BLYTH WOODS RECIPES

STARTERS: Green Pea, Feta & Mint Pâté (Marie), Spanakopita (Geraldine), Vegetable Tagine with Chick Peas (Liz)

PUDDINGS: Plum frangipane tart (Liz), Chocolate Truffle Torte (Claire), Blackcurrant Cheesecake (Ann)

Green Pea, Feta and Mint Pâté – From Green World Cookbook by Rachel Demuth 

Serves 4/6 

300g organic frozen peas 

175g feta cheese 

50g Cheddar, grated 

75g crème fraiche 

1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced 

Juice and zest of one lemon (I used ½ lemon juice) 

2 eggs 

Lots of freshly ground black pepper 

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/Gas 6 

Grease and line a 450g loaf tin with baking parchment. 

Cook the peas and drain, then refresh under cold water to retain vibrancy of their colour. 

In the food processor blend all the ingredients, except the eggs and black pepper. Check for seasoning before mixing in the eggs. Mix in the eggs and blend thoroughly and add black pepper to taste. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Cover the top with baking parchment and bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes or until firm. 

Serve the pate cold, cut in slices with warm walnut bread or a nutty seeded wholemeal loaf.

SPANAKOPITA – ΣΠΑΝΑΚΌΠΙΤΑ

DIRECTIONS

READY IN: 1hr 30mins SERVES: 15-18

PASTRY

1 lb filo pastry (fresh or frozen but note defrosting instructions vary from brand to brand eg some need defrosting for 24 hours in the fridge)

1cup  extra virgin olive oil, approximately 

SPINACH FILLING

1cup  olive oil

2 lbs  spinach, cleaned, tough stems removed 

6   spring onions, cleaned, sliced in 1/4 inch lengths 

1   leek, white and tender part of green, cleaned, sliced in 1/4 inch lengths (if very large, slice leek in half lengthwise before slicing)

1 medium  red onion, chopped fine 

3cup  fresh dill, finely chopped or blitzed 

12 – 3lb  feta cheese, crumbled (Use less for a sweeter taste)

3   eggs, beaten 

salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions and leek until translucent, approx 5 mins on medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until the leaves have wilted and the liquid has cooked off, about 8-10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, finely chop the spinach and place in a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190° C, Gas mark 5)

Lightly oil (use olive oil!) metal baking pan – 10 X 15 inch or similar.

Add dill and feta cheese to the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste (be sparing with salt as feta is salty). Pour the eggs over and give a stir to combine well.

Place filo on a work surface. Work quickly and cover the pastry sheets with a damp cloth each time you remove one as you prepare the pie.

Layer the filo in the pan, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the pan, brushing or sprinkling each layer with olive oil.

Use up half the filo sheets to make the bottom pastry layer, allowing excess pastry to drape over edge of pan.

Put the spinach mixture in and press the top down gently to flatten filling. Tuck in the pastry draping over the edges for a neat finish – if you prefer a more rustic look then tuck in the pastry after final layering on top of the spinach mixture.

Repeat layering with the remaining filo, oiling each sheet.

Using a sharp knife or scissors, score the upper layers of pastry into the size pieces you will want to serve once the pie is baked – BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THROUGH ALL LAYERS.

Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes until it is golden brown. For the last 15-20 minutes, you can put the baking pan directly on the oven floor to crisp the base better.

Cool till just warm (never eat this hot as the flavours develop as it cools). Cut into pieces and serve either just warm or at room temperature.

Feel free to adjust the amount of olive oil – most Greeks would use a lot more and you may want to use less but be aware that flavour may be compromised.

Vegetable Tagine with chick peas 

(tweaked from two recipes: Chickpea, Olive & Raisin Tagine from The Really Quite Good British Cookbook (various chefs) and Chickpea, Aubergine and Date Tagine from Mob Veggie Cookbook. 

Ingredients: 

Pinch saffron in half cup hot water 

50g butter 

1 tablespoon ras el hanout 

1 teaspoon turmeric 

1 teaspoon ground ginger 

½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 

2 tablespoon tomato paste 

2 large onions (1 chopped, 1 feathered) 

3 cloves garlic crushed 

4 diced carrots 

1 sweet potato peeled & cut into chunks 

1 aubergine cut into chunks 

1 courgette cut into chunks 

1 red pepper diced 

Large handful chopped dried apricots 

6 chopped dates 

2 cans drained chick peas 

50g puy lentils rinsed and drained 

150g raisins 

150g green olives 

1 tablespoon honey 

375 ml vegetable stock 

Bunch of chopped parsley (some for garnish) 

Juice of a lemon 

Good shake of Worcestershire sauce 

1 small cauliflower blitzed in a food processor to crumbs 

Chopped toasted almonds (for garnish) 

Pomegranate seeds (for garnish) 

Salt & pepper 

Make up the saffron water. 

Melt butter in a large pan. 

Add and fry spices for few minutes. Add tomato paste. 

Add onions and fry for 5-10 mins until softened. Add garlic and fry for few more minutes. 

