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Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Celeriac, Sprouts and Sweet chilli sauce!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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This week we are featuring Purple Sprouting Broccoli in our 'Recipe of the Week' section.  It is a great vegetable, a really lovely flavour and it can be boiled, steamed,stir fried - and used in all manner of recipes.  I hope you enjoy the recipe below.

I've had a helper in the shop today, AnnaLena is on holiday here from Germany. As well as practising her English, she's been making all sorts of things in the shop with me today - lovely to have some company. 

This will be the last week of Brussel Sprouts on stalks - but don't worry, we will have loose ones for a few more weeks. I have to say they taste better now than at the beginning of the season.

Paul's Spinach grown in poly tunnels is doing well, and we should be OK with that now until the field grown crop is ready. The Rocket is going really well, a lovely peppery salad to zing your taste buds mid winter.
 

 

 

Talking of delicious things - have you tried Trish's Biscotti biscuits? They are lovely and crisp, and are prefect dunkers if you like to do that too! 

I must thank Val for sharing her recipe for Sweet Chilli Sauce with me. For the last 3.5 years she has carried on making it for us from her home in Norfolk. I've made a couple of batches this week (today's with AnnaLena's help), and I'm pretty pleased with it. Why not try a bottle - perfect for dipping and using in stirfrys.

Linda is going to be in the shop this Sunday (18th) as Danny and I are having a couple of days away up in Norfolk - fingers crossed for good weather.

Fruits of hard work - 18 bottles of Sweet Chilli Sauce, and 6kg of vegetables chopped up ready for us to make into Piccalilli tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
As promised, this recipe uses Purple Sprouting Broccoli plentiful in the shop at the moment.  You can use lots of different green vegetables in this recipe - depending on what you like, and what you have available. Curly Kale and Cavalo Nero would work perfectly - even finely sliced brussel sprouts!
It would be a perfect accompaniment to Chinese Food (it is Chinese New Year Friday 16th February).
 
Stir -fried greens with fish sauce.   Serves 4

1/2 head Savoy Cabbage
125g Purple Sprouting Broccoli
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
4-6 garlic cloves finely sliced
75g spinach (washed)
2 tablespoons fish sauce plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon caster sugar

1. Remove any discoloured/damaged leaves, halve it and remove tough central ribs. Shred the leaves fairly finely.  Split the stems of the purple sprouting broccoli lengthways.

2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Stir fry the broccoli for about 1 minute, then add the garlic and the cabbage. Continue cooking until the cabbage is a pale gold colour. 

3. Quickly add the spinach and fish sauce and turn over a few times. The water in the spinach should boil off very quickly. Add the sugar, and turn the vegetables over a few times and serve immediately.

No need to add extra salt as the fish sauce is very salty. 

If you like, you can also add a small handful of unsalted peanuts or cashew nuts.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Sprouts, Crafts, Pancake Day and a great recipe using Cavalo Nero

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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So, it’s February already – we have a few snowdrops out in the garden, and even a couple of daffodils about to flower in very sheltered spots. The longer days are very welcome, being able to go to and come home from the shop in the daylight is fantastic.
It’s Pancake Day next Tuesday – so as an exception we do have some lemons in the shop for you.
Brussel Sprouts are excellent at the moment, they should easily last well into March. Potato varieties at the moment are Picasso (excellent for roasting) and Maris Piper (perfect for mashing).
 

 

 

As tomorrow is the 2nd Friday of the month, we will have Sour Dough Bread in the shop. On Jo’s list this week are White and Brown small loaves, 5 Seed Loaf, Malted Grain Sub, Baguettes and something new – Sciacchata (they’re a bit like pizza’s!).
Linda has been busy making things, I love her new range of ‘chicken’ cushions. At £6.50 each they are great value.

 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
I’ve been challenged to take more photographs of the weekly recipe – so here are a couple. Two weeks ago, we featured Butternut Squash as a Dauphinoise, and this is tonight’s Chickpea and Cavalo Nero Curry.
 
This delicious curry only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook - about the same length of time as the rice. You can also serve it with chapattis or naan bread.

Ingredients
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
a little oil
1-2 tablespoons curry paste (Madras, Rogon Josh or whatever your favourite is)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
160g mushrooms cut into small pieces
400g can chickpeas, including the liquid from the can
160g Cavalo Nero (stripped off the stems and chopped) (you can use Spinach instead)
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
a few coriander leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon natural yogurt (optional)

Method

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the curry paste, and continue to cook for about a minute, stirring continuously.
     
  2. Add the tomato puree and mushrooms, cook for another couple of minutes. Add the chickpeas and their liquid. Add a little more water if it seems a bit dry.
     
  3. Turn down the heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the Cavalo Nero, stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
     
  4. Sprinkle over the coriander and garam masala, and stir in the yogurt if you like a creamy curry.  
     
  5. Serve immediately.



Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Beetroot back in the shop, we've missed you!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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This week we are featuring Beetroot in our 'Recipe of the Week' section.  It's a very versatile vegetable that you can have cold with salads, pickled/chutney, roasted with your Sunday Roast, made into a puree to flavour hummus, and even mixed with chocolate! See the Brownie recipe below, its gorgeous!

I have to admit it is one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. My Dad always grew at least a row every year on his allotment despite the fact he hated it - we really appreciated his labours though.

We are getting little signs that winter may be on its way out soon - well for a start it is February now, and that always makes me feel better. The catkins are out on the hazel bushes behind the shop, and the garden centre are re-organising their layout and moving the Seed selections right to the front. Better start planning what we're going to grow this year!

 

 

Also available this week after a break for a month or so is locally grown Spinach. Grown by Paul and Len in Bromham, it's a great vegetable to have and goes with so many things. I must look out my recipe for Bombay Potatoes for next weeks newsletter, it's great!  Paul and Len grow the spinach in their Poly Tunnels, they also have fresh Rocket at the moment which makes a great change from lettuce in sandwiches or salads.

Trish has made two kinds of cake this week - Seed Topped Banana bread, and Clementine Cake.

 

 

Recipe of the week

Beetroot brownies
 
With around half the fat of regular brownies, these are a slightly less guilty pleasure, but still have that intense chocolate hit.
 
Ingredients
500g whole raw beetroot  (3-4 medium beets)
100g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin
200g bar plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
100g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
 
Method

  1. Wear a pair of rubber gloves to stop your hands from staining, then top, tail and peel the beetroot – you’ll need about 400g flesh. Roughly chop and put into a large bowl. Add a splash of water, cover with cling film, then microwave on High for 12 mins or until tender. 
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. While the beetroot cooks, butter then line a 20 x 30cm traybake or small roasting tin. Roughly chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes. Tip the cooked beetroot into a sieve, drain off any excess liquid, then put into a food processor or blender with the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Whizz until the mix is as smooth as you can get it. The chocolate and butter will melt as you do this. 
  1. Put the sugar and eggs into a large bowl, then beat using an electric hand whisk until thick, pale and foamy, about 2 mins. Spoon the beetroot mix into the bowl (it won’t look too pretty at this stage, but bear with me), then use a large metal spoon to fold it into the whisked eggs. Try to conserve as much air in the mixture as you can. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then gently fold these in to make a smooth batter.

 

  1. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 mins or until risen all over, with just the merest quiver under the centre of the crust when you shake the pan. Cool completely in the tin, then cut into 15-20 squares.

 

Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

What's available in the shop this week? Read more....

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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This week we are featuring Butternut Squash in our 'Recipe of the Week' section.  They are a great vegetable, a really lovely flavour and they can be baked, boiled and steamed - and used in all manner of sweet and savoury recipes.  I hope you enjoy the recipe below.

Thanks to Anne who came over last Sunday to learn how to make Marmalade. She couldn't believe how easy it was, and considering that you have (almost) no waste (just a few pips), very cost effective.  If you would like to learn how to make Marmalade, Jam, Chutney, Jellies etc please let me know, and we can set up a session. I do make preserves all through the winter, so give me a call or pop into the shop.
 

 

 

We have finally managed to get a consistent supply of the Bedford area 'Times & Citizen'. This is mainly for residents in local villages who no longer get it delivered - however if you want a copy please pick one up.

Also a reminder that we have a collection box for all Laser and Inkjet printer cartridges (home and office) plus old mobile phones. They will be collected periodically and all proceeds are donated to a Breast Cancer charity.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
In my world, anything that has cream, garlic and cheese is a good thing, this is absolutely delicious.
 
Butternut Dauphinoise
 
This indulgent gratin of squash with bay, thyme and nutmeg, plus a robust cheese sauce makes a great main or side dish.  Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a side dish.
 
Ingredients
300ml pot double cream
100ml whole milk
2 bay leaves
a few thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, crushed
whole nutmeg, for grating
1 tbsp salted butter, for greasing
1 large butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1.4kg unpeeled to give about 1.1kg prepared flesh)
50g mature Double Gloucester or other hard cheese
 
Method

  1. Put the cream, milk, bay, a sprig of thyme, the garlic and ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 mins. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. Grease a large baking dish with the butter, then layer up the butternut squash, adding seasoning and a few thyme leaves as you go. Pour over the infused cream, leaving the bay and thyme on the top.
  3. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 mins. Uncover, press the squash as far under the level of the liquid as you can, then scatter with the cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 mins more until the butternut is tender and the whole dish is bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 mins or so before serving.

 

Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Informal Marmalade making Sessions this weekend

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Are you busy this weekend? Fancy learning how to make Marmalade? I am holding informal sessions at the shop on Saturday 20th at 9.30am, and Sunday 21st at 10am. £10 a head, free tea or coffee and cake if I get myself into gear! You’ll see the whole process, get involved in the chopping, and be able to take home a couple of jars for yourself. Let me know by phone or email if you want to come along.
 
We have some fresh soups in the shop this weekend – There is Spicy Parsnip, and also Celeriac. They are in the fridge currently, but will be moved into the freezer over the weekend. £1.75 a pot, ideal for a warming lunch and an easy way to get two of your 5 a Day.

 

 

The locally stored apples have just about finished now, but don’t worry – we can still get lovely apples from slightly further afield.  The Bramley’s are from Wisbech, and the Braeburns are from Kent. Both crisp and delicious.
 
It is Valentine’s Day soon, if you are looking for a slightly different gift, have a look in our craft section. The glass vases are £4.25 each and will hold a small bunch of daffodils, or maybe a couple of red roses? The Doggie and Owl doorstops are £6.50 each and come in a variety of colours and materials.
 
The Sale from the freezer is still on. 10% off everything, 50% off bread. There are lots of White rolls, Small Granary and Small Tomato Bread loaves available.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
PORK CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY, JUNIPER AND CABBAGE
This serves 6.
INGREDIENTS
Traditionally the cabbage is braised with the chops, but this recipe cooks them separately which I prefer.
 
1 large Savoy cabbage (about 750g)
85g unsalted butter
4tbsp extra-virginolive oil
6 pork chops, about 275g each
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed
10 juniper berries, crushed
250ml dry vermouth or dry white wine
 
To serve:
Mashed potato
 
METHOD

  1. Quarter the cabbage, cut the hard central core out of each piece and discard. Slice the cabbage into strips about 2-3cm thick.
     
  2. Divide 30g of the butter and all the olive oil between 2 frying pans set over a medium-high heat. Add the pork chops to the pans with the rosemary sprigs. Brown the chops for 3 minutes on each side to get a good colour, then season all over, turn down the heat and cook for another 3 minutes until cooked through, but still moist. Cover the pans to keep the chops warm.
     
  3. Melt another 30g butter in a large saucepan and add the garlic and juniper. Cook gently for 2 minutes, then add the cabbage with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss and then add 2tbsp water and cover. Cook on a low heat until tender, about 4 minutes, turning a few times.
     
