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There’s a definite foodie theme to this post, mostly in the form of cake.. Not that I haven’t taken healthy eating seriously so far this year but there have been one or two celebrations and everyone knows that a celebration needs cake.

Firstly on January 22nd there was the grand opening of the Fitzmaurice School Polytunnel which will help our ever expanding group of apprentice gardeners grow crops all year round. As you see, we know how to party with the local MP Duncan Hames and town mayor Isabel Martindale, another keen gardener who regularly offers us freebies. The polytunnel is a 24 by 12 foot beauty  and was completed by a band of willing volunteers over several weekends in freezing conditions. In this they were sustained by copious amounts of tea,coffee, soup and …you’ve guessed it ….cake. We’ve still to kit out the inside  but, for the moment she has an inaugural sowing of peas, growing away in some guttering. Special thanks to Mandy Dunn of Beautiful Birthday Cakes for her fabulous creation.

Then it was  our second birthday on the blog on February 2nd. I marked the day with a trip to the allotment to do a bit of mulching and sat on the bench sipping coffee and eating cake – more of the St Clement’s  muffins I am so keen on.

They also made an appearance in the cafe at Seedy Sunday, the town’s first seed swap event yesterday along with a seed cake containing potatoes and chocolate  muffins (with courgettes). All delicious. All good for you. All gone.

And in case you think I’ve abandoned my greens altogether in favour of the sweet stuff, feast your eyes on these litttle shoots, cheering up the bleakest of February days on the kitchen windowsill.

Microgreens are dead easy to grow and are particularly appreciated by impatient garden apprentices, like my three.  They are ready in about two weeks and are delicious in soups, (if you can get your child them), salads (are you kidding?) sandwiches or just as a snack (better luck with these latter two). We have a speedy salad mix growing in recycled plastic trays, some peashoots just emerging sown from a cheap packet of supermarket dried peas and some in one of our hairy pots but more of that another time.

It promises to be a frantic planning and seed sowing time over the next few weeks. I’d better make sure there’s enough seedcake in the tin. Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested courtesy of Harry Eastwood with a few countrygate tweeks..

Whisk together  3 eggs, 160g caster sugar and 1/2 tsp salt until they have doubled in volume and look like custard. It takes about 5 minutes!! I used the mixer as I don’t have arms like a prop forward and it gave me plenty of time to grate the potatoes!

Finely grate 240 g Maris Piper potatoes (they need to be the floury type of potatoes). Add these to the mix and combine.

Then add 100g rice flour, 50g ground almonds, 2 tsp baking powder 1 heaped tbsp caraway seeds and a scant  tsp freshly grated nutmeg (far superior to the ready ground stuff) along with 2 tbsp brandy. I have raided the cooking sherry on occasions but brandy is better.

Whisk it up briefly and pour into your cake tin. Place in the middle of the oven (180C /350F) for 40 minutes. When done remove from the oven. The top should look a bit like crumpets indicating you’ve achieved fluffy cake perfection.

Unmould it and cool on a wire rack.  When cool sprinkle caster sugar over the top and store in an airtight container.