Recipe: Plum and Raspberry Cake

By | Teasses Recipes
Teasses; Estate; Recipe: Organic:; Plum Cake

This recipe and is from the early autumn but a great way to use up some of your frozen plums and raspberries from the summer if you haven’t got fresh. Thanks to Lucy for this recipe and of course the cake(!).

Best to enjoy this with a hot cup of tea in the potting shed on a crisp bright autumn morning. The cake can be frozen and brought out in time to share with guests or as delicious treat after a chilly morning in the garden. Also tasty warmed and served with Chantilly Cream as a real indulgence –  it just depends how hard you’ve been working.

For this cake you will need;

  • 200g Organic unsalted butter (plus some for greasing the cake tin),
  • 3 large free range organic eggs (preferably from your own hens of course),
  • 300g light muscovado sugar,
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (try heating it in a warm pan before adding – you’ll release much more flavour),
  • 150ml of organic whole milk,
  • 8 plums – sliced and stones removed,
  • 150g of raspberries (we used Autumn Bliss)
  • A little icing sugar for dusting

Step One: To start get your oven preheated to 160oC, gas mark 3. Thinly butter and line a cake tin (we are using a round 22cm tin for this recipe) with parchment.

Step Two: Mix eggs and muscovado sugar and whisk for 15 minutes to produce a thick mixture. Mix together your flour and spices and add slowly to your egg & sugar mixture. Add about a third at a time with milk in between. Finally whisk in the melted butter. Beat together to produce a thick whipped cream like texture.

Step Three: Spoon half of your cake batter into the cake tin and scatter half of your plums and raspberries over it. Top up with the remaining mixture and place the remaining fruit on top. Pop your cake into the oven and bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Keep an eye on it, this amount of fruit and sugar may burn quickly.

Step Four: Remove your cake from the oven when it is done. You can test this by sticking a clean skewer into the cake while its still in the oven. If the skewer comes out clean it ready to remove from the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Teasses; Estate; Walled; Garden; Organic; Fruit

Autumn on the Farm

By | Farm
Teasses Estate; Cattle; Organic; Beef; Farm

The last few bright days of Autumn signal that it is time to gradually move the cattle indoors where they can be fed-up and cared for undercover for the next few months. This year’s beef cattle are already indoors being fed-up before heading to market. The summer dryness added an additional challenge to this year’s herd as the limited number of rainy days and the high temperatures restricted the growth of grass in the pastures. So to ensure our cattle are at there best for the market, we have moved them in to the sheds and are giving them top quality feed and silage cut from our own fields.

Top quality organic beef has to be given that extra touch of care to ensure the animals are in maximum condition. This applies to our heifers too. We need to care for them just as carefully as their offspring so that they go on to have healthy calves in the spring.

Teasses Estate; Farm; Organic; Beef; Scotland
Teasses Estate; Farm; Organic; Beef; Scotland
Teasses Estate; Farm; Organic; Beef; Scotland

Recipe: Plum Wine

By | Teasses Recipes

The formulation of this recipe was more trial and error than a regimented step-by-step instruction but it appears to have worked incredibly well. We have half a dozen establish plum trees here in the Walled garden and therefore a bountiful supply of plums. This recipe makes around twelve litres of plum wine and produces a beautiful Rosé coloured drink and a satisfying pop once bottled.

You will need;

  • 15L Fermenting Bucket with an Airlock with Rubber Stopper
  • 5kg fresh plums (I’m using a variety called Edwards)
  • 2kg of golden caster sugar
  • 10L of Boiling Water
  • 1 lemon
  • 5g Cider yeast

Step One: Wash the plums; discard any which are too soft, rotten or mouldy. Avoid using wind-fallen fruits. The process of fermentation relies on clean and sterile fruits and equipment.

Step Two: In the clean fermenting bucket, crush the plums as best you can to break the skin and release some of the juices. I did this using a metal potato-masher, but use any utensil you have at hand (so long as it is clean – dip in boiling water for a minute or two to sterilise it).

Step Three: Pour into the fermenting bucket 10L of boiling water. Give it all a good mix and pop the lid on the bucket. Store the bucket in a dark, warm space for three/four days. This allows the plums to imbibe in the water, releasing their sweet juices. Swirl the bucket everyday to ensure mixing.

Step Four: Add 2kg of sugar, the juice of a lemon and mix. Then sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid. It will float on the top. Allow it to sit undisturbed for ten minutes before mixing everything together.

Step Five: Return the lid ensuring the Airlock is securely fitted. Leave the bucket in a warm, dark room for 3 – 4 weeks, swirling the bucket daily to ensure mixing. You’ll start to hear and see air bubbles coming through the Airlock when fermentation begins.

Step Six: If you are looking for a dry, sparkling Plum wine bottle the liquid into secure bottles with a swing-top cap. The wine will continue to develop it is still a very active and young wine, the carbon dioxide produced through the slower rate of fermentation will provide a very welcome fizz in the wine and pop when opening the bottle. If however you’d prefer a still wine syphon into Demi-Johns with Airlocks. Rack the Demi-Johns for a further few months, keep tasting until you find the wine to suit your taste.

Autumn is beating at the door

By | Garden

Leaves on trees are slowly turning from the vibrant fresh greens of summer to indulgent amber, scarlet and gold. Berries on bushes in the hedgerows are bountiful and glistening in the early morning dew. Industrious red squirrels are darting around the garden gathering seeds and nuts and any form of insulation they can find to keep the winter weather out of their dreys. Without a doubt the season is turning from summer; autumn is beating at the door. The first named storm of the season is upon us and has left its mark on the garden. Several trees have been blown over or snapped in half, large limbs have fallen from old oaks and beach trees. We’ve spent two days clearing up.