  4. Meanwhile, quickly pour away the excess fat from each frying pan and add the vermouth or wine. Boil quickly until about 2tbsp liquid is left in each pan - around 2 minutes, depending on pan size - then whisk equal amounts of the remaining butter into each.
     
  5. Take the lid off the cabbage and, if there is excess water in the bottom, boil it off, tossing the cabbage in the buttery juices. Serve the chops and cabbage on a large, warmed platter.



Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking, gardening or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Time to make Marmalade - Seville Oranges in stock now!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Hello All
During these dark, damp days in January a burst of colour is just what we need – and these Seville Oranges fit the bill perfectly. If you would like me to reserve you some, please let me know.
 
A few customers have been asking for white turnips recently – it seems that not many people grow them now, most of the supermarkets don’t have them (apart from in stew packs). Paul in Bromham has managed to track some down – enjoy!
 
This week is Sour Dough bread week. Jo is sending Small (400g) White, Small 5 Seed, Malted Subs and Cheddar N Chilli loaves.
 
For some reasons I brought lots of lemons for home pre-Christmas – as I hadn’t used them, they have now been converted into Lemon Curd! Made the traditional way with butter, eggs and sugar – the jars should be kept in the fridge and used within a month. Generally, I find they only last for 2 slices of toast.

 

 

There had been quite a bit of press today about all businesses will soon need to start charging for plastic bags. Whilst I also provide paper bags for vegetables, I haven’t been able to find reasonably priced large paper bags for heavy shopping to go in. I am going to move over soon to either bags made from recycled plastic, or the new style ‘degradeable’ bags which disintegrate after time. If you are able to bring your own shopping bags, that is much the simplest way around this issue.
 
On the subject of recycling, I was pondering during the Christmas holidays what to do with the large bag of old printer cartridges I had in my office. A bit of research led me to a company near Reading that recycles them, and donates any profits to Breast Cancer charities (a topic close to my heart). I now have one of their boxes in the shop, so please feel free to bring your cartridges in – from domestic and commercial printers.  They also recycle old mobile phones too.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
I am in need of easy to prepare, easy to eat comfort food at this time of year. You can prepare this in advance, and just pop in the oven when you want to eat.
 
Cheesy Mac ‘N Veg.  Serves 2.
 
Ingredients
For the sauce:
 
25g butter
25g plain flour
300ml milk
75g mature cheddar cheese grated plus more for the top.
Salt & Pepper
 
Or
 
350g tub ready made cheese sauce.
 
For the rest
 
100g macaroni or penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 small leek, trimmed washed and finely sliced
Handful (about 80g) of cauliflower florets broken into small pieces
Handful (about 80g) of broccoli florets broken into small pieces
3 headed tablespoons frozen peas
80g spinach shredded.
 
Method.
 
Pre heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/400F/gas 6
 
For the sauce: combine the butter, milk and flour in a small saucepan and gradually bring to the boil whisking continuously. Turn down and simmer, still stirring for 1 minute. Add the grated cheese and season to taste. Take off the heat.
 
Boil some water and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.
 
In a large saucepan, melt the tablespoon of butter, and sauté the leek for a couple of minutes, then add the cauliflower and broccoli. Continue cooking over a lowish heat until the cauliflower and broccoli have softened. Add the peas and spinach, and cook for a further two minutes.
 
Mix the veg with 1 tablespoon of the sauce, and spoon into an ovenproof dish. Mix the pasta with the remaining cheese sauce and spoon over the vegetables, sprinkle with some more grated cheese.
 
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.
 
 
Whatever your plans are for the weekend – gardening, shopping, cooking or just relaxing, have a great one!
 

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Happy New Year, we're back open and fully stocked with delicious Veg, Meat, Bread etc

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Happy New Year to you all! 

I hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to pre-order their Christmas vegetables, turkeys, pies, milk, cream, cheese, homemade preserves etc. It makes a huge difference to how the shop works during our busiest week of the year – we do more trade in the last week before Christmas than the whole of January and February together!
 
As is the tradition of lots of retailers, we have a little sale going on for the next couple of weeks. I need to clean the freezer and it is very full at the moment. We are offering 50% of all bread, and 10% off everything else. Come and have a browse.
 
It’s a quiet time of year for beekeepers, reading books, mending equipment, and for those who teach – planning courses. Bedfordshire Beekeepers, North Bucks Beekeepers, North Herts Beekeepers are all planning courses, follow these links to their websites to find out more.
https://www.bedsbka.org.uk/training-event/beekeeping-courses-for-2018-announced/
http://nbbka.org/education/courses.aspx
https://nhbka.wordpress.com/training/2018-beginners-course-in-beekeeping/

 

 

Just to let you know we have plenty of sprouts in stock - they aren't just for Christmas you know! We've also lots of Purple Spouting Broccoli, Curly Kale and Cavalo Nero - all from Bromham.

This cold damp weather is making think of warming stews and easy one-pot suppers. How about this homely Chicken, Kale and Mushroom pie? It’s a very flexible recipe – leftovers are great warmed up and served with baked potatoes, or even on toast!  We have quite a few frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, and of course Kale is available freshly cut.

 

Recipe of the week
 
Chicken, kale & mushroom pot pie
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/chicken-kale-mushroom-pot-pie
 
A satisfying chicken and mushroom one-pot that makes a great family supper or freeze leftovers for another day.  Serves 4
 
Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
 
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
300ml chicken stock
100g crème fraîche
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
100g Curly Kale or Cavalo Nero, stalks removed, shredded fairly finely
2 tsp cornflour, mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
375g pack puff pastry, rolled into a circle slightly bigger than your dish
1 egg yolk, to glaze
 
Method
Heat 1/2 tbsp oil over a gentle heat in a flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and cook for 5 mins until softening. Scatter over the thyme and garlic, and stir for 1 min. Turn up the heat and add the chicken, frying until golden but not fully cooked. Add the mushrooms and the remaining oil. Heat oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6.
 
Add the stock, crème fraîche, mustard and kale, and season well. Add the cornflour mixture and stir until thickened a little.
 
Remove from the heat and cover with the puff pastry lid, pressing into the sides of the casserole dish. Slice a cross in the centre and glaze with the egg. Bake for 30 mins until the pastry is puffed up and golden.



Whatever your plans this weekend (Christmas shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

There's still time to order your Christmas Veg, plus Celeriac now available

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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There is still time to order your vegetables for Christmas, have a look at the order form, and either email it to blackcatfarmshop@btinternet.com or ring Sue on 07522 559010 or pop into the shop with it. Please have everything in by the end of Sunday 17th.

Opening hours for the week up to Christmas are the same as normal, except for closing at 1pm on Sunday 24th. 
The shop will then be closed over the holidays, opening again on Wednesday 3rd January.

Back in stock this week are Celeriac, perfect for soups, stews and making coleslaw.

 

 

What else have we got in the shop this week? Some lovely Mistletoe from Wyboston, £1 a sprig. We've also got Savoy cabbages. If you need sacks of potatoes we have both Maris Piper and Picasso. Please let me know asap if you need sacks before Christmas. 

Our neighbour in Marston Moretaine planted lots of fruit and nut trees some years ago. This year she's had a huge harvest of Almonds and Hazelnuts, they really are delicious at £5 kg. 

The Times & Citizen has made its way to the shop again, please help yourself to a free copy. 

Last minute Mince Pies to make? We have plenty of homemade mincemeat as well as Cranberry Relish. 

 

 

Recipe of the week

Thus is lovely with all cold meats, especially Turkey. 
 

Celeriac and apple coleslaw 

Serves 6

  • 100g carrot, peeled, topped and tailed
  • 200g red cabbage
  • 200g celeriac
  • 50g red onion
  • 50g white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste
  • 2 eating apples (unpeeled)
  • 1 lemon
  • 200ml Mayonnaise (try Mrs Middleton's Lemon Mayonnaise)
  • 1 small bunch of curly parsley, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Grate the carrots and thinly slice the red cabbage, celeriac and onions, adding to a large bowl as you go. Add the garlic.
  2. Grate the apple and add to the bowl, squeezing lemon juice over it to stop it browning, and mix all the above together.
  3. Add Mayonnaise and stir through to bind the vegetables.
  4. Garnish with chopped parsley and (if you like) lemon juice for some acidity.

Whatever you have planned for this weekend - cooking, Christmas shopping or relaxing, have a great one. 

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre 
Bedford Road
Roxton. Beds. 
MK44 3DY 
07522 559010
Blackcatfarmshop@btinternet.com

 

 

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Getting ready for Christmas, how can we help?

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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We've some huge Leeks in the shop this week, plenty of Calabrese, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Curly Kale, Cavalo Nero and of course Sprouts! The Spinach is coming to an end for a while, its been great to have an almost continuous supply since the spring from Paul and Len in Bromham. They have some outdoors, and some in polytunnels.
We've Celery from Fenland (Cambs) this week, and another 'last of' - Sweet Peppers from Chawston.

Christmas Order forms for your Turkey & Trimmings, Vegetables, Milk & Cream, Bread, Cakes etc are in the shop now, and you can download one from the website. You can email it to me, drop it into the shop, or give me a call to talk things through. Christmas can be such a stressful time, and if we can help remove a part of it, then we will have done a good job.

Linda is at Willington on Saturday 10-12, Sue will be at Potton 9-1 and so Danny is manning the fort at the shop.

Would you like the chance to win your Christmas Vegetables? Follow the link at the bottom of the email to the Facebook page. We have a competition running - exclusively for Facebook Users, the post is Pinned to the top of the page. Good Luck!

 

 

This week is also Sour Dough Bread Week - I have it on good authority that Jo is sending us some ;Cheddar & Chilli loaves this time!

Linda has been busy - she's made even more cushions and aprons for the shop. I love these 'Stag' ones, and they're only £6.50.

Don't forget to get your favourite pooch something for Christmas, we have a range of Chews and treats that they will love.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
I had a bit of spare time today, and so made this very quick and simple recipe. Sorry, I was on my way home when I realised that I'd forgotten to take a photo. They are for sale in the shop though, 60p each or 2 for £1.

Mincemeat Twists

Two sheets Puff Pastry (Jus-Rol is on special offer at the moment in Sainsbury's!!)
One 340g jar mincemeat.
3 tablespoons Caster Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Lay out the first sheet of pastry, and spread the mincemeat over in a thin layer.
Lay the second sheet over the top and press lightly.
Cut into 1" wide strips across the short side, and twist each 3-4 times.
Bake in a hot oven (200C, 400F, Gas 6) for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Dust with a little icing sugar.

Can be eaten on their own, or dunked into cream or creme fraiche.

If you like, you can grate a little orange zest over the mincemeat.

If you use Facebook, this link will take you to a short video of them being made.



Whatever your plans this weekend (Christmas shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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3 1/2 weeks to Christmas, and the Sprouts have arrived - just in time!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Just in time - the first of the local Brussel Sprouts have arrived! Freshly picked from a farm in Potton, they've had a couple of frosts now so will be really sweet. We have them loose (£1.50 kg) or on the stalk for £3 each. The prices are the same as last year.

Have you ordered your Turkey yet? Download our Christmas Order form and either pop it into the shop or email it over. You can pre-order all your trimmings, vegetables, milk, cream, bread, cakes, mince pies, cheese, gift packs etc. We will have it ready for you to collect.
Opening hours:
Weds 20th 10-4
Thurs 21st 10-4
Fri 22nd 9-4
Sat 23rd 9-4
Sun 24th 10-1
The shop will then be closed, reopening on Weds 3rd January.

 

 

For Potato fans, we now have Picasso in 25kg sacks (£8), Maris Piper in 7.5kg sacks (£5), and Maris Piper loose (£1.20 kg).

