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Your Weekly Newsletter

Church Farm Friday 20th April 2012

New Local Apple Juice in the Store We have a delicious new apple juice in the Farm Store that comes from orchards in Baldock. There are two different varieties to choose from, Cox and mixed apple. Both are quite tart, so this is a juice for adults. The juice is bottled into a 750ml large bottle (£2.75) or a 250ml bottle (£1.85). Box customers can have the juice added to their weekly order by emailing

Guinness Stew Serves 4

Ingredients 25 g (1 oz) lard 2 onions, sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1/2 green pepper, cored, seeded and chopped 1 lb (450 g) stewing beef, cubed 4 oz (100 g) mushrooms, sliced 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) 1/2 pint canned Guinness 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1 teaspoon chopped parsley 1 teaspoon garam masala salt and pepper

With the weather turning back to Winter, we’ve swapped the chicken thighs in this week’s boxes for some stewing beef. Enjoy a hearty warming stew to get you through what is hopefully the last of the bad weather. Method 1. Melt the lard in a flameproof casserole dish. 2. Add the onions, garlic and green pepper and fry until softened. 3. Add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. 4. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. 5. Cover the casserole. Transfer to a preheated moderate oven 180°C (350°F) Gas Mark 4 and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Getting the Best from your Box Spring onions are also known as scallions in other countries, a word which derives from the same Greek origin as shallot. They are in fact very young onions, and have a milder and sweeter taste than their grown up form. Store them in a perforated bag in the fridge, and eat within a few days. If you want to save them for longer, chop them up first and then freeze in a bag. If you do this, they’ll go a bit soggy, but will be perfectly good for cooking with. The roots and any tough or wilted tips of the leaves should be discarded, but the entire of what’s left can be eaten. They’re a great ingredient to use in Asian cuisine, they go especially well with ginger - start with those two in a wok and you’re on your way to a stir fry. Alternatively, fold them into some mash to make the Irish classic, Champ. Simplest of all, top a salad with thin slices to give it a fresh, sunny-day feel.

A Note from the Grower

You may recall a few weeks ago I wrote about weeding tools and how we will use them to remove “undesirable wild plants”. But wild plants are not always undesirable. Many have beautiful flowers, of course, and many more have culinary and medicinal properties. Our lord Titchmarsh defines a weed as “any plant really that’s growing where you don’t want it”, and how right he is: thus described, a volunteer potato plant growing among your carrots is as much a weed as a dock is, though easier to remove perhaps. The organic attitude to weeds is one of control rather than complete eradication. Therefore a certain level of wild plants in restricted areas can be tolerated and their beneficial properties enjoyed. Nettles, harvested with gloved hands, can be cooked and eaten like spinach; they make an excellent soup. The leaves (not roots) are great to add to the compost heap, and can also be steeped in water to make an effective and fragrant liquid fertilizer. Once it was common to use the stems of old nettles to produce fibre for cloth-making, just as flax and hemp are used today. Should you be stung, the dock leaves inevitably growing nearby will provide welcome relief from the discomfort. Chickweed is nutritious as a raw salad ingredient, as are dandelions, packed with vitamins A and C. The flowers can also be made into wine. Sorrel, a feature of our salad bags and more recently a stand-alone bagged leaf, provides a lemony tang to salads, soups and omelettes, while red clover flowers and leaves are also edible and highly nutritious. Horsetail, a strange and ancient plant which can be a serious pest if it gets out of hand in the garden, redeems itself with its remarkable anti-fungal properties. A tea made by steeping the leaves in hot water for 24 hours can be used as a spray to protect crops from mildews, blight and rusts. So go easy on those weeds, and only remove them if they’re really competing with your cultivated plants. But, if you’re going to eat them, do make absolutely certain of their identity first, as some wild plants can be harmful, and can sometimes resemble useful ones. Take Care! Rik Image:

What’s in my box next week?

