Keep calm, and garden on….

You don’t need me to tell you that we are living in extraordinary times. We’re all adjusting to a new ‘normal’ currently, cut off from family and friends. Tough and exhausting. I’m at home on my own with three preschoolers during the day. The monotony is trying but in the last couple of months we have not only been seeking more inspiration in the kitchen but also in the garden.

It is no secret I do a lot of cooking with my boys. They were stirring and mixing before they were walking. However as I come from a farming background and a family of very good gardeners I have been encouraged to experiment a little more in our own garden, which we have had for little under a year. As we can’t venture down to my parents farm any time soon, we’ve created our kitchen garden in the south side of Glasgow.

A growing and gardening revolution is taking place throughout the country, on balconies, window sills, pots in porches and even in back lanes of terrace houses. And although we’re not going to be self sufficient the lessons it is teaching myself and my three boys are paramount. Like cooking, gardening is an important life skill that should be harnessed from a very young age. Simply sowing a seed, helps to give children an understanding as to where our food comes from and how it is cultivated. You can’t put a price on that.

This week I should have been heading down to my second home from home, London, to enjoy the 2020 Chelseas Flower Show for the very first time. However suffice to stay I am at home but like those who are lucky enough to have a garden, we are spending a lot of time in our green space. It may not be a Chelsea Gold winning design but the boys and I have have created our own unique escape and sanctuary, allowing them to grow, flourish and learn new things as well as get even more grubby and filthy than ever before. I will never ever have a clean house with three boys. Fact.

We’ve created two beds bursting with bulbs and sees to attract butterflies and bees in the coming months and our four raised beds and up cycled sheep feed containers are home to a host of vegetables including, pumpkins, peas, leeks, onions, garlic, potatoes, rhubarb, cabbage, beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard and much much more.

As cliche as it sounds, watching things grow is not only a distraction from things we can’t control but it also inspiring. Nature and the seasons are still turning and evolving. Bees and butterflies are beginning to appear. New shoots of growth are bursting through the earth. Each morning we inspect the changes over night in the vegetable beds and in that moment we are a million miles away from every other distraction and worry. It is addictive. A positive addiction. Gardening at this time of uncertainty could be compared to a fourth emergency service. Sharpening are green fingers and putting your hands in the earth is not only good for you physically but also emotionally and mentally.

We’re reconnecting with nature, stepping away from our fears and focusing on something other that the 24 hour news cycles, which is all too often overwhelming. Spending 120 minutes in nature each week has shown to have a positive impact on mental well being and I can vouch for that as someone who has suffered from post natal depression and anxiety following the birth of my first and second son and during my third pregnancy.

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For children, gardening and growing things provides them with a focus and encourages their curiosity. It allows them to become increasingly independent as they care and look after plants from seedlings and beyond. I wish I could capture and bottle the excitement when Otto and Reuben first spotted the blossom on the apple and pear trees we planted at the start of the year. It was infectious.

We’ve all had to pause and slow down to some extent. However this recharge of our batteries is perhaps something we all need as we spend more time cooking and growing together. Hopefully these new habits we foster will last beyond this period of lockdown.

Beyond planting seeds, there are lots of other fun things to do with children to encourage them into the garden. I have suggested a few ideas below and if you head to the Royal Horticultural Society website, this week to coincide with their Virtual Chelsea Flower Show they will also be sharing ideas to encourage more mini green fingered crusaders. And if you are looking for more recipe ideas to get kids cooking head over to my Instagram page @MrsHelencross, where I am posting daily recipes to help inspire during lock down.

1. Make a bug hotel out of bits of wood, pine cones, leaves, old pot plants and toilet rolls, sticks and bricks. Basically anything you have lying around your garden. Let their imagination run wild and each day inspect for any new arrivals, who may have checked in.

2. Make a hedgehog den in the corner of your garden , from logs and sticks, to provide a shelter. You can leave water and dog food for them too.

3. Get creative and make your own mini garden, whether it’s for fairies, dragons, unicorns or like the one we created, dinosaurs.

4. If you’re handy with a saw and a hammer and have old pallets then a mud kitchen is a must if you have space. Add a few old pots and pans and you’ll be enjoying mud pie, dandelion soup and snail porridge in no time at all. Or make your own make believe camp fire from sticks and stones.

