Saturday, 24 August 2013


As I said last time, today was Totnes Good Food, and as usual it was a good day, despite the rain. A chance to see some old friends, and sample the best local produce from the region.
As normal, we were spoilt for choice for lunch, but in the end chose the pork and apricot sausage roll from Red Earth Kitchen, a particular favourite, and now also stocked by the West Country Deli in Brixham.

Evergreen Farm were there, and after the excellent Lamb Burger, we had trouble deciding just what to sample. In the end, we brought sausages, Scotch eggs and 2 rump steaks.

To cook the steaks I first trimmed the bulk of the fat, which I dryfried to release the flavour, I prefer to do this first to wet the pan, before adding the meat. Also neither of us like the fat on the plate, picky?

Add a generous amount of crushed garlic to the steaks while the first side is sealing , then flip, these are so tender they only need a couple of minutes to acheive perfection.

And there they are. With tomatoes from the garden and fresh mushrooms from the market, Devon life doesn't get much better!

Below is the crumble I made from the left over Blackberries, and some Rhubarb I picked.

We sneaked out for a coffee on Thursday, and found this lovely mural painted on the coffee shop wall

On the way to work, I saw a spectacular cloud formation, it looked like a flight of stairs to the sky, I tried a picture, after stopping in a lay-by but it lacks the depth of the sight.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Metaphor

We are going to get all psychological here for a moment, so bear with me as it will become clear in time.

This morning at half past six, I was at Sharkham picking blackberries. The sun was just up in a cloudy sky, and the air was still. The berries were abundant and juicy. And I was struck by the thought that picking blackberries could be compared to life.

Let me explain; as you approach the tangle of brambles, there doesn't seem to be much fruit in evidence, it's only when you look closely that you see the abundance.
You can stretch for the berries that are slightly out of reach, as they always seem to be the best ones, but in so doing it's easy to ignore the ones that are easy to pick, and taste just as good. Also you can miss the ones under your feet, and can even squash them into the earth. There are sharp thorns, and nettles to contend with, and any worthwhile crop comes with scars and pain. The trick is to accept the abundance, and the cost, and keep your eyes open.

Phew! Back to reality.

In an hour, I barely seemd to reduce the number of berries but had 7lb.

With the ones I picked yesterday, this gave me enough for wine and jam, so when I got home, that was the next step.

6lb of berries went into making wine, boiling water and sugar were added, now I must leave it for 24 hours before sraining into a demi-john and adding yeast.

Next, I found the last of my blackcurrants and raspberries, adding these to the blackberries gave me 6lb of fruit, prefect for a batch of Mixed Fruit Jam.

Now I need more sugar, as I have plans for more Jam, or maybe some Bramble Jelly.
Tomorrow is Totnes Good Food Market, time for a visit to Evergreen Farms stall, and a     re-stock of Pork and Marmite Sausages, Scotch Eggs and Rump Steak.

Also lunch from Linda at Red Earth Kitchens, and a look around Totnes, I just hope it doesn't rain.

Friday, 16 August 2013


It's that time of year again, and I have been keeping an eye on what I like to think of as my Blackberries as they have developed. You have to be quick round  here, as they are harvested relentlessly and you must get in first.

So in the spirit of overkill, I will be there at 6am tomorrow, but in the meantime I have found a few brambles closer to home to practise getting scratched.

There's just under 3lb there, took me about 20 minutes to pick, I still have some blackcurrants and raspberries in the freezer, so plan to make a mixed fruit jam, using them all up and making room for my autumn raspberries, which are taking over the garden.

I got home from work on Tuesday, and as we couldn't be bothered to cook, had a curry from the local takeaway. I got some Bombay Potato,  but there was too much for me to finish, and as I had a few bits of Chorizo, and half a jar of Mushroom Antipasti, I decided to fry it all together , with some onion and Balsamic for a snack.

It turned into a rather large snack, but who's counting.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Saturday Tea

I'm partial to sausages and fried onions, but I also recognise the need to eat a bit more healthily.
So I have come up with this idea.

First quater a few onions and toss in a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chopped garlic,

next, add a handful of small new potatoes and mix well.


Put the oven on to 180 degreees and put the onions and potatoes in for 30 minutes.

After this time give them a stir,

 and place your sausage of choice on to the top of the dish. 

I'm using the Pork and sweet Chilli from Evergreen Farm (obtained at Totnes Good Food Sunday Market earlier this year.)

Mist the sausages with olive oil spray and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through and the potatoes are soft.

Serve with mustard and whatever else takes your fancy. Tonight it's Baked Beanz YUM!

I also picked the first Tomatoes of the year,

and they tasted unlike any shop brought ones.

Yvonne has been gardening the last few days, and has done amazing things, the front garden looks superb, and is full of bees as I think I said last time. It's been good to sit out and drink tea/coffee in the shade of the trees, thanks to all her hard work.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


The garden has got away from us again, it happens every year, we manage to keep it under control, then one day, it races off, before you know it, it's become a jungle.
Having said that, it's nice to see everything looking good, there are tomatoes,

and apples,

and the slugs are enjoying the strawberries, look away now if you don't like pictures of slugs.

also we have a healthy bee population on the comfrey.

Thanks George for my birthday card!

My car was feeling a bit sluggish on the journey to and from work, so I put it into the garage and was horrified to find that the Turbo had blown. That's around £1600 to fix, so it was a relief that it went when it did as there are still a couple of weeks left on the warranty.

I had to go to the American Embassy in London, to register for a tax exemption on my book royalties in the States. It actually turned into a painless operation, after my expecting it to take hours, all the staff were very helpful, and it only took two hours from leaving Gravesend to arriving back.

When the first royalty cheque arrives, I think I will frame it.