Author Archives: Jenny Harmer

Norfolk Gold – The Daffodil Mile at Honing

Nothing could add such cheer as this beautiful straight country road just a few miles from North Walsham at Honing Long Lane. This road always makes me smile and we’ve been known to take several visits to see how it is doing.


This Sunday April 3rd, Honing church is holding fund-raising tours of the daffodils from 1.30-4pm.

The spectacle was created by a local farm who were given two tonnes of under-sized daffodil bulbs as sheep feed instead of potatoes.

But because they were unsure of their safety – farm workers tipped them off the trailer. They just ‘hulled’em orf’  as we might say in Norfolk, the best bit of fly tipping in the county I’d say!

The bulbs have slowly self-planted to provide today’s display in Long Lane.

Two vintage tractors shall be giving rides up and down the Lane and they’ll be serving refreshments in the church. All profits to the Honing Church fabric Fund.

tiered cake plate filled with scones, meringues and coffee cake, perfect for Mothers Day

For your mum on Mothers Day – Lemon and Sultana Scones

This recipe is my all time favourite from our Margaret who used to run a famous Tea Room in Baconsthorpe.

Going off on a tangent but, Baconsthorpe Castle would be great for some family time on Mothers Day.

Now for the recipe!

Her book ‘Margaret’s Recipes From Her Tea Rooms’ is still my favourite go-to reference for Afternoon Tea at Chimneys and her recipes are so easy to follow.

The book is presently being reprinted and you can order your copy online from the website listed below.


500g self-raising flour

2 tsp of baking powder

125g butter

60g sugar

185g sultanas

Grated rind of two lemons

2 beaten eggs

Approx 5fl.oz milk

Oven temp Gas Mark 6, 450 Fahrenheit 220 Celsius


Place flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and lemon rind in a food processor. Mix for 10 seconds. (I have rubbed the butter in by hand but you need cold hands).

Add eggs and milk for another 5 seconds.

Remove from the bowl and gently fold in the sultanas.

Turn onto a floured surface.

Pat down with floured hands (not too thin) and make 12 rounds with a cutter. (Sometimes I make smaller scones with a little cutter and you can make approx 20 from this quantity).

Place the scones onto a lined baking tray.

Brush the tops with milk and a sprinkle of sugar.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes.


Margaret's Recipe book my favourite book for Afternoon Tea recipes at Chimneys

Margaret’s Recipes will never fail you when entertaining, especially for Afternoon Tea.

freshly home-baked lemon and sultana scones

Freshly baked for an Afternoon Tea feast

At Chimneys we are delighted to use Mundesley Jams. Kathryn Moore is a brilliant jam maker and if you visit Mundesley, be sure to pay her stall a visit on the High Street where you will find lots of wonderful concoctions.

Only making small batches, if you are fortunate enough to see her Lavender Jelly, it is the perfect partner with clotted cream although home-made orange or lemon curd goes really well with these scones too.

Tips for making perfect scones.

Chilled butter is really important. (If you haven’t a processor, grate the chilled butter into the flour with a cheese grater and then you won’t have to work it too much).

Don’t overwork the dough and don’t pat or roll it out too thinly.

Dip the scone cutter in flour after cutting each scone to prevent the wet dough from sticking and don’t twist the cutter just press straight down.

Arrange the scones closely on the tray so they sort of help each other rise.

Have fun and don’t count the calories on Mothers Day

View of the North Norfolk coast and the parkland from the gazebo viewing tower at Sheringham Park

What Mothers Want!

In 2000, there was a very successful and funny film entitled ‘What Women Want’, where Mel Gibson had a fluke accident that gave him the ability to read women’s minds.

I’m sure there are many mothers out there that wish their families could this Mothers Day. I think I can speak for most of them who would just want a little bit of your time and maybe a little effort.

If you’re stuck for an idea for an afternoon stroll, Sheringham Park could just be the place to run off a bit of steam, take in some fresh air and have a bracing walk. There are sure to be a few early rhododendrons and camellias in the park as due its coastal location and the micro climate created by the large rhododendron collection, the wild garden is largely protected from winter frosts.

View of the North Norfolk coast and the parkland from the gazebo viewing tower at Sheringham Park

Climb the gazebo viewing tower to enjoy the scenery of the North Norfolk coast.

large collection of rhododendrons in the parkland with the blue sea in the background

Due its coastal location and the micro climate created by the large rhododendron collection the wild garden is largely protected from winter frosts.

stunning bi-colour rhododendron plant

Part of the large rhododendron collection created by landscape gardener Humphry Repton over 200 years ago.

How about the children making mum some bread for breakfast or a few scones. Guests love home-made bread at Chimneys. I have a few tips and a great recipe  for scones that I will post before Sunday. There are lots of lovely cafes and restaurants that serve delicious Afternoon Teas but be quick as this weekend is sure to be busy.

homemade bread and breakfast muffins on offer at breakfast at Chimneys

Everyone loves home-made bread and muffins at Chimneys

freshly home-baked lemon and sultana scones

Freshly baked for an Afternoon Tea feast


drifts of snowdrops in the dell garden at Walsingham Abbey

Snowdrop Heaven at England’s Nazareth, Walsingham.

