Caught by the River

Allotment Watch: March

Nina Walsh | 4th April 2011

by Nina Walsh.

The line has definitely been drawn by my affectionately nicknamed neighbouring plot holder, Roger Boundary. It seems my pond development may be just a little too close to his rod. In case you don’t know, a rod is an allotment term that plots are measured in, equivalent of about 25 square metres and mark the boundary of each plot and a line of carpet has been laid inches from my pond to remind me of this!
When I was first given my plot, which was no more than a dumping ground at the time, I was warned by the Allotment Committee that Mr B could be a little territorial about what is officially an adjoining piece of waste land (neither my rod nor his!) and have been mindful of this so we get along just fine. In fact I think he is really a rather sweet man. However, without the exchange of any harsh expletives he has made it pretty clear that I am on the verge of trespassing and must take this development no further. I hear you Mr B. The sooner we can get a frog community in place to help manage the slug population the better I feel. Direct action is needed and a visit to my brother to collect some of his spawn is my next port of call. This is not as wrong as it sounds. My brother has a pond in his garden teeming with frog and toad spawn which he has kindly offered to donate a sample of. Is this cheating mother nature? I call it plot diplomacy.
Whilst digging the trenches to lay my first early Red Duke of York potatoes this huge queen bee landed on the plot. Loaded with pollen and drunk on nectar, she was literally turning somersaults and rolling head first down the mounds of soil into the freshly planted seed potatoes before flying off back to feed her newly hatching brood. With the vernal equinox upon us, spring has most definitely sprung!

This is a great recipe to use up any sad looking tangerines, satsumas or oranges left straggling in the bottom of your fruit bowl (or is it just me who seems to have that going on?) By replacing the sugar with fruit sugar or agave syrup this cake can be completely guilt free! You can literally have your cake and eat it as it’s almost a cake free cake.

Gluten Free Tangerine and Almond Cake

6 medium free range eggs 200g of golden caster sugar 200g ground almonds 2 tangerines
2 tablespoons honey


You will need a loose bottomed cake tin measuring about 8 inches across, lightly buttered. Preheat the oven to 160C. Separate 3 of the eggs, putting the whites aside in a separate mixing bowl. Beat together the yolks with the 3 remaining eggs in a large mixing bowl.
Add the sugar and the almonds and mix thoroughly. Now grate the zest of the tangerines into the mixture keeping the juice for later. Beat the separated egg whites until they form soft peaks and gradually fold them, a little at a time, into the cake mixture being careful not to knock the air out. Now pour the mixture into the tin and place in the oven for about 50 minutes. Test the middle of the cake with a toothpick and when it comes out clean the cake is ready. While the cake is cooling in the tin make a syrup with the juice from the tangerines and the honey by heating gently in a saucepan until it starts to thicken and reduce slightly. Finally prick the cake all over with a toothpick and pour over the syrup. Let the cake cool completely and absorb the syrup before removing from the tin.

Mrs Bun x