Very simple Swiss chard and/or beetroot leaves

A very simple method of preparing Swiss chard and/or beetroot leaves (they are very similar, you can mix them) is:

  1. Fry a chopped onion gently in butter with a little salt in a saucepan or deep frying pan.
  2. Wash the leaves carefully then chop them up.
  3. Add to the onion and cook gently until soft, stirring from time to time.

Nice as a side vegetable, or served with eggs.

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Beetroot and Broad Bean salad, suggested by Dave

“I think that we will be getting these ingredients soon in our boxes so here is a recipe for a Beetroot and Broad Bean Salad”, Dave.

This is taken from this website.

Ingredients (Serves 8):

For the dressing:

    • 1 tbsp Red wine vinegar
    • 4 tbsp Olive oil
    • A pinch Sugar, to taste

For the salad:

    • 500g Beetroot, trimmed and scrubbed, skin on
    • 300g Podded broad beans
    • 2 Salad onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
    • 15g Tarragon, chopped

Method:

  1. Boil the beetroot in a pan of salted water for 20–30 minutes until tender. While still warm, drain and peel them under running water. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the broad beans for 3–4 minutes in unsalted water until tender; drain and refresh them under cold water, then drain once more.
  3. Peel at least half the broad beans – particularly any that are larger than your thumbnail
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing; taste and season.
  5. Slice the beetroot in half, then cut each half into thin wedges about ½cm thick; place the wedges in a mixing bowl.
  6. Pour the dressing over the beetroot, season and toss.
  7. Add the broad beans, salad onions and half the tarragon and toss again.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the remaining tarragon.

Bon appétit!

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Purple Sprouting Brocoli with Chorizo and eggs

This recipe has been tried and tested by Juliet!

It is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in the “River Cottage everyday” book.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

    • 200 g cooking chorizo
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
    • 500g purple sprouting brocoli
    • Sea salt and ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Skin the chorizo and cut into chunks.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chorizo over a medium heat. Turn regularly until stating to crips up (approx 10min).
  3. Put the eggs in a pan of hand-hot water cover and bring quickly to the boil. Boil for 4 minutes (or 5 min for extra large eggs). When cooked, run them under cool tap water and peel them straight away.
  4. Cook the brocoli in a large saucepan or boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Drain well.
  5. Add the warm brocoli to the chorizo pan and toss it in the host, spicy fat until well coated.
  6. Divide the brocoli and chorizo between 4 plates and add a boiled egg, cut in half, to each.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve straight way with some bread.

Bon appétit!

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Joanne’s simple braised lettuce

lettuce from Elene

(thank you to farm member Elene for the photo!)

Just wash a lettuce or two when then are plentiful, chop into sixths or quarters, and cook slowly in a deep pan in butter with nice salt until soft. Some people add peas, but I don’t bother.

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Wild Food Walk and Lunch 2016

Last Saturday members of the farm Community Supported Agriculture Scheme enjoyed beautiful sunshine for our now traditional annual Wild Food walk and Lunch. Wild food is a great way to help survive, and thrive in, the hungry gap of April/May.

Wildfood walk 2

It was a bit too early for elderflowers, so no elderflower fritters, but we did make a particularly delicious vegetarian nettle soup! And of course, our usual wild leaf salad.

Wildfood walk 1

For more details, including videos of Ellie and Maggie saying what they thought of the nettle soup, and Tom demonstrating how to make delicious sauerkraut, please visit (& follow!) our Facebook page!

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Cardamom Carrot Bread, By Nadia

“I have been looking at a variety of yeast-free, gluten breads and came accross this recipe in “The Complete Coconut cookbook“. I have shared it with friends and family and it has proven very popular. Many have asked me for the recipe, so here it is. Note that I have adapted it slightly based on taste.”

Ingredients (Serves 10 to 12 slices):