I had a magical afternoon at Walsingham this week. There are 18 acres of woodland carpeted with snowdrops in the season and quiet river walks alongside the Stiffkey.

snowdrops in drifts follow the path and beyond in the woodland and gardens at Walsingham priory

These are the most beautiful snowdrops gardens I have ever seen at Walsingham

priory ruins on the lawn at Walsingham

The magnificent East Window arch on the main lawn, just one of the mediaeval Priory ruins at Walsingham

entrance to dell snowdrop garden and woodland Walsingham Norfolk

The gates to the dell garden are locked at 3.30pm but I don’t honestly think I’d mind being stuck there

river with snowdrops around the river bank at Walsingham Abbey

snowdrops follow the meandering river in the Walsingham Abbey grounds

Entrance to the Abbey grounds is permitted through the Georgian Shirehall Museum, for 200 years a courtroom but originally built as a pilgrim hostel where there are local artefacts and illustrations of life in Norfolk long ago. Entrance to the Abbey Grounds cost £5

It is particularly apparent that little has changed (architecturally) and the buildings are full of charm. You’re likely to see a nun or two as Walsingham has a long history of religious pilgrimage, dating back to the 11th century.

If you’d like to see the snowdrops in full bloom I suggest you think about it quickly.

The Black Lion, Walsingham is a cosy pit-stop for a light lunch with great atmosphere and a roaring log fire.

sandwiches and homemade chips at the Black Lion, Walsingham

A great light lunch sitting beside a roaring fire at The Black Lion Hotel, Walsingham

Whilst in the area, Pensthorpe Natural Park is definitely worth a visit, just seven miles from Walsingham. With beautiful gardens, spectacular wildlife, an adventure play area, lakes and trails, it’s a great attraction for families

Creake Abbey is only five miles away, where there are beautiful ruins of an Augustinian abbey founded in 1206. They are freely accessible and in the care of English Heritage.

Creake Abbey is also the home to a stunning Café and Food Hall, fantastic shops and studios plus an award winning farmers’ market.

The farmers market is the first Saturday of every month and is a culinary feast of all things wonderful in Norfolk, not to be missed!

homemade birthday cake

Birthdays at Chimneys

I always feel privileged when guests choose to spend their special day with us in Norfolk. I suppose staying at Chimneys on your birthday is similar to staying with your favourite auntie!

You can be sure I will make a big fuss of you. Today I’ve made a birthday cake for a special lady and a special bottle is chilling ready to drink whilst relaxing in the bath.

homemade birthday cake

As an enthusiastic home baker, I’m happy to bake you a cake to mark your special day.

Champagne Caddy and glasses by the bath

Champagne in the Bath? A birthday treat or just because you can! Ice always available

I’m making dinner for this evening as they would prefer to stay in but there are lots of great local restaurants that are great to mark that celebration with a friendly atmosphere and homemade local food.

After a hearty breakfast, get some fresh air at Cromer, whatever the season,  a great place to stretch your legs with lots of picturesque walks to take in the Norfolk atmosphere.

Norfolk is the perfect place to celebrate so give me a ring and let me make your birthday one to remember.

01692 406172

crab boat and tractor at Cromer seaside

After a hard day at sea, lots of crabs to sell at Cromer

two people walking on a deserted beach

Just you and the sea and the noise of the waves. Perfect!


snowdrops under a tree at Thorpe Market church

Snowdrop Sundays February 2016

I had a wander around St. Margaret’s Church, Thorpe Market and it felt like heaven itself!

The churchyard was so peaceful and a welcome stop for walkers.

Note the next two Sundays, tea and cake are on offer in the church.

Just a few miles from Cromer it is well placed for a trip to the seaside.

More tea and cake and wonderful views of the sea are to be had from the Rocket house if it’s chilly.

Further along the coast, and slightly inland is worth a visit to Great Walsingham where I have never seen so many snowdrops in one place! It’s such a special place and worth the 40 minute drive from Chimneys.

Don’t miss out! It’ll be bluebells and rhododendrons next! There are so many wonderful walks in Norfolk. Bring your camera and send us your photos to @ChimneysBB – we love it!

On February 20th, 2016, Horstead House near Wroxham shall be opening their grounds from 11am until 4pm for £4 (children free) taking part in the National Gardens Scheme where there are millions of beautiful snowdrops in its woodland.

snowdrops under a tree at Thorpe Market church

A wonderful bird box in a mature tree in the church yard at Thorpe Market with scathes of snowdrops beneath

dates for snowdrop sundays 21st February 28th February

Enjoy tea, cake and snowdrops. Sounds like heaven

wild flower chart at Thorpe Market church

Wild flowers that grown at Thorpe Market Church

snowdrops in the church yard at Thorpe Market

Snowdrops in the church yard

inside church at Thorpe Market

A beautifully simple church in Thorpe Market


Review of 2014 – It’s been a Funny Old Year

How to portray 2014 in a few paragraphs?

