Posted in Recipes

Vegetarian Christmas pie

I know christmas is over, but this pie is delicious and has its own gravy. It can be eaten hot, cold with pickles and freezes well.

It easily serves 8 if not 10 best tin is a 9in spring form cake tin.

The pastry is hot water pastry which is ridiculously easy to make.



The filling

Olive oil

4 finely sliced leeks

3 garlic cloves

250g mushrooms (chestnut are best)

450g mixed nuts (I used pecanGs, cashew walnut’s)

150g vacuum packed chestnut’s

3 eggsG

150g cheese gruyere grated

100g fresh cranberries

150g dried cranberries

Fresh sage Rosemary thyme


100ml water

80g butter

275g plain flour (plus extra to roll out)

Pinch salt

1 egg and 1 to glaze

4 Tbs cranberry sauce to glaze


2tbs butter

1tbs tomato puree

1tsp marmite

Plain flour


500ml vegetable stock

Pinch brown sugar


Fry the leeks in hot oil with the garlic rosemary and thyme. For 4 to 5 mins. Add mushrooms , fresh cranberries and sage for another couple of minute’s. Reserve a couple of Tbs for the gravy. Then set aside.

Toast the nuts in the oven for about 10mins at 200c. Then blend them in a food processor until they are a coarse powder.

Blend the chestnuts until coarse.

Add nuts,chestnuts and cheese to the leeks and stir in eggs until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pastry heat water and butter until the butter melts and the water boils.

Mix the flour salt and egg together then add the hot water mix quickly. Shape into a ball and leave to chill for 5mins.

Keep about 1/5 pastry to one side roll out the rest and line the cake tin, lava the pastry so its about 1n too big all round.

Put half the filling in then a layer of dried cranberries , finish with the rest of the filling.

Roll the remainder of the pastry into a lid place on the top, lift up the spare inch wrapover and crimp the edges together. Cut a slit in the middle to let out the steam.

Bake in the oven at 200c for about 40mins take out carefully remove from tin, brush with beaten egg and top with cranberry sauce, put back in the oven for 10mins.

For the gravy, melt butter and add reserved mixture and tomato puree cook on low heat for 3 mins add marmite flour Rosemary.

Gradually add stock and pinch of sugar season with salt pepper simmer 15mins till thickened.


Posted in Projects, Wildlife pond

Wildlife Pond from old Tyre’s.

DSC_0077Our bottom field is very wet and swampy when we first moved here four years ago we planted 125 native trees in the field including willow and elder as a result of this it has dried up slightly.

We decided to build a large wildlife pond on this site as despite being surrounded with moving water in the form of a river and brook. Having still water would attract a different type of wildlife. Hopefully we will soon be surrounded by frogs newts and dragon flies.

The field slopes away towards the river so rather than try and dig too deep in the swamp of a field we blocked the low sides with tyres and dug out the higher end. The overall diameter is 6 metres with variable depths between 30cm to 1 metre.DSC_0121 We used about 60 tyres in total first placing them around the area to get the shape.

The tyres to the left of the picture is the natural high end with field falling away towards the river here we piled them higher. Dreadful weather the day we started the dig with Scott and Brian here in full waterproofs before even filling the pond. All seasons weather that day wind, rain, snow, sleet and a tiny bit of sunshine.

DSC_0119As soon as we started digging the potential pond turned into a swamp and we were floundering around in mud.DSC_0120As we dug the tyres around the pond were filled with the soil removed. At the end of the day the tyres were full of mud and so was the pond.DSC_0150Day 2 trying to empty the pond so we could remove as much silt as possible and line with old carpet and a pond liner to prevent the pond emptying during the summer. looking at this picture you would think a liner would not be required but, during the summer months it would probably get very low without a liner.

Picture below shows the use of a water pump to pump out the water. Adam turned it into a rather clever water canon so we could empty the pond to line with carpet and liner. DSC_0160The reason for lining with carpet is to prevent tree roots stones etc piercing the liner. Adam and Brian maneuvering lengths of old carpet into place .DSC_0166DSC_0164Bottom of pond completely covered  with carpet.DSC_0168

At last the under liner and lining could go in place.We could now fill it up.Pump put into the river to  fill. We also incorporated a natural channel of water running down the hill. More photos to follow  with the completely full pond and ingenious tin channel.DSC_0178

Posted in Recipes

Sticky apple and cinnamon buns

These are definitely a favourite in our house. They freeze well and the dough can be frozen at anytime in the process so you can make them at a later date. I often make the dough and leave it in the fridge to rise overnight,then continue the process the next morning. Warm apple, cinnamon and toffee straight out of the oven with morning coffee is a sure fire winner. The filling can be varied with nuts instead of the apple and chocolate spread instead of the butter mixture.



500gm  strong white flour

40gm castor sugar

10gm salt

250gm milk

60gm butter

15gm fresh yeast

2 eggs


185gm butter

185gm soft brown sugar

1/4tsp salt


185gm butter

185gm castor sugar

ground cinnamon ( I use a dessertspoon full but use to taste)

2 cooking apples sliced thinly


Mix flour castor sugar and salt into a bowl. Warm milk and butter together to hand hot then whisk in the yeast. Add this together with the eggs to the flour and mix with a dough hook on slow for about 15 mins or mix by hand till it feels elastic. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. I cover the bowl with a damp T towel to prevent a skin forming. It will take roughly an hour in a warm place. (it will also rise in the fridge if left overnight)


Once the dough has risen turn it onto a floured work top and flatten gently to remove the air, fold the dough about four times into the center, shape into a ball and put back into the bowl. Leave to rise again for about  30 mins

Beat the ingredients from the second list and spread into a baking tin, I use a large roasting pan.wp_20161123_20_56_24_pro

Once the dough has risen again turn onto a floured surface and roll out into a large oblong as thin as you can get the dough, you will find it very elastic at this stage. Spread the ingredients from the third list on to the flattened dough, then roll up like a swiss role.

