Recipes and Christmas present ideas from this week’s radio programme

Well, no one’s perfect. That’s what I’ve been trying to convince myself, after this week’s disastrous start to the gardeners’ phone-in programme. Last week I wrote about my battles with the studio head phones. This week- I am still searching for the right size headphones -when the programme starts. You can have a listen in and a chuckle. You’ll hear me riffling through the headphones in a panic- as presenter Ben Jackson starts without me! What I also learn quite quickly is the show must go on- even if you are feeling mortified. Luckily no one can see embarrassed, red faces on the radio.

Anyway, this week the recipe is Apple and Almond slice – and the Christmas present idea is a parcel of herbs to throw in the bath or hang in the shower. Here’s what you’ll need:

Herb Bath Parcel

Square of fine horticultural netting from any garden centre or Harrod Horticulture

Herbs from the garden: lavender, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint

Few calendula petals

Few sprigs of lavender

String or ribbon

Simply make a parcel with the herbs and calendula, tie tightly with string or ribbon. Tuck some lavender flowers into the ribbon at the front. Simple as that. The herb parcels can be hung under the taps on the bath, or shower, and will scent the water as it flows through. It makes a pretty present for not much money. And the scent is very soothing after a hard day spent in the garden. You can also use muslin instead of netting, but you won’t be able to see the calendula petals as well.

I added some borage flowers to the one I made today. I also discovered that it’s possible to sew the mesh to make larger herb pillows which could be used as pomanders for wardrobes.

Takes only minutes to make. Everything I do has to be quick and cheap to create. I’ve dried some scented pelargonium leaves and flowers to include in this one pictured below. The ribbon came from Georgie at Common Farm Flowers where I learned how to grow cut flowers and make door wreaths. I can highly recommend Georgie’s courses. They are fun and informative. I’m so grateful for all her advice and support over the past few years. It’s given me confidence to charge customers for my floral arrangements.

Let me know if you make any of these parcels, and what ingredients you put in to yours. It’s good to share ideas, isn’t it.

Apple and Almond Slice

180g Butter

140g golden caster sugar

1tspn vanilla extract

3 eggs

100g flaked or ground almonds

150g SR flour

1tpsn baking powder

80ml milk

4 small eating apples, chopped

Whizz all ingredients- apart from apples-together in a food processor. Put the cake mixture on top of the chopped apples. I used two silicone loaf tins from Lakeland. You can use a 20cm cake tin, greased and lined with parchment paper. Cook for 30 mins at 170c gas mark 3. Check half way through cooking, and put parchment paper on top to prevent burning. The cake is cooked when a knife comes out clean.

Suitable for afternoon tea and picnics. You can sprinkle the top with flaked almonds or icing sugar. It’s deliciously moist and tasty. A good use of apples from my orchard at home.

What recipes have you got to share to make the best use of the apple harvest? Do get in touch and let me know.

You can listen in to Radio Leicester’s gardeners’ phone-in on the i-player at Whizz the time round to 2.07.51 for the start of the programme. You can press the plus button in the centre of the dial if you want to go past the music. Don’t forget to laugh. We could all do with more laughter, and I don’t mind. Honestly. But next time, I shall be sat down in front of the microphone ready to go. I promise!

27 thoughts on “Recipes and Christmas present ideas from this week’s radio programme

  1. Karen everyone is unique. It would be horrible if we were all perfect! The best thing is to laugh at oneself, is what I do with my screw-ups. In addition life would be very sad without laughter. What I do is take the whole lavender flower and in very thin cloth sacks put it and with a ribbon that I like to close the bag with a bow and put all the summer in the closet and in the clothes drawers so that It smells good and the moths do not eat the wool. But I do it in Spring. It can also be done now with dry lavender to perfume clothes. Karen are beautiful your bags of dried flowers to put under the shower and perfume the water. That’s a good start to the day! Your slice of apple and almond must be exquisite. I want to listen to your radio show, you have to tell me the day and time please. I got on the BBC radio link from Leicester and it comes out on digital 104.9FM. You have told us to change to 2.07.51 but, since I am a clumsy one, what is there to change, where and how? I ask you for help Your post is wonderful, as always. Memories to your Mother. Loving greetings from Margarita.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Margarita. It’s so true. Laughter is the best medicine. And I never take myself too seriously. Life would be very sad without humour. My grandmother used to make those lavender bags for clothes cupboards and for keeping away moths. I have very happy memories of all my clothes smelling of lavender when I was little. Well done for finding the bbc leicester link. The 2.07.51 is on the timeline. It’s how far into the programme our gardening section starts. So that you don’t have to listen to an hour of music before we are on. I’ll write an explanation and post it later. Thanks as always for being kind enough to read and get in touch. Greetings to you and your Mother. Love from karen and Mum xxx