Add carrots, sweet potato, aubergine, courgette and pepper. Cook for few minutes turning constantly. Add apricots, dates, chick peas, lentils, raisins, olives, honey, saffron water and veg stock. 

Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and 2/3rds of the parsley. 

Either cook on stove top, oven or slow cooker until all is nearly tender. Add cauliflower and let cook out. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper. When serving garnish with toasted almonds, pomegranate seeds & parsley. Serve with pitta bread or other bread. Enjoy.

Blackcurrant Cheesecake 

(serves 6-8) 

Ingredients

Base: 

Digestive biscuits, crushed 175g 

Butter , melted 75g 

Filling: 

Lebnie or low fat skimmed milk cheese 280g 

Raw brown sugar 50g 

Honey – 2 tbsp 

Blackcurrants (topped and tailed) 100g 

Double cream – lightly whipped 250ml 

Fresh blackcurrant sprig or lemon balm leaves to decorate 

Preparation time: 25 minutes plus chilling 

Mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter. Press the mixture evenly over the base of a 20cm loose bottom tin. Refrigerate for at least an hour while preparing filling.

Beat together the cheese, sugar and honey until smooth. Stir in the blackcurrants. 

Then fold in the whipped cream. Spoon evenly over the biscuit base.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, till firm. 

Decorate with sprigs of fresh blackcurrants or lemon balm leaves.

THE FAMOUS CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TORTE – from Delia’s Happy Christmas

INGREDIENTS

450g dark chocolate (70-75% cocoa solids)

5 tablespoons liquid glucose

5 tablespoons rum

570ml double cream, at room temperature

75g Amaretti biscuits, crushed finely with a rolling pin

To serve: cocoa powder for dusting, chilled single pouring cream, some extra Amaretti biscuits

EQUIPMENT

You will also need a 9 inch (23 cm) cake tin, lined with a circle of baking parchment and the base and sides lightly brushedwith groundnut oil.

METHOD

Start off by sprinkling the crushed biscuits all over the base of the tin.

Next break the chocolate into sections and put them in a heat proof bowl together with the liquid glucose and the rum. Sit over a saucepan containing 5cm of barely simmering water, without the bowl touching the water – it will take 5-10 minutes to become melted, smooth and glossy. Stir, then take off the heat and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes or so, until it feels just warm.

Now, in a separate bowl, beat the cream to the floppy stage. Fold half into the chocolate mixture and then fold that mixture into the rest of the cream. When it is smoothly blended, spoon it into the prepared tin. Tap the tin gently to even the mixture out, cover with clingfilm and chill overnight.

Just before serving, run a palette knife round the edge to loosen the torte, then give it a good shake and turn the whole thing out on to a serving plate (don’ t be nervous about this – it’s very well behaved). To serve, dust the surface with sifted cocoa powder and a few amaretti biscuits and, if you like, mark the top into serving sections . Have some chilled pouring cream to go with it; if you have any, a couple of tablespoons of amaretti liqueur will make a wonderful addition to  the cream.

NOTE: The torte does freeze well, but since you can also make it a couple of days in advance, this doesn’t really seem necessary.

Starters and Puddings Evening

Church Rooms, Wenhaston, Saturday 13thJuly 2019

(a fundraiser to purchase and develop Malster’s Little Field as an
 extension of the community wild space provided by Grove Piece)

Wow, what an evening! When we embarked on the idea of an auction tied in with a meal as a fundraising event, we really couldn’t have dreamt that our coffers would be increased by a whacking great sum of £2,106.50!

Diners were greeted on arrival with a glass of fizz attractively set off by a string of red currants and a plumptious blackcurrant sitting daintily at the bottom (try this at home – it gets the party off to a good start).

Our guests were invited to look at the auction sheets on which they were to make their written bids and to look at some of the splendid items on offer, whilst quaffing their aperitifs and chomping some hors d’oeuvres. We already had bids for all 10 generously donated auction items ahead of the evening. Guests were encouraged also to read the beautifully presented information board which showed, amongst other things, a fundraising “tower” of over £4,000 already received for this project. Little did we know that by the end of the evening this would have increased by 50%!

The 32 diners were invited to take their seats at the four decorated tables and it was apparent that the Bach violin music about to play, in order to provide the right atmosphere, would not be required as conversations between guests were already in full swing (our apologies to the Church Rooms’ neighbours for the babble!).

Diners were treated to delectable vegetarian starters, kicking off with Geraldine’s Spanakopita, followed by Marie’s Zingy Summer Pate and by Liz’s Vegetable and Chick Pea Tagine. A plentiful supply of green salad and seemingly endless slices of beautiful bread, kindly donated by the Two Magpies Bakery at Darsham, complemented the dishes. The recipes are available on this website.

There followed a lull in proceedings while tables were re-laid, allowing guests to consider their written auction bids. Before the puddings arrived there was an open auction for a bottle of prosecco kindly donated by Wendy and Peter.

The luscious trio of puddings was then served, consisting of Claire’s Chocolate Truffle Torte, Liz’s Frangipane Slice and Ann’s Blackcurrant Cheesecake all helped down by the obligatory pouring cream. These vegetarian recipes are also here on this website.

