Wreaths, reindeers and rent

Today was our festive rent day and wreath making workshop.  Thank you to all our members who came along to pay their rent and sign their new tenancy agreement.

Members enjoyed mulled wine, spiced apple punch, tea and coffee.  There was also a gluten free squidgy chocolate log, a traditional Christmas cake, delicious Cherry and pecan chocolate brownies (recipe below), mince pies and festive nibbles.

Jars of honey mustard, plum jam and plum chutney were sold in decorated bags- a perfect Christmas present.

The children enjoyed making a herd of reindeers decorated with glitter glue and pompom noses.

Later members made beautiful seasonal wreaths and bunches of greenery using willow and foliage from around the site.

A lot of Christmas trees also went to their new homes.  There are still plenty left if you would like to buy one.

Committee members will also be on site next weekend to collect any outstanding rents.

 

Here’s the recipe for Jane’s cherry and pecan chocolate brownies.

It was based on Jamie Oliver’s cherry brownie recipe, but fresh cherries have been swapped for tinned (and more were used) and soft light brown sugar was used instead of caster sugar.

For one large traybake, i doubled the amounts of the original recipe. So, per tray:
250g unsalted butter
270g 70% dark chocolate
220g tinned cherries, drained of syrup (this was one tin)
90g roasted pecans
450g light soft brown sugar
110g cocoa powder
150g plain flour
Half a teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, beaten
90g milk chocolate, broken into pieces.

The method:
Toast pecans in oven for 10 mins.
Melt the butter & dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (gently).
Take off the heat & add the chopped cherries and pecans.
In a separate bowl,  mix flour, cocoa powder,  baking powder and sugar.
Add this to the melted chocolate/butter mixture & stir to combine.
Beat the eggs & mix in to the other ingredients.
Add the chopped milk chocolate.
Pour into your tray & bake for 25-30 minutes – 180 degrees for 20 mins then 160 degrees for 10 minutes.
Leave to cool before cutting into squares & dusting with icing sugar.

 

Open Day pictures

Our favourite event of the year is our Open  Day when we welcome the local community to join us for a day of food, music and entertainment as well as an opportunity to enjoy our allotment site.   Our Open day on Sunday 19th May was no exception.

We would like to say huge ‘Thank You’ to everybody who made the day so special, either by visiting, preparing the site in advance, helping with a stall, cooking or serving food, performing or helping to pack away at the end.

Below are a selection of pictures showing some of the highlights of the day.

The Wildlife Garden

This is our new bug hotel which we are building with the community.  We invited visitors to the wildlife garden to fill the stacked pallets with material to provide nooks and crannies for bugs to live. We will put a roof on it to make sure it provides a waterproof home for a wide range of bugs.

 

 

 

People enjoyed watching the pond as well as pond dipping. The pond is teaming with life – we found several newts (including the one shown below), a dragonfly larvae (below), tiny red bloodworms, two types of snails, caddisfly larvae and a host of other invetebrates.

 

 

 

Stalls

Our plant stall was back selling vegetable and flowers plants as well as rhubarb.  We also had a bee demonstration stall that sold products from beekeeping as well as bee jewellery.  The Soap and Dandelion coffee making stalls was also very popular.

 

 

 

 

Performances

 

 

 

 

 

We’d like to say a special thank you to Beckenham Choir (above) and Churchfields Choir (below) who performed at the Open Day.

Children’s activities

We had a range of activities for our younger visitors including bubbles to chase, a magic show, cake decorating, hook a duck, bouncy castle, no tears tombola, the Woodcraft Folk did craft activities, as well as pond dipping and helping with the bug hotel.

Clubhouse Cafe & BBQ

As well as enjoying the homemade cakes  there was an exhibition by the Beckenham Photographic Society that included photographs taken on site, such as the amazing sequence showing a dragonfly emerging.

 

We also had two BBQs on the go for the day with our fabulous chefs cooking hundreds of burgers and sausages.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to everybody who contributed to the day – it was a real team effort and a lovely community day.

 

Secret Garden Launch and Bonfire Night

On Saturday allotment members and friends from the community joined us for a double celebration – the launch of our Secret Garden and Bonfire Night.

Secret Garden launch

After a year of building and planting our Secret Garden was officially launched with a tea party.  Tea and cake was available and there were craft activities for the children.

We had visitors from Groundwork, the charity that has been working with Tesco on the Bags of Help scheme that funded the Secret Garden.

 

Bonfire Night

As darkness fell, the Secret Garden party gave way to our Bonfire Night extravaganza!  As well as the usual fireworks, bonfire and supper the Woodcraft Folk were there to help members toast marshmallows, make damper bread and roast cinnamon apples over the fire.  And of course, the Secret Garden looked fabulous with it’s new lights.

  

Well done to everybody involved for all the hard work to create two events for Members, family and friends.  More photographs are available on our Facebook page.