Crystal Creek Meadows now has a vegetable and fruit garden which offers you delicious tasty treats you can enjoy in your cottage. We’ve planted lettuces, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumbers and fennel and plenty of strawberries. Our little crops are placed around the original property’s orchard with the old apple, orange and cumquat trees and the new apricot and plum trees were added recently, so there’s plenty to pick throughout the year. It’s great fun for the kids to see where their food really comes from and adults love to chose a tasty treat for their dinner or to take home.
A big favourite has been our rhubarb which has been made into jam (with strawberries) and a whole load of delicious pies which we’ve shared with guests as part of the fun of saying here.
Vegi gardens are great for your health and the environment because we have minimal use of chemicals on the property and by using ingredients from garden we cut down on food miles…. But the best part is that it tastes really good too.
Lara Claringbould, our University of Surrey work experience student and Sophie have devised this great rhubarb tart recipe (you might be lucky enough to taste the results if there are any left!)
1 sheet (25cm) ready-rolled short crust pastry (or make your own using 50 grams of butter to 100 grams of plain flour
1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed, coarsely chopped from our garden. We have also created a recipe using strawberries on a half and half quantity to the rhubarb
1/3 cup (70g) caster sugar
Freshly squeezed orange juice from our garden and zest of the peel
tsp ground cinnamon (use ginger if using also adding strawberries)
For the crunchy top
¼ cup (55g) of brown sugar and milk
To serve with whipped cream, (we use Diary Farmers , because Sophie’s parent’s farm supplies the milk!)
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line four 10cm (base measurement) fluted tart tins with removable bases with the pastry. Trim the edges. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
2. Meanwhile, place the, rhubarb and caster sugar in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the juice and zest of one orange and add the cinnamon. Cook, gently stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until rhubarb has released its juices and is just tender. Remove from heat. Taste and add more sugar if required.
3. Place the pastry cases on an oven tray. Line the pastry bases with baking paper and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove the paper, rice or beans and bake for a further 5-7 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from oven. Spoon the rhubarb mixture evenly among pastry cases.
4. Cut the additional pastry into strips and place over the pie to great a lattice decorated top. Brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar.
5. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the pastry top is golden brown and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with a dollop of whipped cream.