Harton Farm Recipes
All measures are imperial.

Sorrel soup
Sorrel (rumex acetosa) is a perennial leafy herb with a delicious sharp lemony flavour, which has its first flush in the early spring, and then produces more leaf in the autumn.

1oz butter
medium onion, chopped
medium potato, diced
1½ pints good chicken stock
large fistful sorrel leaves, washed and sliced crossways
1/4 pint single cream
4 tbsp dry white wine

Melt butter in saucepan and fry onion until transparen.

Add potato, toss to coat and fry for a minute or two, then add stock and cook until potato is soft.

Add sorrel leaves, and leave til they just turn colour maximum ½ minute, as you don’t want to boil them and lose their delicate flavour.

Add wine and cream (never milk as it will curdle), whizz in a blender, and reheat gently before serving.

Watercress soup
Grow your own watercress! well actually, landcress, in a damp area of the garden. It has more flavour than the bought stuff and will overwinter.

medium onion, chopped
1 oz butter
medium potato, diced (no need to peel)
large bunch watercress
1½ pints stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pint milk

Sweat the onion in butter.

Toss potato in frying mix for a minute or two.

Add stock and cook until potato almost done.

Add watercress and cook lightly until stems have softened.

Take off the heat, mix in the milk, then blender the soup, and reheat gently.

Borshch (beetroot soup)
Beetroots come in several colours standard crimson; white; yellow, and striped chioggia (red and white concentric rings which blend to a pale orange when cooked). You can eat the lovely leafy tops too they’re a bit like spinach.

You can make the soup three ways:- with the vegetables grated / finely chopped like a chowder; thick and smooth in a blender; strained and thin with the vegetables discarded, like a consomm©, but I think that’s a waste of good veg!

medium onion, thinly sliced and clove of chopped garlic, sweated together in 1 oz butter
medium potato, grated / diced
2 medium carrots, grated / diced
small turnip or other root veg, grated / diced
large beetroot, grated / diced, but keep 1/4 of it back til the final stages of cooking
a few chopped marjoram leaves
1½ – 2 pints stock
tbsp tomato pur©e

When the onion has just lightly browned, add the potato, carrots and turnip, let them get coated with butter, then add the stock.

When they have been cooking for a few minutes add ¾ of the beetroot, and simmer until soft. As the soup cooks, the crimson colour will change to brick red, which is why you keep the last ¼, to restore the colour 5 minutes before serving.

Celeriac soup
Celeriac seed is very fine and has to be started off in the greenhouse, and planted out after the last frosts, which means early June in our area. It grows on better if its roots haven’t been disturbed (like cucumbers), so I usually pull all the feeble seedlings out of the pot, leaving just two or three strong ones, which can then be separated with their own compost ball. When the plants reach a reasonable size in mid-summer, the trick in getting the roots to develop is to pull off the outer leaves as they begin to flop over.

large onion
clove garlic
½-¾ of a celeriac, about 1 lb weight
1½ pints stock, or thereabouts
¼ pint cream
4 tbsp very dry sherry fino or manzanilla
large pinch of celery seed, salt and pepper

Sweat the onion and garlic together until translucent.

Peel the celeriac and dice it, but work quickly otherwise it will discolour.

Add celeriac to pot, then stock and celery seed.

Bring to the boil and cook thoroughly it is quite a hard vegetable.

Blender, adding cream / milk and sherry.

Reheat gently.

Elizabethan pork chops
with apricots / apples / plums / damsons / greengages, or any other slightly acidic fruit.

Seal and brown pork chops in a frying pan with a little oil, then transfer them to a hot oven in a large flat baking dish / pan.

When the pork chops are half cooked, turn them over and add onions which have been fried until translucent, ½ pint dry cider and de-stoned halved fruit. By the time the chops are cooked, the sauce will have reduced and the fruit will have softened.

You can omit the fruit and just serve the chops with home-made quince or crabapple jelly.

Braised pheasant with pears
One pheasant will feed two people very generously.

You will need 2 or 3 Conference pears or similar not the very sweet kind.

Brown the pheasants in a frying pan with a little oil, and then place them in a large casserole with fried onions and dry cider and cook, covered, on a slow heat for one hour maximum, or until done (time will vary according to the age of the bird).

When nearly done, strain the liquid into a saucepan, add the peeled and sliced pears, and reduce the sauce to the required consistency. The pears will cook during the reduction process.

