Tag Archives: Easter

Easter is an exciting time for the kids as they go head-to-head in Easter egg hunting in a bid to end up with the most eggs in their basket and not to mention, the only time of the year the Easter Bunny makes an appearance. Don’t forget to check out the Easter activities happening in Loch Lomond.


Easter Baking Ideas

Easter Baking Ideas including Cadbury’s Crème Egg Brownies

Easter is the perfect occasion to spend quality time together, and what better way to enjoy the company of family and friends than over some delicious home baking? The ideal activity for a rainy day during the Easter holidays, roll up your sleeves, dig out your apron and enjoy some baking inspiration in our blog.

Simnel cake

Enjoyed for centuries, this light fruit cake was traditionally eaten in the lead up to Easter, especially on Mothering Sunday as a treat during lent, however it’s now a delicious option for Easter Sunday. With two indulgent layers of marzipan and 11 marzipan balls on top for decoration, used to represent Jesus’ apostles (minus Judas), marzipan lovers will be in heaven!  But don’t worry if you’re not a huge fan of marzipan, you could swap the 11 marzipan balls for some flowers or Easter decorations.

We’ve chosen Cassie Best’s Simnel cake recipe from bbcgoodfood.com (November 2018). You can access the original recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 250g mixed dried fruit (a mixture of sultanas, currants, raisins and candied mixed peel)
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 500g pack marzipan
  • 250g pack butter, softened
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs, plus 1 beaten to glaze
  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g glacé cherries, halved
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 150°C (130°C for a fan assisted oven) or Gas Mark 2.
  2. Butter and line the cake tin with a double layer of grease proof paper.
  3. Add the dried fruit, orange juice and zest, and 2 tbsp water to a pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally. When the liquid has been absorbed, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, lemon zest, mixed spice and vanilla, and mix until well combined. Mix in the cooled soaked dried fruit and fold in the cherries.
  5. Roll out a third of the marzipan and use the base of a deep 20cm cake tin as a template to cut out a circle. Wrap any offcuts and the remaining two-thirds of marzipan and set aside for later.
  6. Add half of the cake mixture into the lined cake tin then top with the marzipan disc. Add the remaining cake mixture on top of the marzipan. Cook in the oven for 2 hours, or until a knife comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to fully cool.
  7. Once fully cooled, brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and use the base of the cake as a template to cut out another disc. Place it on top of the cake.
  8. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls for the apostles. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the apostles in a circle on top around the outside, and brush them with a little egg too. Put under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily.

Photo Cred: BBC Food Recipes 

Cadbury’s Crème Eggs are synonymous with Easter. And what better way to showcase them in all their gooey deliciousness than in a decadent chocolate brownie! We’ve adapted this recipe from the Sweetest Menu blog, but you can find the original recipe here.

Cadbury’s Crème Egg Brownies

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, chopped into squares
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into squares
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 85g plain flour
  • 6 Cadbury Crème Eggs, cut in half

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C for a fan assisted oven) or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Butter and line an 8 inch square baking tin with a layer of grease proof paper, leaving some overhang around the edges which will make it easier to get your brownies out of the tin later!
  3. Gently heat water in a pot until it simmers.
  4. Add the chocolate and butter to a heatproof bowl (e.g. Pyrex or similar), then sit the bowl on top of the simmering pot of water. Please note that the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Stir until the chocolatey butter mixture has melted.
  5. Remove the bowl from the pot, making sure you don’t touch the hot glass.
  6. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and mix with an electric mixer. Next, add the eggs one at a time then use the mixer to combine with the rest of the mixture. Sift the flour into the mixture and mix until smooth.
  7. Pour the brownie mixture into the baking tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, press the halved Crème Eggs into the top of the brownie and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until cooked. Leave to cool completely before cutting.