5. Up cycled old wellies, bread bins, and watering cans are great for children to plant things in. Just be sure to make holes in the bottom for drainage. Give them there own one to take responsibility of and they will really surprise you with their commitment. You may even catch them talking to their plants.

6. For the arty using flowers, leaves and sticks as paint brushes is a great way to encourage mark making using nature and you could also try making your own butterfly feeder. Get a glass jar fill with a water sugar solution and make a hole in the lid big enough to slide a sponge through. Decorate the jar and hang upside down. Or if you want to make your own bird feeder scoop the flesh out of an orange, fill with peanut butter and seeds and make two holes on either side so you can tie the orange up.

7. Using food in your house get children to cut pieces of fruit and veg such oranges, apples, peppers and lemons to find the seeds and plant them up in a little pots of compost to put on your windowsill and watch what grows.

8. Finally have a go at making your own watering can out of a plastic milk container. Simply fill with water and make several little holes in the lid.

Recipe

Today’s recipe, making the most of the very last of the wild garlic with these Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones. These are epic and scones are a great store coupboard basic to get kids to learn to make. Super easy and super tasty. We have so much wild garlic on our doorstep but if you don’t simply add a tsp. Of mustard powder or paprika. 💚

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1. Heat the oven to 220c and lighty grease a baking tray.

2.Using your fingers rub together 500g self raising flour, 4tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt & 200g softened unsalted butter, just like your making a crumble topping.

3. Stir in 150g grated cheddar cheese, 2 handfuls of chopped wild garlic and 200ml full fat milk. Mix it all together.

4. Turn the dough on to a floured surface and knead gently. Using your hands pat the dough and flatten it into a round shape about 2cm thick.

5. Using a cutter, cut out scone shapes and pop on your baking tray.

6. Prick the tops using a fork and brush the tops with a little milk and egg mixture. Bake for 12 -14 minutes. They should be well risen and golden in colour. Leave to cool.

Store cupboard staples: oats

Many of us may find ourselves having to resort to store cupboard basics over the coming weeks, but you will be amazed what you can make in the kitchen with only a few ingredients, which you’ll have in the back of the cupboard. Let’s get inventive and go back to basics with some cheap yet delicious and versatile staples. My favourite is the humble porridge oat. Not just for breakfast.

Sticky fruity Flapjacks

Who doesn’t love a flapjack? And if you have children at home with you more than usual, then this is a great recipe to get them involved in to.

Makes about 12

1. In a pot melt 200g of unsalted butter & 6 tbsp honey together.

2. Add 100g sunflower seeds, 140g chopped apricots, 2tsp cinnamon and 200g oats. Grate one carrot and combine all the ingredients together and pop into a greased baking tray.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 25 minutes. Leave to cool and refrigerate before cutting.

Apricot and Raisin Granola

Once you’ve made your own homemade granola, you’ll never ever go back to the shop bought stuff again. It’s so easy to make and so delicious. Perhaps too delicious.

1. Heat the oven to 150C

2. Add to a bowl 300g porridge oats, 100g of chopped hazelnuts, 50g of chopped cashew nuts, 2 tsp ground cinnamon & 2 tsp. Vanilla extract.

3. Pour 50 ml of light olive oil and 150ml maple syrup into the bowl and mix everything together well.

4. Spread the granola evenly over the baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes, turning the mixture with a spatula a couple of times. It will be ready when golden.

5. Leave to cool and then mix 50g of raisins and 50g of chopped dried apricots through the granola. Store in an airtight container.

Escape to the kitchen and the garden…

I normally post once a month on here, with a snapshot of seasonal dishes and gardening tips for you and your little cooks and gardeners. However, like so many I am going to be at home with my brood for the foreseeable while my better half is at work and as I live for routine this space is going to provide me with a creative outlet, where I can share more recipes, you can cook with you children and also the highs and lows of our gardening endeavours.

A snapshot of our garden in March, ready to be pressed and then framed.Cooking and gardening, are not only important life skills but also provide an opportunity to escape and provide distraction from the things we can’t control. Gardening especially, at this time of year is an opportunity to sow seeds for the future, providing a glimmer of hope as green shoots begin to appear. Whether you decide to plant potatoes or sunflower seeds, gardening will provide something to focus on and watch grow. Every child will watch in wonder.

