Some of the sounds weren't quite so relaxing. We had one odd moment over lunch, when we realised that in the middle of the birdsong, for the first time ever, we could hear 2 trains approaching each other on the railway which borders the gardens, just out of site behind the trees. You could see the thought processes going on in everyone's head - "That's 2 trains about to meet - never heard that before - hope it's a double line!" We are happy to report there were no large bangs, so we must assume it's a twin-track out there!
|A gorgeous display of berries from the fruit cage.
Even the fruit looks amazing, with gorgeous colours from purple to gold. Once again, the white currant has prove its worth as the birds haven't noticed it, so we still have a good crop despite having left it rather late to put the netting lid on the fruit cage. We must thank Martin, who being the tallest, got the job of standing in the nettles to get the net into place. He did a great job, and helped us to make sure the net was securely fixed. Thanks also to Dean and Mark for making sure that we got all the edges as tight as possible and helped us check for holes. Hopefully the rest of the currants and the gooseberries will be safe now.
Dean and Mark also made sure that the polytunnel was kept in check, as the tomatoes are trying to go out of control, as usual. If you leave a little side shoot on Monday, it's grown into a bush of its own by Thursday, so we need to keep on top of them so we can grow lots of plants in not much space. Komala also joined us, and helped Joyce to add some plants that we've never grown in the polytunnel before - watermelons. We're really interested to see how they do.
|Dean coping well with the heat in the polytunnel.
|Hassan just about straightening up again after a mammoth
|We've even got a strawberry bog at Windmill.
|Ash's post-mowing selfie!
Lunch had a Mediterranean feel, with Greek salad and broad bean hummus. And the summer pudding went down a treat - proof that simple ingredients can taste amazing. We were joined for lunch by Lynn from FCFCG and Claire from Flourish - a community allotment in Ilkeston who had come to see what we do here. Another lovely day in a lovely place.
|Claire from Flourish, volunteer Mark and Lynn enjoying lunch
|Joyce - Greek salad-making queen and all-round good egg.
|Tracey was relieved that we liked the Broad Bean hummus
because she's made rather a lot of it...
Broad Bean Hummus
This dish is great as a dip, as a pate for bread, or as an accompaniment to a greek salad.
Pint measuring jug of shelled broad beans
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tsp cumin powder
Extra virgin olive oil
Soy sauce or salt
Paprika or sumac powder
- Boil broad beans until tender (just a few minutes for small ones, up to 8 minutes for older large ones). For old beans, slit the skins and pop them out into a bowl.
- Add the garlic, cumin and a pinch of salt or a slosh of soy sauce.
- Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil and then mash with a potato masher or fork, or mush with a stick blender until all mixed together.
- Add extra oil as needed to make a hummus-like texture and lemon juice to taste (we used about 1/2 a lemon's worth).
- Place in a serving dish and top with a scattering of paprika or sumac powder.
Proof that all you need for a great dessert is fresh fruit and bread.
Fresh summer fruit - about 500g / 1 heaped punnetWe used strawberries, raspberries, red and black currants.
Sugar or other sweetening to taste.
Small loaf of sliced wholemeal bread.
- Wash fruit and drain, then place in a saucepan and stir in some sugar to start the juice flowing
- Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the fruit has made plenty of juice.
- Taste to check sweetness (we used about 2 tablespoons as we had quite a lot of berries which are tart, and heating fruit also makes it taste more acid).
- Take a 1 pint pudding basin or similar size bowl. Place a slice of bread on top of the fruit to let it soak up some of the juice and place it in the bottom of the bowl.
- Repeat the process and place the next slice on the side of the bowl, overlapping the first slice by about 2 finger widths. It's best if the top of the slice comes above the edge of the bowl.
- Repeat with more slices to line the whole bowl, placing each to overlap slightly with its neighbours and pressing it so all of the bread is flat against the side of the bowl.
- Pour the fruit and remaining juice into the bowl to almost fill it, but leaving enough room to place a final slice of bread on the top.
- Bend the tops of the side slices onto the last slice, filling any gaps with torn bread.
- If there is a gap at the top, you can add more juice.
- Place a plate on top of the bowl and press firmly to push the bread against the fruit to make sure it soaks up the juice.
- Place in fridge for several hours. Once ready, the pudding can be loosened by running a knife around the edge and turned out onto a serving plate, though it's fine just to spoon it out.
- Serve with greek yoghurt or a little organic cream.