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Blogs from an Anglesey Smallholding No 8 Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness

Blogs from an Anglesey Smallholding No 8 Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness
28th August 2020 Admin

Hello everyone,

I do hope that you are all well.

It’s a while since I blogged about Ron’s food. I want you to know that since the farm shop closed, he hasn’t stopped cooking – apart from when he’s asleep, that is. He still spends much of every day in the kitchen (yehhhhh !)

The other day, I posted a photograph of our breakfast on Facebook. Ron had baked the bread, cured the bacon and grown the tomatoes. It tasted amazing. Well beyond anything bought from a supermarket.

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I can remember in the dim and distant past ……… a few years before I met Ron…….  when I was working about 50 hours per week at the “chalk face”…….. Yes, and I really enjoyed teaching! Even so, by the time it got to Friday evening, I was more than ready for a tasty hot supper and a couple of glasses of full bodied red.

It would usually be around six o’clock on a Friday evening by the time I whizzed into the supermarket car park in my teacher’s MX5. I’d literally have to haul myself out of the car – well, I would have worn my heels for pretty much eleven hours that day alone…….. and inevitably end up in the supermarket aisle where there were hundreds of boxes of ready meals…….. So, yes, it was the Friday night ready meal, I’m afraid. Can you believe it ??? Have you ever done that ??? I think that we’ve all been there !

Once home in my perfectly colour-coordinated, just off the AI commuter townhouse, I’d kick off those shoes in the tiny kitchen (no room for a food mixer)……. and then gaze longingly at the brightly-coloured, shiny photograph of a piping hot, yummy plateful of food, depicted on the ready meal packaging. Once the oven had heated up to the necessary temperature (or thereabouts !), I’d pop the polystyrene carton onto the shelf and slam the oven door shut. Forty minutes later, I’d carefully take the now hot, flexing carton out of the oven (no, I didn’t put it on an oven proof dish). Then I’d  pour the meal onto a plate……. Yes, pour………. I’d look at it. Whatever it was……….. Chilli con carne, chicken curry and rice……… by this time, I wasn’t sure. Wouldn’t even take a mouthful. I’d let it slide off the plate into the awaiting pop-up kitchen bin. Missing out the middle man. Soggy. Bland. Unappetising.

For a Friday night supper, I’d regularly end up with half a baguette, a huge piece of cheese and a bottle of red. And a bag of crisps, if I was lucky. Not great, when I had a craving for a luscious portion of coq au vin or a beefy lasagne.

The odd thing about my strange Friday suppertime activity, is that I did it repeatedly. I never quite got it………. that if I had organised myself a little better, then those Friday nights could have been amazing culinary experiences..

Things have changed quite a lot since then………. Food has a much higher priority in our lives now. And so it should…… it nourishes us, helps us keep well…… It is creative, we enjoy the food together…. there are so many advantages to cooking great food ! It may take a bit of time ……. but it’s well worth it ! If you have the same views, then you might want to read my previous blog “Home is the best place to eat”

Ron, my husband and chef, has been in the kitchen making autumnal goodies from produce our smallholding …………. And I’ve been cooking, too (believe it or not). If you’ve read one of my early blogs “Margaret cooks supper” you’ll know I don’t cook very much ! Here is what we have made ……

Rosehip Syrup

Rosehips are the fruit of the dog rose. They reputedly help a range of ailments ranging from stomach disorders to high cholesterol. In folklore, rosehip syrup was supposedly an aphrodisiac (It isn’t, ha, ha)……. Ancient witches claimed it attracted wealth………( it doesn’t seem to !)

I can remember my first taste of aromatic rosehip syrup……… a tablespoonful on my school dinner rice pudding (you got two tablespoonsful if the dinner lady knew your mother) ………I thought it was divine, but it wasn’t as fresh and fruity as the syrup my husband makes……….