Photo Cred: Good To Know Recipes

Mini Egg Baskets

A really simple recipe that will allow the kids to get involved in the kitchen, these tasty Easter treats are made with items that you’ll probably already have in your cupboards. You can find the original BBC recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 12 cupcake cases
  • 225g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 75g cornflakes
  • 36 Cadbury Mini Eggs

Method

  1. Gently heat water in a pot until it simmers.
  2. Add the chocolate, golden syrup and butter to a heatproof bowl (e.g. Pyrex or similar), then sit the bowl on top of the simmering pot of water. Please note that the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  3. Remove the bowl of chocolate from the pot, making sure you don’t touch the hot glass. Stir in the cornflakes and mix until all the cornflakes are coated in chocolate.
  4. Divide the mixture into the cake cases. Add 3 Mini Eggs to the middle of each nest and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or until set.

Photo Cred: BBC Food Recipes 

What are your favourite things to bake at Easter? Tweet us @cameronlodges or leave us a message with your recipes and pictures! Giving the recipes in this blog a go? Make sure you tag us in your creations on social media!


Easter Egg Picking

How To Plan The Perfect Easter Egg Hunt

How To Plan An Egg-stra Special Easter Egg Hunt

 

Little Girl on Easter Egg Hunt

The humble Easter egg hunt can be traced back as far as the 1400s in Europe, the egg a symbol of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb. Nowadays, an Easter Egg Hunt can be a great Easter Sunday activity for all the family to enjoy. There are lots of ways to create the perfect hunt to get the whole family involved, and in this blog article, we share some of our favourites. What are your best Easter Egg Hunt tips? Share them with us in the comments section below.

What you’ll need to plan the perfect Easter Egg Hunt:

  1. A Location

As unpredictable as the UK weather can be, it’s important to plan for all eventualities. An outdoor hunt in your back garden or local park could be a great idea to let kids burn off some energy before they devour the spoils of their hunt! But it’s always good to have an indoor fallback in case it’s raining. Where you hide your treasure will depend on the age of your children, but it’s good to keep hiding places varied to keep them interested and engaged in the hunt.

  1. Treasure!

Whether you decide to go for plastic eggs, chocolate eggs, hard boiled eggs, or something a little different (don’t worry, we’ll give you plenty of ideas!), you will need something to hide on your hunt. Decide where you’re planning to have your hunt before choosing your treasure, after all we don’t want the local wildlife getting involved if you decide to have an outdoor hunt with chocolate eggs!

  1. A Basket

Hunt participants will need somewhere to store their treasure – we love the traditional bamboo baskets but you can also find lovely Easter buckets in supermarkets and other high street shops. Just remember to consider how big your treasure is when choosing a basket. Personalising and decorating a bamboo basket is a great idea to keep kids occupied in the lead up to the hunt – a selection of colourful ribbons, fluffy Easter chicks, felt bunny rabbits and flowers will transform the basket and get your kids’ creative juices flowing.

  1. Clues

Traditionally, an Easter Egg Hunt involves a clue which leads to some treasure and another clue, which then leads to the next piece of treasure, and so on until the last piece of treasure has been found. Netmums have a fantastic selection of ready-made clues that you can download and print off, ready for your hunt.

If you’re preparing an Easter Egg Hunt for kids of different ages, it’s important that everyone gets their fair share of the treasure, and that older kids don’t rush through the hunt and leave the younger kids with no eggs in their basket. We’ve outlined some tips for creating a fair Easter Egg Hunt below –

Easter Eggs in Easter Egg Hunt in Loch Lomond 2018

For younger children, perhaps a guided hunt from the Easter Bunny himself would be a better idea, or you could attach colourful balloons to your treasure to make it a bit easier for them to find. For an Easter Bunny-led hunt, you’ll need some footprints. These can be easily made from some card and a basic paw print design (download a simple paw print here). Another way to keep younger children engaged during the hunt is involving their favourite characters

For older kids, the clues could be more challenging, or there could be an extra dimension to the hunt, for example a puzzle which needs to be solved or a final challenge. For an egg-stra special twist, why not hide a couple of bigger eggs in more difficult places to reward the best hunters, or hide a Golden Egg somewhere and the person who finds it first gets a special prize?