      • Thank you Karen for being so kind and when you have time write me a broader explanation of how to listen to your radio show. Keep in mind that I’m a clumsy hahahaha! For real. Honey for your Mother and you. Greetings from Margarita.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Margarita, as promised, I’ve written an explanation about the I-player. I hope I’ve got it right. Let me know how you get on. And don’t forget to laugh as you picture me scrabbling around searching for headphones 🎧 -just as the programme starts without me. I never did manage to adjust the chair, so my feet are dangling in mid air for the whole hour! Sigh. But at least this week I could hear the people phoning in. It’s a bit tricky if you have to guess what their question is. Have a lovely day. Love from karen x


      • Hello Karen. I am anxiously waiting for next Wednesday to hear you in your program. Can I also see you? Well I’ve listened to a Ben Jackson program already recorded and he is well understood 🙂 I’m fine at home. I have already taken my Mother twice to the doctor and to my Father three times. It’s my turn on the 20th. It’s funny: we’ve made a big paper calendar and each day we play a doctor we write it in one color: my mother is red, my father is blue and I am green. There are days that are the three colors! hahahaha It’s to be laughed at. Without that calendar there was no way to organize. But nothing happens, they are routine visits to the doctor: but they are a pain, I do not like going to the doctor. Karen you are a person charm, really, and your Mother too: give her memories of me. Greetings with love from Margarita.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Margarita, I’m so sorry to hear about your doctors appointments. We too have a a calendar like yours for our in laws. And also in the past week, my Mum and my eldest daughter suddenly needed operations – on the same day, in different hospitals. I didn’t know which way to turn. All have done well, and are home now. Phew. I am quite worn out though. Have a listen in to the Down to Earth programme if you need cheering up. We all have a laugh when we go out and about and record in front of an audience. Although I still get very nervous. Love and greetings to you and your parents, from karen and Mum


      • Karen feels very sorry that suddenly they have to operate on their Mother and their eldest daughter on the same day and to top it off in different Hospitals. I hope it is not serious and that the operations are perfect and both recover very soon. I will think of them and of you. Many animos and a lot of love for the three generations of women. 🙂 Memories and encouragement for your Mother on my part and also for her Eldest daughter even if she does not know me. Karen a lot of affection and tranquility for you. For what you want, you have my email and me by your side. Many strengths 🙂 Greetings with love of Margarita.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Margarita. That’s so kind. Your words are a comfort. Luckily- after much worry- both are recovering well. You and I are strong and cope with every little challenge life presents us with. Glad to have your loving support. Thanks again xx


  2. Enjoyed your post…sorry to hear (no pun intended ; ) of your recent headphone headaches , but as you say, a little humourputs it all in perspctive. Of course, easy to say when these things happen to someone else…. These sorts of glitches are so common to all of us though.. .sort of remind us of our general fallibility. The first time I ever performed a vocal solo I got through, then tripped and sprained an ankle on some steps leaving the stage. #blurg : /
    Your sachets sound easy and soothing… I shall keep the recipe for your cake.. It sounds simple + delicious.. Have a good week Karen…Still hope to meet before too long. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Jo! Poor you. That sounds so painful. All the headphones are plugged in, so I tipped over the leads – but luckily, no injuries. At least this week I could hear the callers ringing in. Last week it was very hit and miss as the headphones slipped off or didn’t work. i didn’t know you could sing. Tell me more. Hoping you will come next year and I’ll show you around this area. Have a great week. Xx


    • Thank you. It tastes kind of marzinpany with the almonds. The food processor chops up the flaked almonds but still leaves them a tiny but crunchy which adds texture. If you want it to be smooth textured, use ground almonds. I love any recipe where you throw everything in and just mix it. Takes minutes to prepare. Enjoy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. Humour is the only way to go. Best not to take things too seriously. Thanks for kind comments. That cake was really quick to make. Have a good week.


Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. It's nice to know I'm not talking to myself on here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s