You also don’t need lots of expensive kit. We’ve even recycled an old bread bin and made watering cans into plant pots. Just be sure to make holes in the bottom, using a hammer and a nail or a drill. We’ve also used old egg cartons to sow sweet pea and tomato and courgette seeds.

If you scroll back to my March blog post you will be able to get a recap of what’s in season this month and what to plant out. Our potatoes are planted and we’re planting more onions, carrots and beetroot in later this week. We’ve also planted some butterfly friendly bulbs, including Dahlia’s, to bring some colour to our garden. For more inspiration check out The Good Life Ain’t Easy on Instagram and The Dirt podcast from the editors of Grow Your Own Magazine. Also my secret crush, Monty Don and Gardeners World is back on our screens on Friday night. Never has this been so timely and who doesn’t love a guy in a woolly roll neck, with big hands and who likes to get dirty!

My recipes will keep a seasonal theme but I will also share recipes that use pantry staples such as flour, lentils and oats as well as recipes to make sure we are making the most of every last scrap of food we have before we restock. An important message to help reduce waste.

A black veil has undoubtedly fallen across our fragile world. However the seasons are still turning and the clocks keep ticking. Night turns into day and the birds chirp and the bees are beginning to buzz. This is a time to pause. Take stock and be kind to those around you. Life is going to slow down, while those on the frontline work tirelessly to fight to regain some sense of normality. While we stay home take time to enjoy the simple things we all take for granted, like cooking a meal and sitting at the dining table. It is going to be difficult but I hope this space provides some ideas and gets more children cooking and stirring up homemade memories in the heart of the home.

There will be lots more tips and recipes over on my Instagram feed @mrshelencross

Fruit Bowl Cake

This cake is great for making the most of fruit that looks a little past it’s best as well as some pantry staples, including flour, oats and dried fruit (left over from Christmas!). Kids will love mashing the fruit and cracking the eggs. And at the end of it you can enjoy a big slice with a cuppa. Everything is better after a cup of tea.

1. In a bowl mash three bananas together and mix in two grated apples.

2. Crack four eggs and stir everything together.

3. Next add 100g of oats, 140g self raising flour, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, a handful of cashew nuts and a couple of handfuls of mixed fruit to the bowl and fold all the ingredients together.

4. Add 2 tsp. of honey for extra sweetness. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray and top with slices of apple before baking at 180c for 50 minutes.

Next up recipes for Flapjacks and granola.

March: Go Wild For Wild Garlic…

If you go down to the woods this weekend, don’t be surprised to come across lots and lots of wonderfully scented and vibrant wild garlic. It’s in abundance at the moment and is a foragers and cooks dream ingredient for the month of March and April. Little foragers will also love to help pick some and take it back to the kitchen.

From the wild onion family, this perennial bulb is such a versatile ingredient. It can be the star attraction in pesto (recipe below) fried in butter with onions and mushrooms and served on toast, stirred through a tomato sauce or added to a frittata.

And if you’re looking for more vibrancy in the kitchen make the most of blood oranges this month. We can’t get enough of them. The olive oil cake recipe below is a must if you’re looking for a new pudding idea this weekend too. Just watch you don’t burn the top of it!

What’s in season; leeks and turnips, perfect for making broth soup with, just add some carrots, onions and vegetable stock for a warming and hearty lunch idea . Wild nettles are beginning to appear, wild garlic, blood oranges and forced rhubarb are all at their best.

What to grow; our seed potatoes have been chitted and have been planted in their tubs at the bottom of the garden as well as some more Rhubarb. I love growing potatoes with children as when it comes to harvesting them, it’s like digging for nuggets of gold. Follow me over on instagram @MrsHelenCross where we’ll be sharing more of our growing adventures as we work our way through March and hopefully stumble across some drier days. We can but dream.

Top Tip; If you’re looking to get children into gardening then a great way to kick off this addictive hobby is to get them collecting Cacti, succulents and Venus fly traps. They are low maintenance and relatively cheap, and far less effort than a dog. We headed to Apercu in the Southside of Glasgow last weekend and picked up a few gems to start off our collection. This is a gorgeous shop and a house plant lovers dream. Check it out if you are ever along Pollockshaws Road. A hub for vibrant and quirky independent small businesses.