To allow everyone to take part in the same hunt, you could create a colour coordinated hunt without clues, where each participant just needs to search for a particular colour of egg. This will give you the opportunity to choose easier hiding places for younger children and more difficult places for older kids. Just remember to take into account the height of the children and where they would guess to look.

Have a go at creating an egg-ceptional Easter Egg Hunt for your family and let us know how you get on! Share your photos and comments on Facebook or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @cameronlodges

Happy egg-hunting!

 


Hawthorn

Jenny’s April Newsletter

April 2017

Hello!     

 

“N’er cast a clout til May be out”.

 

If the recent plummet in temperatures has had you reaching for the thermals again and reluctantly turning up the heating, then this old saying might be one worth noting! Since at least the 15th century, the word ‘clout’ has been used to describe a number of terms; a blow to the head, a clod of earth, or a fragment of cloth, or clothing. The second part of the saying is not as clear, however, as to its meaning. Many people are taken with the notion that the ‘May’ refers to the month of the year but another interpretation involves the Hawthorn tree. Hawthorns are virtually synonymous with hedges; as many as 200,000 miles of hawthorn hedge were planted in the Parliamentary Enclosure period, between 1750 and 1850. The name ‘Haw’ derives from ‘hage’, the old English for ‘hedge’. The hawthorn tree gives its beautiful display of flowers in late April and early May, earning its name the ‘May Tree’ and the blossom itself is also called May. Using that allusion, ‘til May is out’ could mean ‘until the hawthorn is out in bloom’.

In Britain, it was believed that bringing hawthorn blossom into the house would be followed by illness and death, and in medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague. Botanists later learned that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue, so it is not surprising that hawthorn flowers were associated with death!

Despite this, hawthorn has huge benefits from a nature conservation perspective, capable of supporting more than 300 insects. It is the food plant for caterpillars of many moths; its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects; the haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals, and the dense thorny  foliage makes fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird including wren, robin, blackbird and song thrush.

Last month, I shared a short video clip of our resident hedgehog in The Enchanted Wood, which ties in nicely with Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017. Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and runs from 30th April to 6th May 2017. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how we can help them; this year focusing on garden strimmer awareness. The Society was founded in 1982 and offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs as well as maintaining a list of rehabilitators in the UK. As well as checking areas in our gardens before using strimmers, there are other things we can do to help too:

  • Ensure there is a hedgehog access in your garden e.g. gaps in boundary fences / walls
  • Move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it
  • Check compost heaps before digging the fork in
  • Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used
  • Cover drains or deep holes
  • Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is a registered UK charity, dedicated to helping and protect hedgehogs native to the UK. If you would like some more information on hedgehogs and how you can help them, please go to www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.

Finally, a wonderful day was enjoyed by all who attended The Carrick Easter Eggstravaganza on Good Friday. Participants eagerly hunted for chocolate eggs in The Enchanted Wood, which was followed by a nature trail quiz. The highlight of the day was a visit from Animal Man’s Mini Zoo where an amazing collection of animals was on show and children and adults alike were able to get up close and personal with creatures such as a giant African land snail, hissing cockroach and a Tarantula! The day ended with a colourful and exciting rubber duck race on the River Fruin, cheered on by a crowd of spectators and thoroughly enjoyed by all; thank you to everyone who helped make the day such an enjoyable one.

 

Jenny

 


Daffodils

Jenny’s March Newsletter

March 2017

Hello!