The shop is 'going Mobile' for a couple of days around next weekend.
Saturday 9th December sees the last market of the year at Willington Peace Memorial Hall 10-12. Linda will be there.
It's also the last market of the year at Potton, 9-1, Sue will be there.
Danny will be in the shop that morning.

Sue will also be at the Duncombe Arms pub in Waresley (near Gamlingay, SG19 3BS) from 5-9 for their Christmas Shopping evening. 

Gift packs of Preserves are available to buy at 'Evie & Lola Pop Up Crafty Christmas Shop', based in the old Hanworth Interiors shop in the Arcade, off the High Street, Bedford. Anwyn and the team are there every day (not Mondays) until Christmas Eve.  Well worth popping in, all the crafted items are locally made. There are also drop in workshops, and events that you can book into. This is the link to their Facebook Page.

We've had a delivery from Robin at Wooden Hill Coffee. We have a couple of great Christmas Packs of all the teas they supply. We also have plenty of Coffee Grounds and Beans.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
To get us in the mood, a couple of Sprout recipes!

Creamed sprouts with chestnuts
This serves 6-8.
 
Ingredients
 
900g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil
50g butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ vegetable stock cube, crumbled
250ml double cream
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra to serve
200g vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
 
Method
 
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the sprouts and cook for 3-4 mins until slightly tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Meanwhile, very gently fry the onions in the oil and half the butter for about 10 mins until soft. Add the garlic and stock cube and cook for 2 mins, stirring, until everything is combined. Remove from the heat.
Roughly chop the sprouts by hand or in a food processor, then stir them in with the onions and the rest of the butter, along with the double cream and nutmeg. Put back on the heat and cook until the cream is bubbling. Season to taste. Toss in the chestnuts and sprinkle over a little extra nutmeg to serve.


Burnt sprouts with pomegranate & sesame
Serves 4

Ingredients
 
3 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
400g Brussels sprouts, halved
25g cold butter, diced
1 tbsp sesame seeds
100g pomegranate seeds
drizzle of pomegranate molasses
 
Method
 
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Put the sprouts in the pan, cut-side down, and leave them to sizzle away happily for 10 mins without disturbing them.
Halfway through cooking, dot over the butter and leave it to sizzle and brown – the sprouts need to be really crispy and dark brown. If they are just lightly brown, carry on cooking for another 5-10 mins.
Scatter over the sesame seeds and stir-fry everything until the seeds are toasted. Off the heat, toss through the pomegranate seeds, then season the sprouts with salt and tip into a serving dish. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses before serving.



Whatever your plans this weekend (Christmas shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Christmas Order Forms and Purple Sprouting Broccoli

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Now we know Christmas is getting close - we have the first of the new season Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the shop. Grown in Bromham it is crisp and fresh. There are a couple of great recipes using it further down.

Christmas Order forms for your Turkey & Trimmings, Vegetables, Milk & Cream, Bread, Cakes etc are in the shop now, and you can download one from the website. You can email it to me, drop it into the shop, or give me a call to talk things through. Christmas can be such a stressful time, and if we can help remove a part of it, then we will have done a good job.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who donated to this years Poppy Appeal. We raised £42.73 in the shop - a huge thank you, every penny raised is going to such a great cause.

Are you stuck for Christmas Present ideas? How about a trio of homemade preserves in a gift wrapped basket. Choose from the range in the shop, or have a look at the last page on the Christmas Order Form for some ideas. Most baskets are in the £10 range.

Have you tried our new pies? They are supplied by Southalls in Great Barford and are really delicious. They come in 3 flavours - Chicken & Mushroom, Steak and Minted Lamb. We have the Family (£4.50) and Individual (£2.75) sizes in all flavours.  Great pieces of meat and really nice gravy.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
To celebrate the arrival of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, here are two great recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (River Cottage). I hope you enjoy them.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli Gratin
Rich, delicately anchovy-infused cream is a lovely foil to the fresh greenness of the broccoli. This is a luscious starter, but you could make a supper of it if you serve with some good bread and butter. Serves two.
 
200g purple sprouting broccoli
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets
200ml double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
20g breadcrumbs
 
Steam the broccoli over boiling water for around five minutes, until tender to the point of a sharp knife. Alternatively, cook it in boiling water until tender – three to four minutes – and drain well.
 
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovy, and cook gently for a few minutes, crushing the anchovies down into the oil. Add the cream, let it bubble for two to three minutes until thickened and reduced by about a third, then add black pepper to taste, and salt if needed.
 
Put the broccoli into a shallow gratin dish or ovenproof pan, pour over the cream mix, add a trickle of oil and scatter breadcrumbs on top. Grill for a few minutes until golden and bubbling, and serve at once.
 
My Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pasta
Any broccoli combined with pasta and some punchy aromatics makes for a fantastic, simple supper. But if you use fresh PSB and some top-notch anchovies, you're looking at something sublime. If anchovies aren't your thing, leave them out and add some capers instead, or just finish the pasta with lots of freshly grated parmesan to get that savoury "umami" hit. Serves four.
 
350g pasta of your choice (Oriechette is good)
600g purple sprouting broccoli
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
6-8 anchovy fillets
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
Bring a large pan of well-salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Trim any woody parts from the broccoli, then cut the rest into forkable pieces and add to the pasta pot about five minutes before the end of its cooking time.
 
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan. Add the chilli, garlic and anchovies, and cook gently, crushing the anchovies so they break down, for about five minutes. Drain the pasta and broccoli, then toss immediately with the hot, garlicky, anchovy-y oil. Taste and add black pepper, and salt, if necessary. Serve straight away.


Whatever your plans this weekend (Christmas shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Christmas Orders and Sprout Tops

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop
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You know its almost time for Christmas when Sprout Tops are available! We should have sprouts within the next 2 weeks. Plenty of green veg around, this is our current list of what's available.

Beetroot, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Cabbages (Green, Red, White), Calabrese, Cauliflowers, Cavalo Nero, Curly Kale, Chillies, Garlic, Jerusalem Artichokes, Leeks, Marrow, Mushrooms, Onions (Red, White), Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Sprout Tops, Swede, Sweet Potatoes.
Little Gem Lettuces, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Celery, Salad Onions.
Eating (Spartan, Jonogold, Laxton Superb) and Cooking Apples (Bramleys).

Have you thought about ordering your Turkey for Christmas yet?
Will you be needing Bread, Milk, Cream, Cheese, Vegetables etc? You can order them all from the shop at very competitive prices. You will also be supporting a large number of small local businesses.

At the shop we offer a full pre-order service. All the meat comes from Southalls Butchers in Great Barford. The price is same from the shop or direct from them. Your main advantage about ordering from the Farm Shop is you'll only have to visit one place.  Pay when you collect, cash or card. Call Sue on 07522 559010 or pop into the shop to discuss your requirements.
Follow this link to the Farm Shop website and you can download an order form.
http://blackcatfarmshop.co.uk/page5.htm

Let us take the strain out of your Christmas Food Shop!
The next time you come into the shop you may notice that it is a deal more roomier. I have been on the lookout for another display cabinet (like the one the preserves are on) for some time. I managed to get one very reasonably this week (thanks eBay). It has made a real difference to the Crafted items display, and also the centre table.  The old centre tables have been loaned to my friend Anwyn who is having a Pop Up shop in the old Hanworth interiors shop in Bedford town centre Arcade. It's open until Christmas Eve, and will have a cafe, craft workshops and locally crafted items for sale. Well worth popping in to see.
https://www.facebook.com/EvieAndLola/ for more information.

We have a couple of new lines in the shop. New Ewe are a range of soaps and hand lotions made from Sheep's Milk - the same sheep milk we have for sale in the shop from February to August. Made from natural ingredients, they are very moisturising. Available in Green, Floral and Honey Scents. They make perfect gifts.  We also have some guest sized soaps in the Floral scent too.
http://www.newewespa.com/collections/all 

Trish is away next week, so a gentle reminder to stock up this week with quiches, scones, cakes and biscuits. We do have some stock in the freezer too.

As the colder weather is here, don't forget we have dry/seasoned Logs (£5), Kindling (£4) and Fire Lighters (75p for pack of 3).
 
Recipe of the week
 
This is a great dish to give you a little flavor of Christmas, and uses Sprout Tops which have just become available.

Tom Kerridge's sprout tops, chestnuts and bacon
 
Ingredients
 
500g picked and washed sprout tops
200g smoked streaky bacon cut into lardons
200g vacpac of chestnuts
100g butter
Salt and pepper
 
Method
 
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and cook the bacon until it is well browned and crispy. Add the chestnuts and cook until they start to break up a little. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Add the sprout tops and season. Stir until just wilted and serve straight away. This will only take a few minutes, be careful not to overcook them.

Don't forget to have a chat about your Christmas Food requirements, we can help!

Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 
Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Jerusalem Artichokes and Leeks now available!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Some very sad news this week, Philip Russell from Roxton passed away suddenly last week. He was a truly lovely gent, and grew wonderful vegetables two fields away from the shop in Roxton. Phil had actually retired (finally!) at the end of last Brussel Sprout season, but still called in for a chat. He will be truly missed - I counted over 250 people at his funeral in Tempsford this week.

Kate has dug the first of her Jerusalem Artichokes today, they are great roasted and in soups and stews.  We have plenty of freshly picked Calabrese, Spinach, Curly Kale and Cavalo Nero from Paul and Len in Bromham.

 

 

Did you have fun carving your pumpkins?  I had a couple of damaged ones from the shop - so I put them to good use! We had lot of Trick & Treaters round who appreciated them.

Potatoes this week are Wilja (25kg sacks), Maris Bard (Loose) and Maris Piper (7.5kg bags). We should be moving onto Picasso fairly soon.

Thanks again to Linda for being in the shop last week - I had a great time at the National Honey Show. Great learning for aspiring judges and beekeepers alike.

Trish has made Plain, Fruit and Cheese Scones this week, and the cakes are Chocolate and Carrot Cake.

Linda has been busy too, we have a new range of cushions in stock, some with Ducks, some with Stags. They are £6.50 each.

I have been busy making Spiced Pumpkin soup (Available from the chiller cabinet tomorrow), and I am hoping to make some Pumpkin Cake using the recipe from last weeks newsletter.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
Researching recipes using cabbage this week I came across this on the Guardian Newspaper website. Perfect for cold evenings, lunchtimes and great for vegetarians and meat lovers too. A very versatile recipe.  

Caldo verde (Portuguese-style cabbage soup

This is a rustic Portuguese peasant soup made primarily with cabbage and potatoes. It's delicious, hearty and perfect for those cold winter months. If you like you can add some spicy sausages, pork or black pudding to satisfy your carnivorous side. Either way it tastes great.
Serves 4 as a hearty starter
 
Olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
Salt and black pepper
Spicy sausages, pork or black pudding (optional)
1 large cabbage, shredded
2 bay leaves
About 1.5-2 litres chicken, pork or vegetable stock
Extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika to finish
 
1 Heat some olive oil in a medium pan and lightly cook the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves until soft. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper and then pour in the stock and bring to the boil (this is the stage to add any meat if using). Turn to a simmer and then slowly cook the potatoes until tender.
 
2 Add the cabbage and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the heat and stand for 5 minutes. Season well to taste and divide between bowls.
 
2 Finish with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list
 






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Pumpkins, Pumpkins and more......... Vegetables as well as Pumpkins!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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It's almost Halloween, and time for carving pumpkins - and hopefully putting that lovely flesh to good use in a recipe or two! We have lots of pumpkins still available; small, medium and large - the prices range from £1.50 to £2 which are a lot less than a lot less than a lot of the supermarkets are charging.

Leeks are going to make an appearance this weekend for the first time this autumn, perfect timing to make soups and add to stews now that the evenings have turned much colder.

