The first of the vines were planted in the walled garden here in Somerby in 2006. Our neighbour Bill returned in a state of excitement after a trip to the Rhine. He dearly wanted to plant some vines as he felt that the topography of Somerby very similar to that of the area he had just visited. The first of the 150 German hybrids where planted in the walled garden. Today there are 14,000 vines in Somerby. Last weekend Shaun planted 170 more along the wall of the garden. He hopes that the warmth generated there will produce a good environment for the red variety, Regent. Fingers crossed.
What to eat on overcast late spring days to warm the cockels? I'm roasting vegetables, also a way to clean out everything in the vegetable drawer. Chop your vegetables to the size you like and add garlic and herbs to taste. Roll them all around with oil. Add a bit of balsamic vinegar for sweetness, if you like. Season with salt and pepper and roast. I cover with foil for the first half hour so as not to burn. Remove it and let the vegetables get gooey and sweet.
2 red onions, quartered
2 peppers - red, green or yellow, quartered
2 leeks, cut into batons
2 aubergine, chunks
4 parsnips, in batons, rounds, or chunks
1 sweet potato, chunks
1 knob of garlic, cut in half
basil and thyme
pepper and salt
Cut vegetables into similar sizes, I keep them quite large,
following the example of the quartered onions.
Put them all together in a large baking tray and roll about in
oil, at least a couple of really good gulgs.
Season with salt, pepper, herbs and bake in a moderate
oven for approximately an hour. Depends if you like them
al dente or really gooey.
the temporary barricade,
the container for nettles,
the unhung door,
the Fliteless mower,
the embedded plough, and
the washing up.
I don't know where I found this recipe, but it's a great way to use left over nuggets of cheese, just use what's going. It is very easy and perfect to have with a drink on a warm, late spring evening or, as the case may be at the moment, snuggled beside a roaring fire.
125g butter, chilled and cubed
70g cheddar, grated
50g parmesan, grated
150g flour, plain
1 tsp paprika
Put all ingredients in the food processor with ¼ tsp salt.
Use the pulse action until ingredients are combined.
Remove the dough and form it into a ball, then divide in half.
Roll and shape each ball into a log, 23cm x 3 cm wide.
Roll in baking paper and chill for an hour.
The dough can be frozen at this point.
Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade.
Cut each log into 5mm slices. Put on a baking tray lined
with baking paper and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until
pale gold in colour. I sprinkle with a little extra grated cheese
before baking. Cool on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Twisting the first fresh, pink stalks of rhurbarb is definitely a spring thing. Poach it gently to an irridesent, soft pinkness or bake it a la Nigel Slater. Delicious.
roast rhubarb with cassis and ginger
3 tablespoons sugar
a small wineglass of cassis
a thumb of ginger
Set the oven at 200C. Trim the rhubarb, discarding the leaves.
Cut into short lengths. Put these batons into a shallow baking dish and
add the sugar, water and cassis. Peel the ginger, slicing it thinly and tuck
it into the liquid. Bake for 40 minutes or so, until tender. Serve with
juices and whatever else takes or fancy. I mixed equal quantities of
mascarpone and crème fraiche with icing sugar to taste.
Serves 4 generously