North Dorset’s leading Garden Centre with Florist, Café and award-winning Farm Shop
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BBQ Season at Orchard Park

Top Tips from Orchard Park for the Perfect BBQ

To celebrate National BBQ Week 2017 (29th May – 4th June) we will have special offers on our range of Weber BBQs and accessories as well as in Lagan Farm Shop butchery.  To kick off BBQ season we have put together a guide on how to create the perfect BBQ!

Get the Right BBQ

This may seem like an obvious statement but having the right tools for the job is essential, which also applies to barbequing!  The debate over which is best, gas or charcoal, is a fierce one but with the help from Weber we hope we can help you decide.

It is recommended that you choose a BBQ which is best suited to your needs.  Charcoal BBQs add to the excitement and anticipation; setting out the coals, lighting them and then waiting until they are up to the perfect cooking temperature is what makes a perfect BBQ for some.  Others prefer the convenience and spontaneity of a gas BBQ as they offer the flexibility to just ‘fire it up’ whenever you like and start cooking almost immediately, adjusting the temperature with simply a twist of a dial.

Here at Orchard Park we have a great range of Weber BBQs (along with accessories) and are able to offer advice to help you choose the right BBQ for you.

Make Your Own BurgersLamb_Cooked_Burger

Our Lagan Farm Shop butchers have been busy making burgers, sausages (available gluten free), rump steak kebabs and chicken skewers as well as marinated sticky BBQ ribs all ready for the grill!  There is no doubt about it, homemade burgers are simply better! If you would like to give making your own a go, we have grass fed beef and lamb mince available from our own farm next door.  There are so many different flavour combinations to choose from achievable by simply adding different seasonings or fresh herbs.  Lamb burgers with freshly grown and picked mint from the garden and sweet chilli beef burgers are always a firm favourite.  Lagan Farm Shop also has a selection of chutneys, pickles, seasonings and sauces.

BBQs Aren’t Just Good For Meat

Contrary to popular belief BBQs aren’t just for the meat-eaters among us and can be used to create a variety of hearty vegetarian meals.  Pizzas, pasta dishes, flat breads and even cakes can all be cooked and baked on the BBQ by using some of the Weber accessories.  Take a look at some great recipes available from Weber, click HERE to open the link.

Finally, Set the Scene

This year make the most of your outdoor space and let your garden be an extension to your living area.  Here at Orchard Park we have a range of quality garden furniture from Cosy Bay and Alexander Rose, along with a range of decorative fencing, aggregates and stoneware, garden lighting, outbuildings and of course plants that can transform your garden into a space for entertaining and relaxing.

So what are you waiting for? Make the most of your summer and get grilling!


British Yorkshire Pudding Day!

British Yorkshire Pudding Day is celebrated annually on the first Sunday of February.  Traditionally Yorkshire puddings were made in one larger tin that was divided into portions rather than the smaller puddings we know and love today!  They were originally served before the main meal to fill empty stomachs to reduce the amount of meat needed especially during harder times.  Roast beef is the meal that Yorkshire puddings are known to accompany but they are delicious whatever they are served with!

Finding the right Yorkshire pudding recipe can be a challenge as oven temperatures, electric or fan assisted and dietary requirements are all factors.  We have everything you’ll need to make your own Yorkshire puddings here at Lagan Farm Shop (including some delicious Irish Moiled topside and brisket roasting joints from our very own farm next door!) as well as our favourite recipe from Jamie Oliver:


  • vegetable oil
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 ml milk
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 225°C/425°F/gas 9. Get yourself a cupcake tin and add a tiny splash of vegetable oil into each of the 12 compartments. Pop into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes so the oil gets really hot.
  2. While the oil is in the oven, beat the eggs, flour, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a jug until light and smooth.
  3. Carefully remove the tray from the oven, then confidently pour the batter evenly into the compartments. Pop the tray back in the oven to cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden.

Apple Day at Orchard Park

What is Apple Day?

Apple day is a celebration of the English apple and the orchard held annually in October. It is a day, or few days, to recognise the diversity of apples in the United Kingdom and was first started in 1990 by a local arts and environmental charity, Common Ground and launched in Covent Garden market.  The following year in 1991 apple day was launched Nationwide with over 50 events ranging from village hall markets to larger apple roadshows.  Apple day has been celebrated every year since and has grown from a small local event to a nationwide celebration of the humble apple.



Apple facts

  • Apples float in water because 25% of their volume is air
  • In Ancient Greece tossing an apple to a girl was a proposal of marriage and catching it was a response of ‘yes’
  • There are more than 8,000 varieties of apples – the largest variety of fruit to exist
  • It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider
  • To prevent apples turning brown once sliced add a few squeezes of lemon juice or lime juice.