Then slice it into slices and place the cartwheels into the baking tray. Leave to rise again until they are roughly double in size. (see fourth picture)

Bake in a preheated oven 190C or 180C fan for 25mins. leave in the tin for five minutes so the toffee settles, then take out of the tin so the bottom of the buns becomes the top.



Posted in Garden

Frozen mud maid

Winter has arrived in our magical valley minus 9 last night, Morwena our mud maid looks ethereal coated silver in ice. She lies asleep in the Stumpery, made from logs we found in the field. The area is in the shade and is planted with ferns and other shade loving plants, toad lilies appear in the spring with there little nodding heads. The magnificent angelica appears in the summer and happily self seeds in the area.

It is all fairly new this only being the second winter, earlier in the year she was completely covered in moss but  with the hot summer, the moss disappeared  something I am hoping to address next year.

She is 9  feet (3 metres long) with grass for hair which turns red in the summer. She is raised on a slope  in the front I have planted a patchwork carpet of ground cover which will flower, in the summer like her very own flowery duvet.



Posted in Orchard

Organic freshly pressed apple juice

We have had an amazing apple harvest this year with an ancient cooking apple tree so laden with apples the branches were almost touching the ground. We also have another very old eating apple tree which was struggling  when we arrived with barbed wire growing into the trunk. After lots of TLC and the removal of the diseased dead or damaged branches it has been rejuvenated and provided an enormous crop of delicious eating apples.

They have all been collected including the windfalls, Sunday we spent the day pressing and bottling the juice, so far we have 40 litres of refreshing juice with at least 4 times that amount to do yet.


Eating apples in the round basket cookers in the square box.

The large cooking apples were cut into two, the eaters left whole. They are then put through a garden shredder.

An empty pillow case is placed into the apple press with the pulp then put into the press and the pillow case pulled across the top of the fruit. The handle of the press is then twisted and the lid lowered onto the fruit. The resulting juice then pours into the bucket underneath.

Some of the juice we put into clean plastic milk bottles and it was frozen.

The remainder was Pasturised and put into sterilised empty wine bottles.

To Pasturise the juice it is placed into a large jam kettle and heated to 74degrees centigrade for 15 seconds.


Posted in Course

Bread making Course

Debut bread making course last Saturday.

The three lovely ladies who attended enjoyed their day and went home laden with bread.

We made seeded, Cranberry and Walnut loaves.

The Focaccia and Prosecco we had for lunch also went down well.


Happy to take enquiries for the next course.

Posted in vegetable garden

Giant Parsnip

First post for ages, main reason being the enormous Clay Oven in the background of this picture it has been a labour of love and we are still working on landscaping the area underneath it.

I will also admit I am struggling to get my head around using the site i am hoping to get better. These little posts are a practice run.

I hope to post full instructions on building the oven together with photos of the process.

The vegetable beds have  been neglected this year due to all the time spent trying to get the flower garden and river bank under control.

We had a good frost last night so I decided to have a look at the parsnips this morning and this was the beast I dug up. As you can see it was enormous, enough to add to a beef stew and roast some in the oven, despite neglect and its huge size it was delicious. Throwing the water from the duck bath together with their poop is obviously feeding them well.


Posted in Recipes

Stilton and caramelised onion Quiche

This is one of my favourite Quiche recipes and tastes delicious hot or cold, great with green salad and hot buttered new potatoes.20161028_132627


  • 400g plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • teaspoon paprika
  • cold water (to mix)
  • salt
  • 750g red onions finely sliced.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves only
  • 6 eggs
  • 750ml milk
  • 200g stilton


  1. Make pastry, mix butter and paprika into flour  until it resembles breadcrumbs then add cold water until it binds together, chill in fridge for 30mins.
  2. Heat oven to 190C or fan 180C Slide a baking tray into heat
  3. Roll pastry out and line a deep flan dish about 22cm diameter. line with baking parchment fill with baking beans and bake blind on the hot baking sheet for 15mins
  4. Remove baking parchment and beans brush with egg white and return to the oven for 8-10mins.
  5. Meanwhile cook the onions in the oil until starting to soften, add thyme and salt and pepper. Cook slowly for about 15mins until the onions are brown and caramelised.
  6. Separate 3 eggs mix 3 whole eggs with 3 egg whites and the milk
  7. Fill the baked flan case with the onions crumble in the cheese, then pour in the milk and egg mixture.
  8. Bake on the baking sheet for between 30-40mins
  9. ENJOY 
Posted in Uncategorized

Garden The Severn Way

I have started this blog to share information on the many projects we have finished or are working on in our beautiful garden in Mid Wales on the banks of the River Severn. We have four acres in total being divided between garden, vegetable plot, orchard and new woodland and wildflower meadow.  When we moved into the property the garden was non existent with two fields knee high in thistle and brambles and access to the river covered in brambles and weed.

Over the last 3 and a half  years we have struggled, with the elements and the ever increasing onslaught of Brambles to get a lovely haven of tranquility. It rewards us daily with its beauty and fresh organic fruit and vegetables.

Along the way we have had help from friends and volunteers. There remains much to do battle with but we are gradually winning the war. We hope to be able to open the garden to the public for charity soon so others can enjoy our labour of love.

I hope to offer tips and guides on the blog as well as seasonal reciepes to projects with updates on their pros and cons.workaway2