We have lots of Cauliflowers available this week, and a few of the green Romanesco Cauliflowers too.

We're getting through lots of local apples, this week we have Laxton Superb, which quite frankly, are superb!

 

 

I've been to the National Honey Show (at Sandown Park in Esher) on Wednesday and Thursday this week. It;s a great event - they had nearly 2000 entries this year! It really helps me gain experience in judging the various categories. This year I stewarded for one of the senior judges on the beeswax candle classes - really interesting and has got me all fired up to make more of my own. I'm back down there again tomorrow (Saturday) so thank you again to Linda for being in the shop.

I was able to pick up some lovely 'bee' related gift items, perfect as stocking fillers.  Linda has also been busy making aprons, the adult sized ones are £8.50 each and are fully lined and washable. Great to use yourself or as a present.

 

 

Recipe of the week

Once you've carved your pumpkin, it seems such a waste to throw the insides away. How about making this delicious cake?

Halloween pumpkin cake
 
Like carrot cake? Then try using up your leftover pumpkin in this clever traybake for Halloween
 
Ingredients
 
For the cake
300g self-raising flour
300g light muscovado sugar
3 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g sultanas
½ tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
200g butter, melted
zest 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
500g (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, grated
 
For drenching and frosting
200g pack soft cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
zest 1 orange and juice of half an orange
 
Method
 
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking or small roasting tin with baking parchment. Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice, then mix with the dry ingredients till combined. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch.
 
To make the frosting, beat together the cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and 1 tsp of the juice till smooth and creamy, then set aside in the fridge. When the cake is done, cool for 5 mins then turn it onto a cooling rack. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the rest of the orange juice while still warm. Leave to cool completely.
 
If you like, trim the edges of the cake. Give the frosting a quick beat to loosen, then, using a palette knife, spread over the top of the cake in peaks and swirls. If you’re making the cake ahead, keep it in the fridge then take out as many pieces as you want 30 mins or so before serving. Will keep, covered, for up to 3 days in the fridge.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one, and have a fabulous Halloween!

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Have you got your Pumpkins yet?

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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After the 'weird' weather at the beginning of the week, today was definitely feel autumnal. Time to break out rhe recipes for the thick, warming soups and stews. I am amazed that Paul in Bromham is still picking Courgettes, I thought that they were going to be finished well before our holiday. However, we have some again this week. We also have the first of the Parsnips and also Swede.  Despite a number of people asking, no we haven't got any Sprouts yet - should be around the beginning of December.

We had a lovely holiday in France, and as ever I am grateful to Linda (plus husband and grand-daughters) for keeping the shop open for you. For a change (!) I am in the shop all this week. Next week is the National Honey Show, and I am going to be there on the Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

 

 

 

Paul and Len in Bromham started cutting their Calabrese this week, I have to say it looks really fresh and crisp. I'm looking forward to making some Broccoli and Blue Cheese soup at some point soon.

Halloween is just around the corner, and we have plenty in stock, from the min ones shown in the picture, through to very large. Prices range from £1.25 to £2.  I know you can get pumpkins anywhere at the moment, and possibly cheaper too.  However these are grown in Bedfordshire, and are great to eat as well as carve.Please support your local growers!

 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
Pumpkin hummus
 
Throwing a Halloween party? Use a carved out pumpkin to make this creamy hummus. At other times of the year use butternut squash or a blue-skinned pumpkin.
 
Ingredients
 
1 small pumpkin  (about 500g)
olive oil , for roasting
2 garlic cloves, peeled
½ lemon , juiced
2 tbsp Tahini paste (available at most supermarkets)
400g can chickpeas, drained
 
Serve with
1 red pepper, deseeded, and sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded, and sliced
mini breadsticks and pitta chips
 
Method
 
Cut the top off the pumpkin, about two-thirds of the way up. Remove the pumpkin seeds, then scoop the flesh out of the bottom and the lid.
 
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the pumpkin flesh into pieces and put in a roasting tin with the garlic and a good glug of oil. Season, then bake for 45 mins until very tender. Leave to cool.
 
Tip the pumpkin into a food processor with any juices from the roasting tin and the garlic. Add the lemon juice, tahini paste and chickpeas. Season with salt and blend to a paste – add a little more oil if it's too thick. Scoop the hummus back into the pumpkin and serve with the peppers, breadsticks and pitta chips.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Maris Pipers now available, Field Mushrooms and Honey recipes!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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A nice autumnal treat this week - Field Mushrooms! They will last the weekend, but do need eating up. Slice and fry with some butter, garlic and parsley - a perfect starter or lunch on a slice of toasted sour dough bread. Or an omelette, or soup - this list of possibilities is endless.

We now have Maris Piper potatoes in the 7.5kg bags, but still have Maris Bard in the 25kg sacks for those who love them - they make great roasties.

We've had some really lovely weather this week, so I still have salads in mind - Iceberg lettuces, tomatoes from our greenhouse, cucumbers from Edible Ornamentals. All fresh and crisp.

We had some great news this week, Southalls Butchers in Great Barford have found a new Butcher for the shop. From next week, they will be open from Tuesday to Saturday each week. I'm really pleased, as it means we will be able to have their lovely sausages and other things each week now.

 

 

On Friday evening (29th) Roxton Garden Centre are having their Christmas Shopping event, to launch their Christmas Displays. Entry is free, it is open from 5pm to 9pm. Up to 20% discounts apply on certain lines, worthwhile if you need new tree or outdoor lights for instance.

This Saturday we have two great events on locally, well worth a day out.
The Gransden & District Agricultural Show is a traditional local show, with rare breeds, show jumping, produce tents, food hall, and many other attractions. I will be there with a shop stand (in the Food Hall area), so Linda will be in the shop.
https://gransdenshow.org.uk/Gransden_Show/Home.html 

Also on at Woburn Abbey is their Honey Festival, featuring Bedfordshire Beekeepers Association Annual Honey Show. Danny is taking my entries over to this. Entry to the Abbey and Gardens also gets you into the Honey Festival. If you're at all interested in keeping bees, this is the place to bee.
http://www.woburnabbey.co.uk/events/shows-and-fairs/wwwwoburnabbeycoukhoneyfestival/

All returns to normal on Sunday - just before we head off on holiday. Linda will be in the shop next week, plus Weds 11th/Thursday 12th. 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
The only problem with judging honey shows, is that you forget the stress the entrants go through getting their entries ready. Well I've had a dose of that last week and this - fingers crossed the judges like my entries this weekend!

Here are some of the things I have been making this week.

Honey Biscuits
 
175g Plain Flour
75g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g butter
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon milk
 
Pre-heat oven to 180C/Gas 5
Warm honey and milk together and allow to cool.
Add bicarbonate of soda and beat with a fork until frothy.
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add frothy mixture to cream/butter and then sieved flour. Mix well.
Roll into small balls.
Place onto greased baking tray (or parchment) and press slightly with a fork.
Bake on middle shelf of oven for 10 minutes until golden.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Honey Fudge
Ingredients:
1lb granulated sugar,
¼ pint fresh milk,
2oz butter,
up to 3oz honey.

Method:
Put all the ingredients into a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Cover and boil for 2 minutes. Uncover and boil gently for about 15 minutes until ‘soft ball’ stage is reached, at 115°C (240°F), still stirring all the time (A little dropped into cold water will form a ‘soft ball’).
Stand the pan on a cold surface for 5 minutes. Beat the mixture until it starts to thicken, then pour it quickly into a ready buttered tin. Mark out into squares as it cools and cut when cold.

Honey cake
 
Ingredients:
 
225g/8oz unsalted butter
250g/9oz clear honey plus about 2tbsp extra for glazing cake.
114g/4oz dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
280g/10oz self-raising flour
 
Method:
 
Preheat the oven to 160oC/Gas 3 (Fan 140oC/325oF).
 
Butter and line a 20cm/8” round cake tin. Paper Cake liners may be used.
Cut the butter and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar.
Melt slowly over a low heat.
When liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute. Leave to cool.
Beat the eggs into the cooled honey mixture using a wooden spoon.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture.
Beat until you have a smooth batter.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hour until the cake is well risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed. You can also check it is cooked by inserting a wooden or metal skewer and it should come out clean.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack.
Warm the 2 tablespoons of honey and brush over the top of the cake to glaze; then leave to cool.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Sacks of Potatoes now available in the shop

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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The weather is definitely moving towards Autumn, It makes me start to think about soups, stews and rib sticking/filling meals. Less salads and more potatoes! Luckily we are now able to get reasonably priced bags of potatoes now. The variety currently being filled is Maris Bard, soon to moving to Maris Piper. All grown locally in Bedfordshire.  The small bags weigh 7.5kg and are £5. The larger sacks are 25kg and are £8.

I thought that Courgettes would be finished by now, but there are still some around. Runner Beans have all but finished, there are a few French Beans still.

Thanks to Angela and Linda for being in the shop last weekend - Potton market was very busy during the morning, but we did have an unfortunate downpour just before we packed up - one of several that day! 
Sunday was really good - I was judging a Honey Show for Sutton Coldfield Beekeepers, over 100 entries which was a really good turnout.

This weekend Linda will be in the shop again. On Saturday I am attending the Bucks County Beekeepers Honey Show in High Wycombe, and on Sunday I am organising North Bucks Beekeepers Honey Show - it never stops this time of year!  In case you're wonderingwhat a Honey Show looks like, this was Medway Beekeepers Show from the other week.

 

 

Just a reminder that we do stock fresh milk in the shop.

From Debbie and Richard at Ouse Valley Dairies in Carlton near Bedford, we have pastuerised milk: Semi Skimmed and Full Fat plus cream. We usually have 1L bottles, but you can pre-order 1 pint, 1L and 2L bottles for all types.

From Angela Gary at Raw Milk Dairy we have unpasteurised milk. This is for customers pre-orders only - it must be ordered in advance. It comes in 1, 2 and 4 pint containers and is only available as Full Fat. Angela also makes drinking yogurt and cream also to order.

If you wish to pre-order milk, either email me at blackcatfarmshop@btinternet.com phone 07522 559010 or leave a message on the shop's Facebook page.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
Sometimes you must need a cake, and this is really delicious.  Interesting how over the years this went from being called 'Flourless' to 'Gluten Free'. It does make use of Pears which are really good at the moment. 

Flourless chocolate & pear cake
 
A light, but luscious cake made with hazelnuts - serve a slice for dessert with a dollop of crème fraiche.
 
Ingredients
85g butter, plus 1 tbsp extra for tin
85g golden caster sugar, plus extra for tin
85g gluten-free dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp brandy
3 eggs, separated
85g hazelnut, toasted and ground in a food processor
4 very ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
icing sugar, for dusting
 
Method
Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed tin. Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush the inside of the tin, then line the base with the parchment and brush again with more butter. Spoon in 2 tbsp caster sugar, swirl it around to coat the base and sides, then tip out any excess.

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, stir in the brandy and leave to cool. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the hazelnuts.

In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites until they reach a soft peak (try not to whisk them too stiffly or you’ll have trouble folding them in). Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level, then arrange the pears over the mixture, cut-side down.
Bake for 40 mins until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked all the way through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before releasing it, then place on a rack to cool completely.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with crème fraîche.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Super Sweetcorn - how do you like yours?

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Autumn fruits and veg are certainly coming along nicely. Last weekend we had the offer of three lots of grapes. Some from Woody in Wyboston, and the others from Adrienne in Marston Moretaine. They are all sweet and delicious.  I was impressed to see on Saturday late afternoon that Woody had also dropped off a Watermelon that he'd grown. Very impressive and so sweet. 