Further time was allowed for auction bids during coffees, teas and petit foursand the remaining Two Magpies Bakery loaves of bread were auctioned – food as good as this cannot be wasted. As if this wasn’t enough, birthday boy Norman was presented with a birthday cake accompanied by lusty singing from one and all.

Then came the evening’s next big moment with the announcement of the winning auction bids:

  • Trish Gower’s donation of a 4 person 3 night self-catering stay – won by Ellie Smithwith a bid of £225
  • Liz Hill’s basket of homemade scones and jams – Janice Claxton £50
  • Alan Miller’s guided bird and wildlife walk – bids of £150each were accepted from Tony Gowand from Nickand Sally Amery
  • Mick & Rose Hart and John & Marie Rolfe’s River Alde trip – Gus Jones £100
  • Liz Hill’s 2kg of Spanish raw almonds – Laura Edwards £15
  • Darsham Nursery’s ‘Opal’ plum tree – Kate Archibald £53
  • Claire Ross-Masson’s Grove Piece inspired pit fired ceramic art work – Judy Miller £60
  • Ann Follows’ 6kg mixed wild bird feed – Sallyand Nick Amery £30
  • Jill Daines and Caroline Way each donated a day in a different Southwold beach hut –Trish Gower £50and Julia Wilson £40
  • Woottens gardening course for two people with lunch at The Star Inn – Trish Gower £60and Kate Archibald £40

Additionally, a “whispering auction” bid of £200from Michael Gowerwon the “Canterbury Bells” painting, so kindly given to Blyth Woods by well-known local artist Tessa Newcomb.

Other extremely generous donations were made on the night and, with some sales of Liz’s delicious preserves, we reached that staggering total of £2,106.50.

A huge, huge thank you to everyone for their generosity of donations in whatever form they took and to all our dinner guests who made it such a rollicking success with their very happy demeanours.

The fireworks at the conclusion of the event, by the way, were not provided by Blyth Woods, though it’s an idea ……………………..

Oh, and sorry for all the damp tea towels we left behind after the clearing up!

Ian Bigwood

P.S. Just in – £500 donation from an anonymous ex-Wenhastonian to further swell those coffers – we are truly blessed to have such Friends of Blyth Woods.

Fun with Clay

The weather was beautiful on the day we had chosen for our clay activity and I think we may have been in competition with the beach! A small group of us enjoyed playing and making with the clay that came out of the pond area in Grove Piece. Some lovely items were made and on Monday we hope to fire them in a sawdust pit at Grove Piece. 13/7/19

Tree Care with Class 2

Years 1 and 2 at Wenhaston Primary School worked hard on Friday afternoon looking after the oak trees planted by their school in Grove Piece. Tree guards were removed from sturdy, vigorous trees, weeds were removed or cut down and a mulch of straw was placed around the base of trees to help them survive any drought and to reduce the growth of weeds. Back at the school tree nursery the very small oak, sweet chestnut and hazel trees were weeded, watered and mulched with grass cuttings to help them on their way. A very good afternoon’s work Class 2.

Starters and Puddings evening.

We are pleased to say that the event is sold out and we’re looking forward to providing guests with a pleasant evening at the Church Rooms in Wenhaston on Saturday, 13thJuly. We’ll kick off at 7pm with a drink on arrival (bring your own bottle for the rest of the evening) followed by delicious vegetarian starters and puddings interspersed with your bids in our exciting auction. If you aren’t coming to the evening, you can leave a BID in advance, details here More information Prizes range from homemade scones and jams, through a semi-mature plum tree (to make your own jams in the future!) to a guided bird walk, accompanied boat trips and a three-night stay in a Wenhaston cottage; and there are more besides.

Blyth Woods is raising funds for our latest project which is to acquire Malsters Little Field, adjacent to Grove Piece, and turn it into another community wild space.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grab yourself a bargain and help us raise funds!

The pond is dry but we can sit on the seat and look at the buttercups!

Yesterday evening several of us met at Grove Piece to remove weeds from the protective tubes and remove tubes completely from some young trees that were big enough to stand on their own or were being constricted by the tubes. The big event of the evening however was the installation of a seat so that visitors can rest and contemplate the young wood. Crispin (from Big Wood) provided hefty chunks of sweet chestnut and Alan fashioned them into a simple and pleasing design.

As you will see from the picture the pond is completely dry following the very dry weather we have had recently. No doubt it will fill again when the weather changes.

Malster’s Little Field

We have a chance to buy Malster’s Little Field, a 1.6 acre field between Grove Piece, Vicarage Grove and the public footpath. We have all sorts of ideas for the field which shares a hedge with Grove Piece. The hedge would be allowed to seed into the space and we would also plant some trees along the ditch beside the footpath. We would like to restore the pond, encourage wetland flora, plant an area of coppicing and also native fruit and nut trees. The network of footpaths would be extended with a footbridge from the public footpath. The benefits to the existing wild space and to people would be considerable and we hope you will feel able to help us raise the money to purchase the field.

Click here to make a donation