Honey is a sweet, thick liquid made by honeybees. The bees collect sugar – mainly the sugar-rich nectar of flowers – from their environment. It is low in minerals and vitamins, but may be high in some plant compounds.
Honey contains many important antioxidants. These include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids.
Eating honey may lead to modest reductions in blood pressure, an important risk factor for heart disease.
When applied to the skin, honey can be part of an effective treatment plan for burns, wounds and many other skin conditions. It’s recommended as a natural anti-bacterial face wash instead of soap and a shampoo to help ease dandruff – although these remedies sound a bit sticky, we’re fans of ditching sudsy shampoos so will keep you posted as to how this works – here’s the recipe.
Muir’s dad, always relied on a Victorian cough syrup remedy passed down from his mother. It sounds awful but tastes amazing and really does work without resorting to chemical cough soothers for these mid-season colds.
Elderberries have been used for centuries as an immune boosting ingredient in traditional medicine throughout Europe and the Americas. Probably, as studies have shown, they are have wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Jane, one of our famous Hedgewitches, combines raw elderberries with cider vinegar and stevia to create her beautiful immune boosting vinegar.
Raw and preservative free, a spoonful of this a day should keep the lurgies away.
It’s great to toss into salads. They can be used to make a delicious tea or syrup. They can also be added to baked goods such as muffins and pancakes, as well as herbal remedies.
Raw (unpasteurised cider vinegar) containing the vinegar mother. Produced and bottled by Ringden Farm at Flimwell, East Sussex.
Cider vinegar is well known for health properties, cleaning and washing. The health benefits of using raw cider vinegar are improved by using vinegar containing the vinegar ‘mother’ – the cellulose produced by harmless vinegar bacteria.
Most manufacturers pasteurise the vinegar before bottling to remove this as it is ‘unsightly’…although it’s a natural part of the fermentation and contains useful enzymes.
Ringden Farm have been harvesting apples and making fresh juices from their orchard for 50 years now and is managed by Chris and his son, John Dench. Bentley’s is their new name created to celebrate Bentley Dench who established the farm half a century ago.
If you think pumpkins are just for carving jack-o-lanterns, then think again because they are actually one of the most nutritious vegetables available.
These vegetables have a lovely, earthy, rich flavour and are not as tricky to cook as you might think. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colours and varieties.
Round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange coloration. They taste like the most heavenly piece of creamy squished juicy nectar of the Gods all lavished in beautiful orangery goop sprinkled with decadent love.
For the best pumpkin go for ones that feel heavy for their size, with a smooth, firm skin. Smaller pumpkins tend to have more flesh.
They are particularly good source of fibre, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals. 80g of pumpkin counts as one portion of your five-a-day.
Pumpkin contains vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene, all of which have been found to play an important role in the health of our skin.
Cut the pumpkin in half, from top to bottom (not side to side), then remove the seeds and stringy bits (keep the seeds to toast, if desired).
Place both halves cut side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and place in a preheated oven for about an hour and 15 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven.
When cool, use a scraper to scoop the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin. Place in a bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to use in recipes, such as pies, muffins or desserts. Easy peasy, pumpkin squeezy!
3 Top Pumpkin Recipes:
Chunky pumpkin soup recipe. Satisfyingly desirable soup format, than cubes, coins and ribbons of vegetables intermingling in a broth. By Chocolate and Zucchini More>>>
Hairy Bikers sausage, chicken and squash traybake. Serve with a big pile of wintery greens, such as Savoy Cabbage. More>>>
Anthony Worrall Thompson’s pumpkin pie. Use dense sweet pumpkins for best results! Serve with cream. More>>>
The purple hue of a red cabbage is always the most striking piece on the dinner plate. Commonly, cabbage is braised or pickled, but it’s great finely shredded in Autumnal salads and coleslaw. Simply steamed, it can just about accompany most dishes.
Our biodynamic cabbages are grown by Toos in Cuckfield just north of Lewes tucked away at the leafy foot of the South Downs.
Red cabbage is packed full of vitamins (A, C, K), minerals and antioxidants, even eating it raw is said to provide a fantastic boost to ward off colds in this wintry season.
When shopping or harvesting a red cabbage from your garden, find the best cabbage – these will be the ones densely packed and heavy in weight with firm outer leaves.
Red cabbages are pretty hardy and are happy to be stored in the cool, dark place for a week to ten days without going rubbery. Keep on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb condensation or moisture from the fridge.
Red cabbage tends to lose its colour when cooked. To keep it rich and gorgeous, just add a touch of apple cider vinegar in the cooking water to stop the lovely deep purple hue from running.
Now white cabbage is beautiful and shouldn’t be ignored – sweet, lightly crunchy and earthy. White cabbage benefits from uncomplicated cook techniques such as steaming or stir-frying and can even be its own recipe.
