Thursday 16 March 2017


Good Morning to you,

How has your week been so far?

I have been very industrious this week, because I have been working in the garden, cutting back my roses, tying in new branches of the many clematis which are beginning to shoot.... and that job, which we all dislike, but we all must do.... weeding.

Monday was a fair day and so we decided to get out into the garden and begin our annual Spring cleanup.

We donned our gardening clothes and searched out our clogs, which incidentally, we haven't worn since last autumn. 

....and out into the garden we went.

Now you are probably thinking, there was not a lot to do in the garden, because as a rule, gardens are tidied and plants cut back, before winter arrives.  But I have to say, I am slightly different on that front, as I am a gardener, who definitely does not tidy her back garden before winter arrives.  My front garden is kept neat and tidy, but my back garden, which only we can see, is a different story.  I like to keep places where wildlife can hibernate, hide and feed during the winter months, so herbaceous plants are left in situ, until the Spring, when I begin the task of clearing up the old growth. 

I love my summer garden, but this time of year, is also special,  as plants start to peek through the soil. When we cleared the garden, I discovered Bluebells shooting through the soil, Primroses in bud and almost ready to flower, Snowdrops with their delicate flowers, bobbing in the breeze and the Cowslips growing around the pear tree, had multiplied and were just waiting for a few more warmer days, before they could burst into flower.

I then moved on to pruning and started with the grapevine, which certainly needed pruning, as it had become a little unruly. We grow the grapevine more for the leaves and I make great use of them during the summer when I make dolmades. Grapes do grow, but very tiny ones, as we don't have enough sunshine for the grapes to fully develop, so instead of picking them, we leave the grapes for the birds to enjoy during the Autumn.  It was then the turn of the climbing roses. I snipped off the remaining rose hips.... which again the birds love, tying in loose shoots and trying my best to avoid being scratched by the many rose thorns. I then decided to tie in the early flowering clematis shoots, which meant I had to stretch quite high up the fence and then down low, to where the shoots were growing at the base of the plant. I had to squat to tie in those shoots. Not very lady like, I know, but necessary. I was up and down like a yo yo. As I worked my way along the fences, I could see all my hard work and the tidiness was visually pleasing.

After over 4 hours, we decided to call it a day.  We both enjoyed the fresh air and pleased with what we had achieved and thought we would continue on Tuesday afternoon.

We had our showers and then I cooked supper.... and that was when I felt a slight change in my body. I began to feel a little twinge, but I thought if I kept moving, I would be alright.... well that's what I thought.

Later in the evening, we sat down to watch some television and when it was time for me to get up to go to bed, oh my, I began to feel stiff.

.... and the following morning, I felt as if I had done a full work out in the gym.  My body really ached. So we decided to give the gardening a miss on Tuesday, so I could recover. By Wednesday, I was right as rain, ready to go out in the garden to finish what I had started.

Each year, I say the same thing to myself, that this year, I will pace myself. Believe it or not, the last thing Phyllis said to me on Sunday, when I mentioned I was going to do some gardening, on Monday, was that I must pace myself and not do too much at once, as I would regret it, if I did. 

It really is time I listened to my own and Phyllis' advice, but I get so engrossed in what I am doing, that I want to continue until the job is finished. 

How do you pace yourself when it comes to gardening?  

Are you an all or nothing type of person like me or are you more sensible and have the ability to take things more slowly?

I promise you, there is no bending or stretching today, because we are making, a childhood favourite of mine,

Coconut Macaroons. If you have been reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! for a while, you will know of my love of all things chocolate and coconut. So it will come as no surprise when I tell you, whilst  talking to a friend about childhood cakes, I remembered these Coconut Macaroons, (not to be confused with French Macaroons). When I returned home  I decided to look up the recipe in Ivy's cookery book, and do you know, I couldn't find one.  So I checked in Phyllis' and I discovered a recipe but they were coconut biscuits.  Then I discovered a recipe in my 1955 Good Housekeeping cookery book which I have adapted slightly.  The only thing is, I did not have any rice paper, so I improvised and used a patty tin instead.... and it worked beautifully.

So it's on with the pinnie.


2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
100g dessicated coconut
50g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
25g good quality dark chocolate
25g melted butter (for patty tin)


Makes ~ 12

Pre-heat the oven 180C/160 fan 

Butter a 12 holed patty tin.

Place the egg whites into a small bowl and using a fork, lightly whisk until a light froth forms.

Add the vanilla paste to the egg white
and lightly whisk until incorporated.

Set aside for the moment.

Place the ground almonds,

the dessicated coconut

the sugar
into a separate bowl.

Mix the ingredients together.

Pour the lightly whisked egg white mixture
into the dry ingredients
stir until combined.
This will take a few minutes.

Place a tablespoon of the coconut
mixture into each of the patty holes
using a spatula press
to flatten the mixture.

Place into the pre-heated oven for
15 minutes
 until lightly golden
and cooked through.

Allow the macaroons to cool.

Whilst waiting,
melt the chocolate
and when the macaroons

drizzle the melted chocolate
over the macaroons.

all there is left to do

These macaroons are so easy to make.  The only thing I would say, is, my patty tin is very old, and it cooks these macaroons really well, but if you don't own one, which is so old, then  I would suggest that you use a non-stick patty tin.

.... and by a patty tin, I mean the shallow baking tins we used to use before we were introduced the deep muffin tins.

.... and look what I discovered,

when I was looking through Ivy's cookery book. Have you noticed how coconut was spelt?  It was spelt with an 'a' added ~ cocoanut. I wonder if that was a typo error, mixing the spelling of coconut with cocoa?

.... and one final thing before I leave you,

look what was  peeking through the branches of my large Lavatera bush.... these delightful little Tete-a-Tete daffodils

What a lovely surprise.

Take care until I catch up with you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

As Always,

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Best wishes to you.


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