15 Apr 2018


Self Sufficient Living
Another notch to our self sufficient life is the addition of two Asparagus beds, very easy and not complicated at all to grow, I don't know why I've had a irrational fear of growing asparagus, one of my top seasonal treats and as April, May is our lean self sufficient months with purple broccoli just blooming, leeks coming to the end, still an abundance of spinach, winter landcress and salads along with the last of the kale and stored goods it's a beautiful jewel in the crown to be provided with such a gorgeous vegetable.  

With some a good garden care and some self restraint for the first two or three years these beds should give us 20 years of asparagus throughout April and May annually, a wonderful extra vegetable supplement to our lives.

I have brought one year old organic crowns so that we could jumpstart the length of time to harvest, as a rule the asparagus crowns need three years to set up, if you harvest asparagus before this maturing age you lessen the annual yield, your asparagus spears will be skinny and the crown may not produce as long.  

It is so hard not to cut the beautiful thick gorgeous looking spears in year two!  But don't!  However as each crown produces multiple spears you can take one spear from each crown only once as a special treat giving you a few portions in year two, but don't be greedy, I know it's hard but waiting to year three means you are investing in high thick spears for future yields, with longevity you'll be glad of the effort to abstain.

Year One To Plant The Crowns 

I prepped my beds for over (October time) winter and dug in mushroom compost and allowed this to mulch down in to the soil beds.  Dig nice deep and wide trenches so that the roots of the crowns can spread out comfortably.

Generously space the crowns around 30cm apart, the fill the earth back in over the crowns.  I'm not so sure about the raised earthed up trenches that most people use to grow their asparagus, I have made my trenches deeper instead, this we will see if I'm wrong in year two 2018's growth!

Year Two 2018
So excited to see the first asparagus spear appear in early April, it's been a harsh wet winter here in the UK and very little sun so I was pleasantly surprised that our asparagus bed was up and running so quickly as soon as spring had arrived even if the sun and weather had not.

10 days after seeing the first 2" spear I was sitting enjoying a cup of tea in the garden chatting with the chickens when I suddenly spotted the asparagus bed and it made me leap of my seat, calling my husband to come and see the full outbursts of life!

So now the cook in me is thinking a special very first cook with theses precious jewels should be with our home churned butter, poached eggs from our ladies and dressed in a buttery hollandaise sauce with a fresh lemon drizzle from our friends lemon tree.

First Cooked Asparagus Food Photo Comming...

Growing The Asparagus On
Leave the asparagus to do its own thing, this is important, your plants should end up around 4-5ft tall and be all wispy like fennel tops, this is great, when October arrives the plant should look like it's dying back and the shafts will start to go yellow and brittle, at this point if you tug on the shafts the fern like growth should just pull out, that's all it takes annually to care for this majestic vegetable.

Roll On Year Three! 

3 Apr 2018


Wonderfully aromatic and a essential for any curry cook!  This is a recipe that has taken a while to perfect to my family's personal taste, the challange for me was the cloves, the are not my most favourite of flavours but I don't mind a background hint, but my family always manages to pick out that clove flavour in all the variations I have tried so far... and we all love cardamom so I wanted to find a balance of traditional, honest flavour that they we would all love.  Feel free to slightly increase and decrease spices to your personal taste.

I love my spice tins, when I first got my tins I spent days searching for information on what spices are kept in the tins, I eventually learnt that you fill the spice tin with the spices your family use!

1 tsp whole cloves
20 cardamom seeds only
tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp corinader seeds
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 inch cinnamon bark

Place all the whole seeds ingredients, not the nutmeg or cinnamon in a dry frying pan or skillet and gently heat until they are toasty warm, remove and place in a coffee grinder or pestal and mortar and grind to a powder.  Surprisingly the nutmeg is easy to bash into small pieces that then grind down easily.  That's it use as your recipes require, keep in a ball mason jar for up to three months in your cupboard for no more than three months to ensure the freshest flavours.

Home Made Garam Masala


Best Ever Gold Medal Winner Recipe

Gorgeously fragrant and aromatic green Thai curry this recipe is outstandingly brilliant, simple to make and a quick cook this will have your family or dinner party guests thinking you've been in the kitchen all day!  This is even better if made the day before.

Prep time 15 minutes / Cooking time 30 minutes

(Serves 4)

The Green Curry Paste
2 cloves garlic peeled
2" piece ginger
1 shallot peeled
1 stick lemon grass bashed
4 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 small bunch corinader with stalks
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder 
The Curry 
2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
4 chicken thighs skin off bone out diced
8 mushrooms thickly sliced
1 green pepper large diced
1-2 cans coconut milk
8 Thai basil leaves torn
1 lime juiced
1 tbsp fish sauce
Himalayan sea salt 
Fresh black pepper 
To Finish the Dish
2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped 
2 red chillies sliced

Heat a large skillet medium hot, in a food processor blitz all the green Curry paste ingredients until really finely blitzed, add the ghee to the skillet along with the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes, next add the chicken and stir in well, add the coconut milk, more if you want a soupy curry.