Ron and I have a teaspoon per day……….. and we swear that’s why we don’t catch a cold. The fruit is packed with Vitamin A and C. And all you need to make it are some rosehips and some sugar and water !

There isn’t a large window for you to collect your fruit. Rosehips are ready around September.

Ron uses Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe in the River Cottage Handbook No 2 “Preserves” Click to see a copy.  We would recommend this book. The recipes are clearly written with snippets of information about the history of ingredients. We also use Hugh’s blackcurrant jam recipe…….. I can’t express how wonderful this jam is……..

Blackberry and apple breakfast bowl

A simple and quick recipe – Peel and slice your apples thinly. Wash your blackberries removing any stalks. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Cover with cold water. Leave for a couple of hours. Rinse thoroughly. Mix blackberries and apple with a little demerara sugar. Place in a small saucepan. Keep on a low heat until the mixture reduces and fruit is soft. Tip: do not add any water. Place a spoonful of honey in the bottom of a breakfast bowl. Add a generous portion of yoghurt (you can make your own but the supermarkets do have some good quality natural yoghurt at a price cheaper than you could make it). Top with a large dollop of the blackberry and apple compote mixture and enjoy your breakfast !…….

Rosehip rum baba with blackberries

I usually leave the cooking and baking to Ron. But, this week, I’ve decided to use the rosehip syrup which Ron has made, along with blackberries which I picked from our hedgerows to make a rumbaba.

This dessert is soooo…….. decadent and extravagant. It is a dessert for two for a special occasion……… I have used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for the rosehip syrup. 

For the baba, I’ve used the Great British Bake Off’ Showstoppers recipe. Click to see a copy I’ve used this recipe for the dough base because it is twice proved and reduces the risk of the base cracking.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog……. if you have, would you please share……… I’d really like to get up to about 650 views. Thank you !

Until next time………. Margaret x

PS If you enjoyed the blog, please would you share ! Thank you !

Question for my readers……..

What dish are you making from the produce

you’ve grown ?

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  1. Martin Carter 6 months ago

    Love your blogs Margaret, written lovely and always make me smile x

    • Author
      Admin 6 months ago

      Hi Martin, great to hear from you. The blogs are intended to make readers smile – so thanks for the great feedback. Margaret x

  2. NEIL WRENCH 6 months ago

    Hi Ron & Margaret, we are coming to the Island for September,
    WE do miss Ron’s breakfast, I don’t suppose you a real doing takeaways 🤔
    Neil & Julie

    • Author
      Admin 6 months ago

      Hi Neil, it’s September now and the rain is throwing it down ! However, knowing Anglesey it could be brilliant sunshine by teatime. The evenings are wonderful here. Love the comments on Ron’s breakfast. They were really popular and came about by accident – customers coming in and asking for a bacon bap………. We won’t be doing takeaways, I’m afraid. However, there are a couple of projects on the “development desk”. We are thinking of delivering the courses again. We really enjoyed them. And, there are one or two other things ………. too early to talk about. Anyway, let’s keep in touch. Would be good to get an update from you by email, when you have a minute. Margaret x

  3. Jayne 6 months ago

    Another great blog Margaret, I’ve been using various fruits to make jam. Also being inventive with courgettes ! We have rather a lot, my favourite is Courgette and Avocado Cake .
    Happy blogging 😊 Jayne

    • Author
      Admin 6 months ago

      Hi Jane, I’ve made a couple of cakes lately but am not very adventurous. I like the idea of a courgette and avocado cake. Might give it a try. I’m sure I’d find the recipe if I google ! We grew courgettes but they ended up huge !!! Take care. I’ll blog again in a couple of weeks. Margaret x

  4. Sue Thomas 6 months ago

    A lovely read Margaret. I’ve just come back from Anglesey and I’m missing it already..

    • Author
      Admin 6 months ago

      Yes, Anglesey brings with it a sense of relaxation, getting away from it all…. Thank you for reading the blog. Hope that you will be back soon so that you can enjoy the lovely autumn weather xx

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