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Our Walled Garden Update!

Ali W here! Lots of progress in the walled garden, and as I’ve been sunning myself and enjoying the thrill rides at Thorpe Park, my mini update is virtual this time! thank you to Matt and Suzi for the pictures and information from last week, with a few addendums from this week! The image gallery is below this post! As you can see, the three kinds of radishes are looking yummy and box ready, so those of you who were lucky enough to receive them should be enjoying their spicy goodness by now. At the moment we have French Breakfast 2, Cherry belle and Rudi, however our ant friends that I observed in my in-person update a couple of weeks back are partial to the Rudi’s, so Matt has decided to replace those with Cherry belles. It’s been watering central, Matt tells me, due to the dry weather, and the nights are exceptionally cold which provides quite a challenge! The unusual wild tomato varieties I mentioned in my last garden update are growing bigger by the day, and they should be ready to plant out very soon, we also have some for sale as there are a lot to spare. The plants look really healthy and strong. (UPDATE!!! Matt and co have managed to avoid the overnight frosts, and the tomatoes are now in-situ in the polytunnel!) Some Yellow Submarines and a Ruthje Red at the end of the bed!) Planting out in mind, Rohan and Paul have been busy working hard, planting the first of the lettuces/salads out, which is much appreciated. They seem to love the soil in the walled garden, and we’ve had success with them in the past so we look forward to more this year. The 2nd early potatoes are also now in the ground Sweetcorn!! a personal favourite of mine, has now been sown and has germinated, as has the chard and basil. The magnificent sweetcorn plants certainly love the sunshine that the garden experiences. Meanwhile in the polytunnel, the frill harvest is coming to a close, and we hope those of you that had them in your salad bags enjoyed their buoyant texture and flavour. The polytunnel is now being transitioned now to summery goodness, including the aubergine, chillis, cucumbers and herbs that I mentioned last time. Some long white icicle radishes have just been planted, and they will replace the golden frills. The inclement periods of weather mean the plants needed their fleece coverings at the moment, but hopefully we can take that off soon. The beetroot planted out by team Rohan and Paul is progressing nicely, and the tiny seedlings seem to be appreciating their bed of organic goodness; organic gardening doesn’t use any chemical pesticides or fertilisers, our soil is so good and expertly cared for, so that we don’t need to use anything unnatural to get great results. Matt has been busy reading, this time it’s the fascinating book ‘Fields of Farmers’ all about mentoring and internship in regenerative farming by well respected Joe Salatin from Polyface farms in the USA and meanwhile Suzi has been bird spotting with the arrival of a Jackdaw nest and a watchful Mum overseeing her new home. Volunteering is still working well here, we love the atmosphere and energy you all bring, and appreciate the time and help everyone puts in. If you fancy coming down to see us on a Monday, you’ll be rewarded with fresh veg for your hard work!!! just get in touch via Facebook to find out more. Bye for now! Ali W.

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Crispy ‘seaweed’ Kale Recipe!

Ali W here! This organic crispy kale recipe was given to me by a Yoga student – Yoga and Cooking are two things we can definitely enjoy during lockdown! I had two colours of kale, purple and green, but you can just use one. This makes a lovely snack that’s also quite healthy!:) Serves 2.

You’ll need: enough kale leaves to cover a big baking tray, chopped quite finely and stalks removed.

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar (optional)

Oil to drizzle

How to:

Wash the kale and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with oil then sprinkle with sugar and salt. Bake gently on 180c, at the bottom of the oven until crispy but not burnt (be careful), keep checking and turning it and moving it around to make sure it doesn’t burn. Enjoy straight away to have maximum crispiness! Let me know how you get on. Ali W

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Organic Seville Marmalade Recipe!

Ali W here! Here is a really good and actually easy recipe for home made organic marmalade that uses Seville oranges. You may have received some in your box recently so I hope this offers a yummy way to use them. My Mum in law doesn’t like the shreds in marmalade, so I made one jar without shred for her and added the extra shreds to the remaining! I love the fact that marmalade uses all of the orange peel and the juice, and the pith and pips (with a little help from the lemon) help the setting process with their lovely pectin. Amazing science – like the fruit was designed specially for it! I don’t use jam sugar, as it is not readily available organically, plus you don’t really need it for this recipe in my opinion.

