Strawberry Season and a Vegan Sponge Flan

My strawberry plants are finally slowing down at last after a bumper season – that was a pleasant surprise, as I had never grown strawberries before and the slugs kindly left them alone (mostly). 😃

Six little plants bought from my local supermarket last year have produced several kilos of delicious fruit.

In addition, the wild strawberries in my Herb Bed have also produced more fruit  than ever before. (The smell is heavenly!) We have been eating both the cultivated and wild fruit fresh every day, and have had strawberry ice cream and strawberry flan too. And (since strawberry season as usual coincided with some very hot weather!) several vacuum-sealed bags are in the freezer awaiting cooler weather for making jam.

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I am sharing my sponge flan recipe with you because it is not only extremely quick and simple to make, it is also perfectly ‘spongy’ and vegan too!

I think the original was on a supermarket website, but here is my version:

Vegan Sponge Flan

  • 225g (1 4/5 cups) plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 250 ml (1 cup) plant- based milk such as soya or almond
  • 6 tbsps neutral tasting vegetable oil such as rapeseed or corn oil
  • 125 to 150g (about 2/3 cups) sugar (depending how sweet the fruit topping will be)
  • an optional dash of vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients with a food mixer. Pour into a greased and floured sponge flan tin. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 20-25 minutes.  Turn out when cool and decorate with fresh strawberries or fruit of your choice. I also added a clear glaze – a ready made mix based on cornflour (e.g. Dr Oetker’s). 😃

Hope you are enjoying strawberry season too. What’s your favourite way to eat strawberries?

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The Vegetable Patch Takes Shape

Last year our spring was lovely and warm – and extremely dry. Lovely for working outdoors, but far too dry to dig over a new vegetable garden. So it got postponed.

This April I optimistically marked out the spot where the vegetable beds will be. There will be four beds within the marked area with wooden frames around them. It is an open space and gets lots of sunshine. And is also not too far from our water supply on the north side of the house. Here you can just about make out the yellow poles marking the corners.

I had been planning this for months, but the weather hadn’t been on our side again… too damp this time! Then finally it was perfect weather at the end of April and we were able to mow. Then my Man of Many Talents got out his trusty tractor and tilled over the area for me. 😄


Thank goodness I didn’t have to do it all by hand! There were some very large stones in the ground.

And after some raking and weeding it started to take shape….

Viewed from the top of the Herb Bed

Then it rained…. and rained and blew and rained again… So we got to work on the wooden frames in the meantime. Now, I don’t know what the situation is in your part of the world, but finding good and affordable wood is not easy here at the moment. Everyone is doing DIY projects and the supply chains have been messed up. My Man of Many Talents got some spruce planks, but the quality is not brilliant and it was a matter of either that or ‘wait and see’. But for the purpose I am sure it will be fine.

He cut it to the right lengths – four times 3m x 1m – and we assembled the frames. Then I sanded down some of the rough edges and oiled the whole construction with linseed oil.

The finished structures were carried to the bed and I spent the rest of the day shovelling soil around to level it up and get rid of weeds. And the supports for the beans and cucumber were put in.

A day later planting began. I have sown runner beans and soya beans, chard, salad leaves, and put in some small strawberry plants and kohlrabi (very well known in Germany). This will be a new adventure, as I have only ever grown vegetables in pots and containers up to now.

So, now you can see why I have not been blogging much recently… this took a lot of time and energy! But the final stages will hopefully be completed in the coming week… mulching around the beds, and also planting the zucchini, butternut and cucumber plants I have grown from seed. I will keep a record here of how things develop. (Both the failures and successes!) I know many of my readers are far more experienced in growing vegetables, so I will be glad of any tips along the way!

Have a great weekend and Happy Gardening!