So what a corker of a day, bright, blustery with a real chipper twinge in the
air. The cockerels are mighty frisky and I am pleased to report that my
Lavender Peking is a real little David and defeated his much larger sparring
partner Goliath this morning. With blood and feathers all over the place,
natural selection was in its rawest form (fear not they both survived and no
harm done apart from one rather damaged ego).
On my morning walk of the farm I noticed a little peep of the most perfect
pink emerging from the earth, the reassuring sign that the rhubarb has
arrived, signalling that Spring has has most definitely sprung. The best way
to cook rhubarb is to braise it in a very shallow pan of water with barely a
splash of water in the bottom and a shiver of pure white caster sugar. Cook
until al dente. Add a very small amount of stem ginger to the rhubarb and
mix. Put the rhubarb and ginger in the bottom of a round cake tin, pour a
large amount of syrup over the top so the rhubarb is covered and then put a
simple sponge cake recipe mix on top and cook like a normal cake. Turn the
cake out, serve with some creme fraiche and you have the most divine tea
time treat, you even serve it warm as a pudding.
There are so many things to eat for free at this time of year on the farm.
Look at the poor old humble and slightly maligned nettle. These stingy little
fiends are at their best now while they are small and tender. You can cook
them in exactly the same way you would spinach. Nettle Soup is very easy to
make and full of iron. In ancient times nettles provided a vital source of
vitamin D after the long dark winter and the essential minerals that lacked in
an average peasants diet. So nettles were a welcome sight in the spring.
Fry a couple of chopped onions slowly in some butter in a heavy bottomed
pan, leaving the lid on and make sure the onion doesn’t brown, you are
looking for a sweet and soft texture, this should take 15 mins on a low heat.
Then add 700g of your hand picked nettles (having used gloves obviously),
add 3 pints of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Then add 600g of peas
and boil until tender, grate in some nutmeg, season with salt and pepper
and then liquidize and swirl through double cream for added yumminess.
Serve with wood sorrel for an extra lemony tang. There you have your spring
shot of all the essential vitamins and minerals you body needs, and all just