Recipes

Wild Garlic Pesto

Picking something straight from the ground, taking it home and cooking with it, is a great way to really help children understand where their food comes from and also helps them to experiment with new flavours. Foraging for wild garlic is a great example of this process. Just be sure to respect the environment you are picking from, don’t pick too much from one patch and wash thoroughly.

1. In a food blender, mix together 2 good big handfuls of wild garlic, juice of one large lemon, 160g of Parmesan, 120g of cashew nuts and enough olive oil until you get to the consistency you prefer. Use as a dip, spread it on toast or stir it through pasta.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

This is a a very decadent and moist cake and is a great way to show children how some ingredients, in this case blood oranges, can be used in their entirety. I love food but hate waste.

1. You will need a 20cm loose bottom round cake tin, greased with butter.

2. Wash three blood oranges and pop them in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Slice in half and remove the pips. Blend the oranges in a food processor until you have a smooth pure and set aside.

3. Pre heat the oven to 180c. In a bowl whisk 100ml of olive oil, 4 eggs and 160 g of light brown sugar together. Fold in 160g of ground almonds, 2tsp. of baking powder and the orange pure until mixed thoroughly.

4. Bake for 50 min or until golden brown on top and cooked through.

5. Top with a homemade sticky toffee sauce and fresh slices of oranges if you like.

February: love is blood oranges & apple cake

February is here and the month of love, birthdays (in our house!) and pancakes is full of promise in the kitchen and a chance to get children to experiment with some really tasty seasonal stars. My favourite being blood oranges. Or as my children call them, jelly oranges. The colour and the taste are both so unbelievably beautiful.

In between the snow showers, storms and sunshine now is the time to really get thinking about what you can sow and grow in the garden or your window boxes. Veg in One Bed, by Huw Richards has become my go to gardening bible. We’re also loving the fact that the snow drops are out and our daffodils and tulips are beginning to hatch. Spring is in the air. Honestly.

We have not one, not two but three recipes for you to put to the test this month, allowing you to stir up some really delicious homemade memories as well as sharpening a few more kitchen skills along the way. Plus if you head to my Instagram page @MrsHelenCross, you’ll find a bonus recipe for orange marmalade chocolate truffles.

What’s in Season: Blood oranges, kale, apples, rhubarb, leeks and cauliflower.

What to Grow: The garden looks like a pretty barren place at the moment and nothing really looks very alive. Except of course our winter pansies in our hanging baskets and tubs as well as the tulips and daffodils and hynacinths which are beginning to raise their heads from their slumber. However now is the time to sow tomatoes and peppers on a warm windowsill. We’ve planted our seeds in toilet paper tubes and filled them with compost.

We’ve also planted a blackberry and raspberry bush as well as an apple tree and a pear tree, as we start to get our new garden in to shape for the year ahead. Our fruit trees were sourced from the Scottish Fruit Tree company in Glasgow’s West End. John is doing great thinks to get people and schools gardening. Look him up. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Apple & cinnamon cake…

We made this cake for Ivor’s first birthday last week. Still warm, just out of the oven and served with ice cream it makes for the perfect winter supper time treat.

1. Core and chop two apples into slices. In a bowl mix the apple slices in 2 tsp. Of cinnamon and 2tbsp. of soft brown sugar and leave to the side while you make the cake mixture.

2. In a mixer, add 125g unsalted butter and 120g caster sugar and mix together. Next add in 225g plain flour, 3 medium eggs, 2tsp. Baking powder and 5 tbsp full fat milk. Mix all together and finally stir in 2tsp cinnamon. Pour the cake mixture into a greased round cake tin.

3. Place the apple slices on top of the cake mixture in a circle and bake in a pre heated oven for 40min or until golden brown on top at 180c.

Overnight apple oats with blood oranges

Made the night before and stored in the fridge, this recipe makes for a great breakfast to dish up the next morning. Top with Rora dairy natural yoghurt and our seasonal favourites this month, slices of blood oranges.

1. Add 3 cups of oats to a big bowl, along with 3 cups of full fat milk, one grated apple and 1 cup of raisins. Add 2 tsp. Cinnamon into the mix and fold all the ingredients together. Leave overnight in the fridge.

2. Serve with yoghurt and fruit.

Kale & basil pesto…

There is always a bag of kale languishing at the bottom of the fridge and a pot of basil on the window sill, and the kids love the chance to blitz things in the food processor, plus educating them about how to use up leftovers. So this is a fun recipe to throw together and the pesto can be made by the time you cook the pasta on the hob. Serve with pasta or stir through pea soup.

