November is a great time to pull out traditional baking recipes. Homemade scones are delicious baked fresh and with the addition of organic fruit they are taken to the next level. Mix antioxidant rich organic blueberries gently into the dough, when baked they become oozy and almost self jamming in the scone.
Scones are one of those bakes that are made to be shared over steamy cups of tea. We hope you find a friend to share these with some time soon.
PS – add a grating of orange or lemon zest to the dough if you fancy.
Step 1: Preheat the oven 180ºC fan. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Measure the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl, stir. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with our fingertips until it resembles sand. Stir in the blueberries.
Step 2: Crack the eggs into a measuring jug and pour in the milk. Whisk well. Pour enough of the milk and egg liquid into the flour and stir with a fork until the dough starts to come together, you may not need all the liquid. Flour your hands lightly and work the dough into a round shape, being careful not to burst the blueberries. Turn it out onto the baking tray, and gently push down.
Step 3: Using a large knife dipped in flour, cut the dough round in half, then quarters and then eights. Pull the scones apart and spread them out on the baking tray. Tip: dipping the knife in flour will stop the dough from sticking. Brush with the beaten egg.
Step 4: Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
You can have your Pumpkin and Eat it!! Pumpkins are not just for decoration around Halloween they are sweet, earthy and delicious to eat. The skin is edible too, just wash them well and slice into thin wedges. You can make this salad with butternut squash too if you wish, it will be equally delicious.
Salads are not exclusive to the warmer months. We like to serve the pumpkin and roast red onions warm from the oven with shredded kale and crumbled feta. Pomegranate is recommended for colour and pops of sweet and sourness.
Organic ingredients are “Better for you and Better for our Planet”.
Ingredients: serves 4
1 small pumpkin, chopped deseeded, sliced into wedges
Step 1: Preheat the oven 180ºC. Prepare the garlic bulb, chop off the top of the bulb to expose the cloves. Put the pumpkin wedges, red onion wedges and garlic bulb on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit of paprika drizzle with oil, rub the veg to coat in the oil and seasoning. Roast veggies for 30 minutes. the garlic may take 10 minutes longer.
Step 2: Add the finely chopped kale to a mixing bowl, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and massage with your hands to tenderise.
Step 3: To make the dressing add the soft roasted garlic to a small blender along with the tahini, oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust if needed.
Step 4: Build the salad. Add the kale to a big serving plate, top with the chickpeas, layer on the roast pumpkin, red onion, break over the feta. Roll the pomegranate to loosen the seeds, with a wooden spoon to dislodge the seeds and scatter over the salad. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and top with the roast garlic dressing.
A delicious way to bake with ripe sweet plums. But please make this with Irish apples too, it would work perfectly! The smell of warm autumn spices in the house is very inviting. My granny would make huge trays of apple and cinnamon crumble for special family occasions and serve them up with stewed plums and jugs of custard, I can still remember the smell from her busy kitchen.
There is real comfort in the food we eat and share. And when the nights draw in its the kitchen table that pulls us together. Its good to remember the hands that sowed the seeds, that watered the soil, picked and harvested the fruit and the hands that made the food.
Good food will always be remembered.
For the crumble topping 50g plain flour 40g soft butter 30g sugar 20g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven 160ºC fan. Line an 8inch cake tin (with loose bottom preferably) and grease with butter.
Step 1: Make the crumble topping. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter to a small bowl. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it resembles sand, mix through the flaked almonds, set aside.
Step 2: For the sponge. Put the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth, use an electric mixer or regular whisk. Next beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the sour cream. Sieve in the flour along with the mixed spice and cinnamon. Fold in the ground almonds.
Step 3: Transfer the sponge mix into the cake tin. Top with an even layer of most of the plum slices, keep a few back. Then sprinkle the crumble mix evenly over the plums. Top with the remaining plum slices.
Step 4: Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Until a skewer comes out clean.
This week has seen another reasonably dry week on the farm which has made life that little bit easier, our harvesting machine for parsnips has worked well, and we are pulling them out of the ground fresh and clean, the kale is vibrant and amazing and we are harvesting lovely sized heads of broccoli. The tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes have nearly run their course, our weekly harvest of courgettes is down from a near high of 500kg a week to just over 100kg now, soon they will be finished for the year.
