Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crab Apple North Fife

Crab Apple tree North Fife. This tree forms part of a roadside hedge near Logie Farm, most years it is thrashed into shape mechcanically along with other trees and shrubs. Severe pruning by any standards, yet it thrives, producing a massive amount of blossom and fruit. Who would have thought such treatment was of benefit.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bluebells North Fife

Today I visited Dundee,City of Discovery. seen here from North Fife looking over The River Tay.

 The day has been blessed with continual sunshine magnifying the presence of flowers of all kinds.

Oilseed Rape, Gorse, Bluebells and trees of many varieties.

 A fabulous stand of wild native Bluebells along a roadside giving off a strong perfume in the shafts of sunlight filtering through the mature trees which form an avenue of olfactory and visual delight.

Not so good if you suffer from Hay fever.

A very worn out Queen Bumblebee, not having a long enough proboscis for bluebells and other flowers pierce a hole at the base of the flowers to drink nectar. She later half buzzed down into the grass and roosted, tired, intoxicated or both, who can tell.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pheasants North Fife

Road Killed Pheasant

Road kill pheasant, always distressing to see, it will be missed by his harem of hens though at this time of the year they will be quickly enchanted by other cocks. The mating imperative is strong just now, by the way how are you feeling? I digress, bred for shooting, pheasants are just about everywhere, not the brightest of birds compared to others, they frequently fall fowl (sorry) to road traffic. I see many victims and today I stopped and picked  this one up. My daughter could see a use for the exotic feathers and myself its value for eating and why not, free range, organic diet, what could be better unless you are vegetarian.
Traditionally game birds are hung for a time so they are more tender, the taste is stronger but in my experience not necessary. Coq au vin recipes will do you fine to get the best.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fruit Blossom North Fife

In my garden we have many young fruit trees, this year after a long cold winter they appear to have been stimulated into prolific blossom with much promise. Just after taking these photos there was a deluge washing away much of the pollen. Few pollinating insects about but if by good fortune the fruit set the garden birds take them just before they are really ripe, as a consequence the birds do well, multiplying and each year more mouths to feed.

Sweet Cherry Blossom.

Comice Pear Blossom, prolific too and maybe, just maybe it will bear fruit. Comice pears are perhaps the best pears for eating raw. They have a great fruity aroma and flavor and a slightly finer, less grainy texture than other varieties.

Orpingtons  Cockerel who always comes along to see what's going on, do anything and he will be there.

I mentioned the deluge after taking the photos of the fruit trees. Well, Fife Council have spent many tens of thousands £s implanting drainage on the road to Newburgh, Sort of, a torrent of water passes by my home bypassing the drain points which are set higher than the water flow levels. Time for some competency.. Consequently the road below was flooded.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tayview May 17th 2013 North Fife

 Tayview May 17th North Fife

Finally Spring has arrived, a wee bit late but now all growth is greening. It's even getting warmer. The whole season is about 3 weeks behind the norm, it's the middle of May and we're getting April showers of rain and hail, snow even on the high ground. Not that you need me to tell you about climate change.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wild Garlic North Fife

Wild Garlic, what a treat, it grows in abundance in North Fife, is a fabulous early wild food that has exceptional culinary and medicinal benefits. Given its antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiseptic  properties, it makes sense to pack as much into your diet as you can. The headline health benefit of garlic is its effectiveness in reducing blood pressure and, hence, heart disease and the risk of stroke. Although all garlic has this property, wild garlic has the greatest effect on lowering blood pressure.
Emerging at this time are stinging nettles, brilliant, as a food, highly nutritious particularly for the lungs. No reason why it can't be added to a pesto.

A stand of wild garlic in a wood near Cupar North Fife.

Wild Garlic flowers and buds with a stem of ground elder which is a a good addition to salads also.

Homemade pesto sauce is very easy to make and is essentially a paste of greens, parmesan, garlic and nuts with some olive oil. If you don’t have any wild garlic you can easily just substitute in other greens like basil, rocket but you would have to add in some garlic. Nuts, Pine nuts are traditional but almost any will do, it's a matter of taste and availability  Roasting the nuts definitely make a difference to the flavour of the pesto so try not to miss this step.
Recipes abound, you may wish to try:-
100g freshly picked wild garlic leaves
50g shallot, spring onions or leeks
50g shelled walnuts
200 ml olive oil, sunflower oil or rapeseed oil
50-60g mature hard cheese, Parmesan or similar hard, mature cheese), finely grated
½ - 1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar.

Easy homemade pesto recipe with wild garlic, Parmesan, cashew nuts and olive oil.

    100g (3½ oz) wild garlic
    100g (3½ oz) Parmesan cubes
    100g (3½oz) roasted cashew nuts.
    Ground black pepper
    100ml ( ½ cup) extra virgin olive oil


Heat a frying pan and add in the cashew nuts and dry roast them stirring frequently till they are golden and then transfer to a cool container immediately (or they will keep cooking on the hot frying pan).
Put wild garlic, parmesan, cashew nuts, salt and pepper into a food processor and whizz into a paste.
If you like your pesto chunky then whizz for a shorter time than you would if you want it smoother.
Transfer paste into a container and slowly drizzle in olive oil mixing all the time till pesto is saturated.
Adjust seasoning and serve.

Feel free to play around with the quantities of nuts, cheese and greens to suit your own taste. Alternatively you can roast the nuts in the oven at fan assisted 140C/ 160C/ 350F/ Gas 4 for about 15 mins. Pesto turns darker if left in contact with air. This is perfectly fine to eat. To try and avoid it turning dark you can cover the surface of the pesto with a layer of olive oil. I have frozen pesto for up to 3 months. Usually devoured before then so you can see one can never make too much.

Tonight I enjoyed some wild garlic pesto smeared onto Maultashen (meat, herb filled pasta) with a wild salad.

Now is the time, get out there and gather I'm sure you'll be delighted.

When harvesting today, along the way a pair of Mallards took interest probably in the expectation of food. Here they are, a beautiful Drake and Duck.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Easter Cake

Easter, a time to celebrate, full of tradition including eggs and bunnies.  Madeira Cake, marzipan  and covered with sugar paste decoration. I was delighted to see and enjoy this cake made by my daughter Hannah. It was a wonderful cake to eat, a pity it will all be gone quite soon.

Ash Coates Artist

Ash Coates
I first met Ash Coates two days before he vacated the studio flat at The Steeple, Newburgh North Fife.

Naturally I had a wee look.

Revealed was this series of acrylic paintings. First impressions are of enchantment, enchanted forest. There are many in the area. However Ash has now moved on to Edinbugh, thence to Berlin. The paintings speak for themselves. Magic as in mushrooms.


Ash in the Steeple arts studio Newbugh.

A portrait of Ash from his Blog Site