zondag 22 november 2015

Gardening book giveaway


It was cold and rainy in the garden today. After a stormy week I decided to check if the roof was still on my garden house and the glass panes of my greenhouse weren't smashed by big branches which had fallen from the trees. The damage was minimal. A few terracotta pots were broken and my rain pipe had come loose. It could have been a lot worse.

In between taking photo's and doing some work in the garden, I warmed up to an ancient bathroom stove I found in a thrift store years ago. My late husband rewired it and since then it functions perfectly. I am so grateful to have it. On days like this when it's only two degrees Celsius, it's necessary to warm your hands and feet now and then.

I was amazed to see that there are still roses in bloom. Not one or two, but a whole bush. There are catkins on the hazel tree already and several plants are making new shoots. Somehow it's reassuring that after these dark and cold autumn and winter days, spring will arrive once more.

I am not sure if you remember, but a few weeks ago I promised to do a giveaway. Callwey publishers kindly permitted me to give one of their gardening books to you. It's called Besondere Frauen und ihre Gaerten. The book is about some well know and lesser known German ladies and their gardens. The photography is beautiful.

If you are interested, please say so in your comment. Keep in mind that the book is written in German.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!


Madelief x

zondag 15 november 2015

A burst of colour and beauty

On this bizarre weekend, when great part of the world is in grief over the people who lost their lives in Paris, I post this burst of colour and beauty. I hope it will brighten up the darkness and lift the spirit. If only a little.

My thoughts are with the people who lost family and friends, with the people who sat on a terrace under the light of the lanterns, enjoying each others company. My thoughts are with the people who were dancing to the music of one of their favourite bands. My thoughts are with the people who lost their innocence and whose lives will never be the same because of what they witnessed. My thoughts are with the beautiful city of Paris, so many of us enjoy and whose scar will take some time to heal.

My burst of colour and beauty was taken on a fine summer morning at Thornbridge Hall, a beautiful house and garden in The Peak District. Where flowers tumbled over each other, ivy crept up the windows and dragonfly's hovered over the pond, while my daughter and I sat on the grass eating a sandwich. Why can't life always be this simple?

Wishing you Love and Peace,

Madelief x

zondag 8 november 2015

Raspberry chocolate cheesecake

It's been an exceptionally beautiful autumn in Rotterdam so far. I spent part of last Sunday on a terrace in a park nearby and today is one of those days when I think I should actually do the same. It's too fine a day to sit inside writing a blogpost. So, I will keep it short.

Before I go I will share a delicious cheesecake recipe with you. The bake really is part brownie with a cheesecake topping and raspberries. Heavy, yes, but mouth watering. The cheesecake raspberry topping gives the bake the extra twist that makes it special.

What you need is:

* 200 gr. good quality dark chocolate
* 200 gr. butter, softened
* 400 gr caster sugar
* 5 eggs
* 110 gr. flour
* 400 gr. cream cheese
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 140 gr raspberries

a rectangular cake tin 20 x 30 cm, covered in baking parchment

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease the tin. 

Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool slightly. Cream the butter and 250g of the caster sugar until pale, then add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour. Spread three-quarters of the mixture into the lined tin.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar and eggs and the vanilla extract until smooth. Spread over the chocolate base. Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture over the cream cheese layer and use a fork to swirl the chocolate. Push the raspberries into the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Leave to cool. Cut into squares before serving.

* * * * * * * *

The brownies are a perfect autumn bake. I used some of my latest vintage finds for the photo shoot: a brown coffee pot and matching sugar bowl from the 1970s, two coffee cups from the same period, an elegant teacup with red and golden details from the fifties and a set of green glass tea plates from the 1930s. The last set being a favourite! Love the colour of the glass, the pattern.....I think it was waiting in the thrift shop for me to be found.

Did you find anything special lately?

Next week my giveaway of the book Besondere Frauen und ihre Gaerten by Gallwey publishers will be online. If you are interested, stay tuned.

Have a lovely week!

Madelief x

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