SGS Fife Trail 2019

By | Garden

Now that we are thoroughly embedded in the cold chill of winter, it is the ideal time to look ahead to the bright, vibrant days of spring. The Scotland’s Garden Scheme Fife Trail kicks off on the 16th April and gives you the opportunity to visit six unique gardens each with its own particular springtime highlight.

Find out more about SGS Fife Trail 2019 and where to buy tickets on the Scotland’s Garden Scheme website by clicking on the link below.

A review of the Teasses Shoot

By | Game

The Season at Teasses now comes to an end and all the hard work of the previous months can be reflected on. It has been a tough year for raising game birds on the estate. First we had tremendous amounts of snow and wind in the early months which took us into what turned out to be a very dry summer, counting three days of rain from May to August – a very rare thing for Scotland. The drought across the summer decimated the insect population on the estate which in turn meant that our game birds were under some pressure. However the population of pheasants, partridge, woodcock and duck have proven once again to be fit and healthy. Raised on the organic estate the difficulties facing our game birds were soon forgotten as the rain clouds finally broke in late August. As soon as the wildflowers and grasses started to grow again, the insect population was quickly restored. The organic approach on Teasses supports the entire ecosystem of the one-thousand acres, not only the farm livestock but the native and natural inhabitants too. With a restored invertebrate population our birds soon fattened-up in time for the Season to begin.

The Shoot at Teasses this Season was particularly successful with guests visiting from all over the planet. We’d like to thank everyone who attended shoots at Teasses and we do hope you’ll quickly book up days for a repeat performance in the forthcoming Season. We’d also like to thank the dedicated gamekeeping team; Kenny, Jordan, all of the beaters and dog handlers. The days certainly wouldn’t have been such a success without your contribution.

We are pleased to share with you some insights from a regular guest and friend of the estate, James Field, who has shot at Teasses annually for the last ten years. The excerpts are taken from an article James wrote about a days shoot at Teasses.

…Teasses Estate in Ceres, which is situated in the rolling hills above Cupar is owned by Sir Fraser and Lady Morrison…and their home is a typical Scottish stone-built grand house, complete with turrets. The adjoining gardens are well worth a visit in the Spring and Summer months but this cold, late Autumn day was perfect for the pheasants, red-legged partridge, ducks and woodcock which abound and which are testament to the Head Keeper’s expertise in effectively developing the 1,000 acres of the estate laid out for shooting in 1996. Each time we have visited, we have experienced some of the best-presented birds I have known. Kenny Horne is the long time Head Keeper who together with his devoted team are very well organised and work like a well-oiled machine, with notably less of the loud whistling, yelling and hooting from the beaters than is found on some estates, and which often seems to intrude a bit too much into the peace of a beautiful country environment as the Guns stand quietly awaiting the first birds. 

…We have been instructed to ‘show no mercy’ on this drive, called ‘Ruin Strip’, as it joins a neighbouring property, towards which the birds are driven, and sure enough, after a brief wait the birds start trickling towards us off the hill in such numbers that [the Guns] are often reloading. A lone woodcock crosses the line but all are reticent to address it. During a lull, a lone roe doe bounds across the line and gracefully leaps a fence. Some cracking high straight and crossing pheasants fall to my gun and everyone gets a good workout.

…Into the vehicles and on to the next drive ‘Lochan’; we drive our 4×4’s to the bottom of the estate and are advised to move into position quietly as we are to wait for some mallard to be driven off the lochan. Kenny firmly instructs the guns not to shoot any pheasants we might see until the first duck is addressed. Clever birds these ducks. We listen to them quacking and grumbling to themselves unseen, until with a dull roar they take off as one, climbing almost vertically and immediately gain height.

…We have an American guest with us; Joe, from the Southern US state of Georgia…he seems bemused but impressed by the structure behind Kenny’s presentation of the birds… He says he has never seen birds presented so skilfully in his own country. Joe is an avid shooter and a significant collector of firearms.

We arrive at the third of the twenty-two possible drives on this modestly sized estate…This too is one of my three favourites; known as ‘Pooch’, it is right in the middle of the estate and requires a walk, or more accurately, a stumble across a muddy field full of bog grass to the end of one of the more recently planted conifer woods from which the birds will be driven towards the Guns. There is a distinct air of anticipation. Again, some duck are expected but it is principally a pheasant drive, where they curl around and over the narrow wood from which they are driven. Before there is any evidence of the approaching beaters, the first birds suddenly appear and catch unwary Guns napping. I take a right and left as soon as the shooting starts and birds then arrive at a steady rate from a number of directions to test our reflexes. The horn blows. The morning’s shooting is over all too soon.

… Roll on next time!

Savour St. Andrews

By | Game
Teasses Estate; Game; Sustainable; Food;

Kenny, our Head Gamekeeper, addresses an audience at the Savour St. Andrews event held earlier this month. Savour St. Andrews promotes local, sustainable, quality food and that vision marries up perfectly with the Teasses game we have to offer.

At the event chefs prepared Teasses Roe Ravioli and Canapés of Teasses Pheasant and Duck.

If you are interested in leaning more about the game products we have available at Teasses, please contact our Head Gamekeeper, Kenny.

Savour St. Andrews; Teasses Estate
Savour St. Andrews; Teasses Estate

Recipe: Housekeeper’s Tablet

By | Teasses Recipes

Traditional Scottish Tablet is a real treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee or a wee dram of whisky after dinner. Kate has put together this recipe for her own take on the familiar sweet treat and it makes delicious tablet which is rich, sweet and creamy – everything you could ask for from tablet.

This recipe makes a tray of tablet which is enough for around 35 portions. As everything starts to pick up in preparation for Christmas meals and New Year parties get ahead with this recipe, make your tablet now and you’ll be able to store it throughout the festive season, to the delight of your guests.

 

You will need;

  • 900g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 150ml Full Fat Milk
  • 1 tin of Condensed Milk

Step One: Place all of the ingredients into a deep pan and allow everything to melt slowly together over a medium heat. This might take some time so feel free to stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately thirty-five minutes. The mixture will gradually darken. Just when you think it is dark enough, the thirty-five minutes are up.

Step Two: Bring the mixture to the boil and start beating with a wooden spoon. You’ll notice that the colour and texture of the mixture changes. Continue to beat the mixture by hand until it begins to resemble a loose cake batter. You can test this stage by dropping a small drip of tablet mixture into a glass of cold water. You are looking for it to make a soft ball and not to discolour the water by making it cloudy.

You need to be very careful when mixing tablet as boiling sugar is very, very hot. 

Step Three: When your mixture resembles a loose cake batter pour it into a baking tray. Allow it to semi-set and then score portion sizes into the hardening mixture. This will make it much easier to break neatly when it is completely set.

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.