Around the world there are many ‘save the bees’ campaigns because large numbers of bees have mysteriously died off over the last 20 years. According to Greenpeace a third of all our food depends on pollination by honey bees and other insects – so it’s important we look after them. Of course on the farm we don’t use any pesticides, and we try to keep a good mixture of plants around so the bees can feast away. They seem overjoyed by the vast quantities of flowers on the olive trees. Spread the word, save the bees!
The oldest olive trees are now pretty large and winged with a splurge of green leaves drenched in white blooms. The trees have fully flowered this year and hopefully this means there will be lots of fruits to follow.
This is the first time we have cultivated our own fields of barley and we can’t wait to taste our first crop!
Here is a verjus recipe from one of our most adventurous testers, Jeremy, who is very excited about the flavours our verjus brings out. He has trained with the best chefs at restaurants around London, he worked at Noma for a while and is now a chef at Dinner, Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred dining experience. We asked him to keep things relatively simple, so he came up with this delicious duck recipe with a verjus sauce. Let us know what you think…
Duck with pine, verjus, stonecrops and cherry
Wrap the duck in new pine branches and marinate overnight.
Set oven to 160 degrees.
Score the duck skin and place in a cold, dry non stick pan. Turn heat to medium high and continue to roast skin side down until skin is golden brown and crisp. Remove half of the duck fat from pan flip the duck over onto pine branches in the same pan, glazing the crisp skin with some of the fat, place in an oven for 5 to 8 mins.
Take out of the oven and rest in a warm area for 10 to 15 mins.
For the verjus sauce:
Reduce 100ml verjus with 1 teaspoon honey, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, and the pulped flesh of 2 cherries. The consistency should be a thick glaze.
Split the sauce with same volume duck fat from the pan, then season.
Once the duck has rested, carve the breast in half, square off each side, glazing the flesh with the pan juices. Sprinkle fresh chopped pine shoots mixed with salt on the duck flesh side.
Grill a few baby kale leaves and serve with duck.
Arrange stonecrop seasoned with olive oil and salt over the duck with some slices of cherry.
The roof construction continues now Spring is here and the rains have stopped. This is no ordinary roof as the building has quite a few rounded walls, so the roof takes on a very interesting shape. You can see the frame for one of the rounded corners in this photo.
This Winter we had very heavy rainfall so the grass is greener than ever and the new buds are bursting out from every branch possible.
The parrón (pergola) is heavy with all the ripe grapes ready to be plucked off and eaten. There are multiple different varieties planted along the walkway – many of which are delicious eating grapes.
In our experience great wholesome food is central to a good quality of life – and what makes great food even better is great company. This is why we are building the ‘comedor’ or communal dining space. During the week lunches and dinners for those on the farm will be cooked and served here whilst at weekends we will create a unique food experience for many people to enjoy. The building is still under construction but we are excited about the opportunities this space will offer.
The rich autumnal colours frame the panoramic views perfectly. These photos were taken just after the first heavy rain of the season, the dry grasses will soon return to being green.