Welcome to Summer

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It has been a long Spring, the damp chill of the early season has been holding on long after it was welcome. The sky has been grey and continually overcast, the rain has been ever present and the wind has not dropped. Ever ambitious in our allotmenting, and still fairly new to the whole thing, we lost countless seedlings early on in vain attempts to weather sprouting plants in the garden. Even sheltered by a low wall and our garden furniture, pots were shattered, scattered and destroyed. On the plot it was worse and things we planted out barely lasted a day, even cloched or protected the weather worked it’s evil and had away with our efforts.

My fella became despondent and disheartened, and we compared this years attempts at growing our own with last year, when the sun shined continually and we had optimum allotment weather. Everyone always told us that some years are better than others, but it was hard adjusting our expectations. Everything seemed to be taking forever, the salad took an age to sprout, the beetroot floundered and the peas were ridden with weavils.
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It struck me today though how far we’ve come- I think we’ve had a breakthrough. Today we came home with our first proper harvest, ie more than just the strawberries and raspberries we’ve been enjoying for the past couple of weeks. Our first courgette was ready, we had a portion of beans and enough beetroot for our Sunday roast. As for the salad leaves, they’ve done so well they’ve gone to flower and are taking over. Plus we’ve got onions and garlic and my flower patch is beginning to bloom. Things are really moving. Summers really here.

The other reason I know summer is properly here (other than the hottest day ever last week) is that Wimbledon is in full swing. Murray mania is building, and he’s not been the only Brit worth betting on so it’s been an exciting time. In honour if my favourite sporting occasion I got back in the kitchen and did some baking, and I’m not been funny but it was absolutely stunning! I’m not at Wimbledon this year (heartbroken), and so in an effort to recreate the SW1 magic I made a cake worthy of the finest English Summer Tennis game.

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Pimms Cake

350g self raising flour
350g caster sugar
350g butter
5 large eggs
Splash of milk
2tsp baking powder
6tbsp Pimm’s

Mix all the ingredients together, saving three tbsp Pimm’s, divide between three greased tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25 mins, until golden brown and springy to touch.

Cool on a wire rack. Prick holes in each cake and pour over remaining Pimm’s. Leave to cool completely.

Make buttercream by mixing 50g soft butter with 200g icing sugar and 3tbsp Pimm’s. Mix to taste.

Build up cake by sandwiching with whipped double cream and top with buttercream. Decorate with chopped strawberries, raspberries, cucumber, orange and springs of mint.

Enjoy on a summers day, watching Andy and sipping on a glass of Pimm’s- summer bliss.

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