1. Take a good big handful of kale and basil and blitz in the food processor with 1 cup of cashew nuts, 1 cup of grated Parmesan, 3 cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup of Scottish rapeseed oil and the juice of one lemon. Keep stored in a sealed clean jam jar for up to three days.

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January: grow, cook & eat the seasons

Happy New Year! I’m back. I’ve been back in many forms over the last few years but after having had my three children and countless house moves in the last five years we’re settled. And the blog, which has taken on many guises, is back with a purpose. A purpose which I hope is going to stay on track.

The purpose is to inspire people to get creative in the kitchen with children and to educate them about where our food comes from and hopefully inspire them to grow their own. Cooking and spending time outdoors is for me escapism and medicine for the mind. Something I want to pass on to my three boys, consequently harnessing them with important life skills.

I’m not a trained chef. I studied History! I just happen to enjoy cooking and feeding, as well as eating. I’m not going to pretend that my kids are great eaters either. They are not. Although the 11 month old is certainly better than the three year old and the four year old. So with that in mind this is not a blog to create dishes that will encourage them to eat more green vegetables. That will evolve in time.

Rather this is a space to encourage you to get children into the kitchen and to get growing, wether in a pot, on the windowsill or in a raised bed. I want to educate about seasonal food, reducing food waste from early on and most importantly to experiment, create a mess and stir up lasting homemade memories.

Growing up on a farm on the south west coast of Scotland I have been fortunate enough to learn from early on, where our food comes from and the processes involved. Something I can still share with my children by visiting their grandparents and something I want to share further afield.

Scotland’s food and drink scene is rich and diverse and should be celebrated. Scottish farming has a great story to tell and as consumers and future consumers it is important now more than ever to understand and to be educated constructively as to where our food comes from and how to use it. The Royal Highland Education Trust is a great resource for parents and teachers alike, taking the countryside into the classroom.

Each month I’ll share with you a recipe, that’s in season as well as what you can try to grow. You’ll find further tips and recipes on my Instagram feed @MrsHelenCross as well as an insight into how farms across Scotland are diversifying bringing some great products to our kitchen tables. Happy cooking!

What’s in season…

Seville oranges; the month for marmalade in now. Sweet potatoes; mashed, baked or roasted with olive oil and paprika for the perfect chips. Parsnips; Not just for Christmas. Try roasting them with olive oil, maple syrup and grated orange zest. British apples are still going strong. Stay tuned for my recipe for chocolate, apple and pecan brownies.

What’s growing…

Our onions and garlic are beginning to break through and we’re harvesting our leeks. All else is quiet but I’m prepping our window sill in the kitchen to plant up our tomato seeds. Nothing beats watching seeds grow. It brings hope and wonderment and kids love the process, which seems like magic in their eyes. I really recommend if you are novice like me to devour Huw Richards, Veg in one Bed. It’s a great read to get you growing your own.

Cookbook stack…

I have made a promise with myself to bake bread again in 2020, so James Morton’s latest book Super Sourdough is a pretty good place to kick off my love affair with freshly baked bread. We had a sourdough starter in the past called Stanley and our most recent one is call Sven. Watch this space.

The Roasting Tin by Ruknini Iyer was a lifesaver in 2019 and perfect if you want to just chuck everything into one pot and cook, if you are short on time.

Claire Thomson, aka the 5 0’clock Apron has revolutionised what we do with some of our most commonly used kitchen ingredients and jazzed up meal times using ingredients such as tomatoes, lemons, mince, eggs and pasta. New Kitchen Basics is a must if you are in desperate need of new ideas.

This month…

Source out your local butcher and buy your Haggis for your own Burns Supper. My boys love a trip to our local butchers, and buying good quality meat locally and a little less often is better for us. Also when buying meat in the supermarkets look for the Red Tractor logo and and for the Quality Meat Scotland logo to ensure quality. More on this at a future date.

Recipe of the month

Marmalade

Seville oranges are the perfect antidote to banish the January blues and they are the seasonal stars this month. Nothing beats the smell of marmalade bubbling away on the hob and it’s a great recipe for children as it allows them to chop, squeeze and scoop out part of the fruit, fine tuning important skills. Plus if they are fans of Paddington they will be fans of their very own homemade marmalade spread on toast and butter.

