Our new Shepherd’s Hut is getting prettified as I write and thanks to the power of social media I am already taking bookings for it. It’s a lovely thing with a double bed, a single bunk and a pull out futon to sleep up to four. It has its own wood-burning stove and a pull-out awning to keep you shaded in the scorching English summer! If you would like to book or know more just email me firstname.lastname@example.org . You can see pics on our website now and will soon be able to book via our online system.
The relatively mild weather has brought my seedlings on well and I’ve spent some peaceful hours pricking them out. The nights are still too cold to leave them in the polytunnel so they are still in the hall being cosseted.
After 18 months in our new house at Nethergong I’m finally getting round to sorting the garden out. First stop is to ask the mother of one of Lewis’ friends to design something for me. Its very exciting as I’ve never been able to create a garden from scratch and I guess it also means we are here for a while!
In your boxes……………….
Its wild garlic news this week with the first offering from Lew’s secret wood. It’s a bit labour intensive as Lewis’ deal with the owner of the woods includes picking it himself but its worth the work. We think wild garlic is one of the first signs of better weather and changing veg. By magic, we’ve also got the first watercress from Watercress Farm at Wingham Well and Tanya Griggs’ first little spring onions. They’re usually small but they pack huge flavour. Spring has officially sprung!
Recipe 1: Wild Garlic Pesto
This is fabulous on all pasta dishes but especially good with plain spaghetti and chopped chilli!
100g wild garlic
50g Parmesan grated
50g hazelnuts, skinned & toasted (or pine nuts)
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt & pepper
Thoroughly wash your wild garlic and place in a food processor, blitz until fairly well broken up. Next add your Parmesan and process further, this will help to break down the garlic leaves. Finally add your hazelnuts. When the nuts are added you will want to have your olive oil to hand; turn the machine back on, and add olive oil to your desired consistency. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
You can always make this more traditionally and slowly in a pestle and mortar too
Recipe 2: Crispy Sausage and Wild Garlic Fusilli – serves 4
2 heaped teaspoons fennel seeds
2 dried red chillies , crumbled
4 Cumberland sausages
4 handfuls wild garlic leaves , washed,
320 g fusilli
freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful Parmesan cheese , freshly grated, plus extra for serving
Bash up the fennel seeds and chillies in a pestle and mortar, then put to one side. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Cut open the sausage skins and squeeze the meat into the pan. Stir it around with a wooden spoon, breaking it up into small pieces so it resembles coarse mince. Fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to colour and the fat has started to render out.
Add the bashed up fennel seeds and chillies to the meat, and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the meat is crisp, dark golden brown and caramelised. Turn the heat down to low.
Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil. If you managed to get hold of wild garlic leaves, simply blanch them in the boiling water for 3 minutes, then scoop out and put in a food processor. Add the fusilli to the water, bring it back to the boil and cook according to the packet instructions.
Blitz the wild garlic leaves or the cooked garlic and spinach in the food processor, until you have a deep green sauce, then add a lug of olive oil, a grating of lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water. Put the pasta back in the saucepan and add a splash of the cooking water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently stir the lovely green sauce into the pasta to coat it then immediately divide the pasta between your bowls. Top with the delicious crisp sausage meat and a nice grating of Parmesan cheese, and serve