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Welcome to Blackberry Cottage ramblings, please do leave comments.

It’s May – shall we pick some nettles?

It’s such a great thought, we have all this free food that is so nutritious on our door steps, if only we knew how to use it.  I always feel that when we arrive in May, we are now really into the warmer weather and this time of year I love nothing better than to go foraging.

This month we are going to start with a very simple foraging food that I am sure most of you will be able to find in the hedgerows, or if you are like me in the garden.  The humble nettle.

I know what you are thinking, ‘Kate I am going to get stung’, yep, you will get stung if you do not have a good, thick pair of gloves or washing up gloves to protect your hands, I would also cover any exposed skin too.

We will be looking at how to choose the right nettles, picking them, what they are good for, how to get the best from them and how to use them by creating recipes.

If you would like to make a start, we have a fantastic Nettle Pesto Recipe, here .

 

Let’s start with where to find them as I don’t think you need much advice on what they look like, I think most of us will have been stung one time or another by them.  They are on most continents, you will be able to find nettles in any untended ground, gardens hedgerows and woodland from early spring.  Many gardeners consider nettles as weeds, but they have been used since medieval times to treat many conditions, painful joints and muscles, anaemia, eczema, arthritis, gout, hay fever and as a natural detoxifier.

 

They were known as the spring tonic and no medicine cabinet would have been without this tonic in it. Why are they so powerful? They have high levels of vitamins A and C are rich in calcium, manganese which helps the body absorb iron and vitamins easier. 

Join me this month on our nettle foraging and cooking via my blog and social media feeds.

Next week will be looking at the best nettles to use and how we can incorporate them in our food.

But I will leave you with this little fun-fact, in the Second World War, when vegetables were in short supply, nettles were a great source of green vegetable, and were widely picked and eaten.

Book – Cakes with Secret Ingredients – from aubergine to zucchini

Our book is here!!!!!!

The long awaited arrival of our book, it has been talked about a lot over the last three years, in that time I had been creating and tweaking recipes.

At the start of this year (2018) it was time to create the book. Firstly over a three month period we baked every cake around seven times, so we know that everyone works and is delicious. We had a team of fantastic taste testers who gave us valuable feedback.

 

After we knew that each cake worked we then commissioned our wonderful food photographer and food stylist, no kidding they took over our house for six weeks, when I say took over, they actually knew where everything was in our house better than I did.

And then started baking the cakes all again, taking a total of 12580 photos over the 6 weeks. Now that is a lot of photos.

 

When I thought about starting a book, I really didn’t think it was going to be such a huge task, how wrong could I be.

At least I had the support and help from some wonderful people who helped to create all my ramblings and notes, that were inevitably covered in cake mixture into some sort of recipe.

And, I am proud to say that I have employed all local people to help, it is amazing what talent is local to you when you start to look around, everyone is in about a 10 mile radius of where we live #supportlocal

So there it is, 800 cakes baked, 12580 photos, hours of reading and checking equals one cookbook with over 100 recipes, using 27 different vegetables.

Which resulted in one big tea party at the end.

 

We are very proud of this and hope you will all love it as much as we do.

Books are available on our website, they will be dispatched end of September £24.99 including p&p.

Link to order:

https://www.blackberrycottagefayre.co.uk/product/cakes-with-secret-ingredients-from-aubergine-to-zucchini-book/

Happy baking

Kate x

Christmas pudding traditional round wrapped in muslin

Christmas puddings such a wonderful tradition.

Our puddings are all handmade in small batches, we start steaming our puddings in August, some years on the hottest day of the year!!! This is after the dried fruits have been steeped in either, Ale, Stout, Rum Cask Cider or Brandy for a few days before.

After steaming, we carefully wrap the puddings and leave them on the shelf to mature; we then finish them off with muslin and a pretty bow.

We have four puddings in our range:-

Ale and Carrot, made to a very old recipe
Stout, which is lovely dark and rich
Rum Cask Cider, the cider is matured in rum casks
Free From , gluten, dairy, egg, nut and refined sugar free

What better way to finish off your Christmas dinner than to have a delicious, moist round Christmas pudding, sprinkled with brandy in flames.

Blackberry Cottage Christmas Puddings are available in two sizes 450g serves 4 and 900g serves 8, larger sizes available on request, to purchase online go to www.blackberrycottagefayre.co.uk

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Stockists

  To find out if you have a local stockist of Blackberry Cottage's products please contact us 01635 579730
Emma-Louise Maddocks
"Just want to say, your Christmas pudding was amazing and you have a customer for life. Everyone comments on how nice it was!"
Zac Purchase - Olympic gold & silver medallist
"Enjoying a late night wedge of Parsnip Fruit Loaf courtesy of @Blackberry_Cott from the @thamefoodfest today #yum"
Lynne, Nottingham
"Arrived very quickly and beautifully wrapped. Amazingly tasty, couldn't believe they were gluten free and made with vegetables. I'll be back for more yummy treats."
Sam, London
"We had some of your amazing cakes at the Goring Food Festival yesterday, they were delicious!"
Wendy, Wallingford
"We all thoroughly enjoyed the day with you, we learnt so much and were amazed at how easy it is to use vegetables, different flours, less sugar and fats."
Ellis, Basingstoke
"Guess what I did last night…. Made chocolate cupcakes, with butternut squash & spinach! They are delicious. Made with rice flour too, & no butter. Thank you for your inspiration."