Thanks to Linda for looking after the shop last weekend. I had a great time on Saturday (judging Medway Beekeepers Honey Show) and Sunday (Warden Abbey Vineyard Open Day). It's another busy weekend coming up - on Saturday I will be at Potton Four Seasons Market (9-1) and Angela will be in the shop. On Sunday I'm popping up to Sutton Coldfield Beekeepers Honey Show, and Linda will be in the shop - certainly getting about the country this autumn!

 

 

Some things are heading to the end of their seasons. Beetroot in bunches are just about finished, so we will be selling them loose from this week. Paul has almost finished his courgette crop, and we won't have too many more runner beans - make the most of them while you can!

Dare I mention the 'C' word? The Garden Centre are holding their 'Christmas Shopping Evening' on Friday 29th September, from 5pm to 9pm. You need an invite, so if you can't get to the store to get one yourself please let me know, as I will have some in the shop.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
I love fresh sweetcorn, boiled for about 5 mins, then rolled in butter and freshly ground black pepper. However sometimes we have too much, and so I make this lovely soup. There are lots of versions about, I quite liked this one from Slimming World website, as it is not only delicious but Syn free too!

Sweetcorn Chowder
 
A deliciously creamy soup with sweetcorn and a hint of chilli and chives – this recipe serves 4.
 
Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
1 small leek, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
3 fresh sweetcorn, sliced off the cob.
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1.2 litres boiling vegetable stock
1/2-1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
50g fat free natural Greek yogurt
10g fresh chives, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lime juice, to taste
 
Method
Put the onion into a large saucepan with the leek, potato, garlic, 2/3rds of the sweetcorn and the stock.
Bring to the boil over a high heat then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the potato is very soft.
Cool slightly then pour into a food processor or liquidiser and whizz until smooth (it's best to do this in batches) or use a stick blender.
Return the soup to the pan, stir through the chilli and remaining sweetcorn and simmer for three minutes.
Remove from the heat, leave to cool a little then stir through the yogurt and chives.
Season to taste, add lime juice to taste and serve hot.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

It's feeling a bit like Autumn, but lots of good things still to come

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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It's certainly feeling a bit more autumnal now, schools have now gone back and the local strawberries have finished. However we still have things to look forward to - local apples and pears are ripening fast with a wide choice of varieties available. Paul in Bromham reports that Pumpkins should soon be available, he's only grown 5000 this year (!), they are great for soups and adding thickness to stews as well as roasting and baking in pies - can't wait to start looking up recipes.

As you know I am a Beekeeper - all the honey has been removed from the bees, and we are now treating them for the Varroa Mite - this tiny pest vectors viruses around the hive and from hive to hive. Treating them now, and again in Spring knocks the numbers down to a manageable level. Next job will be assessing their stores, and feeding them with sugar syrup for them to store. Each hive needs about 40lb in stores ready for winter - if we are lucky they can collect a lot of this themselves - Ivy is a great late source of both nectar and pollen - if you are planning to get rid of Ivy please do so later in the winter and give the bees a chance for a feed first!

you like Honey, and are maybe contemplating taking up Beekeeping, there are a couple of events on during September and October that are worth seeing. They may not be close to to, but are worth planning a day out around.

Saturday 30th September - Woburn Abbey & Gardens Honey Festival. Bedfordshire Beekeepers are holding their annual Honey Show there, and there will be lots of stalls and information stands. More info here http://www.woburnabbey.co.uk/events/shows-and-fairs/wwwwoburnabbeycoukhoneyfestival/ 

National Honey Show - Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th October, Sandown Park Racecourse. Here you can see the 'best of the best' of honey, beeswax and all things about bees. There are bookable talks and lectures and trade stands too. A fabulous day out! http://honeyshow.co.uk/ 
 

 

 

We have home grown garlic in the shop at the moment, and its very tasty! We also have a late autumn treat - Woody brought up a tray of Globe Artichokes this week, delicious (and half the price of Abel & Cole and Waitrose too!)

What else do we have available:

Salads: Beef, Medium and little Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Celery, Little Gem Lettuces, Salad Onions, Radishes.

Veg: Onions(Red, White), Cabbages (Red, White, Sweetheart), Cauliflowers, Spinach, Curly Kale, Cavalo Nero, Sweetcorn, Marrows, Beetroot, Beans (Flat, French, Runner), Carrots (Bunches, Loose), Chillies, Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, Potatoes, Globe Artichokes.

Fruit, Eating Apples, Cooking Apples.

The shop's freezer is getting a bit full, so we are offering all Frozen Bread at half the marked price (instead of the usual 10% off).

Just a reminder, Linda will be in the shop on Saturday (I'm judging Medway Beekeepers Honey Show in Gillingham), and Sunday. I'll be at Warden Abbey Vineyard Open Day - another great day out, bring plenty of cash for the wines sales as they don't take cards. 
http://www.wardenvineyard.org.uk/events

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
What to do with Globe Artichokes? They are a bit of work, but are so tasty that it's worth it.

Prepare it
To serve whole, cut the tough tips of the leaves off with scissors, holding the stalk to keep the artichoke steady. Using a knife, slice the base off, so that it will sit upright, before trimming off the pointed top (the younger the artichoke, the less you'll need to cut off). Pull the pale centre leaves out, then scoop the choke out with a spoon, without disturbing the heart underneath.
To prevent browning, drop each one in a bowl of water to which a little lemon juice has been added. Cook them in a pan of boiling salted water for 35-45 minutes (when they're ready you should easily be able to pull out a leaf). Drain upside down.
Iron, copper and aluminium cookware may cause artichokes to discolour; stainless steel, glass or enamel is better.

Store it
Globe artichokes are best eaten on the day they're bought, but will keep in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of days.

Cook it
Artichoke hearts are easily available bottled in oil, and are great as part of an Italian anti pasti course. Otherwise, boil or steam the whole artichoke head, then pull the leaves off and dip them in hollandaise sauce, melted butter or garlic butter, drawing the leaf through your teeth to remove the tender flesh before discarding the rest. Or boil the head, pull out the central leaves, scoop out the choke and stuff with chopped garlic and parsley, grated parmesan and bread crumbs before drizzling with olive oil and baking in the oven.
They can also be barbecued or grilled: cut in half lengthways, remove the choke, brush with olive oil and grill for 30 minutes, until tender.

If you have a few artichokes, how about this idea?

Artichoke and bacon tart
 
For the crust
200g plain flour
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 generous pinch of salt
Ice-cold water, about 4-5 tbsp - just enough to make a soft dough
 
For the filling
6-8 artichokes, cooked as outlined on the preceding page
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4-6 rashers bacon (about 80g), cut into 2cm pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 egg yolks
200ml double cream
50g hard goat's cheese, grated
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
First make the pastry. Process together the flour, butter, oil and salt until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water for the mixture to come together into a soft dough. Press it straight into a lightly greased 24cm tart tin, using your hands and fingertips. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
 
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4. Prick the base of the pastry case all over with a fork, then line with baking parchment or foil, and fill with baking beans (or similar). Bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and beans, bake for another seven to eight minutes, then remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 150C/300F/gas mark 2.
 
To make the filling, remove the meat from the artichokes' leaves and chop the hearts. Set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan, sauté the bacon until crisp, then drain on kitchen paper. Tip the onion into the frying pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
 
Beat together the egg yolks and cream in a bowl, then add the artichoke, bacon, onion, two thirds of the cheese, parsley and thyme, and season. Pour into the tart shell and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling is set and the pastry is golden.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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'Tis the season for Sweetcorn! 

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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A long awaited, end of summer treat, has finally arrived! We have freshly picked sweetcorn in the shop - and I just had to have one for my dinner last night. So sweet and juicy! They'll be around for a good month - what's your favourite way of eating them?  I love the plain boiled with butter and black pepper. However Sweetcorn Chowder is also a favourite soup too.

The Victoria Plums have now finished, and the last of the greengages will also go this weekend too. Lots of apples and pears now available, with more varieties ripening each week.

Woody (who grows the asparagus) has lots of grapes on his vines this year. They are a bit too small for eating, however they are perfect for making grape jelly and wine with. If you are interested in having some please let me know , and we can arrange it.

 

 

 

We are about to enter the 'silly season' of honey shows and other events that will take me out of the shop. I'll let you know week by week what's happening, and who will be in the shop if I am not there. Our opening times will not change, they are:
Wednesday 10-4
Thursday 10-4
Friday 9-4
Saturday 9-4
Sunday 10-4

I am at the shop all this coming weekend, but next week on Saturday 9th I'll be at Medway Beekeepers Honey Show (Nr Gillingham), and at Warden Abbey Vineyard (Nr BIggleswade) on Sunday 10th. Linda will be in the shop both days.

Still plenty of Runner Beans (some our own, some from Eileen in Wyboston), and Tomatoes (some from Maria in Blunham, some from Much Hadham in Herts). 

I had a great session with Maria this morning, she taught me how to make Passata the tradtional Italian way. I'm really happy with the results, but will keep most of this batch at home. Hopefully in mid-September I'll be able to get some more tomatoes from her and will make more for the shop.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
I really couldn't get inspired - recipe wise, this week. So I am going back to an old favourite, and timely as there should be plenty of local honey around to use.  This easily lasts a week in an airtight tin, so perfect for weekends, and also back to work/school packed lunches.

Honey Flapjack

4oz Butter
2oz Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Honey

8oz Porridge Oats.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C (Gas 4). 
Line an 8" square tin.

Melt the butter, sugar and honey together gently.
Take off the heat and stir in the porridge oats, until well mixed.
Press into the tin into a flat even layer.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, mark into pieces, and allow to cool in the tin before cutting.

You can replace 1oz of the oats with nuts or dried fruits (chopped up small). I sometimes do 4oz oats and 4oz museli.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

The gluts continue! Runner Beans, Plums, Greengages......

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop
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If you like Plums and Greengages, now is the time to get them. The Victoria plums should last another week or so, but the Greengages will finish this week. They get over-ripe very easily - so consider freezing some if you want to make jam but don't have enough time. They both also make delicious crumbles.  Alison (who supplies the blue Duck Eggs - when they are laying) brought in several baskets of fruit yesterday, including these lovely yellow plums.

We've been a bit remiss at home, and hadn't picked runner beans for several days. I picked three baskets last night - the smallest are now for sale in the shop, and the larger ones (but not stringy ones) have been de-stringed (I use a vegetable peeler for speed), sliced and are in brine overnight. They will be turned into 'Runner Bean - A - Lilli' tomorrow. It will look and taste like Piccalilli, but its just beans. Great with a cheese sandwich. I was thinking this afternoon - without the kitchen at the shop I'd have been doing all this in the evenings. Again, I am grateful for the support from everyone who made the extension possible.

It's Sour Dough Bread week, please let me know if you would like anything reserved. We have Small Brown and White Loaves, Malted Grain Subs, Small Wholemeal Spelt, and two sorts of Foccacia. 

Just a reminder, as usual we are closed on Bank Holiday Monday. I am off to 'Harrow in Leaf' produce show, where I will be judging the honey and beeswax classes. The first of several honey shows I'll be at during the autumn.
Last Saturday saw the first of the cookery workshops at the shop. Anwyn from 'Evie and Lola' was the tutor, and two lovely ladies learnt all about making French Macarons. They did a superb job (despite the oven issues - sorry!).  Here you can see the chocolate ganache filling being piped - a dob of cherry compote was placed in the centre. I have to say they were delicious. There are still spaces on the next course which is on Saturday 9th September, 11-1.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/macaron-workshops-at-black-cat-farm-shop-tickets-35932941395?aff=es2 

One of the gluts in the shop this week is (or rather was) carrots. I fancied a bowl of soup for my lunch today, so I made a large amount of Carrot and Coriander soup. This will be available in the chiller from tomorrow - it also freezes well.
Recipe of the week
 
Looking at the forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend ahead - it looks as if it will be dry, and warm(ish). If you're planning a BBQ how about these Kebabs?

