Apricot Crowns – a sweet treat cheat

OK – enough of wallowing – about time I got this blog back on track.

This week I’m going to share one of my CHEATS …. well, I always think of them as a cheat as they get more praise than they merit for the time they take AND because I use a ready-made puff pastry for them. I will admit that I almost always use a ready-made puff pastry (I have been known to make the odd rough-puff but I really do not have the time to make puff pastry properly.)

For this recipe I like to use the ALL BUTTER puff pastry (Jus-Rol). Unfortunately around here you can only get this in the ‘ready rolled’ packs *sigh*, I might not have time to make puff pastry — but, honestly, I do have the time to roll it out! Nevertheless, if I want butter (and I do!) and I buy it locally then it has to be ready rolled. (blocks are available elsewhere)

Ingredients:  1 pack ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
1 can Apricot halves ( in juice preferably – I used Tescos this time)
1 jar Apricot Jam ( I usually use Tesco’s own or Co-Op’s own. It doesn’t have to be the best — I never use my own home-made for this.)
a dusting of icing sugar – optional.

Method: Roll out the  pastry even thinnerDSCF7349 – until more than 10″ x 8″ trying to keep it a rectangle and making sure the worktop surface is well dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick

Mark out straight edges as close to the rolled edges as possible & trim with a sharp knife.

WithinDSCF7350 this mark off 2 inch squares (50mm) and cut them.





Drain the apricots





and into the dip where the stone was, spoon just enough jam to fill it (do not overfill)






Place the apricot on the pastry square rounded side up and pull up opposite corners





then the opposite pair, stretching the pastry to make it stay.






Place on a buttered baking tray

place in a hot oven (200 degrees c) DSCF7361







for about 15 minutes – until the pastry browns


NOTE: the pastry in the photo looks paler than it is / should be ( function of the flash?)
Remove and cool for a couple of minutes before sliding off onto a cooling rack.



When cool arrange on dish (or slate plate) and dust with icing sugar.

(makes about 20 – depending on the apricots in the can)



This is a favourite when asked to take along ‘finger food’ desserts – they pop in the mouth very nicely and are not too sweet or messy.

What are your favourite sweet treat cheats?

What are your opinions on ready-made puff pastry v home-made?

Do you like reading recipes here on the blog?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you…..



Iron-Age poem

I do not usually post my poetry here, but you may have gathered that poetry has been part of my life for a long time, probably just as long as the writing, both taking off in my early teens. loom weight resized

Today I had to photograph a pair of iron-age loom-weights that were found in our garden when some post holes were dug.  Just holding them brings a shiver of inspiration to me, so old, so handled, such a domestic reminder that this place has been inhabited for such a very, very long time.

So today, as my life continues to be battered about by events and my blogging is curtailed somewhat, I give you a poem that was inspired by the finding of these items and, later, the activity of clearing broken branches from the top field.


I am gathering wood in the top field,
my back bent I stoop from twig to twig
wrapped in thick layers against the icy
north-easterly that clips the ridge
and slices down the slope.

The goats have settled further along,
near the place I found the loom-weights.
As I move towards them I step
into a silence, where the wind
skips over my head and sun warms.

Then I see her; shadowing me.
And I know she’s left the baby in the hut
her loom stripped of its thread, her man away.
Shapelessly wrapped, she stoops
her back bent, twig by twig, gathering wood.


Thanks to Ellen for showing me how to ‘close-up’ the lines – now I’ll know what to do if I post any more poems here

Hope you liked it anyway… do let me know ..  you know I love to hear from you.


Brickbats and Lemons

Full of Happy New Year cheer I headed into 2014 … unfortunately just around the corner was January with a ‘brickbat’ to throw at me! My father (with whom I share the care of my lovely mother who is suffering from vascular dementia) took a tumble and ended up in hospital .. where he still is as I write.

‘Tiles’ followed (minor in comparison) with the speaker I had booked for January WI meeting not being able to come along.  Instead I led a belly dance session and another member produced a wonderful quiz based on nursery rhymes. I thought myself well versed in these .. but was stumped by more than one .. including one based on the Rhyme Oranges and Lemons … I obviously have in my memory a truncated version whereby St Margaret’s did not feature! Indeed, I sang the shortened version to my youngest son, Clement, as his bed-time song (minus the chopping off of heads)  However, it is in the longer version that you will find the term ‘brickbats and tiles’ … which, once brought to my attention in a non-singing-to-children situation, made me wonder..

“Brickbats and Tiles say the bells of St Giles”.

What on earth are /were brickbats?

Well the internet came to my rescue and so that you all may know …

A brickbat is less than half a brick – generally useless… except for throwing at someone to cause injury.  Now used in terms of criticism damning a performance

Here’s the full version of the Bells of London

Gay go up and gay go down, To ring the bells of London town.

Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clements.

Bull’s eyes and targets, Say the bells of St. Margret’s.

Brickbats and tiles, Say the bells of St. Giles’.

Halfpence and farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Pancakes and fritters, Say the bells of St. Peter’s.

Two sticks and an apple, Say the bells of Whitechapel.

Pokers and tongs, Say the bells of St. John’s.

Kettles and pans, Say the bells of St. Ann’s.

Old Father Baldpate, Say the slow bells of Aldgate.

You owe me ten shillings, Say the bells of St. Helen’s.

When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.

Pray when will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed, Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.
Chop chop chop chop The last man’s dead!

Anyway … this meant I was then unable to attend a family wedding that I am making the wedding cake for *sigh* – the cake will get there though 🙂  Bit of a lemon!

Such has been my 2014 so far… not sure I want to know what is coming up … hopefully no more brickbats, very few tiles and only the odd disappointing lemon.

How has your 2014 panned out so far?

What is your favourite nursery rhyme?

Have you asked for your free copy of Some Kind of Synchrony yet ? Last chance today!  Go On! Do it! Click here to go to the offer post.


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