One of my many bad habits is studying the contents of other people’s shopping trolleys in the supermarket. I’m always intrigued by what other people eat. I don’t know if anyone else does this – perhaps it’s just me and everyone else has better things to do with their time? At this time of year my own trolley must look fairly unhealthy and frankly a bit odd – mainly full of baking stuff, dairy products and meat/fish – but no vegetables or salad. There may be some fruit – oranges for Mr McGregor, bananas for banana cake and limes for Gin & Tonic……
The lack of vegetables and salad is, of course, because of Mr McGregor’s garden produce. He currently has 20 different fruit and vegetable varieties growing, although this includes stuff that will be harvested much later in the year, such as Brussels sprouts and parsnips. We are currently getting through a glut of of mange tout peas, broad beans and courgettes although some of the peas and beans had to come out yesterday to make room for leeks.
I found our first raspberry yesterday which I’ve just eaten (it was delicious), and the apples and blueberries are also coming on.
The Tree bees have abandoned the bird box. This is apparently normal, with colonies lasting 4-5 months on average. Drones leave and spend some time foraging and looking for mating opportunities while any virgin queens which have been produced will mate, build up in-body food reserves and look for somewhere to hibernate. We’ll have to see whether we get bees or Blue tits in the box next year.
Here is the recipe for Rhubarb cake which I made last week. It has a little more sugar in it than I might otherwise use, to offset the tartness of the rhubarb.
Rhubarb and almond cake (pdf: Rhubarb and almond cake)
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
80g caster sugar
2 large eggs
200g ground almonds
100g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm squares (cut in half lengthways first if very fat)
- Preheat the oven 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until creamy. Add the ground almonds and mix well. Sift the flour and baking powder, add and mix well.
- Spoon half the mixture into the tin, carefully spreading it right to the edges. Arrange about 2/3 of the rhubarb on top, keeping it away from the edges of the tin.
- Spoon over the rest of the cake mixture and spread it to cover the rhubarb. Arrange the rest of the rhubarb on top (keeping it away from the edges).
- Bake for 50 mins until golden and then cover with foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until firm to the touch in the middle.
- Cool in the tin to cool before transferring to a wire rack.