Friday, 27 June 2014

Flitwick Moor

Flitwick Moor is a quiet place, and off the beaten track, it is only 5 minutes in the car from Ampthill.  I went when it was lovely and sunny, but it can be muddy in places, so take suitable for footwear.

Head down towards Maulden and then turn right at the village Hall.  Keep going until you reach a roundabout, go straight on, which is the Maulden Road.  After about 1 mile there are some farm buildings  (Folly Farm) on the left, opposite Massmold, turn down into the track.  There is a small car park, at the end.



There are information signs that tell you more about the area, you can see a picture of one above, I have put them on links below.  
The actual Moor is quite small and won't take long to follow the paths around, or you can go on a longer walk, I have put a link to the Two Moors leaflet which shows a walk around the area. 

We just followed the paths around the Moor which takes you out to the meadow, and then brings you back into the Moor once more. I had no idea about the local history and was fascinated to read that peat was extracted here up until 1967.



The land is iron rich and so the streams running through are coloured orange - just like the Worsley Canal in Manchester, if you know that area.  The place is indeed very boggy, and the reeds

Check out the Wildlife website for more information.
Wildlife trust

Flitwick moor leaflet

Here are some pictures of the information at the site

notice 1

notice 2

notice 3

notice 4

Ampthill Open Gardens

I just wanted to remind everyone that it is this weekend

http://ampthillcm.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ampthill-open-gardens.html

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Center Parcs - Woburn Forest

The newest Center Parcs village has opened up just 2 miles from Ampthill and already receiving great reviews on trip adviser,  It is only moments in the car to pop into Ampthill, or by bike and a cycle way for some of it, cycle racks are on the town square.









Thursday is market day - just for the morning, and there are plenty of places to get food, either to eat in or take away.  Of course the Country Market stall will be selling homebaked cakes and quiches, so something for lunch.  We also have a supermarket (Waitrose), a newsagents and a chemists.

You just need to leave the park onto Steppingley Road, and turn left towards the roundabout, cross over before the roundabout to the cycle way on the other side of the road, and head straight towards the roundabout.  And then cross over using the access that has been provided, turn right and head along the cycle way, and this takes you into Ampthill, turning off to the left.  The park is on your left, and the centre of Ampthill just straight on.

I hope all this makes sense - you will see the road signs as well.

If you are on foot you can follow a footpath that is marked for Millbrook Church (but it is not suitable for bikes) on the left, you can go down there a little way and then turn right (not towards the church), and pass by the alpacas in a field (dead cute), and this will eventually bring you into the park.  The path is a little meandering, and then you just follow straight on, crossing a field that often has cattle within the park.  NB there are kissing gates,

Once you have crossed the field through to the other gate, start to head right and this will bring you back to the park car parks and the road, or of course you can enjoy the park, and wander any which way.  See the link on the side for information about the park, you will be coming from Millbrook.


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Raspberries

The first pickings of raspberries will be available on Ampthill Country Market on Thursday, I love raspberries.  Along with fresh raspberries this week there will be jam to follow in the next few weeks as well.

We had homemade Raspberry muffins at the weekend, that my other half made using a square muffin tin, so thought I would share the recipe with you, delicious with a blob of vanilla yoghurt, or maybe some icecream, or clearly great on their own.  You can do the same with reasberries as gooseberries see here:
http://ampthillcm.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/soft-fruit.html

and of course the summer pudding posted last week:

http://ampthillcm.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/summer-pudding.html

Here is the muffin recipe:

I have a large jug that I always use for making muffins and find it easier to pour the mixture as it is runny, and all muffins are delicious straight from the oven.

200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
Cinnamon to taste (optional)
2 ½ Baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
90ml skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
80ml vegetable oil
1 large egg, beaten
5 drops vanilla extract
200gms (approx) fruit

  • Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and add paper cases to a muffin tray.
  • Measure out flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large jug. 
  • Combine milk, oil, egg and vanilla in another jug.
  • Stir until just combined (mixture will be lumpy).
  • Gently fold in chopped fruit, divide amongst 10 cases, or around that number, cases 2/3rds full.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top, sprinkle with icing sugar when slightly cool.
NB I have cheated and use loganberries in the picture as that is all I had in the garden :)



Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Jam

We sell a wide variety of homemade jam throughout the year, and is made mainly from home grown fruit.

Homemade jam is special and the quality is far superior to any mass produced jam in the shops - come and buy a jar, so that you can taste for yourself.  It doesn't have any artificial preservatives or colours.

A selection of varieties like raspberry, damson, victoria plum, gooseberry, blackcurrant are often available. 



There is the most variety following the summer months when fruit is in abundance, what is your favourite variety and how do you like to eat your jam?

Sometimes we have scones on the stall too, a perfect partner, and we often have a victoria sandwich with homemade jam inside.







Friday, 13 June 2014

Kathy Brown's Garden

This garden is in Stevington, which is about 20 minutes drive from Ampthill, in North Bedfordshire.  I went a little while ago and it is definitely worth a visit.

It is open most weeks on certain days, and Kathy takes you around the garden and tells you all about the plants, you can then wander around on your own.

You can also enjoy a piece of homemade cake and a drink, sitting in the garden.  Many of the cakes have edible flowers in them, and were delicious.






