King Richard III & A Quick Microwave Syrup Sponge Recipe

Because I live in Leicester, I couldn’t start my blog today without mentioning King Richard III.

For those that haven’t seen the news over the last week, the bones of Richard III were found buried deep under a car park in Leicester some time ago, and on Sunday a cortege carried King Richard III’s mortal remains from Market Bosworth (where he died in the battle of Bosworth) across Leicestershire into Leicester city centre.

We were all very excited as the A47 at the bottom of our road was closed for an hour as the cortege was to pass by.  So we all walked down to see a part of history, as Richard III was the last King to actually die in battle.  There were hundreds of people lining the road waiting when we got there.


Well I can only say it was very dissapointing for everyone, as the cortege sped by so fast that if you blinked you would have missed it.  I had my camera ready in my hand and I still only managed to take the back of it as it shot by.

It was such a shame for everyone, especially as some people has white roses to throw, but there wasn’t time.


There had been so much news coverage over the week leading up to the day, which is why so many people turned up to see him being driven past and everyone was under the same impression it would drive past at least a little bit slower.

However, it did all look amazing in the city centre when they showed the coverage on the news…it’s a shame we weren’t in town to see it.



This week at home I realised that my butternut squashes were beginning to go over and I didn’t want to waste them.  We love butternut squash in our house and I grew loads last year at the allotment.

My last butternut squashes from 2014

My last butternut squashes from 2014

 I really didn’t want to waste the squashes, so I chopped them up ready for roasting and then popped them into the freezer on a tray and then bagged them up when they were frozen.

When they were frozen I tried roasting a few of them straight from the freezer, by just increasing the roasting time and I’m very pleased to say they were as good as they normally are.


So I now have butternut squash, celeriac, jeruselum artichokes and parsnips, that I just take out of my freezer and roast from frozen (it makes Sunday dinner much easier).


This week I decided to buy some trellis for my back fence.  The fence was looking very bare, as my cordon fruit trees haven’t grown any leaves yet.

I have been looking for trellis for a while, but what I wanted was always over £10 and I needed four pieces which would make it expensive.  However, I managed to find an expandable trellis in Wilkinsons this week for just £2 each and it matches my fence colour quite well so I won’t even have to paint it:


It easily screwed onto the fence and I am very pleased with it:

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I shall be planting sweet peas up three of them, but I’m not sure what I will grow up the fourth one yet as this one is in the shade….I will let you know when I decide.


I had a quick wander around my local nursery last weekend and I found a pot of Tegete seedlings for 60p.  I had already decided to grow some of these plants for my new kitchen garden as they are great to attract beneficial insects to the plot, but as yet I hadn’t managed to find the seeds in the shops.  I’m sure a packet of seeds would have cost me more than 60p.

So I brought the seedlings home and pricked them out.  There were enough for me to grow on and give to my family too.

(You can read how to prick out seedlings here).

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I also bought a tomato plant that was also 60p, but it was a lot further forward that the ones I am growing.  I have potted it up, by planting it deep in the pot, as new roots will then form from the stem and make the plant stronger:

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It will be interesting to see how much sooner I will have tomatoes ready to eat.

My tomatoes sown on the 3rd March

My tomatoes sown on the 3rd March


This week my broad beans were ready to plant out. They are a variety called ‘Aquadulce’ that I sowed on the 11th February, which was really a bit late as they are an overwintering variety.

I do have a few spare plants that I can pass on, as I am not yet used to sowing seeds in such small amounts.

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It felt very nice to finally be planting something in my new kitchen garden at last.


I noticed that the ground must be beginning to warm up as weeds are starting to grow, so I hoed for the first time this year.  It was very nice as it only took just a few minutes to hoe the whole plot – this job would have took a whole morning at my old allotments due to the size of them.

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I also decided to tidy up my strawberry patch, that was already in a mess from fallen leaves.  This is the only raised bed I have because this area is full of roots from the Viburnum tinus and Photinia bushes behind it.  The raised bed has been placed over weed suppressant as it was impossible to plant directly into the soil.

I used my homemade compost from my allotment compost bins and the small amount of compost I had made at home to fill the raised bed, so I could plant the strawberries in January that I also brought home from my allotment.  It was the wrong time really to plant them, but they seem to have survived.

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I also removed any of the dead leaves on the plants and gave them a good watering as the ground was fairly dry – I suppose this is one of the drawbacks with raised beds, especially ones that are situated under bushes as well.

(Incidentally, the raised bed will have plenty of sunshire as it faces south, so the bushes are not a problem as far as light is concerned).

Another thing I did was to cut the bushes back a little bit, so it was easier to walk around the raised bed.  I need to give some thought on how to stop the leaves from falling onto the bed and also more importantly, how to stop the bird muck falling onto my strawberries from the birds that sit in the bushes above….I’ll let you know when I’ve thought of something.



Around my new kitchen garden my daffodils are flowering nicely and I had a nice surprise when I saw an aquilegia was growing next to one of them too.  These are one of my favourite flowers and I can’t quite understand how I missed it when I was digging my plot over.  It obviously is determined to stay and it’s ok for it to grow in the spot it is in, so I’m going to leave it there.