It is at this time of the year I often reflect on our food system as a whole and whilst there is plenty of good I find myself wondering that there must be a better way to grow our food, there needs to be a better way. The planet simply cannot sustain business as usual. Amongst other things, our food system as run by giant food corporations is crippling out planet, not only that it is destroying biodiversity. Loss leading of fresh food by supermarkets, simply does not leave enough on the table to allow farmers to protect the land, to work with nature, it is a road to nowhere.
What will we do when we have exhausted the soil, when we have polluted the rivers and lakes, when we have pumped enough greenhouse gases into our atmosphere to cause the planet to warm up beyond critical tipping points. We will not be able to sustain ecosystems never mind a healthy balanced food system.
What then? All that profit and greed, and short termism will mean little. Where do we look then for fresh water, for healthy food, how will we feed 8 billion or more people? How will all the other life we share this planet with be sustained?
Can we continue to consume resources and food as we do now? Do we not need to consider what we are eating (and how it is produced) now. The animal industry consumes a disproportionate amount of our land mass and contributes relatively little relative to grains and plants to our calorie and protein intake:
Of our habitable land, 46% is used for agriculture, of that land area 77% is used for animals, and this only produces 18% of our global calorie supply and astoundingly only 37% of our protein consumption. (Source: UN Food and Agriculture association)
And that is without even beginning to talk about animal welfare in the large factory farms that produce the cheap meat? When did chicken literally become cheaper than chips?
Clearly this is not just unsustainable, you can imagine that future generations may look back and wonder at our insanity. Using land to grow more vegetables and eating more plants allows us to reduce the land mass required to produce our food. This is not an argument for not eating meat or dairy it is simply a fact that we need to use our land wisely and cut down on the consumption of foods that have a high land high carbon footprint, low calorie output.
Would it help to approach our living world with a little more empathy, for the land, for the creatures we share the planet, for the environment? Things could and would be so much different if we were all to be a little more mindful and showed a little more respect for our one home.
We all can make a difference; we can all take steps that will help. Of course, bigger stuff needs to happen, governments need to act, net carbon zero needs to occur, policy and infrastructure and systems needs to change, and they are changing but the speed of change needs to increase.
Can our mindset around food change? Embracing the idea of eating more plants, understanding that cheap does not always mean good value, these are the things that will help save our health and that of the planet.
We here on our farm find ourselves struggling to standstill, it is always a tough battle to compete in this supermarket dominated landscape. It is difficult to continue to support local organic Irish farmers including our own farm, it costs more, but that is the course we have taken, and one we will never deviate from.
Your support is making a difference. You are making a difference.
Thanks for your support.
PS The autumnal winter crops are definitely creeping in now, with the harvest of swede and parsnip truly beginning, we are also delighted to have the first delivery or Irish organic carrots next week. It has been a tough year for root crop growing, but finally we are getting there.
Homemade pickles are lovely to make. This is a great one if your a beginner. It doesn’t make a massive amount just enough to get you started on your pickling journey. Pickles are sweet and sour and go great with sharp cheese or deep rich tomato sauces or slow cooked bean stews. It adds a pop of zing and excitement!
Pickling is a great way to preserve vegetables for the winter, this pickle will keep for up to 1 month in the fridge. It’s also a nice gift for a friend.
Step 1: Using a peeler, peel lengthways to make ribbons with the courgette and the carrots. When you get to the point where the vegetable is tricky to peel you can stop and use these bits for soup. Put all the courgette and carrot ribbons into a sterilised jar.
Step 2: Make the pickle liquid. Add the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seeds, bay leaf to a small pot. Warm on the hob until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool. Once cool pour into the jar. If the liquid does not cover the vegetables add some water. Seal the jar and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
We love these fritters! In fact I made them twice at the Farm Walk and I was asked for the full recipe so here it is. This is especially for Kenneths mother Maureen, who I promised I would share this, so she can make them at home herself.
This September we are making a conscious decision to eat more Irish produce, the carrots and courgettes are from the farm. While the other ingredients are from further afield we are happy knowing that these came from Irish soil. And I tell my kids that when we eat these fritters. Oh and my daughter had these in her lunchbox for school and loved them.
Step 1: Using a machine or box grater, grate the courgette, carrot, sweet potato and red onion, mix well.
Step 2: In a separate bowl add the chickpea flour, curry powder, chilli flakes, salt and pepper, mix well.
Step 3: Pour the seasoned chickpea flour all over the grated veggies and using you hands mix really well, this will take a few minutes. Really give it a good squeeze and work it almost like a dough. The liquid from the veg will help to form a batter with the flour.
