in my kitchen – July 2014

Once again, I’m joining Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial as she spearheads the In My Kitchen series. So, what’s happening this month in my kitchen?

In my kitchen …

sponge cake

… baking.

A Sunday tea special of sponge cake filled with cream, jam and fresh loganberries, devoured in one sitting by the assembled family. I thought I could disguise the sunken top with icing but I think it probably just drew attention to it.

In my kitchen …

baked rhurbarb rhubarb cake

… rhubarb.

Now that the raspberries and loganberries in the garden are ripe, the rhubarb has lost its appeal and I don’t suppose there will be much more rhubarb pulled this year. A dish of baked rhubarb is ready to spoon over yoghurt while the rhubarb, white chocolate and almond cake doubles as a pudding or a cake, depending on your fancy.

In my kitchen … green walnuts.

Every year I pick green walnuts in an effort to outwit the squirrels, who always steal a fair proportion of the ripe walnuts in the autumn. Back in 2009, I made a batch of Green Walnut Liqueur, following the recipe carefully and storing it in a dark cupboard for six months. When I took the bottle from the cupboard, the liquid looked like sump oil and a dark ring of scum had formed at the neck of the bottle though the recipe stated quite clearly that after six months it would be ready and not to let friends taste it as they’d finish the bottle there and then. I strained out the walnuts and poured a little of the liquid into a glass. It smelt disgusting and tasted even worse. We quickly screwed the cap on and hid the bottle at the back of the cupboard. At the second tasting in 2011, it had definitely improved, but still wasn’t something you’d willingly drink, so once again it went back in the cupboard.

But then I found another recipe and thought I’d see if that was any better. Last night we had a tasting. The 2009 vintage is now rather pleasant. I wouldn’t exactly call it delicious, but we had an almost full shot glass each and the bottle hasn’t been hidden away. We may even try another (small) glass of it. The 2011 vintage shows promise, but isn’t quite ready.

In what must surely be an act of hope over experience, I made a 2014 batch at the weekend using the original recipe. It’s sitting on the dresser as I have to shake it every day for ten days. It started as a beautiful clear liquid with chopped walnuts and lemon peel floating decoratively. By the end of the day, the liquid was going green and the lemon peel had turned orange. Now the liquid is even darker and the walnuts have turned a shade of bluish green. It’s interesting, if nothing else.

Not in my kitchen …

back door

… but outdoors.

As summer takes hold, I’m spending as much time as possible not in my kitchen, but cooking and eating outside.  We’ve been sitting out, catching the last rays of sunshine at the end of the day, enjoying the garden and not taking any notice of the weeds that need pulling or spent flowers that need deadheading. Oh, I do love these summer days.

What’s happening in your kitchen? Why not join in or at least pop over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see who’s sharing their kitchen this month.


Rhubarb cake adapted from this Waitrose recipe

74 thoughts on “in my kitchen – July 2014

  1. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Hello Anne. Your kitchen is a lovely place to be…I am not surprised that sponge cake disappeared quickly. What is on top of it? It looks so delicious. I could eat a large serve of that rhubarb right now. Good luck with the walnut experiments!

    Your courtyard looks like it should be in a magazine, what a perfect place to enjoy the sunshine. I love that big, chunky door. x


  2. Glenda says:

    Hi Anne, your sponge cakes looks amazing. I have never made one – I am not so good with cakes. Your green walnut experiments are interesting. I love to experiment – Last weekend at the Truffle Kerfuffle there was a stand of green walnut produce. They had about six different ways of preparing it. I bought the honeyed walnuts but most were various ways of pickling the walnuts.


  3. Kylie Pickett says:

    Hi Anne- your sponge looks so relish…Im salivating here on the other side of the world! I dont know much about green walnuts although did have some in a meal out a while ago- wasnt a huge fan- but perhaps just didnt appreciate it! I love your outdoor area though- so pretty and could easily be a photo out of a country style mag! I can imagine a lovely spot to eat and be merry in the warmer months x


  4. My Kitchen Witch says:

    I had to laugh – in my garden, too, rhubarb seems to take a back seat to the raspberries and loganberries when the begin to come in. I also make a green walnut liqueur – an Italian one called nocino – that is, when I can get my hands on green walnuts. It is sweet and supposed to be dark brown, almost black. It’s very good! A perfect after dinner drink on that lovely patio you have.


  5. SmallP says:

    What a lovely post. My mouth is watering at that glorious sponge cake. I don’t think anyone cares what they look like as long as they taste good and it sounds like it tasted awesome 🙂 I love the sound of the rhubarb cake too. Have you tried rhubarb and strawberry crumble? (from the BBC Good Food website) It is the perfect match of tart and sweet. Your outside space looks perfect for enjoying a chilled glass of wine and some salted, roasted almonds. Mmmmm. 🙂


  6. Margot says:

    I’m not surprised at all that your sponge cake disappeared in one sitting Anne – it looks wonderful! Will you be sharing the rhubarb, white chocolate and almond cake recipe sometime soon?? I’d love to give that one a try! Enjoy the long summer days… what a lovely spot you have, to sit and make the most of them!


  7. nancy@jamjnr says:

    I’m not surprised the sponge cake disappeared in one sitting! What a gorgeous sunny spot right outside your kitchen to sit in. I’m really not sure about that walnut liquor though it sounds like you’re refusing to give in!!