A wonderful mix of fun and frolics and cooking, a good helping of hard work and improvements and seasoned with a good smattering of supporting local events and charity might just about cover it.

The year began with lots of exercise being the order of the day. After running for all of 2013 and until the middle of February, my thoughts turned to re-inventing Chimneys to become the very best it could be.

A massive refurbishment ensued as we aspired to ‘Boutique B & B’ status, with a room doubling in size, antiques  bought and re-upholstered, new carpets and painting and it went on and on and so did the smiles.

Everyone has been delighted with our new rooms and 2015 sees the new building work just beginning as we create a new snug and dining room and consider what else we can do to improve.

A new website was built by Wayne Beauchamp of East Coast Group and brilliant he was too.

Afternoon Tea was introduced at Chimneys this year and has proved to be extremely popular as guests take a break in the garden and enjoy a scrumptious assortment of cakes, scones and sandwiches.

June 2014  saw a massive Afternoon Tea Party where 110 people sat down to  Full Afternoon Tea in the garden and were waited on by the brilliant D of E students from Aylsham High School. What fun we had listening to Norfolk’s own Buble, Mr. Dale Bullimore and a very memorable time it was.

This summer was the busiest time yet for Chimneys. When I did get a few hours off it was spent cycling within the Norfolk countryside and further afield and spending time  with family and friends. As usual, I didn’t spend enough time at the beach. I’m hoping to remedy that in the New Year.

The Autumn saw my involvement with Regenerate, a great committee formed to do just that. I feel excited to be part of it and this December saw the first Christmas Farmers Market. it was a great success as North Walsham buzzed with excitement. Lots of quality marketeers and entertainment on the Town Clock made me proud to be a ‘Walsham Gal’.

So what’s planned for 2015 I hear you ask?

More of the same I hope.

I always try to do my very best and you can be assured that I shall play my small part in making Norfolk a Wonderful County that it most definitely is!

A Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Year to you all.





Chimney’s Answer to The Great British Bake Off

Firstly, may I say that I thought Martha was the most inspiring contestant I’ve seen on The Great British Bake Off.

The youngest contestant ever to compete, so talented, polite and original who has realised that cake can get you everywhere in life! Indeed, cake is the answer!!

It was Richard’s birthday this week and as always there is only one cake that is worthy within the Harmer household on such an occasion – Chocolate Fudge Cake.

I have an extremely tatty paperback cookbook that I acquired from McDougalls Home Advisory Service, 28 years ago when I first got married, probably the most useful book to equip oneself for this wonderful union!

There lies within, the foolproof recipe.

Here goes…..

Ingredients: 10 oz. self raising flour, 3 tbsp. cocoa, 6oz. caster sugar, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 pt. milk, 5 fl. oz. oil, 3 tbsp. golden syrup

Method: Preheat oven 350 Celsius, Gas mark 4. Line two 8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper. Combine all the ingredients beating well. Divide between the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool.

Only Delia Smith’s Chocolate Fudge is sufficient to crown this cake.

Ingredients: 3oz. granulated sugar, 3fl. oz. evaporated milk, 4 oz. plain chocolate (I use the supermarket value brand and it does the job well), 1 1/2 oz. butter, vanilla essence.

Method: Place the evaporated milk and sugar in a pan on a medium to low heat until the sugar has dissolved. bring to a simmer and simmer WITHOUT STIRRING for six minutes. add the broken pieces of chocolate and stir until dissolved and then the butter and a few drops of vanilla essence. Put it in a bowl in a fridge until it is thick enough to spread on a cake.

Spread in-between the sponges and on top and decorate with your favourite sweeties.

IMG_2958 IMG_2957

A dear friend who is lactose intolerant was telling me that she really missed chocolate cake.

This cake recipe works if you substitute the milk in the sponge for coconut milk and the evaporated milk for an oat cream called ‘The Original Oatly’. Waitrose stock it. It’s impossible to taste the difference so how about that! You just need to be careful what dark chocolate you buy but Waitrose also have a dark Continental chocolate with only a trace of milk.

It’s been said that my husband only married me because I could cook and had a car. There’s many a true word said in jest!

I hope you all enjoy baking this great cake.

After all, cake is the answer, whatever the question. Enjoy!



Banana Cake – a Recipe from the Queen of Banana Cakes, Mary Rafferty, Maryland, USA.

I never was a great fan of banana cake until I tasted Mary’s. But she is a brilliant cook!

If you can get your head around American quantities, this is so good.


1/2 cup softened butter, 2 eggs, 1/3cup soured cream (greek yoghurt works just as well), 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup of caster sugar,1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 ripe large bananas, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.

Oven Temperature: 325 Fahrenheit  or No 3 Gas

Method, cream butter and sugar, add beaten eggs, mashed bananas and soured cream. Sift in all dry ingredient.  Put into a paper lined large loaf tin and cook for 1 hour and a quarter to an hour and a half or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Delicious eaten warm.

Enjoy and we love you Mary!