Ah well we have been distracted a great deal since Christmas. No excuses really. However, a season of adventure in the outdoors is upon us and I thought we would just jump back in! Shall we start with some flower power?!
Tulips! Tulips everywhere! First in my garden!
They are glorious every year! But the allotment tulips this year outdid themselves! They all bloomed at once instead of in succession over 2 months. But I am not complaining!
Aren’t I a lucky girl!
But the major surprise of this season so far was the Norfolk tulip fields. I was not aware of these until mid April, so almost missed them. But now I know, it is not that surprising as our soils and climate mirror that of Holland across the North Sea. Here they grow the tulips for their bulbs! So they clip off the flower leaving the stems to nourish the bulbs before digging them up to be heat treated elsewhere.
Luckily we found the field as they were cutting or we could have missed the season all together! This one was between Gayton and East Winch, although there are several throughout West Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
There is a new twitter tag from coachcottage (Instagram account) going around to try and let people know about it next year. #Norfolktulipfestival see you then!
It’s all gone off on the allotment this past month. Yesterday we took in our first redcurrent harvest to joint the cacophony of strawberries. But there is also a list of greens to join in as well. Artichokes, mange tout, broadbeans, and our first onions. Now just holding our breath for some tomatoes and squash!
In a day of high winds (which have become increasingly common) we decided it was time for a walk. With winds of up 55mph out of the south west we decided to turn right at the end of the driveway and keep them at our back. Such was it that we were literally pushed along the blustery coast path over the marsh to where the Cley Christmas Fair was in progress. The whole village seems to be in the festive spirit.
Needless to say we bought cake and some home made produce. After fortifying ourselves we pressed on east towards Salthouse.
You can just about make out Marek in his shorts with Bonzo.
The Dun Cow was a welcome sight and we enjoyed a cheeky pub lunch.
Although we had originally planned to take the Coast Hopper home, we felt that we ought to attempt some more walking after our large meal.
Cley had lit up by the time we strolled in. Back over the hill to Blakeney we decided it was time for a fire. Another lovely weekend without getting in the car.
Pear and chocolate make excellent bedfellows, but it takes a rare talent to manifest this combination in a jar of jam. We found this one at the Country Market stall at Fakenham’s regular Thursday market.
When I first bought a jar a few months ago, one of the ladies on the stall confided there was a friendly competition among their group of producers to develop the most unusual flavours. This is reflected in their diverse selection of jams, chutneys, sauces and cakes. They have all the classics you’d expect, but often surprise with something new and delicious, like this pear and chocolate.
It is exceedingly good spread thickly on homemade scones, baked to my mum’s recipe.
After polishing off the first jar in short order, we didn’t see it on the stand for a while, so Michelle put in a special request, which they were kind enough to fulfill.
The label lists the producer as ‘K Cuttle’. Your best bet is to stop by their stall on Thursday morning during the market.
The Blakeney Farmers’ Market & Craft Fair returned today and it was another good showing. Hosted on the 2nd Saturday of each month, it has about 20 stalls, which impress with quality, locally produced food and craft at reasonable prices.
One particular find was Rhubarb & Custard, run by Bridget Bennet (the web-site doesn’t seem to be up and running yet, but they’re on Twitter @rhubardpuds and hopefully she’ll be back at the market next month). They had a delicious Apple & Maple Icing Pudding, but we chose the Orange & Almond Tart. Beautifully presented in a wooden tray, the tart has a great texture, with granular chunks of almond, complimented by a moist layer of zesty orange jam and a pastry base. It is rare to find a genuinely different kind of cake which surprises with its form and taste. This was one of those and a splendid discovery.