  8. sally says:

    Yummy looking cake, although at first glance it does look like a bit of shredded cabbage on the top ala Mrs Cropley from the Vicar of Dibley, although to go the full Cropley you would have also made a branston pickle filling to go with those strawberries!

    The nights are cooling here on the other side of the world and I am making full use of your tip to light my fire with orange peel, We get oranges here in winter so I step out the back door and pick and eat, then dry on top of the woodburner then use for the next nights fire. Works a treat with mandarins too.


  9. TIFFIN bite sized (@TIFFINbitesized) says:

    My mum has a saying she used (a lot) when I was learning to knit and I dropped a stitch. ‘Don’t worry, we’ll put a flower on it’. I see that you have the same ethos in sticking petals on the top of your sponge. Looks delicious nonetheless. Love reading about your liquor making exploits on a regular basis. Thanks for the tasty tour.


  10. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    Can I come and sit in your backyard please? I might pass on the walnut booze though, if that’s ok, you didn’t sound all THAT enthusiastic about it. 🙂 When I read about things being made with walnuts, I always think of Badger (or was it Mole?) and his pickled walnuts in Wind in the Willows. I never understood how you could pickle a nut, have you ever done it? Your cake looks divine and I think the icing is gorgeously rustic, as a friend said recently, any fool can buy something perfect… 😉 xx


    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      You can come and join us, but only if you bring something to eat 🙂 The walnut liqueur is getting better, though I can understand your reluctance to try it – you’d probably prefer a glass of Slamseys Raspberry Gin.
      I’ve tried pickling walnuts but they were too vinegary for me.


  11. Misky says:

    What a gorgeous cake! So pretty. And such a lovely area for outdoor use. We’re outside a lot right now also. Lovely weather. Happy July, Anne!



  12. Fiona says:

    I always love your kitchen posts Anne … yours seems to always be particularly productive. We’re enduring a little cold snap here at the moment, something we’re not used to. Arrived at our other property this morning where the car thermometer was reading zero degrees, dressed entirely inappropriately with only a light vest to keep warm with! Just not used to dressing for the cold. Wishing you a warm, sunny Summer.


  13. Elizabeth says:

    I love the seasonality of Rhubarb and I can’t wait for it here! We are in winter here in Australia, but I live on the Gold Coast, which still seems to get a lot of sun, during winter so I still try and spend as much time as possible outside on the sunny winter days.
    Thanks for sharing and enjoy the Sunshine!
    Liz x


  14. dianeskitchentable says:

    I’m not surprised that the sponge cake disappeared and I’m glad that you’ve already answered my question too about the rose petals on top, so pretty. Now you are very brave to try that walnut liqueur – I think one look at the initial results and it would have been in my trash rather than back in the cupboard. It sounds like it packs a bit of a punch though. Lovely back yard and as we’re also sweltering here this past week, it’s exactly where I’d be spending my time. I just love brick houses and you’re door is very eye catching.


  15. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    Hi Anne, greetings from a wintery Australia! Lovely to take a walk with you through your kitchen and garden in summer. White with one and a slice of your cake please. : )


  16. Kim Bultman says:

    Anne, I hear ya on spending as much time outdoors as possible! Loved your green walnut ‘experiment report’ and also the prospect of rhubarb paired with white chocolate & almonds! Lovely patio. Enjoy every minute!


  17. theclevercarrot says:

    Hi Anne! I had a laugh at your green walnut story… at least you tried it! I believe we have the same walnuts in our backyard. The kids love to collect them as they fall, but I make them wear helmets (normal?) because sometimes it feels like the sky is falling out there! You should see what damage they do to our cars!!! Oh well 😉 I’m sitting here writing this with a hot cup of coffee, dreaming about that gorgeous sponge cake you made up top. Beautiful job. I hope that you and your family are enjoying this beautiful summer weather- so nice to have a peek into your kitchen. xx


  18. Selma's Table says:

    Oh my goodness your sponge cake looks fabulous! I hope you all ate it outside in that glorious, sun trap of a patio! The walnut liquor chronicles are quite entertaining – would love to hear how this year’s batch turn out. Thank you for this lovely wander round your kitchen and garden!


  19. Emily Grace says:

    I don’t know enough about rhubarb. I planted two this spring, but the directions said they can’t be harvested until next year?

    That tea cake is gorgeous!!

    I love late evenings outside. 🙂


  20. Moya says:

    It has been such a long time since I made a jam sponge cake filled with cream… they are so easy to devour in one sitting. Your looks so delicious and would love a slice right now. Rhubarb I love, but we rely heavily on imports. When the weather is good it is hard to stay in doors… enjoy your good weather. 🙂


  21. Veganopoulous says:

    I can’t wait until we finish (start…) our renovations because when they’re over I’ll start on the veggies gardens and rhubarb will be there for sure. I love seeing what gardens and produce other people have, it’s quite inspiring 🙂


  22. fergie51 says:

    I’m a bit envious of you enjoying some outside time. Bitterly cold and wet (by our standards) here at the moment, but that does make for enjoying some lovely comfort food. Walnuts look interesting, keep us updated on how they progress!


  23. Tina says:

    Oh Anne, what a beautiful post – the sponge cake left my mouth watering!! I’ve been baking with rhubarb too – I love it’s tart flavour. Your outdoor area looks perfect for sitting and enjoying a cup of tea – just beautiful. X


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