Makes about 900ml jam – I ended up with 4 small jars.

You’ll need:

300g seville oranges

1/3 lemon

830ml water

650g organic sugar

1 tsp oil

A 20cm ish piece of muslin cloth and some string

Sterilised jars

How to:

Put two non-plastic plates in your fridge. Add a thin layer of oil around your pan – you can use kitchen roll to distribute it or your hands or a baking brush! Squeeze the juice out of the oranges and lemon segment, and add to the pan with the water. Scrape out any pith from them and add to the muslin and also add the pips. Then take a sharp knife and cut the orange peel into shreds at a size of your liking – the shreds will shrink a bit when the job is completed! If any pith detaches from the oranges while you are shredding, add it to the muslin cloth. You can also add the lemon shreds in if you like. Add the shreds to the pan. Tie up the pips and pith in the muslin with some string, then attach it to the handle of a pan so it dangles into it. Then bring to a gentle simmer and leave without a lid on for 1-2 hours – once the peel splits in half easily when you press it with your thumb and finger, you are ready to go to the next step…. Take out the muslin parcel, put it to one side to cool, then add the sugar to the pan and heat gently til the sugar has melted. Once the muslin has cooled, give it a good squeeze over the pan to extract any goodness inside. Then turn up the heat, boil fast for 10 minutes, after which test the consistency by placing a blob on the refrigerated plate – after a few seconds, if it wrinkles up really nicely when you push it with your finger, it’s ready, if not, put back on the boil and repeat this process in 5 min intervals. When done, leave it to cool. For one jar of shredless, simply strain through a sieve into a jug and jar up the shredless, and put the shreds back with the shredded batch! If you want it all shredless, you’ll need to throw the shreds away, which seems a shame. Then jar it all up, pop the lids on, and store in a cupboard til you need it. Use within a year. Once you have opened a jar, I like to store in a fridge for up to a month – if it lasts that long! Ali W.

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Panko Aloo Tikki Recipe!

Ali W here. This is a delicious bread crumbed ‘panko’ variation of the Indian veggie classic, Aloo Tikki! It’s perfect for Valentines Day, especially in this heart dish 🙂 you can pop it in a bun, or have it with a dahl or salad, or just as a snack to go with drinks and maybe a chutney. I made these quite large – 6-7cm diameter, as I found that I could fit more peas in the middle which I love. Don’t be shy with your spices, they add something magical. If you haven’t got a particular spice, don’t worry, as long as you have most of them, they will still be fab.

Makes 6 large tikkis!

You’ll need:

2 large potatoes or equivalent – don’t worry about being too exact! – chopped small and boiled until tender then mashed thoroughly with butter/ghee or vegan equiv if you like – I don’t peel them
¾ cup of frozen peas (could also use peeled broad beans!) gently simmered for about 3 mins then well mashed
Spices as below
¾ cup of panko breadcrumbs – yes it’s a bit of a cheat! So you could use your own breadcrumbs if you like 🙂
1 beaten egg or vegan equiv
Oil to bake

Spice for the peas:
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp amchoor or chat masala
1-2 tsp grated ginger or 1tsp of ginger powder
½ chopped fresh chilli (any colour)
Large handful of chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Spice for the mashed potatoes:
1tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds or powder
1 tsp amchoor or chat masala
1 tsp turmeric powder

How to:

Add the spices to the potato in one bowl and the peas in another and mix well.
Then take a medium sized handful of potato, roll it into a ball, then make a round delve in the middle so you can add a teaspoon or so of peas into the round shape. Using your hands, mould the potato all the way around the peas and flatten into a patty style shape – it’s not as hard as it seems!
Then dip carefully in egg, then roll in breadcrumbs, then place on a baking tray. I like to make all of my patties first, before I then dip them into egg and then breadcrumbs. Less messy!
Bake in a 200c gas fan oven or equiv for 20-30 mins turning now and again til they are crispy and golden. They reheat well after this point, or pop them in the freezer when cooled, as they will keep for up to 6 months. Too cook from frozen just pop in the oven on a low shelf on 180c gas fan or equiv, to reheat and recrisp! Enjoy and happy Valentines for the weekend!