I like nice surprises like this.



The rhubarb is growing nicely now and the comfrey is just starting to poke it’s head up from under the ground.

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Some of my raspberries are showing growth, but some aren’t yet, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that they show soon and they have survived the move from my allotment.


So the kitchen garden is coming along nicely.



Finally I though I would share another pudding recipe that I cooked for my family on Sunday.  It is really quick to cook, taking just eight minutes in my 700W microwave and tastes absolutely lovely (no one ever knows it has been cooked in a microwave either):


Syrup Sponge Pudding Recipe:


100g margarine, plus some for greasing the bowl

100g granulated sugar

2 eggs beaten

100g self-raising flour

2-3 tablespoons of milk

2 tablespoons of golden syrup


Beat the margarine and sugar together.

Mix in the beaten egg then fold in the flour.

Then add enough milk to achieve dropping consistency (so it falls off the spoon easily).

Grease a microwave bowl with margarine and then put the golden syrup in the bottom.


Pour the sponge mixture on top of the syrup.


Cover the bowl with a plate and microwave on high for 8 minutes (based on a 700w microwave).


Leave it to stand for a couple of minutes before turning in onto a plate. 

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream – or on it’s own if you prefer.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back as usual next Friday.

Have a good week!

15 thoughts on “King Richard III & A Quick Microwave Syrup Sponge Recipe

  1. You have been busy. Great tip about freezing the squash, I shall try that next year if I have any excess to use up quickly, I’m going to be growing butternuts this year. CJ xx

  2. What a shame the cortege went by so quickly when so many wanted to see it & be a part of the history.I saw the article in the daily mail this week. Camping was chilly,we had electric hook up & a heater but I’m more the fair weather camper. In fact I must confess we only live 25 miles from this campsite so on the Sunday evening I drove home had a night in my soft warm bed !I took my son to school & went back for my husband to help him take the tent down pack away & come home.In fact he had been up till 4am taking pictures of the delights of the night sky ! (It was an Astronomy camp) ) In the garden this week I planted 6 Elsanta strawberry plants £2.99 in aldi)You cant beat picking them straight off the plants can you ,with the warm sun on them? . I also planted some beetroot seeds ,coriander & carrots straight in the ground & the runner beans in pots in the house to start them off. You were lucky to find tomato plants that big I’ve not seen any around yet this year.Can’t wait for some better weather to get out there more. I make a sponge pudding like that so quick & filling.Its nice with some ginger too ! I can do an apple crumble in my oven in 15 mins(it uses the combination of 30% microwave & 70% convection heat,I think ) but does need a bit of browning at the end in the normal oven! I’m looking forward to tomorrow I’ve got tickets for a Beatrix Potter walk around Gloucester where The tailor of Gloucester was set (my favourite Victorian lady …Ive always admired her !) Till next week
    Regards, Caroline

    • Hi Caroline, the Beatrix Potter walk sounds wonderful-let me know about it afterwards won’t you.

      I can’t imagine camping in March, we camped in the summer when the kids were younger and I remember waking everynight absolutely freezing even though I was fully dressed with a coat on in my sleeping bag lol, i’m obviously not a hardy sort!

      I bought some strawberry plants one year from Aldi and they were great plants too- you are right you can’t beat freshly picked strawberries

  3. So you dont steam the pumpkin or do your thing to it after you’ve chopped it up? Just chuck it straight into the freezer?
    I’m happy to see even a glimpse of King Richard! Woot!
    Your garden is looking awesome! Neat and productive! From those photos I can’t tell it wasn’t like this a few months ago!

    • Thanks Mrs Yub, I sometimes look out of my window and it takes me by surprise as I forget how much I have changed the garden in such a short time lol.

      Yes, I don’t bother to blanch the butternut squash first, it won’t keep quite as long as if I had blanched it but it won’t last long in my house anyway lol

  4. Hello. I was really worried that I had planted my tomatoes too late but they dont look too far behind yours. Can’t believe the one from the nursery was so big.Think my Mum was standing not too far away from you watching King Richard whizz by. She called me when she got home as she was feeling a little short changed!! Could you tell me what you do to your jerusalem artichokes before freezing. I have only just dug the last of mine up, hope they will be ok? Thankyou for todays blog. :}

    • Hi Nikki, I prepare them ready for roasting and then I just open freeze them on a tray. I don’t bother blanching them first and they still keep fir ages in the freezer…..I just put them in the oven from frozen and roast them in the normal way. (I don’t use them in any other way though as my family don’t like them boiled so I’m not sure if freezing makes any difference to when you boil them).

  5. Fascinating! Watched some of the coverage on TV, but was at work, so missed the reality.
    I thought the poem that Benedict Cumberbatch read was superb.
    “Richard” by carol Anne Duffy.

      • Our daughters live in the Leicester area, so we have been fascinated by the whole story (as you must have been). I am truly impressed by the way the community there seems to have dealt with it all, respectful yet commercially entrepreneurial at the same time. Just kind of hard to imagine a king’s tomb so close to home (I’m in Staffordshire).

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