Radmore Farm Shop is getting a zest for spring
This is a really odd time of year for us as a farm, a family and a food retailer. I call it the 'rearing to go' time, that spell when winter has been here forever, and we are itching to get some new ingredients in the shop.
Now I love the winter and winter food, but I do start to feel a bit ‘blah’ about the same old ingredients that we’ve been living on since November. And now game season is over or winding down, that’s cut the choice down even further.
On the farm we always have plans that we make in winter for what we will do, or change, in spring. But spring is not here yet, and we’re getting impatient. And as a mum of boys who love the outdoors, it’s getting frustrating to make the choice of saying ‘no’ to playing outside on the farm and seeing disappointed faces, or saying ‘yes’ and wading through inches of mud and rain. It’s not a pretty, or child-friendly, time to be a farm on the side of a hill!
But I know that when spring pokes its head up, it’s here with a bang. And that will happen soon. We will be thrown into a whirlwind of outside play, new seasonal ingredients, and scurrying about tidying up and getting on with plans on the farm. So I will use this time wisely to cook, to test new recipes, to trial some new cakes in the bakery and get excited about some new stock in the shop.
It’s no surprise that I always put into production a new cake flavour this time of year. I think the feeling of waiting for the new season to get going really inspires me to experiment with flavours and set myself some cooking challenges. Last year it was the orange drizzle, inspired by how fantastic the oranges are in the early months. This year I’ve gone with the citrus theme again, but now it’s combined with really rich chocolate and fudge, attempting to emulate the chocolate limes I loved in my youth with a ‘Chocolate and Lime Drizzle Cake with lime fudge icing’. I have personally set myself some challenges in my own kitchen too – a ‘not too sweet’ caramel and apple tart and a ‘creamy yet made without cream’ fish pie. And I’m pleased to say I’ve been happy with my attempts at both.
Some of our plans for spring on the farm that we have been able to start on involve changing the breed of our chicks that we buy in at just one day old. We are introducing a breed called Hubbard which is slower growing and more suited to a life in the great outdoors. Part of the plan for their arrival is improving our chicken houses. This is to give them even freer access to their pasture, and improve the brooder facilities. The houses are nearly finished and the chicks should be arriving within a week or two. We are really excited to test a breed that will thrive living free range, and will keep you informed of the progress.
So that brings me onto the recipe I want to share with you, and I could not think of a more perfect one for the time of year. Adding spice and flavour, and a lighter twist to things we have been eating all winter, to make it new and exciting for the approaching spring. It’s homemade chilli and lime tikka chicken.
We always tikka the whole chicken, and make two different meals out of it. It’s much better value for money that way, and is perfect for eating cold or reheating the next day.
Recipe : Chilli and lime tikka chicken
1 whole chicken (1.5-2kgs)
1 large red chilli and seeds, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp easy ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt 2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Good pinch salt and pepper
Fresh coriander – few stalks
1. Dice the chicken breast and thighs into cubes of a similar size, put the wings and the drumsticks in whole and put into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add all the other ingredients (except the coriander) and mix together well.
3. Cover and refrigerate for anything from one hour to overnight.
4. Tip into an ovenproof dish and top with chopped coriander and oven cook until the chicken is done all the way through, the juices are clear and it’s not pink in the middle (test the biggest piece).
For one meal we served this hot with coconut and spring onion rice, and a mixture of colourful stir fried veg. The leftover chicken went in the fridge. For meal two we used the cold chicken and had open wraps/flatbreads with salad and hummus.