I’ve always loved visiting Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a National Trust property near Ripon. I have been visiting since before I could walk, was a frequent feeder of ducks (until one bit me!) and during my A Level study leave I would frequently decamp to Anne Boleyn’s Seat to sit in total tranquility and study with no distractions! A view like this was definitely inspirational!
So I was very excited to go an visit the newest exhibition in the water gardens: Folly! This exhibition utilises some of the follys dotted around the water gardens to bring new life to these often overlooked structures. I’ve always loved the romanticism of follys so this installations really captured my imagination.
I started with the high ride to the Octagon Tower, step inside and stare!
Then along the path through the woods we came to this curious nest at the Temple of Fame:
I think this one was the dogs’ favourite, a big pile of sticks! What could be better?
Then we continued down past Anne Boleyn’s Seat and on to Fountains Abbey. The boys love jumping on the ruins!
Then we turned back towards the water gardens. The bluebells in the woods were looking lovely and the place was awash with wild garlic!
We made our way up to the Banqueting House, an often overlooked section, which is a shame because it is the perfect spot for a picnic!
But look who was lurking inside! You have to peer through the windows for this one, which can be tricky due to the light reflecting, but what a sight!
All in all it was a lovely walk. It takes me and the dogs about an hour all told at a reasonably leisurely pace (you don’t get much faster with Darcy!) I think that Folly! is a fantastic addition to the site and makes you look a little closer at these lovely little buildings and see them in a new light. It will be there until the end of November so plently of time to visit but I think that it will be great to go back throughout the seasons, especially when the leaves turn for autumn as the whole valley looks delightful then! Why not take a picnic and make a day of it?
This awesome Birthday Cake was so good even the humans were eating it! And Darcy’s doggy friends all wolfed it down, no time for table manners here! It’s a sweet potato sponge with oats and a little bit of maple syrup to sweeten it for Darcy’s insane sweet tooth. My dog must be the only dog in the world who hates peanut butter so all of the popular recipes for doggy birthday cake were right out!
This recipe made enough for a small 4″ 2 layer Birthday Cake and 24 mini Pupcakes too. The icing is simply cream cheese and greek yogurt, no sugar here so make sure you refrigerate it!
Makes 1 x 4″ 2 layer cake and 24 mini Pupcakes (You could probably just use 2 normal Victoria sponge tins for a bigger dog’s cake)
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup porridge oats
1 small sweet potato, grated
75g butter, melted
3 medium eggs, beaten
3 tbsp maple syrup (or you can use the stuff mixed with carob syrup)
400g cream cheese
125g greek yogurt
Dog treats to decorate
– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C. Grease and line your cake tins and place paper liners in tins for cupcakes.
– Mix the flour, oats and sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.
– Melt the butter in a jug and leave to cool a little.
– Add the eggs and maple syrup to the melted butter and beat together.
– Mix in the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
– Add the milk a little at a time to loosen the batter, you want a soft spongy dropping consistency.
– Divide the mixture between your chosen baking tins.
– Mini Pupcakes bake in 15 minutes, the 4″ mini layer cakes in about 30 minutes. Test to see if a skewer comes out clean to check the bake.
– Allow to cool completely before icing.
– Trim the domes off the layer cakes to give you two flat, even layers.
– Mix the cream cheese and greek yogurt together in a mixing bowl.
– Spread evenly over your cake and pup cakes. You can be generous here, don’t worry!
– Add whatever treats your dog likes to decorate it!
Darcy turned 1 this week! I can’t believe how the last year has flown by! I certainly can’t imagine my life without him in it and I am endlessly grateful for the joy he brings to my life. So I thought he deserved a Birthday Party to show him how much I love and appreciate him!
I made him a special Birthday Cake and mini Pupcakes to share with all of his friends too! I’ve put the recipe in a separate post here!
The cake is delicious and I say that as a human! Given the speed that the pups wolfed it down the doggy guests were fans too! In fact, I took some up to my parent’s dog to have and he ate both his and Darcy’s slice! (Darcy may have been a bit caked out by that point!)
Cheeks full of cake there!
There were even some ‘Pawesome’ fairy cakes for the humans!
He had so many presents! And my mum even found him a rawhide Birthday Card!
He certainly embraced the party mood!
All in all an excellent 1st Birthday!
It’s Frodo’s 6th Birthday today!
To celebrate I bought him a new squeaky toy, humiliated him by making him wear a hat and baked him a birthday cake!
I think it tastes bland and rubbish but the dogs loved it! It’s got no sugar in other than that from the banana so no worries about rotting their teeth, the flour is whole wheat but if your dog has allergies then you could swap to a spelt flour, brown rice flour or a gluten free mix if necessary.
Ordinarily I would ice this with peanut buttercream but sadly Darcy does not like peanut butter (first dog of my acquaintance who doesn’t!) so a cream cheese frosting was an excellent substitute!
Serves 4-6 dogs (Or probably just one great dane!)
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tap baking powder
2 tbsp milk
200g cream cheese
125g Greek yogurt (good thick stuff!)
Dog treats to decorate
– Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190C.
– grease and line the base of 3 x 4″ mini cake tins.
– Mash up the bananas, egg and oil in a bowl or large jug.
– Add the flour and baking powder and mix until combined.
– Add the milk and mix through until you have a smoothish batter (banana lumps are fine, flour lumps are bad!)
– Divide the mixture equally between the 3 tins.
– Bake for 30 minutes. Depending on how moist your bananas were this may need a little longer. When a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake has no wobble to it it’s done!
– Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
– In a small bowl mix together the cream cheese and Greek yogurt together.
– When completely cool spread the layers with cream cheese and stack into a cake, spreading frosting round the outside too.
– Decorate as you wish with dog friendly treats!
This week’s Filed Trip! was to Beningbrough Hall Parkland and Home Farm Farmshop. Beningbrough Hall is a gorgeous National Trust property located just to the north of York off the A19. The walled gardens are one of my favourite places to visit in the whole world. I’m just lucky that I live 15 minutes away! The house is interesting and if you’re into portraiture they collaborate with the National Portrait Gallery for exhibitions. However, they don’t allow dogs in to the gardens so I haven’t been in since I got Darcy. Boo!
However, the parklands surrounding the house are open to dogs and there are several walks through the woods and fields. The longest one circumnavigating the whole property takes us about 1.5 – 2 hours at a fairly leisurely pace. They have a great leaflet showing the short, medium and longer walks. It can get a little muddy in the winter and if there has been a lot of rain then flooding can be an issue along the river banks. In good weather though the dogs love to go for a swim at the furthest point where the Nidd joins the Ouse!
The National Trust have a lovely restaurant inside the grounds but, again, no dogs allowed. Luckily Home Farm Shop is located just the other side of the car park (National Trust members can park for free) and has plenty of outside seating. It’s very popular with dog walkers and cyclists and serves a delicious range of food and drink. Just what you need after a good long walk!
I almost always go for the Home Farm Burger. You get to eat the cows you just walked past!!! (This pleases me greatly and I always make a point to tell them how delicious they are. Weird, yes, but I feel they should know what a good job they’re doing eating grass and getting all delicious!) My friend favours the Ploughmans and the portions are always generous. The dogs usually split a sausage roll! The selection of cakes is always good and everything I’ve tried has been great, I’ve never once been disappointed!