Celebrating Yorkshire

In August several of us spent a very interesting day at Hampsthwaite village hall at  a federation event called Celebrating Yorkshire. There were several interesting speakers, all of course with a Yorkshire theme.

The first speaker was from Wharfe Valley Farms in Collingham. Wharfe Valley Farms make rapeseed oil, they diversified into manufacturing in order to ensure the farm could support their son as well. They harvest the seeds using traditional methods rather than the modern method of using chemicals. They then  press the seeds to extract the oil in order to preserve the natural nutritional values of the oil.They now make several types of oils and the waste product is made into briquettes for burning in a woodburner.


We then enjoyed a cookery demonstration, where despite tribulations with the sound system, we were shown five different recipes; pea & mint soup, summer baked Wensleydale chicken, fish parcels, lamb wellington and apple and bramble brad and butter pudding. Even better we all got a copy of the recipes to try at home. After all those lovely smells we were all ready for lunch.

As there was so many of us lunch was provided in picnic form, which was great, we could sit outside in the sunshine to eat our delicious packed lunch.cheese

Our next speaker was a very entertaining gentleman from Wensleydale Creamery, he told us all about the history of the company and about the production of cheese, all whilst making cheese in front of us in a mixing bowl, just using his hands.


The highlight of the day for me was the last speaker, the Yorkshire Shepherdess. Amanda grew up in Huddersfield with absolutely no farming background but decided as a teenager that she wanted to be a shepherdess, much to the amusement of the careers officer.

Amanda 3 She told us of her journey to get to her dream of being a shepherdess and her life at the top of Swaledale in a remote farmhouse with her husband and nine children.

Amanda 1Throughout her talk she had a stream of beautiful photos of the farm in all weathers, her family and her work. It was an inspiring talk of following your dream.

Amanda 2


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Open Arms Infant Homes

Apologies, I’ve got a bit behind with posts!

One of our members, Andrea ,was our speaker at August’s meeting. She’s a longstanding volunteer at the Open Arms Infant Homes in Malawi and gave a moving insight into its valuable work caring for orphaned babies and toddlers who would otherwise almost certainly die. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, an estimated 74% of its population earn less than 1.25 dollars per day, and many women die in childbirth, either due to lack of medical facilities, poor diet, or health complications.

Malawi 1

This is why Open Arms exists, to take in orphaned and abandoned babies and provide love, shelter, food, and medical care, until such time as they can be returned to their extended families where possible and hopefully grow up healthy and strong.

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It was an extremely moving account of life in Malawi and was a salutory reminder of how lucky we are in the West.

Malawi 3


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Lime and Coconut Cake

IN0trRLLQ6y10kjPeui0_CoconutLimeCake2I’ve been asked for the recipe for my Lime and Coconut cake which I make for Askwith show, so I thought I’d put it on here! It’s quite exciting as no one has ever asked me for a recipe before!!! I always make mixture in my Kenwood…

  • 8oz (225g) plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8oz (225g) butter at room temperature
  • 8oz (225g) sugar
  • grated zest of 2 limes
  • 4 eggs from chickens in garden!
  • 4tbsp fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 3oz (85g) desiccated  coconut

I always weigh my eggs as there is a huge discrepancy in egg size depending on who has laid the egg (Jasmine’s are little, but Evangeline’s are huge!!) and ensure the flour, butter and sugar are the same weight.

For frosting, sorry, this recipe is all in metric, it’s from the hummingbird cookbook!

  • 600g icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g cream cheese
  • Lime juice and zest from 1 lime


  1. Preheat oven to GM4/350/180. Grease 9″ sandwich tin, line bottom if necessary
  2. In the large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lime zest on full speed until pale and fluffy,  then continue at full speed to beat in eggs one at a time. I usually add a tablespoon of the flour every so often to try and stop it curdling!
  3. Fold in flour, baking powder and salt on slowest speed, add lime juice at same time. When mixture is smooth, fold in 2/3rds of coconut mixture.
  4.  Pour in baking tin, smooth out and bake for about 40-50 minutes. Test with a skewer
  5. Allow cake to cool on wire rack.
  6. Spread remaining coconut on a spare cake tin. Bake until golden, give it a stir or a shake after a few minutes. Watch carefully as it doesn’t take long, maybe 5 minutes or so. Cool.
  7. Make cream cheese frosting; I seem to remember this makes a lot of frosting, but half quantities is not enough and my maths isn’t up to more complex divisions! Beat icing sugar and butter together in mixer on slow-medium speed until it comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes, keep a close eye on it though as if it is overbeaten it goes runny! Add lime juice and zest during this last beating, adjusting to taste as needed.
  8. Cut cake into two layers, spread frosting over middle and on top. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top to make it look pretty!