Cook for 7-10 minutes on a medium low heat until the chicken is cooked through, add the mushrooms, peppers, basil, fish sauce and half the lime juice stir in well and taste the curry sauce, adjust the flavour with more lime juice if you want a less creamy Curry, season with salt and pepper, reduce the coconut milk if you want a thicker sauce.  Finish the serve Curry with a sprinkling of the fresh coriander and red chillies.


Gluten Free
I was in one of those not so Paleo Perfect moods and I really wanted linguine carbonara but loving life the paleo way I did not want the inflamed consequences that always follows after I eat gluten so I made a deal with myself to have the rich gorgeous cream and Parmesan sauce but over courgette zoodles instead, one major craving satisfied and no consequences received!  I did miss the pasta but not as much as I thought!

Cooking time 10 minutes

(serves 4)

4 courgettes zoodled
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 glug olive oil
1 tbsp butter
8 rashers sweetcure bacon diced
4 egg yolks
200ml double cream
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch white pepper
80g grated Parmesan 
1 tbsp chopped parsley 

Heat your skillet medium hot add the olive oil and butter gently soften the onions and garlic don't let them colour, remove from the skillet and keep to one side, add the bacon to the skillet and cook until crispy, turn the heat down to low and add back the onions stir to combine, then toss in the courgette zoodles and mix through the onions and bacon until evenly coated.

In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy, stir in the cream, parsley and season with the salt and pepper.  Take your skillet off the heat and working quickly pour the cream mixture over the zoodles, sprinkle on the Parmesan and toss through, serve immediately.  The heat from the skillet, zoodles, onions and bacon will cook the cream sauce, if you add extra heat to this delicate sauce you will end up with scrambled egg cream sauce.

2 Apr 2018


Slow Braised Shoulder Of Lamb
The inspiration and passion of picking our family dinner fresh from the vegetable garden and slow braising our own home reared grass feed organic lamb  just sings to our souls, there is something very empowering at raising your own food, even a few trays of windowsill salad and micro greens, being self sufficient and going to your own larder for those grown and stored staples like dried beans, peas, corn and herbs supported by preserved canned tomatoes, salsas and pickled vegetables makes us feel deeply satisfied.

Cooking time 4 hrs

(serves 4)

1 whole or 2 half shoulders lamb
2 leeks sliced
1 carrot chopped
1 celery diced
1 onion sliced
4 cloves garlic bashed
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 bottle good red wine
2 ltr lamb stock

To Roast The Lamb
Pre heat your oven to 180 C / 356 F season the lamb shoulders with the salt and pepper, place all the chopped vegetables in your roasting tin, place the lamb on top with the sprigs of rosemary, pour in the wine and stock, cover with parchment paper and then foil and slowly braise the lamb for 3-4 hours in the oven until the lamb is falling off the bone, that's it the most gorgeous tender roast lamb, serve with your favourite trimmings.

Best Ever Gravy
Strain off the cooking juices and reduce in a pan for the best ever gravy, if you want your gravy a little thicker then just mixed couple of equal tbsp of butter to flour and whisk in to thicken slightly.


Perfect grass feed roast lamb, medium rare full of succulent flavour and even better this is lamb we have organically raised ourselves on our small holding.  This is the cut known as noisette, it is from the best end of the rack and in effect a rack of lamb off the bone, this cut makes for a perfect roast for two or medallions of lamb.  Takes just 18 minutes to roast so it's brilliant for a mid week roast dinner on the table within 25 minutes with the oven doing all the work!

Cooking time 20 minutes / Resting time 5 minutes 

(serves 2) 

The Roast
1 noisette lamb or rack
1 glug olive oil
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch ground black pepper

1 leek sliced
4 rashers sweetcure bacon diced
1 tbsp butter
1 pinch black pepper

Pre heat your oven to 220 C / 450 F, and place a roasting tin in the oven to warm up, meanwhile place a skillet on the stove and heat hot, rub the lamb in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper, sear the lamb skin side down in the skillet until browned all over.

Remove the lamb from the skillet and place in the hot roasting tin in the oven, turn the heat down to 200 C / 390 F and set the timer for 18 minutes.  Once cooked remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for a full 5 minutes before slicing, meanwhile place the diced bacon in the skillet that you used for the lamb, add the butter and fry until crispy, add the leeks and soften.  Slice the lamb and serve on your bed of bacon leeks, for extra richness add a generous dollop of double cream to the leeks just before serving.