Lamb tagine
Will suit cubed lamb, chops or even a well-scored small joint.

1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp turmeric
1½ tbsp paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
2½lb cubed lamb
3 large garlic cloves, crushed with ½ tsp salt
5 tbsp olive oil
1 lb onions, grated
6oz ready-to-eat apricots
2oz sultanas / raisins
1oz flaked almonds, toasted
1 tbsp honey
½ pt tomato juice
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ pt hot stock

Mix spices together in a bowl.

Put lamb in a large container, tip in spices and coat evenly.

Brown lamb in oil in small batches, saving ½ the oil for onions.

Put lamb in casserole, then cook onions and garlic til soft but not brown.

Add onions and all other ingredients to casserole, bring to boil, cook for 2 hours.

Serve with cous-cous.

Elderberry sauce
To accompany wild duck. This is a sauce with a good strong flavour . Beware it stains!

1 clove garlic
2 shallots / 1 small onion
1½oz butter
2 desertspoons sugar
7oz elderberries
scant 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp grated root ginger
7 fluid oz chicken stock

Sweat garlic and shallots in 1oz butter until soft. Add sugar, berries, vinegar, ginger, stock, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes, then cool, then blitz in blender and strain thru’ a fine sieve. Bring back to boil. Take off heat, swirl in remaining butter to make a glossy sauce.

Horseradish sauce
Caution, extremely hot!

Scrub a piece of horseradish root about ½ – ¾ inch in diameter. Chop roughly, then put in the sort of blender / grinder that will do spices or coffee beans. Be careful when you take the lid off because the plant oils are very volatile and very pungent. Mix with a little cream. If you freeze any leftover sauce it will lose its bite.

Unusual vegetables

Asparagus peas These are not really peas at all, but have pretty little red pea-like flowers growing on a low bushy plant. The pods are winged and should be eaten 1-1½ long before they get parchmenty. Seeds must be started in a greenhouse and planted out after the last frosts. Cook very lightly.

Red orache Atriplex hortensis rubra. This is a spectacular, self-seeding plant whose leaves purple-red leaves can be washed, cut roughly and stir-fried with a little soy. Unlike a lot of coloured vegetables, the colour is not lost in cooking. It will be productive throughout the summer. When it starts to set seed, the plant may be nearly 5 feet high it makes spectacular flower arrangements.

Giant red mustard This Chinese leafy vegetable will be ready long before your summer cabbages, and will fill that late-spring gap which comes when fresh vegetables are in short supply. It has a strong, refreshing, irony taste. Shred young leaves and stir fry with a little sesame oil and soy.

Bramble mousse

1lb blackberries
4oz caster sugar
1tbsp gelatine powder or 1 sachet
2tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ pint double cream
2 egg whites, whipped

Simmer blackberries and sugar together til soft and juicy.

Sprinkle the gelatine powder over the hot water in a heatproof bowl so that the gelatine dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice.

Rub the hot blackberries thru’ a sieve, then stir in the gelatine mix.

Leave until beginning to set.

Whip the cream until slightly stiff, fold into the fruit mix, followed by the egg whites.

Rhubarb crumble
Rhubarb can be sweetened with a bit less sugar than normal by adding finely chopped sweet cicely leaves at stewing time.

1½lb rhubarb, washed and chopped
3 to 4oz sugar (depending on time of year), plus sweet cicely
7oz wholemeal flour
3oz butter / good quality margarine
3oz Demerara sugar
2tbsp dessicated coconut

Stew the rhubarb gently with the sugar and a splash of water until cooked but not mushy.

Allow to cool (else the topping will be soggy), then strain off any surplus juice.

Combine other ingredients together by the rubbing-in method.

Put fruit in an ovenproof dish, cover with the topping and cook in a medium oven until golden.

Real vanilla ice cream
Real vanilla has a wonderful aroma as well as flavour. The fact that it will look as if you have black pepper in your ice-cream is a testament to genuine ingredients.

½ pint single cream
vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
4oz caster sugar
½ pint double cream

Bring the single cream to simmering point with the vanilla pod in it, then leave it aside to infuse for at least an hour. Scrape out some of the vanilla seeds if you want.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, add to the vanilla mix and stir over a very slow heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. If you try to hurry it, the mix will curdle.


Whip the double cream til thick, then fold into the cooled custard, and fast-freeze.

When the ice-cream starts to solidify, bash it around a couple if times to stop large ice crystals forming.