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Tea with the Girls

We had a great time on Thursday at Tea with the Girls. This was planned and organised by Andrea, so she has to take all the credit, she did a great job!

We decorated the hall with pretty bunting, vintage embroidered tablecloths and napkins, flowers, it looked lovely. We had a huge selection of homemade cakes provided by our wonderful members and we served tea and cakes in china cups and saucers, teapots and milk jugs, all very vintage!

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The village hall was pretty full with friends and family, ladies from nearby (or not so nearby!) WI’s, as well as ladies from the surrounding area. We also had two very special guests, Angela and Chris, two of the original Calendar Girls, who came to support Tea with the Girls which was raising  money for Bloodwise. It was wonderful to sit and chat with them…

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…and of course there were plenty of photo opportunities.


For a bit of fun we had also hired a handmade appliqued photobooth from Old Town Belles WI in Swindon, ‘We’re going to need considerably bigger buns’ caused much hilarity and of course we had to get a photo with Angela and Chris!

There was a wonderful atmosphere in the village hall, everyone laughing and chatting, enjoying each others company…and even better, in amongst all that enjoyment £630 was raised for Bloodwise.

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Well done girls 🙂



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Rigby & Peller

slider_sec_6I must, I must improve my bust…but as we discovered at our meeting, a well fitted bra is much more effective (and easier!!) than exercise at improving ones bosom!

Our speaker in July had to pull out at the last minute but Val, our doughty speaker finder, managed to persuade Donna and her colleague from Rigby and Peller in Harrogate to come along. Founded in 1939 by Gita Peller and Bertha Rigby the underwear brand has long been synonymous with luxury and holds a Royal Warrant, providing bespoke underwear to the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. It was a fascinating evening and we heard how important it is to buy underwear which fits properly as in their experience most women are wearing the wrong size. They brought along a wonderful range of delectable underwear which we all fairly drooled over.



In August our speaker will be one of our own members, Andrea Ainley, who is a volunteer and fundraiser for the Open Arms Infant Home in Malawi. It provides love, shelter, food and medical care for Malawi’s abandoned and orphaned babies and Andrea’s been to Malawi many times to help at the home.

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Wentworth Woodhouse


Last week nearly thirty of us had a fantastic day out at Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham. We had an amazing guide, full of character, who really brought the place alive, his knowledge of the history of Wentworth Woodhouse was vast.

Wentworth Woodhouse is actually two separate houses, the oldest house is from the 17th century, when the Earl of Stafford wanted something bigger he just built a whole new house in front in the 1700’s, it was later extended either side with new wings, and another Earl decided he didn’t have enough room so he added an extra floor on top of the whole house!! It now has the longest facade in Europe at 625′ which is about 11′ longer than when it was first built due to mining subsidence!


The interior is fascinating, it is seriously huge, I can see why they have a back marker on guided tours as you could quite easily get lost! The staircase up to the marble floor is beautiful, one of those that is a pleasure to walk up!


The marble hall is classic palladial proportions, 40′ by 40′ by 40′, a perfect cube.

The house is currently open for private tours but is also used a lot for filming by BBC, Bollywood etc.


The house needs a huge amount of work to restore it and it is a seriously big space to find a function for too, it’s fascinating to look around now and it would be great to return as the restoration progresses.

DSC_0025After the house tour we had a tour of the gardens and parkland. We walked via the ‘punchbowl’ which used to be lit by gas as a beacon!


It was great to have the tour outside afterwards as it helped to make sense of the different eras of the house, looking from the outside.


After our tour we took a short coach trip, round the corner, to Wentworth Garden Centre, which is much more than just a ‘garden centre’, but the plants were gorgeous too!! I resisted with difficulty but I want to go back!

We had a lovely lunch and then mooched round  the courtyard shops before exploring the old gardens, they were beautiful, with an original bear pit, a maze planted in 2000…


an original duck house…


and an Italianate sunken garden.


Altogether we had a great day out, looking forward to our next trip 🙂



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John O’Gaunts Castle

Last week our walking group walked from the Sun Inn to John O’Gaunts Castle, we were planning to walk from Fewston reservoir, but closed roads due to resurfacing scuppered those plans! We managed to meet up and decided to start the walk a little bit further on at the Sun Inn.


John O’Gaunts is a ruined Royal hunting lodge at Haverah Park towards Harrogate. It is next to the Beaver Dyke reservoir, it was a lovely walk across fields and down old lanes to the reservoir.


We walked all the way round the reservoir, crossing the old dam, before stopping for lunch next to a ruined farmhouse. We were delighted to see a deer just nearby, but we weren’t quite so keen on the cows!


After our walk we sat outside the Sun Inn with a drink, chatting and enjoying the beautiful mackerel sky.


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