White cabbage deepens in flavour through the winter season as it loves our cold English soils – so should be a staple for stir fries, Colcannon and warming suppers.
Again, looking at the cabbage it should be heavy rather than light. The outer leaves should show no sign of bruising or variations in colour.
Steaming is a popular method because both texture and nutrients are kept intact.
White cabbage is the main ingredient in a traditional coleslaw, it can be used in healthier Asian coleslaws without dairy and with spicier dressings. The meltingly soft texture is a natural partner for bacon.
Heat the oven to 160C and put the kettle on for stock.
Put the sliced celery sticks, chopped onion, sliced carrots, 5 bay leaves and 1 whole thyme sprig into a casserole dish, and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of butter into the dish.
Next, soften for 10 minutes, then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour, until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by 2tbsp tomato puree, 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 crumbled beef stock cubes.
Slowly stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in 850g stewing beef and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cover the dish and put in the oven for 2 hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30 mins. Check the dish to see whether the meat is tender and the sauce is thickened, if not, cook for a little bit longer.
Add herbs and the picked leaves of what’s left of the thyme sprig to the top of the dish as a garnish.
Firstly you need to heat up the rapeseed oil in a medium/ large saucepan and fry the diced onion for 6-8 minutes on a medium heat. Stir in 1½ tbsp curry powder (you can add any spices in the mixture or even a Balti curry paste), cook for 30 secs, then add the tomatoes and seasoning. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 mins.
Next, add the potatoes and ½ tbsp curry powder to a pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 6-8 mins until they are soft, but not too soft. Drain, reserving 100ml of the liquid. Add the drained potatoes and reserved liquid to the tomato sauce along with the mango chutney. Heat through.
Whilst you are waiting for it to heat through, mix together the yogurt and mint sauce, and heat up the chapattis following pack instructions.
To serve, spoon some of the potatoes onto a chapatti and top with a few sprigs of coriander. Drizzle with the minted yogurt relish, then roll up and eat.
Recipe can be found on this site: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/234609/mumbai-potato-wraps-with-minted-yogurt-relish
August and September have been plentiful, busy months. The weather this summer has been kind to us (despite what many cynics may say) and this has reflected in the quality and the abundance of produce. Trying to make the most of every seasonal miracle is near enough impossible for this very reason: there’s too much of it and too many varieties to try and squeeze onto the menu! By the time we find space, it can already be too late and you have to wait until next year – but that’s all part of the fun!
We said at the beginning of the #EatSussex campaign that the real challenge would be using all of the available produce, not struggling with what to cook. So we gave it our best shot, and here are some of our favourites…
One of our earliest and fondest dishes. So simple but only excels when the highest produce is used. There is little to hide behind.
Slice the tomatoes as you wish. Coeur de boeuf tomatoes a better sliced but the mixed varieties are best chopped randomly. Season lightly with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Arrange in layers slices of mozzarella, basil leaves and tomato onto on a base of homemade pesto. Garnish with crushed nuts, more olive oil and smaller tips of basil leaves.
Arundel Basil Pesto
This pesto is a staple at the café. It varies slightly every time depending on the time or who is making it so is always unique.
· Large bunch of Arundel basil leaves
· 2 cloves garlic
· Extra virgin olive oil 50ml
· 50g Nuts (Hazel, walnut or pine depending on season)
· Pinch of salt
· 5 drips of lemon
In pestle and mortar, start by crushing the garlic with the salt. Followed by crushing in the basil and nuts, and gradually pouring in the olive oil to create your desired pesto texture. Season to taste.
If you have ever been to Greece you will be familiar with these ingenious lunchtime staples. Batch cooked and kept warm, they sell out fast as a wholesome, delicious and seasonal lunch. They’re also dead simple to cook. We made pork stuffed tomatoes using our recipe below. However, we’ve also made veggie ones using pearl barley and cranberry risotto with Grana Padano – but I have no measurements or quantities for that one. We made it up as we went along!
Carefully slice off to tops of the tomatoes with the stalks on, about an 8th of the way down. They will be lids. Using a spoon and a small knife if necessary, scoop out the inner membrane and seeds of the tomatoes doing your best to retain the structure of the tomato. Cook the innards of the tomatoes with 50ml of olive out and a clove of garlic, nice and slowly. Meanwhile we can mix the pork mince with the remaining oil, garlic and oregano, a good pinch of salt and pepper then roll it into six 150g balls to stuff into the tomatoes. Place the lids back on and bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees Celsius.
To serve, blitz the tomato innards in a food processor to form a rich sauce and sit the baked tomato on top, serve warm, not hot.
Tibbs Farm Raspberry Ripple Yoghurt & Granola.
