Friday, 27 June 2014

Flora's gingery honey cake

Flora fox has been baking. And not only that, she has been gathering her own honey and duck eggs.

What a fox.

The finished result was an extraordinarily gingery cake. Fortunately Flora loves ginger... and the recipe is below if you do too.

Flora visits the beehives to gather honey
(She didn't even bother with a bee suit.. just a ballet skirt. Fearless.)

Next she goes after the duck eggs...

Daisy duck: happy to help 

Three types of ginger... yes THREE

And in with the honey

Patiently waiting for cake to bake...


Is there anything better than a cake bigger than oneself?

Flora's gingery honey cake

300g/10oz honey
75g/3oz unsalted butter, melted
50ml sunflower oil
3 medium eggs
400g stem ginger, chopped (1 jar (258g) seems to be OK and costs less!)
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon or coriander
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
Extra butter and honey, for finishin

1 Line the base and sides of a small loaf tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/335F/gas mark 3. Put the honey in a bowl, add melted butter, oil and eggs, then beat until smooth.

2 Stir in the chopped ginger, grated ginger and spices, add the flour and baking powder, stir well until everything is evenly mixed, then spoon into the tin.'

3 Take small slivers of butter and lay them centrally along the length of the mixture. This will force the cake to crack along the butter line.

4 Bake for about 70-80 minutes undisturbed, as the cake is slightly fragile and prone to collapsing until the mixture sets. Use a skewer to check that the centre is baked. It will burn on top slightly, or at least go very dark. This is due to all that honey, and for me, it's part of the cake's charm.

5 Leave to cool in the tin. While the cake is warm, brush the top with extra honey to soften the crust.

6 Once cold, wrap the cake well and it should keep for several days. It's great as an afternoon treat, or warmed and served with creme fraiche as a simple dessert.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Say hello to Monsieur Loutre - the first ever Cottontails otter

Otter! I have an otter! Yes, a brand new Moulin Roty range arrived yesterday (Mademoiselle et Rimambelle - full introduction post to follow) and tucked in the box along with the new rabbits, mice, dolls and owls is... an otter.

And not just any old otter, his name is Monsieur Loutre. Quite grand really. And he wears a tie.

Now, I have never had otters at Cottontails before, so this is unknown territory, but I decided to take him home with me last night and make him feel at home with some water and fish... Even well-to-do French otters otters love water and fish, right?

Bonjour M. Loutre!

By the pond...

M. Loutre looks for fish

M. Loutre is hungry (fish from Les Pachats range)...

Happily I have a little something in the store cupboard for him

And off he goes with his fish supper


Behind the scenes note:

So I arrived home last night with M. Loutre and poked his head around the door into the sitting room (where Mike was watching football). I heard a loud sigh and knew he had been spotted.

I introduced them properly and said I would be taking M.Loutre out to the pond for some photographs.

Mike said it would be better to take him to a stream "because otters like running water". At which point I had to tell him that M. Loutre wasn't actually a real otter. I felt bad but he needed to know.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Save 15% today and tomorrow

I'm having one of my little 'discount days' (well two days) today and tomorrow. Use the discount code 'bunny' at checkout and your entire order will be  discounted by 15%.

I don't do these things very often - this is only the second of 2014 - so it's a quite rare and real opportunity to save money on our lovely range of Moulin Roty, Maileg and many more toys and gifts.

The offer will expire at midnight (UK time) tomorrow, Thursday 5th June.

So, hop to it!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Homemade elderflower cordial recipe

Every year I make elderflower cordial because it's so simple, and makes me feel rather pleased with myself. Here is the recipe I use followed by some photos I took a couple of years ago, when the Maileg bunnies helped me make a batch...


Make a basic sugar syrup by stirring 3 liters of boiling water and 900g of granulated sugar until the sugar feels like it's all melted.

Add 50g of citric acid (if you're not planning to drink it all straightaway)*, 2 sliced lemons and 25 rinsed elderflower heads. 

Cover with a tea towel, stirring occasionally, and leave to infuse for 24 hours

Strain through muslin and bottle. 

It is that simple!


 *Note - you can buy citric acid from most chemists or order it online - I ordered mine from a jam-making / preserving supplier along with some pretty bottles and a bit of muslin for the straining.