Ruby used to ask for the telly to be turned off as she was more interested in making something (the loo roll tubes I’ve saved to plant beans in often disappear to be transformed by copious amounts of cellotape into strange creatures) but things change and I’d started feeling guilty at my teatime reliance on cbeebies. Much as she often loves cooking, when we’re both slightly frazzled at the end of the day, it’s so easy to switch the telly on and get on with making the dinner on my own. But on lovely evenings when there’s play to be had outside, I feel such a terrible Mum to have encouraged my daughter onto the sofa.
When we got the pigs I was so pleased with Ruby’s interest in them. We often gave them their early tea together before I needed to get ours and Ruby would stay outside, picking clumps of grass and dandelions for them. Or she’d pull her outside chair up close to them and oink, claiming an ability to communicate in pig language. I could happily nip between the kitchen and garden, cooking and gathering any salad and herbs from outside, enjoying the odd piggy update from Ruby. How happy I was. And how quickly the novelty passed. Continue reading
Isn’t it one of those wonderfully tasty timings of nature that gooseberries and elderflowers happen to be around at the same time? They work so well together in puds and both are so evocative of English summer days. The hazy, lazy sort, when you’re enjoying the garden in dappled sunlight rather than wondering how to amuse children in the rain.
So far, I’ve picked gooseberries from the garden to use in a traditional crumble. I cook the gooseberries briefly with some sugar and a head of elderflower before removing the elderflower, adding the crumble and putting in the oven. And I add oats to the crumble topping (they add a brief, comfortingly healthy vibe before I remember all the butter and sugar). Continue reading
Visited this wonderful old Herefordshire orchard today for an article I’m writing for Smallholder magazine. Lovely day to visit, the surrounding countryside is so lush after all the rain and the orchard full of life enjoying the June sunshine.
A community supported agriculture scheme has helped preserve the orchard, which nestles below Marcle Ridge and has been in the same family for 90 years. Ann and Norman Stanier returned to the family fruit farm in 1993 to take over from parents, but found the markets for fruit changed hugely due to the dominance of supermarkets and competition from imported fruit. I came away so full of enthusiasm for what Ann Stanier has done – she clearly loves the orchard and has been so innovative in preserving it.
This weekend I’ve been:
Loving the Cotswold Olimpicks at Chipping Campden on Friday night. Sport of shin-kicking eccentric/barbaric, bumping into friends while wandering around is great, torchlit procession snaking down Dover’s hill at the end is magical.
Cooking lots of pancakes for late breakfasts. Savoury sourdough ones particularly yummy. Continue reading