Welcome to the Secret Garden South of Bobber's Mill Bridge in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, who are nurturing a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us just South of Bobbersmill Bridge, on the allotment site at the South end of Ascot Road. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Thursday 26 June 2014

Summer Pudding, Broad Bean Hummus and Other Stories

Windmill is gorgeous at the moment. When you arrive, the scent of sweet peas greets you, and all the colours of the rainbow seem to be around in the flowers that are scattered liberally all over the place (not weeds - we want them there for the bees!). One of our visitors noticed that the scorzonera smelled of vanilla, so we all make sure we have a good smell of it as we pass, and the wild orchard smells of honey from the madder (white bedstraw). The place even sounds beautiful, with all the birds going full-tilt.

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.

Chris and Hassan picked the strawberries for us - about 2.5kg this time, so everyone got a good sized punnet to take away with them. Hassan also harvested our garlic crop, which did well despite getting rust late on. Tracey's son Ash has finished his exams, so he joined us too, and made a great job of mowing the lawn and the path in the wild orchard.

Hassan just about straightening up again after a mammoth
strawberry harvest.

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.
If you'd like to know how to make the hummus or the pudding, scroll down for the recipes.

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
Lemon juice
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.

Summer Pudding 
Proof that all you need for a great dessert is fresh fruit and bread.

Fresh summer fruit - about 500g / 1 heaped punnet
We 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.

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