What are your views on Tarts? Are you attracted to them or do they disgust you?

By Pam Taylor

No-cook Chocolate Tart

Serves 8
Preparation 25 mins

200g pack all-butter biscuits
100g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup or honey
100g bar dark chocolate
100g bar milk chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
3 tbsp crème fraiche, to decorate
200g raspberries, to serve

Crush the biscuits by putting them in a large, strong plastic food bag and bashing with a rolling pin. Melt the buttter with the syrup or honey, then stir in the biscuits. Press on to base and up the sides of a 12 x 36cm rectangular tin (or 23-25cm round fln tin) and chill while you make the filling.

Break up the two chocolate bars and put in a large bowl. Melt in the microwave for 2-3 mins on medium, stirring halfway through. Stir in the vanilla extract, then sift in the icing sugar. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape, then fold into the melted chocolate. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Chill for at least 2 hours or for up to 2 days.

Just before serving, remove the tart from the tin and slide it on to a flat plate (loosen edges first with the tip of a small pointed knife). You will find it easier to remove the tart if you leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes. Put a few tsps of crème fraiche along the centre of the tart (or around the edges if the tart is circular) and top each with a raspberry, then dust lightly with icing sugar. Cut into thin slices and serve with extra raspberries on the side.

Posted in Recipes. Comments Off on What are your views on Tarts? Are you attracted to them or do they disgust you?

UPDATE: Finchley Arrow changes – the time line is rapidly reducing.

The Finchley Arrow address now bypasses the old website and goes directly into the newspaper if you live in the Finchley Area. We do get ex-Finchleans living overseas and it can take up to 24 hours for the change to register on all the world’s servers, but the old site will remain in place for those whose servers haven’t changed, at least for a couple of days.

We are working behind the scenes on the new website and the work is going at such a rapid speed that we will be able to reduce the proposed launch date of the end of August to definitely by the end of July.

Thanks to Chris Lockie, who is coming rapidly up to speed with Drupal 7, it could go “live” even earlier. Time will tell.

A big thanks to all our uncomplaining readers for your patience but it will be worth the wait.

Posted in Editorial. Comments Off on UPDATE: Finchley Arrow changes – the time line is rapidly reducing.

Have you caught a bus recently? Biggest 12 months for London Buses for 50 years.

Bus travel in London highest in 50 years

London Buses have carried more passengers and travelled more kilometres in the last year than at any time in the last 50 years, according to new figures released by Transport for London today.

The capital’s bus network is one of the largest and most comprehensive urban transport systems in the world. During the last financial year London buses carried almost 2.3 billion passengers. That was 24 million more than the previous year and more than the entire number of journeys across the UK rail network. Bus ridership has increased by 60 per cent in London since 2000 due to a sustained investment in the bus network and improvements to services.

Last year buses in the capital travelled 486 million kilometres in passenger service, which was 2.6 million kilometres more than the previous year. Every weekday in London 7,500 buses carry more than 6 million passengers on 700 different routes across the Capital.

[Note to London Transport – we use miles not kilometres in the United Kingdom – Ed]

Posted in Transport. Comments Off on Have you caught a bus recently? Biggest 12 months for London Buses for 50 years.

Have you ever visited an NGS garden? We did, last Sunday in Finchley!

The publishers “The Yellow Book”, a guide to over 3,700 gardens, is the National Garden Scheme, or NGS as they are commonly known.

Every year NGS gardens across England and Wales welcome about 750,000 visitors. Most gardens which open for the NGS are privately owned and open just a few times each year. Some gardens open as part of a group with the whole community involved. The gardens give all the money raised directly to us (including from the sale of teas and plants); the only exceptions being in some cases they ask that a small proportion goes to a nominated local charity.

Garden in Park Crescent

NGS Garden

Our tradition of opening gardens of quality, character and interest is supported by our Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales.

Did you know that we currently give away more than £2.5 million each year to nursing, caring and gardening charities and we have given them a total more than £25 million in the last 15 years. Our office and overheads are small and most of the work is done by volunteers in our county teams and so currently more than 80p in every £1 raised at garden openings goes directly to our beneficiaries.

NGS Garden

NGS Garden

I attended one such garden last Sunday in Park Crescent – just behind Victoria Park. It was a beautiful well kept garden and the £2.50 collected saw a large chunk going to the North London Hospice and the balance going to the NGS. The owner and gardener was Rosie Daniels and one wonders where she finds the time, as after a full days work in central London, she spends a lot of time at home and at The Institute with her main hobby, with stained glass windows.

