The Hop Shop, Pumpkins, Lavender and FINALLY KENTISH COBNUTS!

Things have been pretty hectic recently. University is now in full swing and there’s so much to learn and so much to do! Chemistry is my least favourite lecture so far. Not because what we are learning isn’t interesting but because it’s so so hard! I haven’t done chemistry in quite a while so everything we learn I have to research and go over again before any of it makes any sense! Anyone who says University is getting easier should come and study at my course because you are very much mistaken. I am loving it though – I definitely came to the right place! As much as it is hard work, I love learning and I’m enjoying all the extra reading I get to do now i’m a full-time student. The library is amazing! In fact I am here right now 🙂

So anyway I’ve been working really hard. It’s now Friday (about) 4:30pm and I’m not going to do any more work until tomorrow! It’s badminton society tonight and I’m going to go and concentrate on doing some exercise and meeting some new people!

To be honest this week has been a brilliant week but there’s one day I want to tell you about in particular because it’s foodie heaven connotations. Now I love going to farmer’s markets and farm shops. I don’t know if it the layout, the feeling of going back to nature or just looking at all the fields around and knowing exactly where my food has come from. Kent is brilliant for that. This month I hope to go to the Farmer’s Market in Rochester – I will tell you all about it when I get the chance to go!

Wednesday we decided to take a trip to Sevenoaks, to Castle Farm and it’s shop, known as The Hop Shop. In particular we were looking for pumpkins but ended up coming back with a bit of a food haul…

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We found pumpkins – lots and lots of pumpkins all kinds of shapes and sizes. But we also found something else… See those little green, round guys behind our apples? They would be Rolet or Gem squash. Apparently they are great if you slice off the top, microwave it for three minutes, you scoop out the insides and mash them up with cheese and herbs and eat! Now I have no idea if you can eat the outside bit – probably not – but I’m hopefully going to do these for dinner tonight so I will let you know in my next post. For now I’m trying to describe the heaven that was The Hop Shop…

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This place was amazing and clearly had a lot of work go into it. I will run through what we got in the end and I will tell you a little bit about them. Joshua loves apple juice – and not just the cheapy stuff – he loves really good, fresh, cloudy apple juice so when he saw the Castle Farm apple juice he knew he was onto a winner. It’s sweet and tart at the same time and is grown on the farm in their orchard. You can’t get much fresher than that. Unfortunately I got a sip but now he’s tried it he’s not up for sharing 😛

As soon as I walked into the shop I could smell a smell that took me right back to childhood. A heady, flowery smell that can only be associated with lavender. My mum used to spray a lavender spray on our pillows to help us sleep so I love the smell and associate it with that relaxed feeling you get… just… before… you… drift… off……. z z z Z Z Z

So anyway… I got some of the lavender oil and I’ve been burning it in the evenings back to the flat – it smells amazing and there is definitely something to be said about getting lavender oil this fresh. There’s definitely a difference in the smell but I just can’t describe what it is! Sometimes lavender oil you get in shops is a really heavy smell and reminds me of soap. This one reminds me of Neals Yard but without the price tag..

Lavender_Season_2014_023-600x400Claas Lavender Harvester at Castle Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photo’s are from the Hop Shop’s website (link here) and were taken during this years harvest seasons. We drove past them on the way out but they were looking bare and much less purple what with it being October and all. They make lots of different things from the lavender from the oil itself to ice cream to their own blend of tea. I’ve bought some of the tea to try but I haven’t yet I’ll let you know how it tastes. I’m waiting to try it before bed because I think the Sleepy Tea blend will send me nodding off in no time!

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Now.. For the pièce de résistance! When I first moved to Kent in the summer, there was two foodie items I was in search for. One was the Gypsy Tart. This one was conquered fairly quickly – they seem to be in every bakery (and even the supermarket!) here. But the other one has been pretty illusive and has only just come into season. It’s Cobnuts! Cobnuts are in the same family as hazelnut and they come in these little leaves. You can see them in the bottom left on my ‘food haul’ picture at the top. I’ve been trying to find them since I got here and I finally tracked some down!!! Apparently their not very nice on their own, in country pubs they’re served dipped in salt but I’m told that’s probably to make you drink more beer 😉 crafty… So I’m going to try and turn it into Cobnutella! Some kind of chocolatey-nutty spread to soon onto digestive biscuits. I’ll let you know how I get on with that!

If you’re in the Sevenoaks area you probably already know about this place but if you live further out (or in Medway like me!) give it a look it is definitely worth your time and a little drive.

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One thought on “The Hop Shop, Pumpkins, Lavender and FINALLY KENTISH COBNUTS!

  1. We have just seen your lovely write up on your visit to us last year! So pleased you enjoyed your time with us, and if you come again this week, you will see the Lavender fields in full bloom!

    Like

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