon Fool or Syllabub! 

When ready to serve run a warm cloth around the outside to loosen the mixture and very gently remove from the tin and lined paper.

If you do get any cracks then dust with some extra icing sugar before added the final garnish of a spring of Lemon Balm.

Delicious when served together with a spoonful of Clotted Cream!

And finally, finally,

Those Hot Cross Bun Chocolates-delicious! From Hotel Chocolate-very very yummy indeed...

Happy Easter again everybody! 


  1. Oh how I love daffodils yours are so lovely I really enjoyed yours. You have a super collection. I am thinking I need to get a few new ones this fall... thanks I enjoyed very much

    1. Hi Dusty,

      I'm so pleased with the display of the daffodils this year-and there are still more to come which is great!

  2. It sounds like you had a great weekend! I love your writing, and those daffodil varieties are a delight. The Lemon Balm Cheesecake looks fresh and tempting after the stodge of winter foods, definitely something to try - but not until I have worked off all the Easter chocolate...back to digging then!

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Oh thank you for your kind words-and from you that is praise indeed!

      The cheesecake is quite rich so lots of digging I'm afraid!!

  3. That cheese cake looks really delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe. Including Becky's lemon balm bread I now have two lemon balm based recipe's. I should soon be getting my lazy self into the kitchen to make them.

    P.s. I love your orange and white daffodil.

    1. Hi Sri,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Best of luck with the cheesecake-you may need to play around with the mixture to get the right sweetness that suit you...I’m going to give Becky’s Lemon Balm bread a go too!

      Glad you liked the daffodils-that orange and white one is a delight!

  4. Hello from Sydney! Your garden seems amazing. So many things blooming and so much colour! I love the ladybirds but yes, I've heard squirrels can be a real pest. This cheesecake sounds and looks incredible. I would like to give this a try. Love how it is made with marscapone xx

    1. Hi Charlie and hello Sydney!

      My garden is only tiny so I take pleasure in the smallest things!!
      The squirrels have been a long term problem chewing wiring as well as digging up bulbs and chewing flowers.

      Hopefully it will be better this year...

  5. The lemon balm cheesecake does look lovely except that I don't know what half the ingredients are, lol. I will likely have to make a few adjustments if I am going to make it.

    1. Hi Becky,

      Best of luck with the cheesecake. I put the quantity of Lemon Balm in grams after seeing the huge leaves your Lemon Balm produces-so different to mine which are small in comparison!
      If you need any ‘translation’ of the ingredients please do ask... All the best!

  6. Hey, talk about "waxing lyrical"! Your writing style is getting very "flowery" (in a manner of speaking). I'm not being derogatory; I like it!
    You make gardening sound like a military campaign with all the mentions of scouts from an invading army, sentinels, entrenchments, casualties (squirrels) etc. I agree though - it's a constant battle against weather and pests. How did you get rid of the 28 squirrels? Or am I not allowed to know?

    Re the cheesecake: what is your honest opinion of the Lemon Balm? What does it contribute that the real Lemon juice does not?

    By the way I think the "Ladybird" is actually a Lily Beetle

    1. Hi Mark,

      I would have to make two cheesecakes, one with and one without Lemon Balm to give you an accurate answer to your question. Truth is I do like using herbs and the smell of the lemon balm when finely chopped it is lovely so I hope that is imparted to the mixture.

      Re the squirrels...let us just say they went on a ‘heavenly’ journey....

      And finally, I like to believe I am a peace loving soul but think you are right now I have looked at a close up of my red is a Lily Beetle...dreaded thing....let battle anew commence...

  7. Beautiful photos of your flowers. We have focused so much on veggies the last few years that we have kind of forgotten flowers in the garden. I'm hoping to remedy that this year!!

    1. Greeting to Utah! I don’t have many flowers but getting out the camera makes me appreciate them so much more I think this year

  8. Thankyou for the recipe! I have loads of lemon balm so I will have to give this one a go. I haven't made a cheesecake for ages and I love them so really looking forward to it.

    1. Hi Liz,

      Trouble is it will only use a few does give me a lot of pleasure though just brushing past it when I’m in the garden.

  9. Lovely photos GD - so nice to see the daffodils. That's the thing I miss most about my mother's garden back home - the wonderful clumps of "daffys" she has every year. It's wonderful to see your lemon balm cheesecake too - I love the idea of the ginger biscuits in the base! I'm big into baked cheesecakes at the moment so I'll have to work this into my next attempt, though your own looks delicious - creamy and wonderful!

    1. Thanks Charles. Yes ‘daffys’ are such happy flowers!!
      I like using Ginger Nuts in the base with any Lemon cheesecake as I think the ginger just helps to give a ‘bite’ to the lemon.

  10. Sounds like you had a very productive Easter - really those pesky weeds and wildlife. For us it's rampant docks, dandelions and buttercups, which seed in from all around AND voles (apart from slugs of course). They ate virtually all of my beetroot last year and most of our peas and quite a few other things. Apologies if I have ranted at you about them before, but I still feel incensed and helpless - have no idea what to do about them.

    Your lemon balm cheesecake sounds very interesting - I make copious amounts of lemon balm tea, but haven't used it for much else. Love daffodils, but ours are all over long ago. Luckily there are masses of primroses everywhere and they are my absolute favourite.

    We spent Easter much like you, mornings down at our plot doing some much needed work and finally getting the potatoes in. The afternoons with friends walking, eating and talking - all quite lovely.

    1. Hi Choclette,

      Sound like you had a good Easter too!

      Never –touch wood-had a problem with voles so can’t offer any advice-moles yes and finally had to get a professional in. It’s funny that we all have our own particular bug bears. I have no problem with the visiting pigeons and blackbirds which can cause havoc in other people’s gardens and docks stay in the wood and don’t seed in my garden either.

      On a happier front, I too love primroses and they have done well this year. Another flush of daffs are also on their way from the later flowering ones and the tulips are also doing well!


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