It’s the first day of camping today and the site is ready and looking glorious. Our early, mild spring has brought all the plum trees into blossom and the blackthorn blossom is still on the trees. It looks like a good year for fruit and I can only cross my fingers that we get no more frosty nights, although last night’s Countryfile forecast warned of much colder weather next week.
Our young cousins enjoyed a sixth birthday party yesterday at Nethergong, complete with the obligatory Bouncy Castle. They had a great couple of hours, playing football and running around the woods and fields. We know it’s a magical place for children and reminds me of some really wild places we used to play in when I was young.
A combination of even more staycationers and our early booking push means that we are nearly booked up. Every weekend from the end of May until September is booked and the weekday summer holidays are filling fast. We would love to see more campers during the midweek in May and June and will shortly be offering a discount for families with pre-schoolers and couples to bag a short break.
In the polytunnel
My tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and peppers are progressing well. This week I will carry on with sowing cucumbers, French beans and possibly some squash. I’m not going to risk seed germination in the polytunnel as pesky mice have been a problem for me in the past. I’ve lost count of the number of beans they have dug up and eaten. They don’t seem to bother once they have sprouted so I’m going to start them off on my windowsills as this has been successful so far.
In your boxes……………………
A first this week is coriander from Steve Parsley. Steve always supplies us with our fresh herbs and we’re excited to have coriander for you. For those of you who don’t enjoy spicy food, coriander is great chopped up and added to any salad.
With rocket and tomatoes for salads also the box this week has a spring/summer feel to it.
Recipe 1: Classic Carrot Cake
I don’t normally feature a sweet recipe but with school holidays here I thought there might be some baking going on!
450ml/16fl oz vegetable oil 400g/14oz plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 550g/1lb 4oz sugar
5 free-range eggs ½ tsp salt
2½ tsp ground cinnamon 525g/1lb 3oz carrots, grated
150g/5½oz shelled walnuts, chopped
For the icing
200g/7oz cream cheese
150g/5½oz caster sugar
100g/3½oz butter, softened
For the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and line a 26cm/10in springform cake tin.Mix all of the ingredients for the carrot cake, except the carrots and walnuts, together in a bowl until well combined. Stir in the carrots and walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the cake from the tin and set aside to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, for the icing, beat the cream cheese, caster sugar and butter together in a bowl until fluffy. Spread the icing over the top of the cake with a palette knife
Recipe 2: roasted cauliflower and coriander
1 head cauliflower, about 500g, cut into florets
2 red onions, sliced into thick wedges
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
handful fresh coriander, to serve
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. In a roasting tin, toss the cauliflower, red onion, ground coriander and olive oil together with some salt and pepper. Roast for 25 mins, tossing occasionally until the vegetables are starting to brown. Toss through the coriander and serve.
Recipe 3: Cauliflower, potato and coriander curry – serves 4
2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 large onion, chopped
large piece ginger, grated 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric 1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder, or to taste 227g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp sugar 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
2 potatoes cut into chunks 1 small green chilli, halved lengthways
squeeze lemon juice handful coriander, roughly chopped, to serve
naan bread and natural yogurt, to serve
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Cook the onion for 10 mins until soft, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and curry powder. Cook for 1 min more. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar. Add the cauliflower, potatoes and split chilli, seasoning to taste. Cover with a lid and gently cook for a good 30 mins, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender – add a drop of water if you need to, but it is meant to be a dry curry.
When the vegetables are cooked, remove the chilli, if you like, stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and scatter with coriander. Serve with your choice of Indian bread and a dollop of yogurt