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

– William Wordsworth

 

Daffodils have long been considered one of the heralds of spring, and after months of grey skies and rain these first signs of the new season are extremely welcome. Daffodils were first brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from daffodils had healing powers, so it may be surprising to learn that daffodils were also historically associated with bad luck, especially for poultry. It was said that if a single flower was picked and brought indoors, then only one chick would hatch from a clutch of eggs, and if the flowers really did have to be picked and brought indoors, then they should be at least 13  in number to break the spell.

March has been another busy month featuring St. David’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Spring Equinox and Mothering Sunday, not to mention the arrival of British Summer Time. Just yesterday I saw my first bumblebee of the year as well as a  Red Admiral butterfly!

One of my latest projects to be unveiled very soon is The Untidy Garden; a small patch of fenced off land in close proximity to The Clubhouse, which was the ideal place to reintroduce a wildflower meadow. If we are to believe the statistics, 97% of UK wildflower meadows (7.5 million acres) have been lost since the Second World War and the intensification of farming, and now species-rich grassland covers a mere 1% of the UK’s land area. Meadows develop as a result of traditional farming practices; each small farm would have grown a few crops, had permanent pasture for grazing, and meadows for hay that were cut and stored to feed the livestock over winter. Management followed an annual cycle of growing in spring and summer, cutting in late summer and grazing in winter. But the turning point came during the Second World War when six million acres of grassland were ploughed to grow cereals, starting the inevitable decline. A meadow remains an important and crucial habitat, with the potential for over 150 different species of flower and grass to support a myriad of insects from bees and beetles to grasshoppers and butterflies, which in turn support many small animals and  birds. The Untidy Garden (opposite the tennis courts) is intended to be a wild garden, where plants are cherished and the grass is allowed to grow long. Flowers will provide food in the form of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies, and long grass and log piles will provide shelter for small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Ribwort Plantain, Ox-Eye Daisy and Bird’s-foot-trefoil are just some  of the naturally occurring wild flowers in the garden, and with some careful management I look forward to a resurgence of colour and biodiversity over the coming months.

I mentioned in last month’s newsletter that I am preparing a timetable of outdoor activities for the summer months and with this in mind I recently spent the day with bat-related skills trainer, Author and Ecologist Neil Middleton. I have been involved in bat surveys for a number of years now, including assisting with radio-tracking a Whiskered Bat at NTS Threave Garden and Estate; participating in various building surveys for the presence of bats and assisting in checking bat boxes at various locations in Scotland. In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, therefore you must hold the correct licence if you carry out work affecting bats or their roosts. With the help of Neil’s expert knowledge and advice, I am fine tuning my skills and am really looking forward to presenting Bat walks as part of my summer programme. We are extremely fortunate at Cameron House to have such a variety of suitable habitats for a number of different species of bat, and what better opportunity for you to learn a bit more about this fascinating species too! More information about bats in general and what to do if you find one can be found at http://www.bats.org.uk/ as well as http://batability.co.uk/; I hope to welcome many of you to the guided sessions later on this year.

And finally, another very important date for your diaries – Friday 14th April kicks starts the 2017 Ranger-led events programme with an Easter Eggstravaganza being held at Cameron Club. This is a pre-bookable event; booking is also highly recommended as tickets are selling out fast!  The day will start with an Easter Egg Hunt held in our very own Enchanted Wood at 11am; please arrive in good time to park, register and confirm your booking at The Clubhouse. After you’ve hunted high and low amongst the toadstools for little chocolate eggs, it will then be time to meet the Animal Man and participate (or spectate if you prefer) in his mini petting zoo! The zoo will be open for ticket holders from 12pm til 2pm, and at 1pm there will be a Rubber Duck Race held on the River Fruin, adjacent to the petting zoo. Tickets are priced at £10 per head (under 4s go free; spectating adults who are not participating in the events themselves do not need to purchase a ticket) and are available by called the Cameron Leisure Club on 01389 722 505 – book early to avoid disappointment!

Remember – arrive in good time to confirm your booking  – the first event will begin at 11am promptly. I look forward to meeting you on the day.

 

Regards,

Jenny