Orchard Café Apple Scone Recipe

600g Stoates Self Raising Flour (plus a small amount for dusting/ rolling out the dough)

500g approx. Bramley Apples Diced (a sweeter apple can be used if preferred)

3 Free Range Eggs

125ml Buttermilk

125ml Milk

80g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

1 Free Range Egg (for glazing)


  1. Heat the oven to 160*c for fan assisted ovens or 180*c/gas mark 4.
  2. Rub the butter and the flour together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then add the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and gradually add the eggs and milk.  Add the diced apple and mix until a dough has formed.
  3. Scatter some of the flour put aside for dusting onto the work surface and tip the dough out onto it.  Sprinkle some more flour onto the dough and your hands and knead very lightly before patting/rolling the dough till it is about 2cm thick.
  4. Cut out 12 scones and place on a baking tray.  Brush tops with beaten egg and cook in the oven for 12 minutes until lightly browned and risen.  Serve with butter and enjoy.


Braised Lagan Farm beef in red wine


800g beef topside or round shoulder (ask our butchers for help!)
20ml oil
1 carrot, fresh thyme. fresh rosemary, 1 small onion, 1 stick celery, 1 tbsp tomato puree
60g bacon trimmings – blanched
1 garlic clove with skin on
200g fresh tomatoes cut into quarters
500ml of red wine
500ml stock


  1. Season the meat with salt & pepper and heat oil in pan, when hot add the meat to the pan and brown.  When fully coloured remove from pan
  2. Add the all the other ingredients to the pan and gently cook until soft.
  3. Add the stock to the pan and stir well.  Reduce the liquid until it resembles syrup and then add the meat and wine.
  4. Cover the pan and braise the meat at 180c/Gas 4 for approx 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally.
  5. Remove the meat from the pan and reduce the sauce (you may need to add a little cornstarch here)
  6. Strain the sauce and skim the fat, season to taste adding a little more of the stock.
  7. Carve the meat and place on serving dish, cover with a small quantity of the sauce before serving.
  8. Garnish with blanched carrots, baby leeks, mange tout, pear onions – or similar vegetables of your choice.

Msaada, What a difference a cow makes

Orchard Park Garden Centre have joined forces with Gillingham based charity Msaada and local actress, Pippa Haywood  in a ground breaking artistic project to help transform the life of a family in Rwanda with an innovative art project to raise money to buy a high yielding in-calf dairy heifer to and send it to an impoverished family in Rwanda.

Pippa, whose recent work includes Prisoners Wives and ‘Greenwing’, was delighted when she was asked to participate in this event.  “What’s so great about this idea is that it is a team effort.  Our town can come together and offer support to a Rwandan family who have suffered such appalling terror and hardship.  What is so inspiring about Msaada it that is isn’t just a charitable hand out but a really constructive offer to enable a family to become self-sufficient and the benefits will ripple through the whole community.  What better way to spend the summer holidays than by families being involved in such a fantastic project!!”

‘The Orchard Park Msaada Big Picture’ aims to get 150 people from the Gillingham and Shaftesbury area to paint one of 150 panels of a larger painting (see illustration with this article) that will combine to create a massive 15 x 10ft artwork and on Saturday 22 September a fun day of activities, painting, music, delicious food and fund raising will be held at Orchard Park and culminate with the unveiling of the completed ‘big picture’ which will be permanently displayed at Orchard Park.

Each participant will be asked to pay £20 (or seek sponsorship for a greater amount) to help buy the dairy cow.  Behind some of the panels will be sponsored prizes for lucky artists whose panel number is selected on the day, after the painting is assembled.   Each participant will receive a ‘Big Picture kit’ which consists of a copy of one of the panels in the main painting, a wooden panel/board on which to paint and a set of paints and brushes.

Kits can be paid for and collected at Orchard Park Garden Centre or Msaada, 9 Leddington Way, Gillingham SP8 4FF and the completed panel must be returned to Orchard Park by Saturday 15th September.  The painting is based on an original called ‘Goodlife’ by artisit Kate Chidley, who has kindly allowed Msaada to use her work for the project.

Msaada was established in the Blackmore Vale area in 2005 to help Rwandans in the east of the country rebuild their lives following the catastrophic 1994 genocide, through self-sustainable development projects and education.   One of the most sustainable and profitable Third World activities is a well-managed and monitored dairy livestock program and with this in mind Msaada are working hard to raise public awareness and funds for this project.