Shashlik kebabs with sour cream dip and plum sauce
 
Shashlik is a Russian version of shish kebabs. If you don't like pork you can use lamb or beef, just make sure you give the meat enough time to marinate and you cook it quickly over a high heat to keep it moist.
 
Ingredients
For the kebabs
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
100ml/3½fl oz white wine
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 onion, sliced
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tsp paprika
4 cloves
¼ tsp cinnamon
1kg/2lb 4oz pork, cubed
 
For the sour cream dip
200g/7oz sour cream
handful finely chopped dill
handful finely chopped coriander
handful finely chopped parsley
1 tsp cider vinegar
pinch sugar
 
For the plum sauce
300g/10½oz ripe plums, stoned and diced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 red chilli, seeds removed, chopped or 1 tsp ground chilli
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
Method
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and add the pork. Make sure the pork is well covered, cover with clingfilm and transfer to the fridge. Leave to marinate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
 
Thread the meat onto 6 long metal skewers. Cook on a barbecue or very hot griddle pan for 5-6 minutes until cooked through.
 
For the sour cream dip, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
 
For the plum sauce, cover the plums with water and simmer until the plums are soft. Strain, reserving 75ml/3fl oz of the cooking water. Put the plums, reserved liquid, sugar, cider vinegar and chilli in a blender. Blend to form a smooth purée.
 
Sieve the plums, season with salt and pepper. Add more vinegar if needed. Stir in the dill and coriander.
 
Serve the kebabs alongside the two dips with a salad and flatbreads on the side.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 
[www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk]
Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

Greengage Glut! Jam makers take note!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop
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Do you like Greengages? They are in glut at the moment, so if you haven't tried them give them a go this weekend. They make great jam, crumbles and pies - the stones are easy to remove from the centres, use them in any recipe that asks for plums. They do over-ripen quite quickly, so don't leave it too long - it's always a race against the wasps at this time of year!

The local apples are now ready to eat. Kate from Colmworth has supplied some Epicure (eating apples) and Grenadier (Cookers). The first of many varieties we should have.

Have you tried Golden Beetroot? Adrian from Bedford has supplied some that he grew on his allotment. Treat them exactly the same as regular beetroot, so peel and roast, BBQ or boil/steam and serve cold with salads.
Salad crops are still plentiful - we have a lot of cucumbers in the shop at the moment! We've also got Little Gem lettuces, Beef and Medium sized Tomatoes, Celery, Salad Onions and Sweet Peppers.

Over the last week I have finally been able to extract some honey from the bees, all being well we should be back in stock in the shop this weekend.

 
Recipe of the week
 I was thinking of an easy, quick recipe for you to try this week. Whilst writing this I am catching up on some BBCR4 pocasts, and am currently listening to The Food Programme, and their 'Summer Camping & Cooking' edition. This recipe would be great cooked outdoors over a campfire.

Frying pan pizza with aubergine, ricotta & mint
 
This recipe ensures a crispy-bottomed pizza without ever turning on the oven. It's easy, veggie and 2 of your 5-a-day
 
Ingredients
 
For the dough
200g strong white bread flour, plus a little for dusting
½ tsp fast-action dried yeast
¼ tsp golden caster sugar
a little oil, for greasing
For the toppings
4 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus a little extra
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
200g passata
pinch of golden caster sugar (optional)
1 small aubergine, sliced into discs
100g ricotta
small handful mint, roughly chopped
Rapeseed oil, for drizzling
 
Method
 
Weigh the ingredients for the dough into a large bowl and add 1/2 tsp salt and 125ml warm water. Mix to form a soft dough, then tip onto your work surface and knead for 5 mins or until the dough feels stretchy. Clean and grease the bowl and return the dough. Cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for 1 hr, or until the dough has doubled in size.
 
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the garlic. Sizzle gently for 30 secs, making sure the garlic doesn’t brown, then add the passata. Season well and bubble for 8-10 mins until you have a rich sauce – add a pinch of sugar if it tastes a little too tart. Set aside.
 
When the dough has risen, knock out the air and roll it into a pizza base the same size as a large frying pan. Oil the surface of the dough, cover with cling film, then leave on the work surface for 15 mins to puff up a little. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp oil in the frying pan and add the aubergines in a single layer (you may have to cook in batches). Season well and cook for 4-5 mins on each side until really tender and golden. Transfer to a dish and cover with foil to keep warm.
 
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in the pan and carefully lift the dough into it. You may have to reshape it a little to fit. Cook over a low-medium heat until the underside is golden brown and the edges of the dough are starting to look dry and set – this should take about 6 mins, but it’s best to go by eye. Flip over, drizzle a little more oil around the edge of the pan so it trickles underneath the pizza base, and cook for another 5-6 mins until golden and cooked through. Reheat the sauce if you need to and spread it over the base. Top with the warm aubergines and dot with spoonfuls of ricotta. Scatter with mint and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil just before serving.

If you fancy meat/fish just add some cooked & shredded pieces of your favourite items (ham, bacon, prawns) instead of the aubergines.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 
[www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk]
Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Last of the Cherries, but Plums and Greengages now available

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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It's always sad when seasonal things come to and end, this week sees the last of the Cherries, and also the Sheep's Milk, Yogurt and Cheese - they will make their return in 2018 don't wory.

To replace them we now have Victoria Plums and Greengages - and local eating and cooking Apples aren't too far away either.

In the shop today are Raspberries and Strawberries from Royston, they look so fresh and juicy. Don't forget we also have Cream from Ouse Valley Dairies too.

 

 

Edible Ornamentals are based just over the A421 from the shop. If customers are really interested in Chillies I always recommend that they pay their shop a visit (they're open Friday to Sunday each week). We have a few of their fresh chillies though in the shop, the latest ones to arrive are 'Cherry Bombs'. Carefully remove the stalk and the seeds, and stuff it with cream cheese. Bake in a hot oven fror 10-15 minutes. They are delicious. They are a medium/hot chilli, if you want to make this for children, try using Poblano chillies (slightly hotter than sweet peppers) which we also stock in the shop.

Also based just over the A421 is Cedric who grows lots of fruit. I am collecting more Figs from him tomorrow morning. A great way to serve them is cut almost through to the base into 4 sections, with a piece of goats cheese placed in the middle. Wrapp in Parma ham, grill or BBQ  for a few minutes and then drizzle over some local honey.

Linda (who works in the shop when I need to have a day off), is a busy lady. She makes all the knitted and stitched items in the shop - these 'handbag' door stops are her latest creation. She does take commissions if you would like one in a different colour scheme.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
What better way to make the most of the last of the cherries - a very decadent desert.

Cherry Chocolate Pavlova
 
This serves 12, but what a magnificent centerpiece it would make!
 
Ingredients
 
6 large egg whites
300g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
25g cocoa powder
50g finely chopped dark chocolate
284ml pot double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
½ 600g jar stoned cherry compote (The homemade Cherry Jam in the shop would be perfect here)
fresh cherries, to serve
 
Method
 
Heat oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1. Whisk the egg whites just until they form stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a couple of tbsp at a time, making sure you whisk really well between each addition. When all the sugar has been added, keep whisking for a couple of mins until the mixture is really thick and glossy and looks a little like shaving foam. Carefully stir in the cornflour, vinegar, cocoa powder and chocolate with a large metal spoon, just until incorporated.
 
Tear off a sheet of baking parchment and use to cover a baking sheet. Mark a 25cm circle on the paper. Spoon over the meringue mixture, swirling into the circle, building up the sides a little, ready to keep the filling in. Cook for 1½ hrs. Leave to cool.
 
When ready to serve, whip the double cream and icing sugar together in a big bowl until soft peaks form. Spoon the cherry compote over the meringue, dollop over the cream, then swirl around. Arrange a few of the fresh cherries on top to finish.



Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Cherries, Figs, Strawberries, 3 types of beans, 3 types of tomatoes - great choice of fruit and veg this week!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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We had a great party to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary last weekend, thank you to Linda for looking after you and the shop. It was great to be able to spend the whole weekend with family and friends. 

I thought you might like to see the cheese display we had - amazingly there was hardly any left at the end of the night (yes we did provide other food!). All the cheeses were from Ouse Valley Dairies, who we get the pasteurised milk from, and they are all fairly local (Lincolnshire, Northants, Suffolk and Hertfordshire). Once we get the new 'serve over' fridge sorted for the shop, these are the type of cheeses that we are planning on stocking.

We have a few fresh figs in the shop this weekend. There were a few more, but they were too ripe, so I made them into jam this afternoon.  After a rummage in the freezer, I also made Raspberry Jam. Last week I made lots of Tomato & Chilli Relish, and Mo's Gooseberry Chutney. It feels great to be able to make them in the shop, and getting stock levels back up again.

We have cherries again - This week the farm in Aspley Guise are picking 'Sweetheart' variety. Still juicy and sweet, but slightly redder in colour. All being well, the farm are going to keep picking until the middle of next week.

 

 

Talking of fruit, we are getting to that time of year when plums, greengages and damsons will be ready for picking. If you have a surplus, please contact me and we can sort out a deal. I have quite a few customers waiting for them to stew and make jam with, so I will need lots of each variety. I can help pick if necessary, or loan you baskets to make it easier. Please give me a shout on the shops number at the bottom of this email.

As the weather can't seem to make up its mind if it's summer or autumn, we have a great selection in the shop if you are looking for salad things, or vegetables to go with a hot meal.  Here's what we have in stock this week:

Salads:  Beef, Medium Round and Mini Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Little Gem Lettuces, Salad Onions, Celery.

Vegetables: Mushrooms, Beetroot (bunches and loose), Carrots (Bunches and loose), Spinach, Curly Kale, Cavalo Nero Kale, Marrows, Courgettes, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Aubergines, Flat Beans, French Beans, Runner Beans, Green Cabbage, Red and White Cabbage, Chillies, Garlic, White and Red Onions.

Fruit: Strawberries, Raspberries, Figs, Cherries.  

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
Cavolo Nero & Pancetta tart
 
Treat yourself to this tart for supper and save the rest for lunch.  Serves 6. 

It can be served with hot buttered new potatoes and salad, or even mini roast potatoes and buttery carrots and runner beans. Perfect whatever the weather!
 
Ingredients
 
500g pack all-butter shortcrust pastry
1 small head of cavolo nero, about 200g
70g pack sliced pancetta
200ml whole milk
150ml double cream
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
85g parmesan, grated
 
Method
 
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll out the pastry and use to line a deep 20 x 30cm loose-bottomed tart tin or 23cm round tin. Prick the base and line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Sit the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins, then remove beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further 5-10 mins until pale golden. Lower the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
 
Meanwhile, trim the cabbage and separate the leaves. Cook in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 4-5 mins, until tender. Cool and drain well then squeeze out any excess water. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
 
Arrange the cabbage leaves and pancetta slices in the tart case. Beat together the milk, cream and eggs until well blended. Stir in the Parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper then pour into the tart case. Bake for 25 mins until just set.
 
Leave to sit in the tin for 10 mins then carefully lift out, cut into slices and serve while still warm.



Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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It's Sour Dough Bread Week! And we have Strawberries too!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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It is Sour Dough Bread week, please let me know if you would like anything reserved for you. I should mention that quite a lot of customers ask for bread, milk, meat etc to be reserved. I'm very happy to do this - give me a call on 07522 559010 to arrange it.

We finally have a decent amount of strawberries again, the hot/dry weather didn't help the crop at all. Hopefully all this rain will have helped them.

