Lucky guests at Brackenborough Hall Coach House self-catering are able to explore the Victorian Kitchen Garden at Brackenborough Hall, near Louth, and enjoy free seasonal produce during their stay.

Paul and Flora Bennett are pleased to share their historic garden and to tell those interested all about the fruit, vegetables and flowers which are grown there. The Bennett family have owned the farm since 1907 and Paul is the third generation to farm the now 1100 acre mostly arable farm.

The garden was created by James Robson, a tenant who bought the farm freehold and then undertook many improvements to the grounds and buildings (and later went bust!). Originally the vegetable garden would have fed the family and the household staff, and in times of surplus probably all the families at Brackenborough Farm as well. With the help of a gardener/handyman, Norman, Paul and Flora have enabled the garden to continue to thrive, now with fresh flowers for the Coach House guests as well as vegetables and fruit for family and guests.

Paul’s mother Eleanor would preserve the produce for the winter by bottling, jamming, pickling, salting and later freezing. Now Flora continues the tradition by making jam, bottling, freezing and then feeding the extensive Bennett/Lindsay family.

Flora said “the vegetable garden is my favourite place! I love to potter about there on a mild evening, cutting flowers for our guests and picking whatever is in season, then planning what I am going to cook.”

Strawberries are the family favourite!

Here is the Bennett recipe for Strawberry Gateaux.

8 oz self raising flour 8 oz granulated or caster sugar
8 oz soft margarine 4 eggs (8 oz)
2 heaped teaspoonfuls of baking powder Homemade strawberry jam
Double cream, whipped Fresh strawberries

Beat flour, baking powder, sugar, margarine and eggs together well until creamy and smooth. Split into two lined baking tins. If you are using an AGA type cooker, bake in the hot oven with cooling plate in place for about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven when firm and just starting to come away from the edge of the tin. Loosen from the tin immediately but leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes before removing.

When cold, sandwich the 2 cakes together by covering bottom layer with jam, then cream, then fresh strawberries (sliced) and a little more cream. Place the second cake on top then cover the top with cream and decorate with whole strawberries.