April 28, 2024

Update – Preparations underway for Open Charity Day 2024

Join us for a day of relaxation at our annual Open Garden Charity Day
– Saturday 29th June from (12:30pm onwards)

This year we are confident the sun will be shining so you can leave your over coats and umbrellas at home!! Come along with some friends and indulge in a delicious lunch, listen to the soothing melodies of our jazz trio as you stroll through the beautiful gardens and browse through the plant and ceramics stalls (other stalls to be confirmed). As usual, we will be selling a delectable array of homemade treats for you to savour with a cuppa and perhaps take some home for tea! There will be mouth-watering cakes, scones, sausage rolls and savoury homemade quiches.

Despite the recent rain, the garden is recovering splendidly, promising lush greenery and vibrant blooms just in time for the event. We also have the expertise of gardener Peter Shuttleworth. With Peter’s help and keen eye for planting and design, our garden is sure to look better than ever!

As in previous years, there will be a raffle and we will be approaching local business for prizes. If you know of a local business who you think might contribute towards the raffle prizes, please do get in touch.

Last year, we raised almost £1400 for the Alzheimer’s Society and MacMillan Cancer Support, and with your help, we hope to surpass that this year. We look forward to spending a wonderful day together and hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by these illnesses.

There are limited tickets available so book now to secure your places – more details will follow in the coming weeks.


An easy to make, delicious sharing dish – Serves 3 to 4


2 tbs vegetable/sunflower or olive oil.
1 leek, white part and a little of the green part.
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped.
160gms carnaroli or arborio rice.
100mls white wine.
800mls of hot vegetable stock.
Vegetables – I used a small bunch of thin asparagus, cut into 3cm lengths,  4 baby courgettes cut into rounds, about 50gms of broad beans (frozen) and podded, 50gms of peas (frozen) but fresh would be better.
50gms salted butter cut into cubes.
Zest of 1 lemon.
50gms of parmesan, finely grated.
Herbs – I used about a table spoon of each – chopped mint & basil and lots of salt and pepper (see recommendation below).


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the leeks and garlic – cook for a couple of mins until softened.
2. Add all the rice to the pan and stir for about 3 minutes to coat the grains and lightly toast them.
3. Pour in the wine and stir until its reduced completely.  Add the hot vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring well and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next one. When you have added all but two ladleful’s, put in the asparagus and courgettes and let them cook.
4. Meanwhile boil the broad beans and peas and once cooked to your liking, plunge them into ice water. Then take the chewy shells off the broad beans.
5. Add the last couple of ladles to the risotto along with the beans and peas and stir through. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter, lemon zest, parmesan, salt & pepper and finally the chopped herbs.
6. Divide the risotto into bowls and garnish with herbs and an extra drizzle of good quality olive oil.

NOTE:  Try not to overcook the lovely young asparagus and other veggies – it tastes so very much better if they are al a dente and experiment with other vegetables.

Tips and Recommendations

For those of you who follow me/Second-Helpings on Facebook, you may have seen this before!

When you’ve used up all your parmesan or pecorino cheese, don’t throw away the rinds. Wrap them in foil and pop them in your freezer. Next time you make a spaghetti bolognaise, pop one of them in the sauce and let it bubble away for at least half an hour! It enhances the flavour and will keep everyone guessing what you added!  Remove before serving.

I get through pots of this stuff and I can highly recommend it so please give it a try.
“Salt & Peppery” – available from Sainsburys & Waitrose, find it where all the other spices/salt & peppers are. It costs about £2.50 (lasts for ages). Its a mixture of four different peppers, all blended with sea salt. I use it in everything!!

Sunday 9th June at 11am

As last year’s yoga & lunch proved to be so popular,  Second-Helpings and Alex Mannering of YourYoga are back this year offering a 90 minute Yoga practice in the garden followed by a delicious home cooked lunch.

Join us on the mat at 11:15am for a wonderful calming and centring Yoga practice suitable for all abilities. Beginning with pranayama (breath work) encouraging our bodies to relax and our mind to calm, followed by some gentle awakening movements flowing us into classic asana (postures) with plenty of time for relaxation at the end, finishing at approximately 12:45.

The session will be followed by a relaxed buffet lunch in the garden (under cover or inside if the weather is against us). Lunch will start with some canapes and a complimentary glass of Rose or Prosecco. Guests can explore the lovely gardens and relax in the sunshine (hopefully).  We will then help ourselves to a selection of delicious salads, quiches and salmon, followed by a naughty dessert, some cheese and fruit. Water, teas and coffees will be included in the price.  Guests are welcome to bring along some wine, other refreshments if they wish.  The event will go on until about 3.30ish but there’s absolutely no rush to leave :)

Tickets are £40.00 per person for the whole event.  Numbers are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

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