We have Chillies in stock now - from Edible Ornamentals in Chawston. I would recommend that you visit them direct for the greatest choice (they are open Friday/Saturday/Sunday each week, with a lovely cafe on site). We have Padron, Poblano and Jalapeno varieties in stock currently.

Danny and I are hosting a family party this weekend, so Linda will be in the shop on Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

It's not often that I double up on products within the shops range (mainly due to lack of space). However, I have made an exception for these two ranges of salad dressings. 
You will already know Mrs Middletons range of Rapeseed Oils, her new Classic Vinaigrette and Zingy Asian Dressings are both great products.
Farringtons 'Mellow Yellow' range are from the Bedfordshire/Northamptonshire borders. We are now stocking their 'Balsamic Vinegar Dressing, Classic Vinaigrette and Honey & Mustard Dressing. Again excellent quality products which will go great drizzled over salad, or even as a dip for chunks of Sour Dough Bread or even celery sticks.

Also available this week are three types of beans - Flat, Runner and French. we have three types of Tomatoes, Cavalo Nero and Curly Kales and lots more. 

I have been busy in the kitchen this week, making chutneys for the shop. We now have plenty of Mo's Spicy Gooseberry (great with Ham) and Tomato, Onion and Chilli Relish (very hot!, perfect with Sausages and Burgers).

 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
To celebrate the return of the elusive Strawberries, try this recipe:

Arroz con Leche with Strawberries in Sherry
 
A Spanish-inspired, cinnamon-spiked rice pudding enriched with double cream and served with boozy strawberries.
 
Ingredients
 
For the rice
1L full-fat milk
75g golden caster sugar
2 broad strips orange zest
2 broad strips lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
200g short-grain rice (pudding rice)
½ tbsp lemon juice
50-100 ml double cream (depending on the consistency you like)
 
For the strawberries
350g strawberries
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp finely grated orange
 zest
3 ½ tbsp medium sherry or cream Sherry
 
Method
 
Put the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the sugar, zests and cinnamon. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve, then take the pan off the heat and leave the flavours to infuse for about 30 mins.
 
Bring to the boil again, add the rice, then turn the heat right down and cook gently for 30 mins, stirring from time to time. Make sure the rice isn’t ‘catching’ on the bottom of the pan. Leave to cool, remove the cinnamon stick and zests, then add the lemon juice and as much cream as you like to achieve the consistency you prefer. If the rice seems too thick, stir in more milk. (You can put it in the fridge to thicken, but I prefer serving it at room temperature.)
 
Cut the strawberries into slices about the thickness of a 50p coin. Put in a bowl with the sugar, orange juice, zest and Sherry, and leave for about 20 mins. The sugar will dissolve and the fruit will become glossy. Turn it over every so often; don’t leave the fruit for too long or it gets limp.
 
Divide the rice pudding between glasses or bowls and spoon some of the strawberries – with the Sherry juices – on top.

Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Cherries, Chillies, Caponata!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Some days I can't believe how lucky I am to have the shop, and all the great customers and suppliers. I've had a few of these days in the past week.

Firstly last Saturday - thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the shop extension being completed. I had fun making the nibbles for everyone to try. Have a look at the Wall of Fame - it's everyone who supported the shop expansion with money, time, skills, kind words and general support along the way. You are all my hero's and I could not have completed the project without you.  

Secondly, today I went to Blunham to collect some tomatoes, aubergines and flat beans. Maria and her husband used to grow cucumbers commercially but are now supposed to be retired. Maria is gradually taking over the greenhouses and growing her favourite foods - we are very lucky to be able to have some of her surplus each week.  Several times we have chatted about recipes, today she asked me to taste her Caponata - she'd spent most of the morning making it. The recipe (or as near as I could get it) is at the end of the email. 

Another day was last Thursday. A couple of fairly new customers came in again,and admitited that they were really enjoying shopping now. They are loving the fact there are new, fresh, seasonal things in the shop each week - and that is dictating what they have for their weekend dinners "Just like shopping at a French Market" - music to my ears.

 

 

 

Our beekeeping friend Katharine receives this email weekly. Last week she emailed back with this photo of the Cherry Frangipane Tart that she'd made (from 6/7/17 newsletter). Handily she lives just across the road from the Cherry Farm in Aspley Guise, so was able to pick up some to use. She recommends that the almond filling is all the better for the addition of Kirsch or Brandy. I made some mini versions of these for Saturday and agree with her!

This week we have lots of cherries again, the variety being picked this week is 'Penny'. Slightly redder in colour, large and very juicy and sweet.

The Sheep at Bevistan dairy will stop being milked in mid August, so we only have a few weeks supply of Milk, Yogurt and Cheese left. Bev will have supplies of frozen milk and cheese for direct sales for the rest of the year. Milking starts again around February.

Runner Beans are now ready! A real taste of summer.

Great news too - Edible Ornamentals, the Chilli Specialists just over the bridge in Chawston, and are now picking fresh chillies. We have some in the shop - Padron, Serenade and Jalapeno varieties. 
 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
As promised, here is a recipe for Caponata. It is similar in some ways to Ratatuille, but without cougettes, and additional (and optional) pine nuts, capers and olives.  I hope you have a go at making this, I am definitely converted!

Yotam Ottolenghi's Caponata recipe
 
An old-time Sicilian favourite with a million uses. It is great warm or at room temperature, and always tastes better after a day or two. To my mind, it also makes a great sauce for pasta or couscous. It's also delicious with cheese: try spreading it over rustic bread and topping with mature vegetarian pecorino, much like the English cheese and pickle sandwich. Serves four as a condiment, but worth making double as it will keep (and keep on tasting better) for a couple of days. Can also be served cold with roasted meats or fish.
 
80ml olive oil
80ml rapeseed oil
1 large aubergine (350g), cut into 2.5cm dice
120g celery, tender part only, cut on an angle into 2cm-wide slices
1 red pepper, cut into 1.5cm dice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp harissa paste (or 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh chilli)
150g tinned tomatoes (or 150g fresh tomatoes, skinned and seeds removed)
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
20g capers
30g green olives, pitted
1½ tsp caster sugar
Salt and black pepper
30g raisins (optional)
1 tbsp pine nuts (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp chopped parsley
 
Heat both oils in a large, heavy-based sauté pan for which you have a lid. Lay in the aubergine and fry for five to seven minutes, until golden-brown, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the aubergine to a colander and sprinkle with a bit of salt. After a few minutes, transfer to soak on a paper towel.
 
Add the celery to the hot oil, fry for three minutes, add the pepper and cook for two minutes. Transfer to the colander, then to a paper towel.
 
Sauté the onion and harissa in the oil (add a little more to the pan, if need be) for seven minutes, until soft and golden. Drain off any excess oil from the pan, add the tomatoes and vinegar, stir and bring to a simmer. Add the fried vegetables, capers, olives, nuts and sugar, and season. If the mix is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
 
Remove the pan from the heat, add the raisins (if using), taste and adjust the seasoning. Leave to come to room temperature, add the lemon juice and parsley, and taste for seasoning again.



Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Cherries, Apricots, Peaches and loads of Salad Stuff!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Today I made the first batch of marmalade in the new kitchen!! I had forgotten to bring my stainless funnel from home, but found a silicone one that worked. I think this may happen a lot as I get used to the space and the kit! More cooking tomorrow and Saturday getting ready for our Open Day. The unveiling of the 'Wall of Fame' will be at 2pm, but you are welcome to turn up any time from 9-4.

No Strawberries again this week - it must be the Wimbledon effect. Hopefully we shall have some next week.
So that we don't miss out on fresh fruit, we do have Apricots, Peaches, Cherries and Raspberries. 
We've lots of salad things too - especially cucumbers.

Whilst we will have bunched carrots for a while yet, maincrop carrots are now available. They smell and taste just as carrots should.  And if you love tomatoes, try these mini ones from Blunham - they're really lovely.

 

 

We've had quite a few deliveries into the shop this week, stocking up the shelves.

Mrs Middletons - White and Wholemeal Strong Flour, Mayonnaise (Plain, Garlic, Lemon) and Rapeseed Oil (Plain, Garlic, Lemon, Basil and Chilli).

Wooden Hill Coffee - more Coffee Beans and Filter Coffee. Earl Grey, Camomile and Peppermint Teas. Robin has also provided some little glass pots with tea samples in - so you can see and smell them before you buy. 

Watergull Orchard - Dry, Medium and Sweet Apple Juices. Not sure which varieties yet, always a delight to open the boxes and see what they have sent us this time.

So our pampered pooches don't miss out, we've had lots of treats for them arriving over the last couple of weeks.

Trish has been busy - two sorts of Battenburg cake this week!

If you can't make it to the shop on Saturday, Willington market is on 10-12 and Linda will be there with our stall. The market has a French theme this time.

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
Most of the recipes I find are great for lunches and suppers. However this one is perfect for breakfast with pancakes, or a quick desert with some classic vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Easy cherry compote
 
Ingredients
1kg cherries, stoned weight (you'll need to buy about 1¼kg, then de-stone them)
500g jam sugar  (the one that has pectin added)
juice ½ lemon (this helps the compote to set)
4 tsp brandy
 
Method
 
Put the cherries into a wide, deep frying pan, add 150ml water, then bring to the boil. Cook for 15 mins, stirring now and again until the fruit is starting to soften. Tip in the sugar, stir until it dissolves, add the lemon juice and brandy, then bring back to the boil.
 
Cook for 15 mins until the fruit has collapsed a little and the sauce is syrupy, smooth and dark purple. Spoon a little of the juice onto a saucer and leave to cool for 30 secs. Push it with your finger; it’s ready if the syrup wrinkles. Ladle into sterilised jars (see tip, below) and seal.
 
To sterilize jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse under hot tap, and dry in an oven 100C for 15 mins. Use a clean (new if possible) lid.


Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Cherries, the shop extension is finished, Taste Bedford on 8th July and more...

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Thanks (again) to Stuart from Stamford Interiors. He spent all day at the shop on Tuesday sorting out the last jobs, with me following on behind doing a thorough clean. We now have a fully working oven with stainless splashback behind and extractor fan above. He also made doors and false floors for the two new alcove (useful storage places) and extractor fan over the big fridge (plus a few smaller jobs).
On Wednesday morning I had a (planned) visit from the Environmental Health team at Bedford Borough Council. They were very happy with the work done, the cleaning schedules and other paperwork. Apart from a minor change in the layouts of the two fridges (already rectified) we were awarded 5* - their top classification. What a huge relief! 

To celebrate, and to give me a chance to say Thank You to everyone who has supported the project, please make a note in your diary:

Saturday 15th July, 2pm at the shop. We will have drinks and nibbles, and an unveiling of the 'Wall of Fame'. Please pop along if you can, it will be great to see you.

This Saturday sees a brand new Food Festival in Bedford - 'Taste Bedford'. Saturday 8th July, 11am to 6.30pm, Mill Meadows (opposite the Embankment). There are loads of Cooking Demos, Childrens Cooking Workshops, Street Food and of course - Artisan Vendors. We are having a stall at the event, selling Apricots, Peaches and Cherries, and a few other things from the shop. If you have some time this Saturday, why not pop along? It's Free, and don't forget you get your first two hours parking free in Council run car parks.

 

 

So what's in the shop this week? Sadly we have no strawberries - we have a gap between the local varieties, hopefully we'll have them again next week. What we do have is:

Fruit: Apricots, Peaches, Cherries (The English Cherry Company in Aspley Guise started picking their crop yesterday), Raspberries, Apples, Rhubarb.

Salad stuff: Little Gem Lettuces, Salad Onions, Beef, Medium and small (yellow and red) Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Celery.

Veg:  New season Cavalo Nero and Curly Kales, New Potatoes, Bunches of Carrots and Beetroot, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Red and White Onions and Garlic. Sweetheart Cabbages, Courgettes, Marrows.

