Castle Combe


Since I last posted anything, my family and I moved back to the UK, stopped homeschooling (giving the UK schools a chance) and have been working toward getting back into our old hobby of walking/hiking. Our first big hike (relative to my fitness level) was at Castle Combe in Wiltshire. It is a beautiful village….not a castle. This first picture here is actually from near the end of the 5 mile circuit we found in Country Walking magazine.


Now let me explain that I am a big woman….if a trainer looked at me he would probably refuse to work with me until I had a doctor’s note…BIG woman. I am however more capable than most expect when they see me. Five miles on a flat is not a problem however this walk was not on a flat. This walk was labelled as challenging but I so wanted a good we in the woods and this was bearish and I was determined.

The walk started with walking downhill from the carpark and down through the village then we found our footpath off to our right and headed UPHILL. It was reasonably steep for someone of average fitness… for me it was a sheer cliff! I stopped several times just to catch my breath but I made it and sat on a big log at the top. The photo above was the first one I took in the rain at the top of a hill looking over the landscape.


We made our way down the hill through the lovely mud and cow pats and through a style or two. As we wondered through the valley we saw sheep in field and took a wrong turn that lead us to a wide stream. We discussed where we went wrong and the kids measured the depth of the stream with the plan of either wading through or crawling over a log then we backtracked and found our path. We talked about how kissing gates got their name. At some point we found this little path with stone walls on both sides and a tree that I guess had lost its soil around the roots and hung over the edge of the path so the kids needed a picture of them under the tree.

Near the end of the walk, in the last mile, there was another hill. I swear my heart was pounding a couple hundred beats a minute. I again had to stop several times to catch my breath. At the top of the last big hill and a short bit of walk we could see the steeple of the village church peeping through the autumn leaves. We also found several stick built hideouts scattered around the trees before descending back down to the road via a bridle way.

We climbed up hills and down hills. We played pooh sticks on a bridge. We tracked through mud and fell on our butts. We pushed ourselves pretty good and all were tired at the end. I probably pushed myself a bit too hard really but I made it the whole way round. I feel pretty proud of us all.

**I apologise for not having more pictures but for some reason after choosing the first 3 pictures my app decided it no longer had the right password. I don’t think I will ever get the hang of WordPress.**

Caramel shortbread


Yesterday, I made caramel shortbread because my daughters want to learn about making caramel. I had never attempted caramel myself so I figured the only solution was to have a go at it on my own first. The above picture is of what remained this morning. Wow are these rich and yummy! I tried to have two yesterday but these things are too rich for even me to have more than one without a very poorly tum ensuing.

Now for the recipe!

For the short bread layer:
1/2 cup butter (real thing guys)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup almond flour

Beat these items until a dough ball then press into a 9″x 13″ baking pan that is lined in parchment. The parchment must cover bottom and sides or you will have a witch of a time getting the bars out. Bake at 350F (175C) for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan a few minutes while making the caramel.

Next step is the caramel.

Add to a med sauce pan:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
14oz sweetened condensed milk

Melt these items together and bring to a boil. Boil (I did this on a gentle boil) for about 5-7 minutes (I did 7 minutes).
Pour the thickened caramel onto the shortbread which is still in the pan. Allow to cool for about 40 minutes. Now onto the third layer.


In the saucepan melt:
8 oz of chocolate (either chips or 8 chocolate baking squares)
2 tablespoons coconut oil.

Gently on low heat melt the chocolate until smooth and pour over the caramel. Put in the freezer and allow the chocolate to set.


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