Saturday, 19 July 2014

Wet Nellys in Hydrangea Heaven.

We enjoyed a lovely day with friends Neet and Chas and after a good natter and lunch the day's heavy rain left us and so we took advantage of some sunshine to visit a nearby National Trust property....
Speke Hall.
After touring the hall and basking in history we strolled the gardens and we were overwhelmed by the hydrangea walk.
This white variety was amazing and HUGE!
as you can see ....there's Neet behind them.
Of course, the purple shades were my favourites and I loved all the shades over just one plant..

We went crazy taking photograph as each plant offered something different and we were especially fascinated by the fluffy tops of this variety right at the back.

This was my favourite for the beautiful centres.....

but then I adored this one's vibrant colour....
and this one is very special and really lovely! 
Then there was this fascinating pointy one.
The bees were in Hydrangea Heaven
and so were Neet and me.
What's this you may ask? Well let me tell you about a local delicacy.
We went for a welcome cuppa before we left and just had to try.......
a Wet Nelly! It certainly tastes better than the murky lump it looks.

It evolved in Liverpool during times of hardship as a means of using up leftovers and any stale crumbs of cake or bread. It varied according to each family and also what was available day to day.

Here's the recipe from the National Trust at Speke Hall, Liverpool, if you'd like to try one.

Wet Nelly


  • Serves:8
  • Preparation time:4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Cooking time:1 hour and 15 minutes
Try making your own! © National Trust/Alex Muir
Try making your own!


1 loaf of white bread (day old becoming dry is perfectly fine for this recipe) with crusts cut off and cut into chunky squares
100g butter
140g brown sugar
¾ pint milk warmed
500g mixed fruit
1 dessert spoon mixed spice
3 medium eggs


  •  Soak bread in milk for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
  •  When fully soaked, add all other ingredients, mix together well and pour into a greased deep sided roasting tin.
  •  Bake at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for approx 1 – 1 ¼ hours until soft but springy to touch.
  •  Delicious served hot with custard or cold with a cup of tea.
  •  Enjoy!


lisa said...

What a great day out you've had, Jo. I went to Speke Hall many years ago when we had family living in Knutsford but I think that was probably before my love of plants developed as those Hydrangeas are beautiful and unforgettable. Love the photo of Neet hiding behind one.
Will definitely give the Wet Nelly a try.
Hugs Lisax

Annie said...

I'm so pleased you and Neet weren't the wet nellys you referred to :-)....looks really yummy but have a feeling it doesn't fit into a diabetic diet :-(
Gorgeous hydrangeas...what stunning colours.
Annie x

Eliza said...

Hi Jo,

Apart from roses these are my all time favourite plant and there are so many varieties to be seen and all stunning. Not to sure about the Wet Nelly, I don't like mixed fruit or even fruit cake so I think I will pass on this one. Regardless it sounds like you have had fun time spent together. Thanks for sharing.

Hugs Eliza

Helen said...

What amazing blooms! I never used to be very fond of hydrangeas, but am becoming more so now - love the huge white ones, and the purple ones. Gorgeous photos, and the Wet Nelly sounds interesting (not normally fond of soggy bread-type things but may give this a go)

tilly said...

Looks like another fun day out, it's years since I went to Speake Hall,what wonderful Hydrangea's so many colours in one bush.
The wet nellie is tasty as well

Redanne said...

What a lovely day you had, I love Speke Hall and those Hydrangea's are just glorious Jo. Love the pictures, especially the one of lovely Neet! I never knew that cake was called Wet Nellie - I am not a cake maker but I think I may try this one - thanks so much for the recipe.. Hugs, Anne xx

Anonymous said...

When I was a child we called it bread pudding, the bread including crusts, was soaked in water and then when well soaked as much water as possible was squeezed out then dried fruit, sugar, mixed spice and eggs mixed in. We loved it and I still make it, it freezes well too.

What a fabulous house and an even more beautiful garden. I adore mop cap hydrangeas for the intensity of colour of those smaller flower centres and the oak leaved ones are beautiful.
So glad you all had a wonderful time and tfs x

sandra de said...

That would have to be one of the most stunning displays of hydrangeas. What a wonderful day out.... although I would give the wet nelly a miss.

Paul Browning said...

Love me a wet nelley lol. Speke Hall looks fabulous. I wasn't overly impressed when I visited a couple of years ago but it looks like I didn't see it at its best. Maybe Nick & I should give it a second chance and see it this Summer. Your photos certainly are colourful and a joy. I can see why you wanted to take a lot. Especially of Neet. That is a really good pic of her. Pxx

Lynne said...

My nanna used to make 'wet nellies', Jo! You have brought it all back! And Speke Hall - my cousin Denise was brought up there , her mum and dad were housekeeper and groundsman in the very early 50'sso I always feel connected to this place. Lxxx

Julia Dunnit said...

Aw, that is a lovely pic of Neet, and the hydrangeas are just staggering, how perfectly you timed your visit! Wt Nelly looks like a non fat bad thing at all!!

pearshapedcrafting said...

We are definitely going to have to visit Speke Hall again! I have just begun to appreciate Hydrangeas - we discovered some at the caravan - hidden by ivy - they have got better each year and this year - must be a good year! I think Wet Nellys are know as Bread Pudding in Lincolnshire - yummy!!! Thanks to you I have been knitting again!!! Loving it! Chrisxx

cockney blonde said...

Wet Nelly looks a little like bread pudding. I can remember Mum making this 'delicacy' to use up bread before it got too stale. Very stodgy but very nice.
Looks like you had a lovely day and those flowers are just so beautiful, x

Twiglet said...

Wow - what a beautiful collection of hydrangeas Jo - such stunning colours and varieties. And that wet nelly - well what can I say - hot with custard for me please! x Jo

Neet said...

Love your pictures of the hydrangeas Jo - but then there is a strange brown one??
Didn't we have a lovely day? Am looking forward to having another sooner than later.
And not a mention of the delightful lunch you put on.

Hugs, Neet xx

Exuberant Color said...

I have never seen such large hydrangea bushes and so many colors. I have the huge white ones that turn lime green mid season.

SueH said...

It looks like you all had a wonderful day Jo and I can see why you were taken with the Hydranger Walk , it’s beautiful.
I never realised how many different types there are.


rose of Walk in the Woods, LLC said...

Oh my ~ what a beautiful, delicious day! The colors of those hydrangeas are spectacular and thanks for sharing the recipe too!

Sarah said...

We always called it bread pudding! Had a piece yesterday actually - yummy. I love hydrangeas they come in such a great variety of colours! It looks like you had a good day!

Bunny said...

What a fun blog just found you from Exuberent color blog. Love visiting you. I love that pin wheel block she is doing from that magazine. I will be back to have more visits.
Bunny in Canada

Gaby Bee said...

Hi Jo, what a wonderful day out you've had. Your pictures of the hydrangea bushes are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

Gaby xo

Carola Bartz said...

I've never been to Speke Hall, but I have seen pictures of it. However, I wasn't aware of these incredible hydrangeas! They really wow me!! I love hydrangeas, but here in California you can never get them like this (or risk a fine for wasting water during this awful drought).

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Oh such fab post Jo.. wonderful to see dear Neet, too.
I love these images .. and the wet Nelly only in England would they think of such a name!! :D Shaz in Oz.x