MEAT (small boxes) Farm Variety Sausages, beef roasting joint, gammon steaks, beef mince, back bacon Lean Cuts (NEW FOR 2012) Skinny sausages, skinless chicken fillets, supertrim gammon steaks, extra lean mince Premium Selection Sausages, beef topside joint, gammon steaks, back bacon

VEGETABLES Extra Small (6 varieties) Potato (white sante), carrot, onion, courgette, lettuce head, sweet potato Small (8 varieties) Kohl rabi, green pepper, fennel Medium (10 varieties) Calabrese, salad bag Large (12 varieties) Spinach/chard, kale Extra Large (15 varieties) Beetroot, yellow pepper, aubergine


Melon, banana, apple (pink lady), rhubarb, pear (buerre bosc), grapefruit Please note that these are standard items and are subject to change. If you have asked not to be supplied with a particular item, a substitute will be provided in your box.

Real Ales: Real Food : Warm Welcome at the

Jolly Waggoner

Book a table today to avoid disappointment!

Health at Rural Care Here at Rural Care, we try and recognise the importance of health promotion and how it can benefit us all. At the end of March, our student nurse/social worker, Sarah, attended ‘The Big Health Day 2012’ which was run by Hertfordshire County Council. Here there were a number of stalls which helped promote the health of people, especially those with learning disabilities. The day also included a play and songs written by ‘The Pioneer Spirits’ a group of people with learning disabilities or differences who create, practice and deliver key messages through performing arts and drama. Their play helped to reinforce the importance of having health ‘purple folders’ and communication between teams to ensure people are getting the right support when it comes to health. The day was a huge success with a lot being learnt and it was reassuring to see that things are being done to ensure people with learning disabilities get the support and guidance they need to lead happy and healthy lives.

How we Enjoyed Easter at the Farm Over the Easter weekend we were bombarded by excited children venturing on our Easter egg hunt. This began by weaving baskets and then hunting around the veg patch to search out what the Easter bunny had left behind. The chickens have had lots of visitors over the holidays, feeding them, stroking them and collecting their eggs. Each visitor got to take home six freshly laid eggs, which were hopefully enjoyed for breakfast or made into delicious cakes. The Easter clay day was a big hit, with hedgehogs, topical islands, bowls and more being sculpted out of the clay that was freshly dug from the farm. The biggest attraction over Easter was our field of lambs. We have 11, with more on the way. Bottle feeding of our orphans is still taking place at 6pm on weekdays, and at 11am, 3pm and 6pm on weekends. Please call on 01438 861 447 or email info@ if you’d like to come and help.

Whole Baked Cauliflower with Tomato & Olive Sauce

Serves 4 Ingredients 1 red onion, peeled and sliced 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped 1 large head of cauliflower, outer green leaves discarded, stalk chopped Olive oil A handful of black olives, stoned 4 good-quality salted anchovy fillets in oil, drained and sliced A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped, stalks finely chopped 2 x 400g tins chopped plum tomatoes Red wine vinegar

Method First of all, find yourself a pan in which your whole head of cauliflower will fit, leaving an inch around the outside of it – this is important, otherwise it won’t cook in the way it’s supposed to. Add the onion, garlic, chopped cauliflower stalk and a glug of oil to the pan and slowly fry for 10 minutes until softened and with a little colour. Add the olives, anchovies and parsley stalks and fry for another couple of minutes. Add your tomatoes, then half-fill one of the tins with water and add that to the pan, with a good swig of red wine vinegar. Stir everything together, breaking the tomatoes down with a spoon to make sure there are no big lumps, and bring to the boil. Take your cauliflower and gently push it down into the sauce. If you’ve got the size of your pan right, half of the cauliflower will be in the sauce, half above it. Drizzle with olive oil, put the lid on and let it tick over on a low heat for 50 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the parsley leaves. This is a pretty well-behaved dish when it comes to cooking it in advance and then reheating it just before you want to serve it. Lovely with roast lamb, and it’s also a delicious main course for veggies if you leave out the anchovies.

Call 01438 861 350 Church Farm, Ardeley, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG2 7AH, T: 01438 861 447 E:

20/04/12 Church Farm Weekly Newsletter  

Check out our weekly newsletters - published every Friday - which include information about the Farm, Café and Store and events and workshop...

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