Wanderlust: UK Days Out - Dunham Massey, (Stamford Military Hospital) Cheshire

Though this blog mostly has a focus on food, I thought some of you might me interested in occasionally hearing about some of the trips I make. These posts are more of an indulgence on my part, so please do excuse them.

"Sunday is funday" has become one of my recent mantras, as weekdays are jam packed at the moment, with most of my time being taken up with running my business and blogging. Not that I'm complaining, I love being busy! However in order to maintain sanity and productivity, breaks are necessary. 

This time of year is especially beautiful, with vibrant autumnal colours and, if you're lucky, crystal clear and crisp days. As long as you're well wrapped up, outside is most certainly the place to be when the sun shines in November.

Last sunday we decided to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to explore the House, Garden and Deer Park at Dunham Massey, a National Trust property just outside of Manchester, near Altrincham. 

We spent most of our visit wandering through the Deer Park and successfully spotted quite a few Buck and Doe very close to the main house, it seems you don't have to wander far to see them.

The house was built in in the 1730s by George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington and later became a First World War auxiliary hospital from April 1917 to January 1919. 

Currently the house has been transformed so that visitors can experience the Stamford Hospital as it once was. There are also some interesting pieces of furniture and other items on display in the house, including an intact 18th century library.

The photo's below chronicle some of my highlights from the day out. I hope you enjoy them!

This buck was casually taking a break right by the stables in front of a large crowd of admirers.

Gold and Diamond Pocket Watch, 1859 and pieces of string kept by Lady Penelope Stamford, c. 1930.

View of the house entrance

Spot the Deer!

Entrance from the stables and colonial statue
Deer slaughterhouse 

Sunday Summation with a Hedgerow Crumble

I hope everyone is having a lovely start to their Sunday! I am going to spend mine basking in the glorious British summer weather. It has been beautiful, if not a little too hot. Yesterday probably was not the day to go for a 20km walk across the Yorkshire countryside, I'm feeling a little sore today!

The allotment needs A LOT of work after all this sunshine, so today's task is going to be preparing the ground for my medieval herb garden. We also have some onions plants that need to go in, albeit a lot later than we would have liked.

Blackberries at the jungle style allotment!

The blackberries are also starting to ripen, I managed to pick a good load last week and I'm hoping to get some more this evening. I think it's fair to expect a jam recipe in the near future! However if anyone has any recipes or ideas for using up hedgerow fruit, I would greatly appreciate them.

Another obvious way of using up the bumper crop is to make a fruit crumble. In my case I had an array of hedgerow fruit to use up, so I decided to make a hedgerow crumble!  Now in order to control sugar levels and make my crumbles slightly healthier, I cook the filling and topping separately

To make the filling I melted 1tsp butter in a large non stick pan, to this I added peeled and diced apple, washed blackberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries and gently heated until all the fruit was soft. I then added sugar to taste (I like things pretty tart, so it's probably better not to give you a quantity for this, just keep on adding and tasting.)

Whilst the fruit was softening, I made the crumble topping by combining 2 cups of oats with 1 tbsp golden syrup and 2 tbsp melted butter. I combined this mixture thoroughly and spread it out on a baking tray to cook at 180C for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Once the fruit is cooked through and very soft, I placed it in the bottom of a large dish and sprinkled my oat topping on top. Easy!

I couldn't even wait to photograph, I had to have some!