Tag Archives: grow your own

Sunny garden exploits

It feels as if I haven’t blogged for ages. I guess its one of those things; when its cold and dull we talk a lot about what were doing, or going to be doing when the weather improves… then the sun comes out and we just get out there and ‘do’, and of course that’s exactly what I’ve been up to.

After a run of weekly supper clubs and private parties, a couple of hectic weekends (we had tickets to the radio 1 big weekend and of course with teens around we quickly became embroiled in all the excitement of having a rake of celebrities at large in our home town), and some time out to go camping we are now starting to focus on upcoming dates and producing our own veg and fruit to serve up…..The bonus of having some time out is that the garden is now looking glorious. The unprecedented warm spell has created an abundance of lush green foliage and we have heaps of tiny sprouting seedlings which will hopefully all grow into fantastic organic produce.

Although our garden is long, we don’t have an enormous veg patch. For anyone wanting to grow their own, there is masses which will do well in large pot on a patio. Our courgettes are all in pots (make sure they are large pots and there is only one plant per pot) and things also rocket, radishes, strawberries and PSB….once there is space in the raised beds I will plant out the PSB but for the moment it’s doing great.

potatoes and lettuce


spinach, beetroot and more lettuce...webs wonderful and lollo rosso


peas and a big tub of rocket in the background


broad beans and fruit canes in the background


had to include a quick picture of the rest of the garden as it's looking so lovely


One last thing before I head back out to the sun, we are changing the dinner scheduled for 19th June to a Sunday lunch on the 20th June…family commitments take precedence…..but then this might make a nice treat for fathers day??…or just so you can enjoy a leisurely dinner in the sun….email or message me to save your spaces. Other dates remain the same….26th June is our next scheduled dinner after this, but feel free to ask about private dinners for groups of 6 to 12 people

Meanwhile enjoy the sun

Denise xxx

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Gemma’s cheese party

Saturday saw the return of supper club following our Easter break. In the meantime we have been all over the place, we started with the Underground Farmers market, followed up with the Hendre farmers market where I got my ‘posh buns’ out….they were very popular….spent a busman’s holiday with my mate Mol and a horde of kids in London sampling the various delights of Borough market and finished off spending some time in the sun preparing and planting up the vegetable garden.

To mark our supper club return we played host to Gemma’s birthday party. Now, I know Gemma as we often hang around outside the school gates together and having booked her party I caught up with her and asked what were her likes/dislikes, and what ideas she might have on a perfect birthday menu….“well, I like cheese, bacon, mushrooms, olives, garlic, chicken, creamy sauces, rice, I love Italian food, mediterranean and cheesecake is my very favourite dessert, Champagne , or Cava, I am the Cava queen!!……I don’t do seafood though….so I asked if she would like a salad first course, or soup….definately salad she said.

So with this in mind I mulled over her list and deduced that she would probably like a Mediterranean inspired menu, using lots of local produce, including lots of cheese and Cava!

The menu for the evening consisted of

Cava cocktail, Focaccia shots with Cypriot olives  (recipe courtesy of http://marmitelover.blogspot.com/) and oak roasted sun blush tomatoes ( http://www.thetomatostall.co.uk/)

Griddled halloumi salad with fresh herbs and smoked paprika

Pan-fried chicken with pancetta, local organic wild mushrooms (from Madarch a Mwy) and Marsala served with green risotto (with spinach and Russian Kale from my mate Molly’s veg patch)

Roman Amaretti cheesecake with Honey baked apples

Local cheeses (from Cwt Caws, Rhyd y Delyn and Derimon all collected from the Yns Mon farmers market that morning) home-made seed crackers and coffee or tea

The menu pleased Gemma no end, she described the main course as having “everything I love on one plate” and despite some laughter about the heavily cheese laden menu “can I have some more cheese with my cheese” it made the birthday girl very happy.

Her night was topped off with a squash racquet shaped birthday cake (which I forgot to photograph), which her friend had made and brought along,  and the birthday present: a Le Creuset lasagne dish, which she had long coveted and which her very lovely friends had clubbed together to get her.  I looked on enviously and offered to accept it as payment for her meal…she politely declined!!

It was a lovely night, with plenty of loud music…they drank coffee to Leftfield…Gemma’s choice, and I collapsed in a heap, still nursing the remnants of my hangover from the night before

Focaccia shots after they had risen, they rose rather a lot!!

the baked Focaccia served with olives

plating the first course

Thick slices of halloumi coated in smoked paprika, griddled and served on a fresh herb salad

bags of shiitake, oyster and chestnut mushrooms to fo with the chicken

Roman ricotta and Amaretti cheesecake cooling

cheesecake on the plate with baked honey coated apples

Gemma's party

the birthday girl Gemma proudly hugging her birthday present

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