Teasses, Millennium Wood, Storm Ali

As our gardening predecessors once would have done; we have taken to preserving as much of the garden produce that we grow in the walled garden in our newly constructed root store. The idea of the root store is to prolong access to fresh (and in our case) organic fruits and vegetables and would have originally supplied fresh fruits and root vegetables to the Mansion house throughout the year. Much of the old techniques of storing fresh fruit and vegetables have been forgotten by modern gardeners so we have to rely on the historic accounts of victorian gardeners who were adept at keeping produce for many months.

So far we’ve managed to get our potatoes lifted and stored in crates, some of the better quality apples are polished, wrapped in newspaper and are now stacked in crates. Apples which are scabby or damaged will go into our apple juice (some of which will be fermented into cider). Also stored in the Root Store are pumpkins and squashes, which after being cured in the sun will store until the spring. Carrots, Beetroot, Celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes will be stored in the Root Store in years to come.

Fleshy produce such as plums need to be eaten, frozen or used to create Plum Wine. We’ve done all three (recipe for Plum wine to follow).

We have used the old Victorian Boiler room as our Root Store so have ingeniously divided the room with a floor above the old boiler (which is still in place, but very degraded). This gives us two very useful rooms. The upper story room is the Root Store and the lower story room will be used to grow mushrooms and force rhubarb.

The harvesting of produce is something every estate gardener looks forward to, its the culmination of months of hard work. The bottling and storing is only a tiny part of the overall task; starting with digging over beds and mulching in the winter, to hand fertilising early greenhouse crops. Ultimately the thinning, feeding and nurturing of crops in the garden all works towards these few weeks in the year when you have to be focussed on gathering produce at the right time and processing it so that it is available long into the cold dark days of winter. Its really a very primal hunter-gatherer instinct you’ll find in most people and I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t take great pleasure and joy from it.

The Shoot 2018 Charity Auction

By | Sporting

Congratulations to the winning bidder who will enjoy a day’s walk up shoot on Teasses Estate in November.

All together the auction raised a substantial amount of money for The Shoot Charitable Trust with donations going to JDRF, Maggie’s Cancer Centres, Horse Back UK, The Polar Academy and Seamab.

Garden Larder – Late Summer Harvest

By | Garden

It is such a privilege to walk into the Walled Garden at this time of year to gather produce you have so carefully cultivated over the previous months. Those dark cold winter days of sowing seeds and thinning stems are rewarded by the late summer with an abundance of fruits and vegetables.

I’ve already started my first batch of Plum Wine – Recipe to follow – and soon we’ll be lifting wind-fallen apples to juice for Cider.

Teasses, Walled Garden, Teasses Estate

Dahlias in the Walled Garden

By | Garden
Teasses, Walled Garden, Teasses Estate

Dahlia ‘Belle of Barmera’

Teasses, Walled Garden, Teasses Estate

Dahlia ‘Zorro’

Teasses, Walled Garden, Dahlia, Teasses Estate

The Walled Garden provides the ideal climate for these stunning Dahlias. We like to try different varieties each year, and once again we’ve been bowled over by the intensity of colour in each of the varieties we’ve selected. Here Belle of Barmera is stunning, but the star of the show has to be Dahlia ‘Zorro’ with large vibrant blooms.

Teasses, Walled Garden, Dahlia, Teasses Estate

Fresh, Warm, Juicy Peaches

By | Garden

There is nothing nicer than plucking a fresh ripe peach from the tree. Even better if you’ve had the opportunity to help towards the growth and development of those same peaches and have observed them gradually fatten over the early summer months. Now in late July the fruits are plump and ripe. To plunge your teeth through the flesh and be splattered with warm sweet juice is an absolute delight few get to enjoy. As the juice   trickles down your chin you recall all those sunny childhood summer holidays. The taste of sweet fruit and sunshine on your skin.

Peaches, Teasses, Greenhouse, July, Fruit

Recipe: Elderflower Infused Gin

By | Teasses Recipes

We all like to use the natural ingredients our local wild larder provides us. This month has seen an abundance of elderflower blossom at Teasses and in my opinion you can’t go wrong with a quick Elderflower Infused Gin recipe, something to enjoy on these long hot summer days.

This recipe makes one litre of flavoured gin.

You’ll need;

  • a Large heavy bottom pot
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 2 strips of Lemon Peel
  • a dozen elderflower heads (de-bugged – to do this simply suspend the bunches of flower heads over white paper, the bugs will fall from the flowers while being attracted to the white paper)
  • 1 Litre of Gin (quantity over quality is fine here)
  • Bottles of your choice – sterilised.
  • fine Sieve or Muslin

Step One: Pour the gin and sugar into a gently heating pot. Allow the sugar to slowly dissolve into the mixture. Don’t boil.

Step Two: Add the lemon strips and the elderflowers to the mixture. Be careful to ensure that all of the flowerhead are submerged.

Step Three: Allow the mixture to infuse in a dark spot for up to 24 hours. This will allow the flavours of the flowers to develop. If you aren’t looking for a very strong elderflower taste adjust your timings to suit. Less infusion time will create a less pungent infusion. I tend to soak little more than overnight.

Step Four: Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cotton muslin and pour into your desired bottles. Put an additional strip of lemon into the bottle. This prevents the liquid from darkening too much.

 

Once sealed you can store your Elderflower Infused Gin for as long as you like, but be warned the longer you leave it the stronger the taste. Be warned; natural yeasts on the Elderflowers can interact with any remaining sugars leading to further fermentation and more potent a concoction. Store in a dark place.

Prior to serving allow your Elderflower Infused Gin an overnight experience in the refrigerator, as with most gin drinks, this is served best with heaps of ice and tonic water.