In our last report about our settler house, you saw the cherry trees still in full blossom, now within one blink of the eye cherries were hanging in bright red from the trees. We did not expect to harvest any, as everyone was warning us about the starlings. They would come in a whole swarm to settle in the trees and nourish themselves with the sweet fruits, until nothing would be left behind. Even if one of the main reasons why we decided to move out on the countryside, was the harvest of fruits and vegetables, this imagination was a bit of a relieve for us. As we do not have time to collect kilo over kilo of cherries and to use all of them. There is still too much construction going on. Apart from that, the crowns of the cherry trees are in unreachable hights. We will definitely not get up to these places.
This year though, the starlings did not come. Only a very few were pecking on the cherries. We were able to pick a first batch of 9 kilo. Already this is a huge amount, but on the four trees is hanging maybe ten times as much. We cooked the first kilos and prepared our chocolate cherry clafoutis. It taste best while it is still warm, when the chocolate is still melted. Than, the dough is amazingly soft and juicy.
Since a few days we were not able to harvest more. Maybe the sweet fragrance will be attracting the starlings, or the wasps. If not, we would love to go back on the ladder with a bucket. And to experiment with the cherries. We want to prepare some in salt. Some in vinegar. Dried cherries, jam, crumble cake, cherry-juice. Ideas are blossoming in our minds!
Preheat the oven to 180°C (conventional mode, not fan-assisted). Pit the dates. Ground the almonds and mix with cocoa, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
With a whisk, stir eggs into cream. Add the egg/cream mixture to your dry almond mixture and stir to make a smooth cake batter.
Chop the chocolate and stir in the batter. Melt butter in an oven-pan or baking dish (approx. 24 cm in diameter). Add the cake batter to the pan and spread evenly. Spread cherries evenly on the batter and bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
We like to decorate the Clafoutis with fresh cherries and chopped chocolate.
As long as the elderflower is blossoming in Mecklenburg, we wished to bake a cake including it. The fragrance of the fresh blossoms made it impossible to
As nature is a bit slower here in the high north, the elderflower in most other parts of Germany already changed to the growth of fruits, you can choose as well to prepare the pie with elderflower syrup. We love to cook a stock of elderflower syrup, to preserve the flavour the whole year around. You will find
our recipe for this on the blog too. Who does not have fresh blossoms by hand, exchanges the honey with the amount of syrup.
To prepare the stuffing you thoroughly wash the lemon, rub off the skin and press the juice. Pull off the elder blossoms from the umbels and bring them to boil in a small pot with the lemon juice. Put it on the side and leave to draw. The longer you let the elderflowers in the lemon juice, the more they will give their unique taste. Who would like to, could even prepare the liquid on the day before and allow to infuse over night.
For the shortcrust pastry give flour, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tiny cubes and give them, together with one egg, into the flour-mixture, knead it to a smooth pastry. Form the shortcrust pastry into a ball and let it be in the fridge in a covered bowl for 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 175°C ( Upper-/ lower heat). Grease the pie pan. Roll out the dough, a bit bigger than the form itself, on a flowered working surface. Place the shortcrust pastry in the pie pan and create an edge of 2-3 cm. Just cut overlapping dough with a knife. With help of a fork create tiny holes and bake the shortcrust pastry for 15 min.
In the meantime you can pour the lemonjuice and the blossoms through a fine sieve or cloth, collect the juice and press the remaining blossoms. Lemonjuice,-zest, honey and starch come together in one pot and are stirred. While stirring let it cook until the starch is getting thick. Take it from the stove and add the butter in pieces and stir again. Now bring the stove to middle heat. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and stir them under the lemonmixture. Bring the pot back onto the stove and let the creme become thick while stirring it for 3-5 min. It should develop to a pudding like consistency. It is important that the mixture will not cook, as otherwise the eggs will set.
Spread the lemoncreme on the prebaked shortcrust pastry and bake the pie 20 more minutes on the lowest baking tray. Before you cut it let it cool down.