1. Begin by washing and drying 1kg of Seville oranges and 1 lemon and chop them in half. Squeeze the juice of the oranges and the lemon into a pot filled with 2 litres of water.

2. Scoop out the seeds and the pith of the oranges and leave to the side. Next chop the orange halves in to thin slices or thick if you prefer and add the slices into the pot.

3. Place the seeds and the pith into the centre of a muslin and tie a knot in it to make a bag. Place the muslin into the pot, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for two hours with the lid off.

4. Next remove the muslin bag and add 2kg of preserving sugar to the pot. Stir until dissolved. Increase the heat and then boil rapidly for 15 minutes until it reaches setting point. To test, remove the pan from the heat and place a little of the marmalade on to a cold plate. Push with your finger and if it wrinkles it is ready. If not boil for a further 5 minutes.

5. Transfer into sterilised jars and leave to cook before sealing the lids.

*Always remember to supervise children using knives and around hot ovens and hobs

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Pumpkins, not just for Halloween.

Autumn means three things; Shorter colder days, warm knits and comfort food. Our annual pilgrimage to Arnprior Farm’s pumpkin patch in Stirlingshire signalled Autumn is now in full swing and we can indulge in warm comforting dishes that are good for the soul.

Having collected our pumpkins ahead of Halloween from Arnprior Farm, which has become increasingly popular for creating unique interactive family farming days and shining the spotlight on sustainable Scottish farming practices, I have used some of our haul and turned them into tasty mid week meal ideas for all the family to enjoy and the recipes are super easy to get kids involved in too. (Scroll down)

Terrifyingly, however many people are still unaware they can use pumpkins to cook with and they are in fact a great source of potassium, excellent for gut health and are a rich source of vitamin A.

As a result of this lack of knowledge there is a scary amount of food waste each year after Halloween, with an estimated 18 million pumpkins thrown away, the equivalent of 18000 tonnes of pumpkin flesh. That is a lot if soup, pies and muffins!

These frightening statistics have spurned Lucy and Russel Calder from Kilduff Farm in the heart of East Lothian to grow a specific culinary pumpkin patch this year, with mouthwatering results.

Although all pumpkins are edible, culinary pumpkins are sweeter and tastier. The flesh of the Tractor variety for example once roasted is brilliant in muffins, combined with cinnamon and orange.

To inspire families to eat more pumpkins this year Kilduff Farm staged a culinary pumpkin masterclass on the patch with food writer and cook Sonia Lee of Lee Life Nutrition. Sonia has developed a number of pumpkin recipes, to ensure there is little waste this year.

I feel a pumpkin revolution is about to occur and we’ll definitely be planting some seeds next Spring in our raised beds at home because you really can create something very delicious in the kitchen and they are beautiful.

What to make

Autumnal roast veg sausage traybake

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degree C.

2. Chop two white onions into chunks as well as 1 red pepper, 1 courgette and peel and chop 2 sweet potatoes and 250g of pumpkin into chunks

3. Add all the chopped veg into a roasting tin along with 8 cloves of garlic and drizzle a good glug of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup and add 4 tsp. of paprika over the veg. Using your hands mix everything together to ensure everything is well coated. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Half way through give the veg a mix.

4. Then add 8 good quality sausages on top of the vegetables and roast for a further 25 – 30 minutes, until the sausages are golden brown and cooked through. You may want to give them a turn after about 15 minutes.

Pumpkin and sweet potato ginger soup

1. Finely dice two white onions and 2 garlic cloves. Add to your soup pot with 40g of butter and gently heat for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Continue to stir to ensure the onion doesn’t burn.

2. Add 350g of pumpkin and 4 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into chunks to the soup pot along with 900ml of vegetable stock and 2 good tsp. of ground ginger.

3. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and allow to simmer with the lid on the pot for a further 20 minutes. Blitz using a food blender until you have a smooth consistency.

What to plant

This month we’ve planted garlic and onion bulbs as well as rhubarb crowns and also planted our spring bulbs, including daffodils.

What to create

With Halloween just around the corner we’ve been making scary pumpkin faces from paper plates and lots of paints as well as leaf monsters using sticks and leaves we’ve collected from the woods and goggly eyes.