NGS Garden

NGS Garden

The photographs in this article were all of her garden.

Posted in Arts_crafts, Charities, Nature. Comments Off on Have you ever visited an NGS garden? We did, last Sunday in Finchley!

More information on cooling TfL tube and train carriages, buses and stations.

Work continues to keep passengers cool this summer and beyond, [I have tried to remove as much “puff” as possible! Ed]

  • First air conditioned Tube trains now running in central London
  • London Overground served by full fleet of air conditioned trains
  • Work to double ventilation fans on the Victoria line nears completion
  • Work underway looking at future of Tube trains

With warm summer weather now hitting the capital and millions of Tube passengers experiencing hot journeys on the Underground, Transport for London (TfL) has set out the work it continues to carry out to try and cool the Tube network.

On the sub surface lines the roll out of new air-conditioned S stock Tube trains continues and this summer Metropolitan line passengers are able to use them on routes into central London for the first time. By 2016 forty per cent of the Tube network will use the new air conditioned trains as, once roll out is complete on the Metropolitan line, they will be introduced on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines from 2012 and the District line from 2013.

However the challenge of cooling the deep level Tube lines is one that TfL continues to work on. The Tube is the oldest metro system in the world and its basic tunnel infrastructure has changed little since it was constructed over 145 years ago. On the deep-level lines, which are unique to London, the heat generated by trains has been passing into the tunnels and the clay surrounding them for many years, meaning the tunnels retain heat. They were also built with only enough room for trains and with very little space for air-conditioning on the trains, inside or outside.

TfL’s acquisition of Tube Lines has created the opportunity for a joint approach to upgrades of the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines including a common design for trains. London Underground, working with the train industry, is looking to develop a train that would be lighter and more energy-efficient, which would mean the possibility of it being able to carry air conditioning equipment.  Using regenerative braking, which returns power back to the rails, could in turn power the air conditioning while not adding to the heat that would be generated powering it. The current plan is that a prototype will be delivered to London Underground by 2015.  

Work to double the capacity of the fans at all the main ventilations shafts serving the Victoria line is also due to be completed later this year. A total of nine fans have already been completed and the work on the final four is currently underway. Later this week the entire Victoria line train fleet will have been replaced and this will enable LU to operate the environmentally friendly regenerative braking system, which returns power to the rails while the train is braking. That will reduce the amount of heat that is generated and should therefore reduce the temperature in the tunnel.

Coupled with the new trains ventilation system, which will circulate cool air from ground level in the tunnel and distribute it into the carriage at head height, this will mean more comfortable journeys for customers during the hot summer months.

Peter Hendy, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “With the hot weather we’ve seen this week we know that it can get uncomfortable on the network, and I want to reassure our passengers that we are working hard to overcome the unique and considerable engineering challenge of cooling the Tube. We’ve made progress – air-conditioned Tube trains are now operating in central London, the entire London Overground network is served by a fleet of 57 air conditioned trains. Air cooling systems are now fitted on all new double deck buses joining the fleet and additional opening windows have also now been fitted on all double deck buses.

“Last summer saw the introduction of the first ever air-conditioned Tube train on the Metropolitan line and they are now running in central London in summer for the first time. By 2016, 191 air conditioned trains will be operating on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.  On the Victoria line, significant work has been done to improve ventilation and make journeys for customers more comfortable. Customers should notice a significant difference when we’re able to use the regenerative braking feature on the new trains which we’ll be able to do once the old trains have been taken out of service.”

Cooling the other deeper lines of the Tube remains a considerable challenge. The deep level tube lines are unique to London’s Tube network it is not replicated on any other metro system in the world, where the tunnels only enough room for trains. This means that on the deep-level Tubes there is very little space for air-conditioning on the trains, inside or outside. But  TfL is looking to the future and what that holds for the next generation of Tube trains, with the aim of making them lighter, so that that they generate less heat and to create space so that a cooling solution could possibly be implemented.

On buses, all new double deck buses are now fitted with air cooling systems and all double deck buses in the Capital’s fleet have been fitted with extra opening windows. Since 2007, TfL has required all new double deck buses to be fitted with air cooling systems, and there are now 4,654 double deck buses with air cooling or forced air ventilation systems, an increase of 33 percent on last year.  TfL has also been working with the bus operators and joint funding a scheme to retrofit automatic heating systems on 1,361 of the older double deck buses in the fleet to ensure heating is not left on during the hot summer period. Of the 8,500 buses in the fleet 6,747 have white roof panels which help to reflect the heat. New buses must have insulated roof and side panels which reflect heat along with tinted side glass.