Step 4: Warm a frying pan on a medium heat, add tablespoon of oil. Shape the mix into small patties fry for a couple of minutes, flip and fry again until cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat.
I remember as a child picking peas in my grandad’s garden. He had apple trees, he grew his own veg. I remember sitting on his lap drinking a mug of turnip juice, (I can’t imagine trying to get my kids to do that today!) most of the food was grown on his farm. (Photo: backfired, me trying to feed my daughter broccoli many moons ago!)
Things have changed so much in a generation.
When was the last time you tasted a freshly harvested carrot, can you remember what it should taste like? There can be such pleasure in the simple foods, and there are of course remarkable ways to cook these amazing seasonal gems.
September is a month of local seasonal plenty. The tomato season is still in full swing still, and there is a myriad of great Irish vegetables available, courgettes, leeks, swedes, cabbage, scallions, kales, beetroot, broccoli and so much more.
As an organic farmer, the arrival of September allows a sigh of relief. The relentless pressure of the summer is finally winding down and we are settling into a routine of harvest.
The trees are starting to turn, the wild-flowers have gone to seed, the hedgerows are full of berries, the bees are slowing down too, even the birds are relaxing a little, everything seems to slow down. Something we could all do a little bit more of.
September too can be a time for reflection. As a farmer the simple things like tree planting, growing hedgerows and leaving wild patches can give immense pleasure. This is easy stuff that pays the most amazing dividends for the person and the planet, but in modern food systems it is often dismissed as non sensical and left to one side in favour of production. The irony of course is that food production is facilitated and improved by all these positive things.
Cheap food has a price and a story. The real stories are hidden behind the glitzy shiny wrappers, there is always a story, a story of environmental or human exploitation.
The truth ironically can be hard to swallow, but it doesn’t have to be like this.
There are amazing and positive alternatives. Our parents chose well, they ate seasonally and locally, they ate less meat. Who doesn’t remember cabbage and turnip and the endless ways to cook potatoes!
We have more power than we realise.
We choose our phones, our clothes, our cars, our jobs, and yet our food and our planet can be relegated to the bottom of the decision pile if they are thought about at all. Time is short we are all busy but maybe just maybe they deserve a little more consideration because our choices matter a lot and when it comes to our food positive choices will improve our health and the health of our planet.
What we eat and how our food is produced can literally change the world.
The weather hasn’t been the best for BBQ’s this July. But worry not you can still get that bbq hit from these delicious BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches!
Jackfruit is a wonder fruit that works perfectly in this recipe. All you need to do is add heaps of flavour to the sauce and your sandwich will taste amazing. We are also enjoying piling in the green leaves from the farm, lovely grated Irish carrots and cucumber slices.
Pick up some good quality BBQ sauce for this recipe. You are going to love this one. Make organic Jackfruit a cupboard staple.
To serve: leaves, burger buns, mayo, cucumber, grated carrot
Step 1: Finely dice the onion and garlic. Warm a frying pan on the hob with some oil and cook the onions and garlic, slowly, until they are completely soft. This takes about 10 minutes.
Step 2 : Tip in the cumin, paprika, chilli, salt and pepper and cook for a minute or two. Add the half tin of tomatoes. Cook for a minute and then add the drained jack fruit along with the water. Stir and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Use the back of the wooden spoon to squish the jack fruit piece. Stir in the bbq sauce and lime juice. Check the seasoning and serve on the burger bun with mayo, leaves, cucumber and carrot.
Courgette season is in full swing and we are harvesting these dark green beauties both from the tunnels and from the fields. Fantastic in savoury dishes, of course, but did you ever bake a courgette cake?
Click on the bold part to go directly to each recipe
It’s barbecue season! What better way to use some beautiful courgettes than these BBQ skewers
A handy snack for hungry adults and children alike: Lunch box muffins
This is our ‘guilt free’ caramel sauce. It’s refined sugar free, dairy free, nut free, gluten free, vegan and so creamy … a lovely treat!
Our organic dates are just amazing, they are full of fibre and antioxidants. They are great for your gut and bone health, a natural sweetener and are so easy to store and cook with. I’m never without them. Having a jar of this date caramel in the fridge is just the best when you want a spoon of natural sweetness added to your overnight oats, creamy porridge, yoghurt, toast/ oat crackers, chocolate milkshake, smoothies or banana nice cream. Try it you and you won’t be disappointed.
We have big and small packets of organic dates as well as medjool dates available in the shop all in compostable packaging.