rain, rain go away, come back when I’m not on holiday…..

I’m back in Portugal for a short visit, I was rather hoping for some sun so I could get on with some work on the farm. But as most of the work I wanted to do is weather dependent I have had to abondon my plans for the time being and let the farm get on with what it does best, being organic and making it’s own way. 

There are several downed trees, including a magnificent cork oak, a mud slide and two wall collapses.

The vegetable garden, however is quite productive. Before I left in December I planted broad beans, onions and garlic, which are all doing very well. The food left over from last years various plantings is also still doing well, purple sprouting broccoli, carrots, parsnips, leeks, cabbages, asparagus and celery continue to be eaten. 

I shall plant some more carrots and parsnips, but not sure how they will fare without watering later on. which currently seems ironic considering it hasn’t really stopped raining here for months.
So, am inventing indoor activities which have so far included clearing the freezers of fruit and turning it into chutney
Plum chutney
750g of plums, halved and stoned
250ml vinegar
400g sugar
2 tsp of dry chilli flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
30g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp salt
usual procedure, bung it all together, cook till you have a set and pour into sterilised jars and seal. Its yummy, even the next day
and cherry chutney
2 1/2 lb cherries
128g diced onion
360ml vinegar
2 tbsp minced ginger
250g sugar
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
directions as above
Cooking endless cakes and puddings
sticky toffee pudding

175g dates, but I used figs, cos I didn’t have any dates
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml boiling water
50g unsalted butter, softened
80g golden caster sugar
80g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
175g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of ground cloves
75g walnuts
For the sauce:
115g unsalted butter
75g golden caster sugar
40g dark muscovado sugar
140ml double cream
Pre-heat the oven to 180C or put loads of wood in the wood burner, in my case. Butter a baking dish approximately 24cm x 24cm.
Make the sauce by putting all the ingredients into a pan with a pinch of salt and heating slowly until the butter has melted, then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for about 4 minutes, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour half the sauce into the base of the dish and then put it in the freezer while you make the rest of the pudding.
Put the dates/figs and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof dish and cover with the boiling water. Leave to soften while you prepare the rest of the pudding.
Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, and then beat in the eggs, a little at a time. Stir in the flour, baking powder, cloves and a pinch of salt until well combined, and then add the dates and their soaking water, and the walnuts, and mix well.
Take the dish out of the freezer and pour the batter on top of the toffee sauce. Put into the oven for 30 minutes, until firm to the touch, and then take out of the oven.
Heat the grill to medium, and poke a few small holes evenly over the surface with a skewer or fork, and then pour over the rest of the sauce. Put briefly under the grill, keeping an eye on it as it can easily burn. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Is sticky toffee pudding the perfect marriage of stodge and sweetness, or does the name promise more than the dish delivers? What do you like to add to yours – and do you like it with custard, ice cream, or (shock horror), a dollop of yoghurt?
hot cross buns
and curries, with food from the freezers
potato and spinach curry
800g potatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh (or frozen in my case) long red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
2 x can toms, or loads of frozen ones
150g spinach
90g yogurt
2 tbs freshly chopped coriander

cook the potatoes until nearly done and dice them up. cook onion in a bit of oil, then add garlic and spices, stir in the tomatoes and cook for 15 mins. then add the potatoes for another 5 mins. Add the spinach. Thats it, serve with yogurt and another curry…..
250g red lentils
400ml coconut milk
a handful of curry leaves
2 medium chopped tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric
2-3 long pointy green chillies , sliced
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 onions, one finely chopped, one sliced

Put the lentils, coconut milk, the chopped onion, tomatoes, chillies and turmeric in a pan with 300ml water, season and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Fry the sliced onion in 4 tbsp oil until crisp, add the curry leaves (or coriander) and mustard seeds and sizzle together. Dish up
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4 Responses to rain, rain go away, come back when I’m not on holiday…..

  1. Oh my lord……….. I am now STARVING. Sounds like you have been busy!!! all looks amazing… hope you are enjoying your holiday in Portugal. Wonder if you will want to return to the UK 😉

  2. Gazza says:

    Nice to see you back blogging. Looks yummy…

  3. Wendy says:

    Thank you!!! Recipes well and truly bookmarked. Your garden looks fantastic as usual. Just when I thought I'd got the onion planting well and truly sussed, voles have eaten an entire bed of them! Cats and vole-catching dog have been reprimanded, but they just look at the sky and then back at me as if to say “Would you … in this …?”

  4. Julia & Mick says:

    WOW!!! The recipes are awesome! Veg looks great, but felt really sad at the landslide. Love & hugs to you both, keep the blogging coming – love it! X

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