As with the last four years, Industrial sized blue fans are also being deployed to help cool around 30 stations across the Tube network and TfL will be providing hot weather advice to passengers. Posters and announcements at stations will provide tips to passengers on how to try and stay cool.

Here are a few tips for keeping comfortable in hot weather:

–       Carry water with you;
–       Don’t board a train or bus if you feel unwell;
–       If you feel unwell please get off at the next stop and seek help from our staff  and;
–       Avoid pulling the passenger alarm between stations, as help can be more easily obtained with the train in platform.

Posted in Transport. Comments Off on More information on cooling TfL tube and train carriages, buses and stations.

A New Buzz in Finchley Church End – Is it a Martian? No, it’s a bee-keeper!

Photo of a beekeeper in all his regalia!

Not a man from Star Wars - just a bee-keeper

Barnet and District Bee-keepers Association, as part of their aim to support Barnet bee-keepers and promote the hobby of bee-keeping, have trained five new bee-keepers who live in the N3 and N12 area of LB Barnet.

Two of the new bee-keepers are setting up beehives in a new Apiary at Finchley Church End . The Apiary will be on an allotment plot and is specially screened, approved and welcomed by their Allotment Association Committee

As part of their training as bee-keepers they all undertook the B&D BKA winter bee-keeping course which consisted of ten Saturday afternoon lectures, practical experience and mentorship this spring and summer each Saturday on a B&D BKA bee-hive. They will continue to get support until they are experienced bee-keepers.

At the new Finchley Church End allotment apiary the new bee-keepers are now making their first beehive for their nucleus of bees which is being prepared at the B&D BKA apiary in Totteridge Vale.

If you a find a swarm of honey bees in Finchley, then Barnet and District Bee-keepers in association with Barnet Council will collect them (no fee) and rehouse them. Mr Clive Cohen the B&D district swarm collector can be contacted via Barnet Council or through the link below but cannot deal with wasp nests.

Finchley has a long association with bee-keeping as the eminent Victorian Bee-keeper and Naturalist, William Bernhuad Tegeitmere, who was a close friend of Charles Darwin, lived in the 1870’s in Alexandra Grove, N12 and is buried in East Finchley Cemetery. Barnet & District Bee-keepers Association has been around for almost as long as they are celebrating their 100th year and hope to continue supporting local bee-keepers for at least another hundred years

The Barnet & District Bee-keepers Association email address for rescuing swarms is swarms@barnetbeekeepers.org and their website is at www.barnetbeekeepers.org/sections/Apiarists/swarms.htm

Posted in Nature. 3 Comments »

The Pasture’s 2nd Anniversary celebration

Pastures, approaching the marquee

Yesterday (Sunday) evening saw the volunteers, councillors, Mike Freer our local MP and other friends of the Pastures celebrating the magnificent work the volunteers have put in. They have turned the Pastures into a wild horticultural haven, with special plants of interest to butterflies, lovely paths through the huge open space, up to a little enclosure at the far end with its own bee hive.

The volunteers, who only work during the weekends, have, in 200 days of work, really transformed this originally ugly patch to the beautiful haven of quiet and tranquillity that it is.

The pond from the food table.

There is also a huge pond with fish and in season it is a hotbed of tadpoles and frogs. The fish have to be carefully chosen to be the types that don’t eat tadpoles. Alas, as you can see from the photograph, it was covered with algae but we were told by Ann Brown, who chairs the volunteers, that it was the wrong time to remove it as it would cause a lot of damage. We see the view of the pond over the view of the lovely food provided for this occasion!

The anniversary "nosh"!

It is open between 10am and 5pm, during weekends and public holidays, except after heavy rain. Also it is closed quite a bit during winter months. It really is worth a visit and, to get there is quite easy. If you go down Long Lane up to the North Circular flyover you will find the Finchley Fire Station on the N3 side of the bridge. Opposite the fire station is a little lane (you can’t park a car in it though). Walk up the lane for about 25 yards and you come to a gate in the railings on the right. You are there!

Dogs are not admitted as they could do damage to the delicate work the volunteers are carrying out. But you can get a full description and learn of all the work that is going on from their website.

Layout of the Pasture

Layout of the Pasture

Posted in Charities, Community, Festivities, Nature, Voluntary. Comments Off on The Pasture’s 2nd Anniversary celebration