January Letter from The Ferns Vegetarian / Vegan B & B chatting about poached quince, separating eggs , Strictly tour, my Bacuba plants and ‘All about Newport’



I thought I might do something different with my quinces this year. I tend to leave them till they are falling off the shrub, and they are a nice yellow colour. (Green is really too  early to pick them).  I got a recipe from  the Wednesdays chef website which has ‘Poached quince with vanilla and cinnamon’. (The original recipe came from  a book by Regan Daley In the Sweet Kitchen)


The quince fruit


The recipe is very easy. Peel and chop the fruit – maybe four or five fruits. Take out the pips. Make a syrup (4 cups water, 4  cups of sugar, a large cinnamon bark,  teaspoon vanilla essence ( the original had 1/2 vanilla bean). Then poach till cooked. Quince are very tart, so they do need the sugar.  I shall do some more and freeze them, so here is another choice for my guesthouse visitors.


Separating eggs

A friend sent me a link to Youtube to show people a new way of separating eggs. I hate having to do this job, and I don’t know whether this method will make any difference to  my squeamishness  but its a simple and amazing way to do it http://www.youtube.com/embed/iAp8pEaWB1Y


Isn’t it lovely to feel that you are into a new year and the nights are getting shorter? I have already started my tomato seedlings. Every year I find that the ones on sale in the nurseries are about 1 foot higher than mine, so  I thought I try to  get started  very early. I grow a variety of tomatoes. The ones that I can’t get into the greenhouse, go into the garden –  I can always find space for them, even in the flower garden, or I give to friends or take them to the plant sale over the road for the Cottage Care Centre. This used to be our town’s hospital. Now it is partly financed by the League of Friends and they do a big annual plant sale. I am growing yellow and ‘Red Gardeners Delight’, another cherry called ‘Cerise’  and big beefy one ‘Supermarmande’. All are from seed which I saved from last year’s crop. They are now about 1 inch tall and  will be in the house until maybe April.

The ‘Strictly Tour’


On Saturday we went to the NIA Birmingham to see the Strictly Come Dancing Tour. It was amazing to see the pretty much industrial style arena transformed into a ballroom. Great afternoon! This is really just to say that from Stafford, the train only takes half an hour to Birmingham city centre, so that  guests could do a trip to Birmingham one afternoon or evening and see a show. At the end of the show we had a very nice veggie burger at a Victorian pub  The Shakespeare  Lower Temple Street, off New Street. Even better – it was  on the route from  NIA to  New Street Station.

My Bacuba plants

Still going strong. I am amazed!  I have only grown them  for the last two years and had assumed that they were annuals. Maybe  our west fronting house is protecting them from the cold east winds. It will be interesting to see if they survive till the spring. Maybe I shall take some cuttings – a bit late but will try. You can see the brown ferns behind in the photo, which confirm that this photo was taken  a couple of weeks ago. This plant has flowered none stop since I bought it in May /June time.  Amazing!


All About Newport


The gardens around the parish church

I am now advertising in the All About Newport website. People with an ‘All about Newport’ card  can get  10% off all bed and breakfasts. More about that next time.

All the best to you all wherever you are

Linda x