All (as it says on the logo), 'Fresh, Local, Seasonal'.

 

 

Recipe of the week

This is a great way to celebrate the Cherry Season.
 
Cherry Frangipane tart
 
The perfect summer dessert - fruity, sweet and delicious, this recipe serves 6.
 
Ingredients
 
For the pastry
200g plain flour
25ml semolina (to give extra crunch)
100g unsalted butter, diced
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
 
For the filling
140g golden caster sugar
140g ground almonds
140g butter, melted
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp kirsch or Armagnac
500g cherries, stones removed
2 tbsp cherry conserve
crème fraîche, optional, to serve
 
Method
 
To make the pastry, process the flour (or flour and semolina, which gives it extra crunch) and butter, then add the sugar, followed by the beaten egg and just enough water (about 2 tbsp) to form a dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 mins.
 
Meanwhile, to make the filling, place the sugar, ground almonds, butter, egg and egg yolk in a bowl and mix to make a creamy paste. Stir in the kirsch or Armagnac. Chill for at least 20 mins.
 
Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface and use to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Fill with lightly greased foil and baking beans and bake for 20-25 mins, removing foil after 15 mins, until golden. Spread the almond paste onto the base of the pastry and bake for 25 mins until golden and crisp.
 
When the tart comes out of the oven, arrange the cherries on top in a single layer. Heat the cherry conserve with 1 tbsp water until smooth, then brush over the cherries. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
 
Cut into wedges to serve, adding a spoonful of crème fraîche if you like.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
@blackcatfrmshp 
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Black Cat Farm Shop, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list
 

Tomatoes, Apricots, Peaches, and many more summer veg.....

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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A cooler start to this week, and some much needed rain. The new crops are coming in thick and fast - this week as well as lots of Apricots and Peaches, we also have some local Cherries from Blunham.  The Cherries from Aspley Guise are going to be ready from next week.

We have another new supplier this week. Mandy from Sweetie Love is based in Biggleswade. She makes really delicious sweets, perfect if you need a treat. I love her Salted Caramel Sauce (drizzle it over strawberries), and her Marshmallow with freeze dried Raspberries is fabulous. We also have Salted Caramel Fudge, White Chocolate covered Pretzels and Peanut Brittle.
https://www.facebook.com/SweetieLoveUK/
https://sweetie-love.co.uk/

 

 

A date for your diary - we are planning an 'Open Day' at the shop on Saturday 15th July. We'll have a little ceremony about 2pm where our 'Wall of Fame' will be revealed.  Please try and pop along any time that day for drinks and nibbles, and if you can make it at 2pm, the more the merrier!

I have been slowly emptying our spare bedroom, kitchen and garage of kit for the shop. Our house hasn't been so empty for years! We are really close to the kitchen being finished, I can't wait to start cooking!

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
If you get tired of eating Apricots on their own, they are a great cooking ingredient. How about this for a busy mid week supper - set it up in the morning before you head out. This healthy and comforting tagine is packed with flavour and delicious served over simple couscous or crisp baked potatoes.

Slow cooker chickpea tagine
Ingredients
400g/14oz can chickpeas in water, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, deseeded and thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 courgettes, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 fresh apricots, cut into small pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus a drizzle to serve
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
500g/1lb 2oz carton passata
2 tsp honey, plus a drizzle to serve
1 tsp harissa paste
handful fresh mint or coriander
thick Greek-style yoghurt, to serve (or try Bevistan Sheep’s Yogurt from the shop)
 
Method
Place the chickpeas, pepper, onion, squash, courgettes and apricots into a slow cooker and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the garlic and spices until fragrant, about one minute. Add the passata, honey and harissa, then bring to a boil.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables, cover with the lid and cook on high for four hours.

Season to taste with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Tear in most of the mint or coriander leaves, stir through, then scatter the remaining leaves over the top. Drizzle with a little more oil and honey, then top with spoonfuls of yogurt. Serve with couscous or baked potatoes.


Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

Summer Vegetables have started - and a date for your diary!

This weeks news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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Whilst I like the warm weather, I was very happy (as I am sure you were too) that today was a good deal cooler. The newly insulated roofs have helped to keep the shop cooler, but it was still pretty warm in there. 
This really is the main reason why I keep all the salad stuff in the fridge, so it doesn't spoil quickly.

Last Friday we took delivery of Bevistan Dairy's yogurt and soft cheese made from pasteurised sheep's milk. I can also get milk from them too, but only for customers orders. You may remember that we had a similar soft cheese from Wode Hill last summer. Same sheep, different name.

The Asparagus has finally come to an end, but we have lots of new things coming into season. This week we have French and Flat beans, courgettes, a few aubergines and beef tomatoes - all grown in Blunham.

Tomorrow Cedric (another local grower from Chawston) is going to deliver in some freshly picked Peaches and Apricots. They are almost ripe, so will be ready to eat in 1-2 days.

Don't forget, we also have a weekly delivery of fresh pasteurised cows milk from Ouse Valley Dairy.

Sour Dough Bread will be available next Friday (30th June), please let me know if you would like anything specific ordered for you.

 

 

On what was about the hottest day of this year, John our plumber friend (Meyrick Installations) came to the shop on Monday. We now have running hot and cold water! He also installed the gas oven, and tonight fixed up the correct hoses and we now have a working oven too!  I spent today scrubbing all the benches, racks and floors and am now in the process of sorting out all the kit from various storage places - so exciting!

A date for your diary - we are planning an 'Open Day' at the shop on Saturday 15th July. We'll have a little ceremony about 2pm where our 'Wall of Fame' will be revealed.  Please try and pop along any time that day for drinks and nibbles, and if you can make it at 2pm, the more the merrier!

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
I popped round to my parents last Sunday (well it was Fathers Day), and Mum was making this for their dinner. The story goes that she got the recipe from some Greek-Cypriot friends. Asking if it was typical of the area they were from, she was surprised to find out it was actually a Waitrose recipe!  Whatever its heritage, it's a very versatile side dish or even a delicious vegetarian main course.

Courgette, tomato and red onion gratin

Ingredients
500g Courgettes, topped, tailed and thinly sliced.
2 tbs fresh green Basil Pesto.
400g tomatoes sliced.
1 large red onion thinly sliced 
4tbs breadcrumbs.
25g farmhouse cheddar, finely grated.
1 large clove garlic finely chopped.
Large pinch cayenne pepper.
1tbs olive oil 

Serves 3-4.   Prep 10 mins.  cook 30 mins

Method
1.    Preheat the oven to 220 * C , gas mark 7.  Toss the courgette slices in the pesto until lightly coated.

2.    Arrange the tomato, red onion and courgette slices in in a single layer in a large 2 litre ovenproof gratin dish and season.  Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic and cayenne pepper and sprinkle over the top.  Drizzle with the olive oil.

3.     Bake in the oven for 30 mins until the top is golden and the vegetables are tender.  Serve with crusty bread.

I made a version of this last night - I didn't use the pesto, breadcrumbs or cheese, and added garlic and fresh basil and Mrs Middletons Basil flavoured rapeseed oil. Both versions are delicious.

Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Wednesday 10-4, Thursday 10-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4
 

 

 

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Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre
Bedford Road
Roxton, Beds.
MK44 3DY

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Black Cat Farm Shop news - Broad Beans, Strawberries, Markets and progress on the shop extension

The latest news from the Black Cat Farm Shop

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It's been a really busy week, but well worth it. Great progress on the shop extension, and two fabulous new stockists with a couple more hopefully coming online in the next couple of weeks.

This Saturday (17th) Danny will be in the shop for the morning.  
Linda will be at Willington Market from 10-12.
Sue will be at Potton Market from 9-1.

Don't forget our new opening days/hours.
Wednesday 10-4
Thursday 10-4
Friday 9-4
Saturday 9-4
Sunday 10-4

This week we have plenty of strawberries, asparagus, broad beans, bunches of carrots and beetroot, Sweetheart cabbages and even a few globe artichokes! 

It's time to give you a little reminder - if you have a surplus of fruit or vegetables in your garden or allotment, I am always happy to do a swap for something in the shop, or buy things from you. Please think ahead if you can - give me a call to see if I can use your surplus, and get things picked before they get too large or spoil.  I am on the lookout for raspberries, plums, golden beetroot, french beans - but will consider most things. My number is 07522 559010.

 

 

 

Two new suppliers this week - Ouse Valley Dairy are based in Carlton just north of Bedford. They have a herd of 200 Jersey/Freisian cross cows which give lots of lovely creamy milk. 
It is available Skimmed, Semi-Skimmed and Full Fat, in 1 pint, 1 L and 2L containers. 
They also do cream in 1/4 pint, 1/2 pint and 1 pint containers.
I will be getting 1L Semi-skimmed and Full Fat each week (they deliver on a Friday), however if you want to pre-order, I can get anything from the list above.

Also new in the shop is Bedfordshire Charcoal from Wasseldine in Gravenhurst. This is made from their own wood, and is brilliant for your BBQ's.

You may remember that the shop was nominated in the 'Beds Food & Drink Awards'. Sadly we didn't win any prizes this year, but I am very happy to share that Wooden Hill Coffee, Franklins, and Ouse Valley Dairies did win awards - well done to them!

 

 

Great progress this week from the team on the shop extension!

Air vent cut for the Air Con machine - so no more pumping hot air into the new section.
Trim finished in new section.
Floor welds completed.
Concrete base for gas bottles laid, new cage bolted down, gas delivered.
Oven has been delivered (and unpacked!).
Lights re-installed.
Loads of kit brought over from home and packed onto the first pot rack.
Fridge and Freezer from my Mum and Dad brought over (Thank You!!!).
Plumber (thanks John!) has written his list for all the water/waste and gas work to be done.

Still to do:
Sinks and Oven to be connected to services.
Insect screens to be installed for doors and windows.
Security Covers for windows to be installed.
Extractor Fans for oven and over big fridge to be installed - the fridge one should make the whole shop a lot cooler.
Painting the inside of the old section.
Tidying up of the outside of the old section.

Grand Opening Event to be planned - more news on that next week!

Very nearly there!!
 

 

 

Recipe of the week
 
Shukhi – warm beetroot & mushroom salad
This Ukrainian dish is traditionally eaten at Christmas - serve on toasted rye bread (or Sour Dough Bread) for a crostini-like starter or party canapé.  It would also make a great lunchtime dish.
 
Ingredients
 
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
8 banana shallots, halved and sliced lengthways
6 beetroot (around 900g/2lb), peeled and cut into matchsticks
200g wild or oyster mushrooms
6 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
few tarragon sprigs, leaves chopped
small rye bread loaf, sliced and toasted
½ small pack dill, chopped, to serve
 
Method
 
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in an ovenproof frying pan and add the shallots. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5-10 mins until the shallots start colouring a little.
 
Add the beetroot, season well and put the pan in the oven. Cook for 10 mins, then stir and return to the oven for another 10 mins until the shallots are golden and the beetroot is cooked through but still firm.
 
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden.
 
Mix the vinegar, sugar, garlic and some seasoning together to make the dressing. Taste to ensure you have a good balance of sweet and sour flavours – it should also be quite garlicky.
 
When the beetroot is done, stir in the dressing and tarragon. Top the rye bread slices with some warm beetroot salad, the mushrooms and a scattering of dill.



Whatever your plans this weekend (shopping, cooking or just relaxing), I hope you have an enjoyable one.

Kind regards

Sue Lang
Black Cat Farm Shop
c/o Roxton Garden Centre, Bedford Road, Roxton.
Beds. MK44 3DY
07522 559010
www.blackcatfarmshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/blackcatfarmshop
Open Thursday 11-4, Friday 9-4, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-4