Cucumber pickle!

I’m hearing the cucumbers are doing well at the field so thought I’d share a fantastic recipe I discovered in last years glut! It’s not at all sharp and goes really well with cold meat and BBQs.

pickled cucumber

Makes: approx 1.25kg (2 3/4 lb), 1 medium preserving jar plus 1 small preserving jar


  • 1 large cucumber diced or sliced
  • 1 large onion (white), peeled and chopped or sliced
  • 1 small green pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) cider vinegar
  • 225g (8oz) light brown soft sugar
  • 1/4 level tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 level tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 level tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 level tsp dill


  • Put cucumber, onion and pepper in a large bowl, add the salt and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and leave to stand for a couple of hours.
  • Rinse the vegetables under cold water, drain and put in to a preserving pan or large heavy-based, stainless steel saucepan. Add the vinegar and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar. Leave to cool. Ladle in to sterilised jars with non-metallic or vinegar proof lids, seal and label. Store in a cool dark place. Allow flavours to mature for at least a month and refrigerate after opening.

There are loads of other recipes in the book too – The Preserving Book, Lynda Brown (A Dorling Kindersley / Soil Association publication).


Members meeting report – 11 January 2014

We had a really productive members meeting yesterday – we talked about what to grow next year – and what not (kohl rabi doesn’t seem to have been the most popular of last years crops!). There are lots of variables to consider – longer cropping and smaller bags or a shorter season of bigger bags? How many varieties do we want? More is better, and we really enjoyed the more unusual veg’ (chinese cabbage my favourite!!) – growing a wider variety of crops helps to manage the risk of any failing, but also means more labour is needed, which is the major expense. We also agreed the ‘deal’, weekly crop-share will be £30 per month – just £7.50 for that amazing weekly share (and cheaper when there’s 5 bags in the month?!) and in 2014 we’ll be offering a fortnightly share option.

Sean gave us a summary of the work he’s been doing to expand the offer. Suma orders are going to start soon and we want to talk to local poultry, meat, egg producers – and more, to negotiate some competitive rates for our members. The vision of Saturday mornings not just being about collecting veg’ but our weekly shop is so exciting!! Members already get discount at Halls of Heddon – just show them your card.

And last but not least, the cake was fab and Andy bought along a fine selection of bread and olive oil.

Directors will be feeding back to members with the 2014 plan after our next meeting on 21 Jan. If you’re interested in joining email Fi or Chris for more info.

Halloween chutney recipe

Here’s an idea for using up the pumpkin you’ll have once all the carving has been completed for our competition at the social evening on 21 October. This is a recipe by Jane Hornby in October’s Good Food magazine.

  1. 4 tbsp rapeseed oil, vegetable or sunflower oil
  2. 2 large onions, finely chopped
  3. 100g / 4 oz piece of ginger, peeled and thinly shredded
  4. 1 fat red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  5. 15 cardamom pods, bashed open
  6. 2 long cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
  7. 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  8. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  9. 4 fat (or 6 smaller) garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  10. 1kg / 2 lb 4 oz butternut squash or pumpkin flesh, peeled and cut in to sugar-cube sized ppieces
  11. 3 bramley apples (about 500g / 1 lb 2 oz), peeled and cut into sugar-cubed sized pieces
  12. 1 tsp ground tumeric
  13. 500g / 1 lb 2 oz light soft brown sugar
  14. 300ml / 1/2 pt cider vinegar

– Heat oil in a preserving pan then gently fry the onions, ginger, chilli, cardamoms, cinnamon, mustard and cumin seeds together for 5 mins, until the spices are aromatic.

– Stir the garlic, squash and apples into the onions, then cook for 10-15 mins more, until the onions and apples are soft and the squash yields a little here and there.

– Stir in the tumeric and sugar and let it melt around the vegetables. Simmer for 5 mins – this almost candies the chunks of pumpkin, so that it doesn’t entirely break down during the next step.

– Pour in the vinegar, season with 2 tsp salt, then bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 30 mins or until the apple has cooked down to make a squishy base for the chutney, with chunks of tender pumpkin here and there, and a little syrupiness at the bottom of the pan. You don’t want it too dry as it will thicken as it cools.

– Spoon the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal. Can be eaten straight away or stored in a dark place. Store for up to 6 months.

Karen’s courgette cake recipe

Courgette cake


200g (7 oz) grated courgette

150g (5 oz) caster sugar

1 egg

125ml (4 fl oz) vegetable oil

200g (7 oz) plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons lemon zest  – I used orange instead of lemon



1. Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas mark 3. Grease a loaf tin (approx. 2lb size).

2. In a bowl, beat together the courgette, sugar, egg and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the courgette mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I added a topping but it is not essential as the cake tastes just as nice without it, you could also add chopped pecan / walnuts nuts or dried fruit to the mixture if you wanted.


Mini tub of Philadelphia cream cheese

Grated orange zest

Icing sugar – mix together continuing to add icing sugar until it is a thick spreadable consistency then spread on cake.

Fennel salad Recipe

This recipe is in Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals. We had it last night with a bbq and it was a hit. I was a bit worried about adding a whole lemon – but it works really well. Give it a try!!

Trim base and ends of 2 fennel bulbs, discarding outer leaves if necessary. Halve the bulbs then shred in a food processor using fine slicer attachment.

Squash a lemon with the heel of your hand and shred in food processor too. Pick out any chucks of lemon or fennel, and lemon seeds.

Roughly chop a small bunch of fresh coriander and finely slice the stalks. Add to fennel and lemon with a good glug of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands and serve.

How easy is that!!


Fennel salad