Monday, 31 May 2010



Makes 4

By Mark Hix

50ml gin (I use Hendrick's)

25ml pea-shoot purée (made from 50g of pea shoots blended with enough water to create a purée; keep a few shoots for garnish)

20ml gomme (sugar syrup)

1 wedge of lemon

Place the gin, purée, sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker, squeeze lemon into the shaker. Shake (with lemon wedge in) and strain into a coupe glass.

Garnish the glass with a wedge of lemon and float a pea-shoot on the top.

May in Strathconon.

May in Strathconon. Will the snow and frost stop anytime soon? The days may be warm but the nights are still cold. Tender plants in greenhouses will need a little warmth. Fleece should be kept to hand for coldframes just in case.

If starting a new area for veg and fruit, prepare the soil well. digging over and removing all weeds. If making new raised beds for the first time consider their height. If you have a bad back you wont want to be bending more than you need to. A spade depth of soil is fine for most veg. If the bed is higher than this then fill the bottom with stones aiding drainage and conserving compost. John innes does a good range of soil composts(but can be expensive) mixing muilt-composts with grow bags work well and are cheaper.

The best advice for new beginners is to only grow what you enjoy eating. once you have made your list then remember to only grow what you can eat, preserve or give away.(friends and neighbours can only use so much lettuce....)


Now that the weeds have started to grow you could consider making compost tea. Compost tea is an instant pick-me-up for your plants, encouraging growth and boosting your harvest. Nettles are full of nitrogen and potast and make a fantastic compost tea for leafy plants like cabbage and broccoli. Comfrey is a great favourite, which i grow and use regular. The easiest way is to pick the leaves and fill a hessian sack and dunk the lot into a dustbin filled with enough water to cover. Leave for 3-5 weeks by which time it will have a VERY pungent smell. Strain off the dark brown liquid and dilute before watering on your plants 1:20 of tea to water is a good ratio.


Rhubarb is the crop of the month. It is very iast to grow with very little effort. A little manure around the plant and a good feed with compost tea after each pulling will see you with pounds of rhubarb over a long season. Always remember to pull the stems, never cut them. If you cut the stems the piece left will rot and encourage slugs and diesease.


It can be tricky to decide among a bewildering array of varieties and types which ones to grow. Earlies tend to be lower growing so can be excelent for pots. Maincrops are taller and heavier yieldingMake a 4ins(10cm) wide flat bottom drill, and water well before sowing the peas. choose on open sunny site, with soil thats rich in organic matter.

Set the pea seed about 2ins(5cm) apart in a five figure along the drill. Mark the row and label it. At this stage i put finely chopped gorse all over the peas to stop mice, and find it very effective. finely cover with sieved soil and water. Provide support with special pea netting. Or as i do you can use shrubby branches from birch,beech or even hazel. We live in a forrest after all so its logical. Growing peas in pots. Long planters are excelent. Choose an early low growing variety. grow bags mixed with mulit-compost to fill the pots.Push peas in and water well. cover with chicken wire to protect form mice. use twiggy support. You can grow delicious pea tips. Sow fast growing early cropping dwarf peas. Push seeds in evenly across the pot, cover and water well,cover with wire. Harvest the top 2is of the plant,eat them raw in salads, or cook lightly in a stir fry. They also make a brillient peatini. Continual sowing through the season.


Ingrdients (serves 4)

110g/4oz digestive biscuits

25g/1oz butter

225g/8oz young pink rhubarb

70g/21/2oz brown sugar

110g/4floz double cream

180g/61/2oz cream cheese

2tbsp orange juice


1) Crush the digestive biscuits with a rolling pin. melt the buter, and mix the biscuit crumbs into the butter. Press the mixture into the base of a seven inch(18cm) diameter loose bottomed cake tin.

2) Cut the rhubarb into one inch(2.5) sections. Put 125g(41/2oz) of the rhubarb into a pan with 45g(11/2oz) of the sugar, and cook it over a gentle heat until the rhubarb has broken down into a smooth puree. Allow it to cool.

3) Whip the double cream until it is just stiff. Add the cream cheese and the cooked rhubarb and gently mix them together.

4) Spread the topping mixture evenly over the biscuit base. Put the cheesecake into the fridge to chill.

5) Put the remaining rhubarb and sugar, with the orange juice into a pan. Poach it over a gentle heat intil the rhubarb chunks are just tender.

6) Serve each slice of cheescake with some of the poached rhubarb drizzled over it.

Rhubarb and cream is a proven combination, so adding cream cheese and a biscuit base seems like a logical step up. The results is a yummy cheesecake in a perfect shade of baby pink.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Sponsored walk supporting breast cancer

Wanted, Ladies for a
sponsored walk supporting
breast cancer charities
Saturday 19 June
12:00 Midnight
Route: Carnoch to Curin
Distance: 10 miles
Encourage your friends and
neighbours to start practising and
join the walk
A half-way stop is already organised
(thankyou Marie G) and breakfast
will be served at the Curin.
What a tempting offer!
Come for a Stroll in the Dark
Details and sponsor forms from
Do Scott 466 229

Recipe corner

John M Allen, Curin
I thought I'd include one of my favourite
recipes for you to try. I'm not the greatest of
cooks, so it's definitely easy!
Trout in Oatmeal
trout fillets - skinned
medium oatmeal [not porridge oats]
salt and pepper
rapeseed oil or olive oil
Coat trout in seasoned oatmeal, pressing down
well, melt a knob of butter with approx.1
dessertspoon of oil in a frying pan,
when hot put in fish and fry till golden brown
approx. 3 mins.each side
Serve with new potatoes and green vegetables.
If any of you has a recipe to share, please send
it to the editor for inclusion in the next issue. ~

Angling Club News

Angling Club News

John M. Allen
(Held over from Dec 2009) 2009 was a year of
mixed fortunes for fishermen with changeable
weather and fluctuating water levels leading to a
few days of plenty, but more of disappointing
Full results on club waters are not available as yet,
but I have the following interim figures.
R.Conon 16 [weighing 77.5lbs] R.Blackwater 60
[weighing 303.5lbs]
Loch Achonachie 6 [weighing 29lbs]
Of the fish caught, 41 were kept and 41 returned.
L.Achonachie 42 [heaviest 11lbs]
L.Meig 628 [weighing 744lbs]
L.Scardroy 402 [weighing 238lbs]
These numbers show an increase on 2008 results.
Here's hoping that 2010 is better on all fronts.
This time of year, however is not just the time for
mad fishermen to dream and tell tales of the ones
they landed and of the HUGE fish that got away,
but an opportunity to prepare for next year and
reduce the chance of losing the big one. A little bit
of winter cleaning. Take down rods and check that
they are in good order and that the rings are secure
and not worn or broken. Strip down reels, check
lines for knots, breaks or weakness and dry and oil
the reels.
Winter is a great opportunity to try your hand at
fly-tying. There are many books on the subject,
some available at Dingwall library and angling
magazines often include step-by-step guides on the