For us it is not enough to renovate one house and to create a garden. No, we need to have a greenhouse too, as if everything else would not provide us with enough work. We wanted to taste all aspects of country life, instantly. The most important for us was to be able to harvest our own vegetables from our garden. We wish to grow tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and more of vegetables, which need the warmth and humidity of a greenhouse to fully flourish. The decision process regarding our greenhouse was long. The factors which were essential to us were not only that it would need to be practical and give enough room for all kind of varieties, which we would like to grow, but it needed as well to merge in an aesthetic way within the nature of our garden. Finally we found it, on the website of BAUHAUS*, while actually searching for something completely different. Our dream house out of glass should become the Juliana Gärtner, with a proud area of 18,8 square meter. As loyal customers we were extremely happy to be supported by BAUHAUS in the realization of this project. Especially now, during our renovation phase, you will find us often in one of their stores. Their selection is huge and what we love most is that the company has not only high quality but as well environmentally friendly products. You can recognize these products by the seal „Pro Planet“ for example.
Before we begin to rhapsodize about the greenhouse itself, we would like to tell you about the way we needed to go to get it. All began in February with putting the first seeds in the soil of tiny breeding pots. Week-long we nourished and cherished our babies. We worried that they would not be able to make it, being without us for three days. Clearly, as parents of young plants you have a lot on your mind. But to care for the tiny ones was still the easiest task. Our way to build a home for our young plants was long and stony.
We visualized it beautifully and chose the place for the greenhouse carefully. A flat area is not to find on our ground. We only noticed how steep the place for our greenhouse was while we were, in pure heat, taking off the grass sod. A house needs to be build on a solid foundation, of course this does not only count for houses of stone. So, hard working we took away soil, dumped soil and made the area flat. And this was only the beginning.
Without a notion of how to manage such a project, we were overwhelmed pretty quickly by the task to build the foundation. For this the area does not only need to be flat but the foundation needs to be embedded in the ground without any frost. This meant that we needed to dig 80 cm deep holes. Luckily, our hero Jörg was rescuing our buts another time and came with his earth auger. Never before were we celebrating to have 10 deep wholes in the ground!
Being filled with concrete, measured thousand of times with a spirit level and a yardstick, the foundation was finally let to the ground. But that was not the end of the game. Thousands of pieces waited for us to be screwed and connected. The blistering heat was continuing and during the evenings hours full perspiration, we were in company of many midges. Strut over strut our construction was growing, and finally it was recognizable to be a house. The system of the Juliana green house is really simple and incredibly thought-out. Due to this, the construction of the house was good to manage by us two. Until again there was a moment, in which we would have been lost without Jörg. We experienced huge respect to place the glass plates into the roof. Some of these plates are about 2 meters high and to control them while standing on the ladder, without bringing the glass to vibrate too much, was already nerve-racking while being the observer. In addition there was always the worry that we could have made a mistake. That it might be that one missing screw or an oblique angle could ruin everything in the end. Quite often during this whole process we asked ourselves why we were doing all of this. Why we were torturing us to that degree, in order to be able to harvest a few tomatoes in the end. But once you are in this moment, when the perfect result is in front of you, you will glow from being proud and happy, or not? At least this was what we felt like. And this was why we wanted to celebrate this moment. To experience a cosy evening between all these young plants, was indescribable beautiful. The rays of sunlight which were reflecting in the glass, the glittering water drops of the previous extensive rain, the sounds, which were coming muted through the windows but which were still creating a feeling of outside. In this moment we thought that it would be a pity to give the greenhouse completely to the plants. Our dearest Jörg Schlinke gave even more to us for this occasion. With his Glow-Writing he created a wonderful, temporary installation in our greenhouse. Holding a refreshing drink we were sitting together and we had waited for the right moment. The moment, in which the light was perfect. The first stars were already emerging, the sun was shining with its last power a whiff of red on the horizon…
After this amazing evening it is not easy to give the house to our plants. On the other hand, we are looking forward to bring them into the well deserved soil. Of course we will tell you about news and about how the tiny ones will grow. Latest, once we are harvesting we will write a detailed post on the blog.