 We took our lunch with us, and eat that in the garden before the start of the tour, there are a number of seats around.  

We were lucky as it was raining before we left, and then the sun shone all afternoon.  It was a lovely afternoon out and if you like gardens and cake I would definitely recommend it.
Kathy Browns Garden




and of course I needed to show the cakes:






Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Summer Pudding

With the abundance of soft fruit in the summer months here is a really easy recipe, and it is even low in fat :)

You need a quantity of fruit, a nice selection is good - but it pretty much works with any combination of:
Strawberries
Blackcurrants
Redcurrants
Blackberries
Loganberries
Blueberries

I like to put something in with a bit of punch like blackcurrants or blackberries, but not too many that it overpowers.

I put all the fruit into a saucepan with some sugar, and a tiny drop of water, I personally think that the quantity of sugar depends how sweet you like things. I heated it up until some of the juices came out, not too much as you want the fruit to keep its shape. I took nearly all of the fruit out of the saucepan and left a bit in the saucepan, I mashed these up and made more sauce.

I then roughly lined a pudding bowl with cling film leaving the edges out, this just ensures it will come out easy.

Then it was a case of using sliced white bread to line the basin. I found a saucer than fitted on top of the basin so that it would squash the contents down. Leaving the slices as complete as possible and just filling in the gaps. The outside of each of the pieces was dunked into the sauce and put back into the basin. Then pile the fruit into the basin so it is full. Then make a sliced bread lid - again dunking the outside in the sauce.  The first time I made this I didn't dunk the outside of the bread into the sauce and I found it didn't seep all the way through.

Then pop the plate or saucer on top so that it squashes it down, and put a tin of something on top to weigh it down.

Leave over night.

The pic is a slice with some clotted cream icecream (not homemade!)

There are loads of recipes on the internet - here is one by Mary Berry it isn't a recipe that needs an exact science - just go with what you fancy, you just don't want too much juice, if you have too much use it to add to serve.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Ampthill Market

Ampthill market was established in 1219 and was confirmed by royal charter in 1242.   It has always been held on a Thursday.  There was a market house on the square, this was replaced with the market house now Richardsons in the 1780s, when Lord Ossary of Ampthill Park 'tidied up' the town.

It is small market but has a good selection of stalls, the Town Council try to keep it varied.


Here is a quick summary of all of the stalls, and hopefully I will return with some more posts later on about each of the stalls, apart from the Country Market - as I am sure you will know we are there every week if you have been reading this blog :)

So there is Keith a fishmonger from Grimsby




A greengrocer


Isla Jane Bakery


Open air foods selling cheese and olives


Charity stall for Keech cottage


Luella gifts


Newbury Farm Plants


Pet foods


A seller of household items
Greetings cards

Here are some more great photos of the market from www.Ollieali.com:
Ampthill Market

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Chocolate chip cookies

So another in the recipe series, don't forget there are always some lovely cakes, cookies and biscuits for sale on the market, and you can always pass them off as made by yourself once unwrapped :). Nice easy recipe although it said that it should make 36 but I think that would be far too small!  so I made 18 from the recipe.

Set your oven at 190c/350f/ gas mark 5

Weigh out
175g/6oz Plain Flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
75g/3oz butter or marg

...rub together to form fine crumbs

stir in
50g/2oz soft light brown sugar
125g/4oz choc chips - I just chop up bars of chocolate, it doesn't take long and much cheaper, and have used a mix of plain and milk - the choice is yours

3 tbspn of golden syrup (I make this just over 3 ozs)

This should now bind together to form a soft dough.

Divide into balls and flatten slightly.

Pop in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes

Soft fruit

Over the summer months we have soft fruit, starting with gooseberries this week, thenwe will have redcurrant and blackcurrant, raspberries and plums and greengages.  Each have a short season, but are a real treat and are so local and fresh you really must get down to the market to get some.  Shop local :)

I will post on Facebook and twitter when they are coming in.

For a simple idea for a pudding, serve up on a meringue nest served with icecream or yoghurt, or even cream.  Or crush the meringue nest and stir in fruit with yoghurt or cream.

The gooseberries will need cooking with some sugar first depending how sweet you like things,  the other fruit can be served as they come, or the currants you may prefer to add sugar.  Elderflower cordial is a perfect partner for gooseberries, and it is so simple to make, the elderflowers are out at the moment, and there are plenty in the hedgerows :)

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/531660/homemade-elderflower-cordial

here are couple of sites that will aid you identify it:

http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/elderflower-cordial

http://www.discoverwildlife.com/blog/new-series-how-find-wild-food-part-1-elderflower


Monday, 2 June 2014

Handmade cards - Summer


There are generally a basket of cards on Ampthill Country Market stall every Thursday


An occasion in the summer, means that a summer themed card will fit the bill perfectly.  Or maybe someone that lives by the sea.  We have greetings cards that have both these theme covered, and here are a few that might appeal.

Most of them are stamped and then watercoloured, they are all blank inside, but often have a greeting on the outside.  


If you like one of the cards and need a greeting changed this is often possible just contact us either on the stall or through the website, and it can be arranged.  Here are few examples of cards, we cannot guarantee that they will be available, but there should always be some similar.