I can not remember when I last had a day off for me. A day to go and do something all by myself that I wanted to do. A day with periods of quiet time at home and not feeling pressured to be working or doing chores. I usually take time off to go on holiday with the family which is obviously lovely but today was different and I had a great time.
I started with a nutrient dense smoothie. I ate too much sugar today but it was a special ocassion so I enjoyed what I was given.
I added in some cacao nibs too. Yummy. For my birthday the girls bought me a day with Sarah Raven at Perch Hill in East Sussex. It was only half an hour away and I enjoyed the drive there in the Spring sunshine. We had coffee and homemade biscuits in the beautiful greenhouse which was more like a glass extension to the shop and lecture room than a greenhouse. It was huge and filled with so many beautiful plants and pots it was hard to decide which bit to admire first. I really liked these colourful hyacinths in the wooden trough. The views were lovely, especially in the sunshine. This is a very peaceful part of East Sussex so you could really enjoy the birdsong. These smelled lovely as did all the indoor spaces we went to. After an interesting morning of learning how to grow vegetables all year round we moved in to the prettily decorated barn for lunch. Lunch was delicious. We had a chicken, apricot and almond tagine with couscous salad, salad leaves and tzatziki. Followed by a baklava with orange ice-cream decorated with fresh orange and pomegranate. Everything was very full of flavour and fresh. Really good. In the afternoon we walked around the garden. Sarah encouraged us to taste some of the herbs and vegetables and explained what to plant where, how to sow seeds and how to harvest your crops. The teaching inside was interesting but I preferred this part of the day. Sarah is very approachable and friendly so it is easy to ask her questions. The other people on the course were easy to chat to too; we all have a passion for gardening and cooking in common. We had a good look around the flower beds (which had vegetables popped in too) and then set off for the vegetable garden. This is the kale section of the vegetable garden. Rather than harvest one plant at a time, Sarah explained it is better to harvest by picking leaves around the plant so the plant keeps growing. You can see on this kale where the lower leaves have been removed. I just love vegetable gardens. I find them aesthetically very pleasing as (assuming it is a well planned and managed garden) there is order amongst the growing plants plus I think growing your own food is incredibly satisfying so I am always on the look out for useful tips and I heard quite a few today. After walking round the vegetable garden we spent some time in the polytunnel learning about sowing seeds.We ended the day back in the lecture room with an interesting run through Sarah’s recommended varieties for growing and some of her favourite recipes. The session ended with a question and answer session.
I really enjoyed today. I didn’t learn much about how to grow vegetables but then I have been growing them for a few years now. However, I learnt lots of useful tips and will try to extend my range of vegetables and try some of the varieties Sarah recommended. I always have something I can pick and eat in the garden but hopefully this time next year there will be even more.
As well as the day out I was given a voucher which I had absolutely no problem spending. Inspired by the pretty table decorations in the barn during lunch time I bought these pretty little vases which are currently on my kitchen window sill. I bought some other bits and pieces and a new cookery book which I had signed.Thank you Gini, Lucy, Michelle and Sally for such a perfect birthday present. I enjoyed it all. Here’s to lots more vegetable growing and happy cooking.