March in the Kitchen

5 Mar 2012 | 0 comments

It’s a quiet time in the garden at the moment, so this month we’d like to share our recipe for Lemon Barley Biscuits. We grow this nutritious grain at Trill and are demonstrating the range of delicious dishes that can be made with the grain and flour at our Barley Tasting day on 20th March, we hope you’ll be able to join us!

Trill Lemon Barley Biscuits

150g unsalted butter, very soft

150g sugar

1 large free-range egg

Juice and zest of one lemon

175g barley flour

50g dried cranberries or blueberries

2 baking trays lined with non-stick baking parchment

Heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Put the soft butter, sugar, egg, barley flour and lemon into a bowl and beat thoroughly. Stir in the dried fruit. Take a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and put it onto a prepared tray, using another teaspoon to push the mixture off the spoon and into a rough mound, flatten slightly. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, spacing the mounds apart to allow for spreading. Bake for about 15 minutes until a light golden brown. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for a minute, then carefully transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Store in an airtight container and eat within four days. 

March in the Garden

5 Mar 2012 | 0 comments

From the end of February an increase in day length and light levels have led to much more rapid growth of salad and herbs in the tunnel. It always happens at this time of the year and is a sign that we can start harvesting our salad more heavily for the restaurants, as it grows back very quickly after being cut. Outside the overwintered broad beans that survived the bird attack are putting on much more growth and the garlic is looking very strong. There is not much else outside at the moment, but sowings of further broad beans and peas will be made very shortly, and a further 100m of jerusalem artichokes will be planted.

We received our strawberries last week, a few of which are planted in one of the polytunnels and the rest planted outside. All of our soft fruit bushes also arrived and have been planted.

Last year we had a big problem with creeping thistle in the garden, so we decided this year to plough the worst affected areas to try and bring the roots to the surface. Creeping thistle is a pernicious weed that is very difficult to get rid of, but can be done over a few years. It creeps underneath the soil and can spread up to 12m a year and so if left unchecked can become a real problem. Although it produces a lot of seed, much of this is not viable and much of the thistle down that is seen on a breezy summer day contains very little seed, and of that most is not viable. Its greatest way of spreading is by its underground creeping roots that will re-grow if hoed off at the wrong time of the year. On areas that are not being planted until later spring we are planning to cultivate the ploughed area and sow a fast growing green manure such as mustard or phacelia to try and compete with the thistle by shading it out. This will then be cultivated back in to the soil, which will add organic matter before being planted into. Fingers crossed for the 2012 battle against the creeping thistle!

So, the most obvious thing that has happened so far in March has been the ploughing which has been done a month earlier than the previous two years due to the dry weather allowing us to get onto the land with a tractor without causing too much compaction.

In the propagating house all of our onions and shallots are germinating, as are the tomatoes, peppers, chillies and aubergines and the lettuce are all growing well. We will be sowing french beans for growing in the polytunnel very shortly as well as beetroot, chard, spinach, celeriac and a sowing of some of the oriental leaves before the flea beetle come along in the summer.

March always feels like the garden has finally woken up and is a critical time for sowings, plantings and cultivations. It is an exciting time for us – lots of hope as seedlings emerge and very few weeds are about!


3 Feb 2012 | 0 comments

Purple sprouting broccoli has  always been an absolute favourite of mine. The purple haze in Ash & Kate's garden is a wonderful crop of purple sprouting broccoli and just the best I've ever tasted..  Despite plummeting temperatures, it survives, to give us the most wonderful nourishment. A big bowl cooked with warming spices was shared at lunch this week and quite delicious. Full of anti-oxidants to ward off flu & colds and spices to keep us warm in the chilly Winter months. 


Purple sprouting broccoli with coriander seeds, chillies & ginger

4 handfuls sprouting broccoli

2 tablespoons olive oil

6  tablespoons stock

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed

1 chilli, finely diced

2 teaspoons grated ginger

black pepper and salt

splash of tamari


Cook the sprouted broccoli in the olive oil and stock until stock evaporates.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.

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