I don’t normally deep fry food but sometimes it makes a lovely change to have a proper homemade fried delight. Here is my version of this classic and delicious dish.
Until recently barn owls seemed to be in an inexorable decline. During the ‘30s there were around 12,000 pairs, but the loss of rough pasture and nest sites, coupled with pesticides and increased motor traffic had reduced numbers to 3,800 by the early ’90s. Matters were not helped by the fact that the owls are at the limit of their range in Britain and a series of bad winters in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s hit them hard. Now the slide appears to have been halted, with a small increase recorded for the first time.
One of the earliest signs of spring – but undoubtedly one of the least noticed – is the emergence of bats from their winter hibernation. These are probably our least known and most poorly understood mammals. Most people are barely aware of their existence, yet with 16 British species they are our commonest mammal family.
Sloes are a frequent ‘by-catch’ on forays and the next season the resulting drink makes the perfect end to a chilly expedition. The fruit of the blackthorn is justly famous as a gin flavouring and the perfect time to pick these is after their skins have been softened by the first frost. Thanks to its hard needle-sharp spikes (they can puncture tractor tyres) blackthorn is one of the best hedging materials and is therefore…