The wind is currently gusting round the house. We have 'red' warnings of wind across Scotland today and where we are normally quite protected in a little dip and the wind blows 'over' us - today it is tapping at the windows and rattling the roof - quite ferociously!
I moved the bird feeders to a lower level on the tree - partly for the birds and so that they don't fly off through a window at some point during the day!
Here are the blackbirds and others looking for food at low level during the storms.. You can just see robin in the top left corner, tucked in a bush. These were taken from Inside! so they aren't all that clear.
If you don't already know this - a great way to attract blackbirds into your garden is to put out apple, pear or dried fruit such as raisins on the ground - they LOVE this and it trumps birdseed and peanuts for them. Just be careful not to put down where a cat could jump out on them!
Yesterday I made a cake a blackbird would be proud of - and of course the apple peelings and chopping board remnants went out for them! It's gluten free and dairy free (again!) with the consistency of a traditional farmhouse cake. The apple and fruit keep it from being too dry, and the ground nuts give a wholemeal consistency. It's also a good way to use up leftovers from making mincemeat.
Blackbird Cake (for humans... and blackbirds!) - Dairy + Gluten Free
* * *
6oz of margarine - eg non dairy 'Pure' (or butter for dairy eaters)
3oz demerara or brown sugar
7.5 oz g free plain flour sifted with 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder (see this post for good types of flour and baking powder)
a few dashes of rice milk (or equivalent)
1.5 apples (blackbirds get the half)
handful of mixed nuts - ground up in processor
handful each of plump raisins, chopped dates, cranberries, dried apricots (or to your taste)
* * *
• Line a deepish small baking tin with greaseproof paper
• Preheat the oven to 325F/160C/Gas 3
• Mix all the cake ingredients in a bowl and add a dash of rice milk, and keep mixing until the consistency is paler and loose but not sloppy.
• Add the chopped apple, nuts and dried fruit - folding it gently into the mix.
• Add to the cake tin, and cook in top third of oven for approx 1 hour - keep looking in after 45mins and test with a knife. When the top is brown, the knife comes out without stickiness - altho this is a moist cake because of apple, don't overcook as it can dry out the sponge.
• Once cool, wrap tightly in paper/foil etc - as it can dry out quite quickly.
• Should last a couple of days. Yum.