In this weeks edition of ‘Home Grown’, Lucy tells us what life is like on her family’s organic small holding located on the beautiful Bodmin Moor.
My family have always been very eco-conscious, so when they decided to leave Leeds for the good life and start a farm there was no way it would be anything other than organic and sustainable. Much like the ethos we have at St Eval Candle Company. My parents bought their land over a decade ago, packed up our life in the suburbs of Leeds and relocated with my little sister and I to set up our farm on Bodmin Moor. I moved back to Leeds shortly after I turned 18, desperate to get out of the countryside and return to lively city life. Yet I find myself here again, this time embracing the calm and peace, helping to plant lettuces in the vegetable patch and looking forward to walking the dogs at the end of my day.
Answering calls from our lovely St Eval customers means I’m at my desk for the majority of the day during the week bar trips to the kitchen for delicious snacks including a lemon cheesecake made by my sister and elderflower fritters courtesy of my mum – the perks of living at home! However around my working hours I am trying to help as much as possible. A morning or afternoon dog walk up on the moors, a trip down to the vegetable patch in the evening to water all the plants and shut the hens in or taking over meal planning and cooking are just a few ways I can support my parents and make their extremely busy days just a tiny bit easier.
Where we live there are no shops within walking distance (cycling perhaps, depending on how keen a cyclist you are) and no public transport either. When we moved here my parents helped to set up a community village shop and cafe, run by volunteers once a week in our village hall, selling fresh meat, veg, dairy and baked goods all made and grown by locals alongside cooked breakfasts and lunches. As of late due to Covid-19 they’ve had to adapt and evolve like many businesses and have now become more of an ‘essentials box’ collection service or drop off for those who are vulnerable and isolating. This means Thursdays are spent in the kitchen baking sourdough and sausage rolls ready to go out in the boxes the following day and I must say it is happy faces all round if my mum manages to bring a few left-overs home.
Recently it was lambing season which takes up a lot of time, regular checks throughout the day and night to ensure all new lambs arrive safe and well. Soon it will be time for the sheep to be sheared, they are spending a lot of the day hiding from the heat underneath the trees for some much needed shade. We are practically a one man band here at the farm with my mum handling the majority of all things farm related, she likes to use traditional farming methods and has been known to shear the sheep by hand from time to time! Fortunately our family on my mums side have been farming up in the Yorkshire Dales for generations so we have plenty of contacts in our farming helpline address book, should a situation arise of which we’re unsure.
The vegetable patch requires consistent love and attention all year round so a decent amount of time is spent there, wonderful when it’s sunny, not quite so wonderful after a week of heavy rain. Luckily we have not had too much of the latter recently. This year we are expecting some beautiful fruits from our trees in the orchard – apples, pears, plums, cherries and damsons. We are already enjoying fresh lettuce and kale picked from the vegetable patch, with corn, carrots, runner beans, cucumbers, courgettes and chillies to name a few well on their way to being ready. We have been blessed with such amazing weather lately, battling with stormy weather does not make life easy for anyone who works outside.
The hens keep us well stocked with eggs so we have an egg based meal at least 2 times a week, whether its Shakshouka, traditionally made with peppers but it is great for using up any spare vegetables such as courgettes, aubergine or green beans. Or if there’s fresh bread, just a simple plate of egg mayonnaise, salad and sourdough. When the produce is this good, the food need not be fancy. This weeks’ recipe is a curried frittata to utilise a curry powder I made from cumin, coriander, mustard and fennel seeds, cinnamon and turmeric but any curry powder/paste will work. Egg and curry spices may seem an unusual combination but I was once asked to make a curried courgette quiche by a family I was volunteering with in Spain and found it worked together wonderfully. I always finish my frittatas in the oven so if doing the same make sure it is in an oven proof pan; I like ‘The Green Pan’ frying pans, they are non-stick and oven proof up to 180c.
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 1 bunch flat beans, roughly chopped
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons curry powder – add more or less depending on how much flavour you want to come through, this was delicately curried frittata
- Knob of butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 170c and bring a pot of water to boil
- Blanche the bean for 3 minutes and drain, set to one side
- Set the pan to a medium heat and melt the butter
- Add in the onions and fry gently until soft and almost translucent – around 8-10 minutes
- Sprinkle in the curry powder and continue cooking for another 2 minutes
- Add the beans in, gently stirring to coat them in the curry powder
- Pour in the eggs, stirring to make sure the onions and beans are evenly dispersed throughout the pan
- After about 15 minutes the base and the edges should be golden, the top starting to set but still quite wobbly. Place in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until fully set.
- Flip out on to a plate/chopping board, slice and serve
Our frittata was enjoyed with a potato salad, a cucumber and carrot salad topped with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
We hope you enjoy experimenting with new recipes, new foods and being out in the sunshine. Share your stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share on social @stevalcandles
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