Summer is an abundant and happy time at Linnels Farm...

Smørrebrød (pronounced ‘smuhr-broht’ but Danish open sandwiches to you and me!) came to Linnels Farm courtesy of Danish chef Trine Hahnemann and Hexham Book Festival. These mini works of art combine at least three of the flavour components: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami, and then require eating with a knife and fork. You can make the most of any small harvest from the garden or simply include leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Recipes for Baby Broad Bean & Cottage Cheese, Cod & Potato topped with Radish and Beef & Crispy Onions can be found in the brilliant new book Open Sandwiches by Trine Hahnemann. This tome is so much more than the name suggests with a whole section devoted to recipes for the different breads, meatballs, fishcakes, not to mention various mayonnaises, pickles and rémoulade (not the celeriac kind). If you get as inspired as I did then please get in touch because Trine has promised to come back over and run a cookery course here with us at Linnels Farm.

Better, not Butter, Beans >>

I’m talking about growing better beans using ‘root trainers’ – sounds like something you use to coax a toddler to conform or perhaps by the dentist as a preventative for braces! Beans, and indeed peas, all belong to the legume family – basically any of those plants that produce long pods containing seeds. Legumes resent root disturbance and therefore transplant better if they are grown in long root trainers which ‘air-prune’ the root tips and stop them from growing round in a circle; once roots start circling they can continue even once planted in the ground. These root trainers open up like books and can be reused numerous times. All legumes fix nitrogen: they utilise bacteria in nodules on their roots to make use of nitrogen in the air for the benefit of the plant; in return the bacteria get food via the plant photosynthesising – true symbiosis. Nitrogen is the main plant nutrient often in short supply since it leaches easily from the soil via rain. Once the peas and beans have finished cropping simply cut the plants off at the base leaving the roots to rot down into the soil and release the nitrogen back for use by the following crop; hence why brassicas crop follow peas/beans in crop rotation.

Jobs to sort:

– Soft Fruit: harvest ripe redcurrants and blackcurrants and make simple cordials with sugar and citric acid for sipping over summer, or for longer use, steep for four weeks in vodka and then strain to use in autumn cocktails.

– Sow now: spinach, Florence fennel, lamb’s lettuce, assorted lettuce leaves and chervil.

– Harvest early potatoes for tossing in butter, pots full of peas, armloads of courgettes, lashings of wild rocket, baby beetroot and carrots in multitude of colours, new season garlic and puntarelle (cicoria de catalogna) just ready for dousing with garlic, anchovies and olive oil.


Upcoming Courses @Linnels Farm

Intro to Beekeeping with Northumberland Honey Co.  Sat 14 July

Spend an informative morning learning the theoretical aspects required to step into the world of beekeeping with confidence. In the afternoon you’ll get up close to the bees, and learn the basics of bee handling, husbandry, and swarm control. The day will close with a honey and mead tasting.

Barbecuing and Al Fresco Dining Fri 20 July

The sun is shining and the beer is cooling – it must be BBQ time! You’ll explore the world of Al Fresco dining under the careful guidance of chef, Andy Snell. He’s Antipodean you know – I think they learn to BBQ as part of their education!

Anyone for Afternoon Tea? Thurs 26 July

Everyone loves to go out for afternoon tea but ever thought how little this meal costs to make? Join us on this one day workshop and you’ll discover how to make light and fluffy scones, melt in the mouth macaroons, buttery crumpets and tiny-weeny curd tartlets. Depart with all the ingredients to stage your very own afternoon tea at home.

The Savvy Student Tues 7 – Thur 9 August

This three day hands-on cookery course will teach you how to make delicious, nutritious meals with minimum mess. With the emphasis on one-pot wonders and making the most of inexpensive food you’ll depart with cookery skills and a repertoire you can cook within the confines of any student flat.

For further details visit:

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