I didn’t know the real taste of a raspberry until the punnets arrived with Nick, just picked from Tibbs farm that day. We had to immediately reorder them. Such was my excitement about these dark, blood red, sweet, juicy flavour-bombs, that I shared them out to every customer and member of staff we had. Do yourself a favour: eat raspberries that are LOCAL and IN SEASON and NOTHING ELSE! The kind you buy in the supermarket are not even from the same planet as far as I’m concerned…
Granola is great, you can keep it in the dry store to be sprinkled on all sorts.
· 500g jumbo oats
· 150g South Downs honey
· 70g soft dark brown sugar
· 250g mixed Sussex nuts (cobnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, sweet chestnuts)
· 50ml Mesto olive oil
· 1 tbsp cinamon
· 1 tbsp sea salt
· Dried fruit (optional depending on season)
Making the granola is simple. Combine all of the above granola ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and, when combined, spread onto a large baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes crudely break up the granola to form large nuggets. Leave out to dry out, turning every 5 minutes or so. If it’s still a bit moist afterwards either bake it again for another 5 minutes or leave in a warm dry place such as the airing cupboard!
The raspberry ripple component is make by a simple maceration process. In a mixing bowl place your fruit with the sugar and a few drops of lemon. Toss gently just using the bowl and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes. This will intensify the flavour and create a wonderful natural syrup.
To put the dish together, combine a spoonful of the macerated raspberries with a portion of yoghurt and loosely marble. Top with as much granola as you like, some fresh raspberries and extra honey if you wish. (We also love sprinkling on some bee pollen!)
Butterhead Lettuce & Smoked Chicken Salad.
We love butterhead lettuce. Big leafy multi-textured ears of crunchiness, bitterness and sweetness. It’s also beautiful to look at. We tend to keep them whole, retaining the natural structure and contours. They’re so perfect.
As for smoked chicken, it’s a wonderful ready-to-go ingredient with so many uses and is an interesting alternative to regular chicken. Ensure it’s a naturally smoked free-range bird. We buy ours from Springs Smokery, Edburton. You can put all sorts with salad – so go wild!
For the dressing, combine the oil, mustard, vinegar, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper using a whisk or in a food processor and taste. Using a minute splash of boiling water will help to emulsify the mixture. Add more acidity, salt or sweetness depending on personal taste. Throw in an inch or so of finely chopped chive stems from your bunch.
The rest is self explanitory really! Tear the chicken, half the butterhead (washing and drying gently), thinly sliced radishes the remaining chives and scooped teaspoonfuls of the avocado all together and dress with the dressing.
Thinly slice the shallots and caramelise in a pan without busting them up too much. Toast the walnuts. Add to the salad with any spare chives.
Making you hungry? Check out the award winning cafe on Holland Road for delicious and seasonal eating. Visit their website, instagram and facebook for more mouth-watering and inspiring seasonal dishes.
Fancy contributing to our blog? Let us know! And don’t forget to use the hashtag #EatSussex in your seasonal, locally sourced and delicious creations this autumn…
Of course, we always recommend our Bramley apples from Ringden Farm over near Etchingham – BUT on this occasion we urge you to try the early Howgate Wonders. When they are picked early they are mild and citrussy but their flavour mellows over time. They are a different kettle of fish to the Bramley so ring the changes with a traditional Edwardian cooking apple.
This recipe waxes lyrical about eating outside on a summer’s day – but since apples and rhubarb are at their sweetest and best, we will have to sit by the radiator and pretend.
A note about the recipe….we wouldn’t bother with the demerara sugar, sticking as we do to a good local honey…especially a borage honey if you can find it, for the fragrant rosy flavour and aroma.
We also sell delicious creamy yoghurt but the large tubs are generally to special order, as most people prefer low fat, these days.
To overcome this and keep variety in our fridge, we often have a pot of Northiam Creme Fraiche and mix with low fat yoghurt (if we mix it – it’s so rich and creamy, it’s tempting to leave as is)…it gives another layer of tart depth to the flavour which works well with the malic acid in the apples.
Baked Howgate Wonder apple and rhubarb with vanilla-honey yoghurt
150g of rhubarb, finely chopped
2 tbsp of muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
15g of butter
1 tbsp of Demerara sugar, to sprinkle
200g of Greek yoghurt
40ml of honey
1 vanilla pod
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
2 Score each apple horizontally to slightly pierce the skin – this allows the flesh to expand while cooking.
3 Core the apples by pushing an apple corer down through the apple until it pierces the bottom, discard the core. Repeat for all apples.
4 Mix the rhubarb, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Stand the apples up side by side in a baking dish.
5 Use your fingers to push the rhubarb mixture into each apple, dividing the mix evenly.
6 Add a blob of butter to the top of each and sprinkle over the Demerara sugar.
7 Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the apples are cooked through – you can check this by piercing the apples with a skewer.
8 Meanwhile, split the vanilla pod in half with a small knife. Scrape out the seeds and add to a bowl with the yoghurt and honey, whisk to combine.
9 Remove the apples from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve on plates with the yoghurt. Drizzle over the juices from the baking tray.