    • 2 tbsp psyllium husk
    • 1 cup coconut milk – Note that I have also made this bread with 1 cup almond milk and it was really good too.
    • 1/3 cup water (or coconut water) – I only use water.
    • 2/3 cup chickpea flour
    • 1/3 cup patato starch
    • 2,5 tsp baking powder (gluten free if you need to)
    • 1 tsp ground cardamom.
    • 0.25 tsp salt
    • 0.5 cup coconut sugar
    • 1,5 cups shredded carrots
    • Oil (coconut, butter etc) to grease the loaf pan.
    • optional: 1/3 cup raisins
    • Optional: 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degres Celsius.
  2. Mix wet ingredients: Mix together pysllium husk, milk (coconut/almond etc) and water (or coconut water if using). Let stand for 5 minutes, it will thicken.
  3. Mix dry ingredients: Mix together the chickpea flour, coconut flour, potato starch, baking powder, cardamom and salt.
  4. When the milk/psyllium mixture has thickened, add the coconut sugar and vanilla (if using) and stir well.
  5. Mix together the wet and dry mixtures above into a batter.
  6. Add the grated carrots and raisins (if using) to the batter and fold gently.
  7. Grease a metal loaf pan with oil (coconut, butter etc). Spread the batter in the pan.
  8. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour, or until it is browned and cooked inside.
  9. Remove from pan and let the bread cool on a wire rack.

Bon appétit!

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Elderflower Fritters

This is the recipe of the elderflower fritters that we prepare at the Oak Tree Farm yearly wild food walk when the elderflowers are available.

Ingredients (Serves 6-8):

    • 100g plain flour
    • 200ml water
    • A pinch of salt
    • Vegetable oil, for deep frying
    • A large bunch of unwashed elderflower heads

Method:

  1. Whisk together the water, salt and flour to make a light batter that coats the elderflowers, but drips off.
  2. Heat the oil until very hot.
  3. Using the stem as a handle, dip the flower heads in batter, and let the excess batter drip back into the bowl.
  4. Deep fry until golden brown, then place on clean kitchen paper.
  5. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
  6. Eat everything except the unbattered stems, which you can compost.

Bon appétit!

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Vegetarian Nettle Soup

Nettle-soup-recipe-3

This is the recipe of the popular nettle soup that we prepare at the Oak Tree Farm yearly wild food walk.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

    • 1 onion, chopped
    • vegetable oil, for frying
    • 500ml water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Salt and black pepper
    • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 2 large handfuls of stinging nettle tips and young leaves
    • Sour cream, to serve

Method:

  1. Fry the chopped onion for 5-10 minutes in the oil or fat in a saucepan.
  2. Add the water, bay leaf, seasoning and potatoes, then cook for another few minutes.
  3. Wash your nettles carefully in fresh water and add them to the pan, stirring, then simmer for 5 minutes, and season.
  4. Remove the bay leaf then liquidise the soup with a small handheld blender. Add water if it looks too thick.
  5. Return to the heat for a couple of minutes, adding further salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the sour cream once it has been taken off the heat, mix well and serve.

Bon appétit!

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The Oak Tree Building Feasibility Study – Progress so far

We are currently doing a feasibility study with a view to submitting a planning application for a Community Cafe and Training Centre later in 2016. This would be a small, single story building on a tucked away corner of the farm, built to a high ecological specification. 

The building would give shelter to those working on the land, as well as open up the site for use by the others. It would also be able to cater for training sessions and courses.

At present, the farm operates from a shed and has no mains water or electricity. The proposal is for a simple but highly sustainable structure that would offer a sheltered and seated environment with basic facilities, allowing access by the frail, elderly, children and people with mobility issues. The building would also be able to be used to run training courses and as a community kitchen.

Out of respect for our neighbours who enjoy the peace of the quiet lane which leads to the farm, and also thanks to our low carbon philosophy, we would make every effort to keep motorised traffic to the farm to an absolute minimum (bikes we encourage!) were we to obtain planning permission for the building.

You can see various images and plans of the proposed building by following these links:

Architect’s plan 1
Architect’s plan 2
Architect’s illustration 1
Architect’s illustration 2

If you would like to comment on these plans then please contact Gary Lowe of Groundwork who is coordinating the feasibility study consultation at this email address (an image to avoid web bots sending him spam!)

gary emailgaryemail copy

Our sincere thanks got to The Big Lottery Fund for our Awards for All grant which is paying for this study, to the wonderful Alan Wilkinson of KLH Architects who created the beautiful proposed designs, to lovely Gary Lowe and Anna Martin of Groundwork East for tirelessly seeking the local and wider communities’ reaction to our plan and to charming yet determined Cecil Elliston Ball of Town Planning Intelligence who is advising us on planning.

KLH_LOGO_2 GetImage.aspx hi_big_e_min_blue

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Veg share box second week of April

Another Hungry Gap veg share box to be proud of! Well done to everyone on The Oak Tree who has worked so hard to make this happen :)

April2016box2

- 1 lettuce

- 200g spinach

-250g sprouting brocolli

- 250g leeks

- 250g stir fry mix

- 150g radishes

- 100g salad leaves

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