Msaada director, Bill Kelly said “there are very few projects that provide such a level of empowerment and independence to individual families as dairy cows, there is a dramatic transformation from abject poverty to relative comfort and self-reliance.  Each family that receives an animal must pass on a gift of its first-born female calf to another needy family, who will do likewise in their turn, and so the gift grows”. Those chosen to receive the cows will be selected by their need and capacity, not ethnic, religious or political considerations.  Income from the milk the cow produces will allow the family to take control of their own lives, for example the income may be used to send their children to school as well as paying for the other necessities of life and Biogas from the cow’s manure will provide fuel for cooking.

Orchard Park Managing Director Richard Cumming said “we are delighted to be supporting Msaada in this exciting and worthy project.  We hope that with the support of local residents, customers and friends the event will raise the £2,500 needed to buy and airlift the cow to Rwanda and to pay for training in animal husbandry, veterinary support and monitoring for 3 years to ensure the family gets the full benefit of their gift.  We would encourage all families to join in the painting fun and the completed picture will be a lasting legacy of the generosity of supporters”.

Beef Brisket Sandwiches with Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Beef brisket is a budget cut, ideal for feeding a crowd. Here, it’s slow cooked, tossed with a bourbon bbq sauce and put into soft buns. Use this ‘Master’ bbq sauce as a great basic recipe and add extras like bourbon, chipotle or citrus to ‘tweak’ it depending on your preferences.


  • 1.5kg beef brisket from Lagan Farm Shop
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Celery seeds
  • 2 tsp Mustard powder
  • 1 tsp Onion salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp golden castor sugar
  • 10 soft white rolls
  • 100ml bourbon whiskey

For the ‘Master’ bbq sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 500ml passata
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150ml cider vinegar
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot chilli powder (more if you like it really hot!)
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. To make the bbq sauce, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, cook until soft. Add all other ingredients and bring to the boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15 mins
  2. Heat the oven to 150c /fan130c/gas 2. Rub the meat with some olive oil, sprinkle the spices on both sides and put in a baking dish with a shallow rack. Pour some water in the bottom and cover with foil. Cook for 4-5 hours until really tender and flaky.
  3. Pull apart the meat with a fork and discard any extra fat. Put the bourbon whiskey and sauce in a pan and mix well then add the shredded meat and heat through. Serve in soft white rolls (a nice extra touch is to add pickles).

Cottage Pie

This recipe serves 10 so you could make into 2 batches, freezing one for later use.


3tbsp olive oil
1 ¼ kg beef mince
2 onions,3 carrots,3 celery sticks, 2 garlic cloves all finely chopped
3tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 large glass red wine
850ml beef stock
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Few thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves

For the mash

1.8kg potatoes chopped
225ml milk
25g butter
200g strong cheddar such as Westcombe or Montgomerys – grated
Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches, set aside as it browns.  Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the veg and cook on a gentle heat until soft – about 20 mins.  Add the garlic, flour and tomato puree, increase the heat and cook on for a few mins. Then return the beef to the pan.  Pour over the wine and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, add Worstershire and herbs.  Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 mins.  By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat.  Season well and discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  2. Meanwhile, make the mash – in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.  Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins.  Mash well with milk, butter and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with nutmeg and salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon meat into an ovenproof dish then pipe or spoon the mash to cover.  Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.  Cook at 220C/gas 7 for 25 mins

Orchard Park wins Best Meat Producer for Lagan Farm Shop

Lagan Farm has triumphed in the Taste of Dorset Awards with a win in the coveted ‘Best Meat Producer’ category. Lagan Farm Shop has been selling rare breed beef and lamb produced on neighbouring farmland for over 20 years and the award is a great accolade for the farmers, rare breed champions Ron and Sheila Clark. Mrs Clark is thrilled with the award because it shows a public vote of confidence in meat produced slowly in a traditional, non-intensive way. ‘People are starting to realise that good quality meat doesn’t come from the supermarkets but the independents and Britain’s rare breeds are gaining the recognition they deserve for the exceptional quality of their meat.’


The Lagan Farm Shop at Orchard Park, just outside Gillingham on the B3081 Shaftesbury Road, is a real destination for people who value the meat they put on their table. The shop has a team of skilled butchers who are passionate about the produce and only too pleased to share their expertise and advice with the customer.

It didn’t stop there because Orchard Park have also been spreading the word about the value of producing your own vegetables; the allotments at Orchard Park were runners up in the ‘Grow your Own’ category of the Taste of Dorset Awards.

Orchard Park Press Release 6th September 2011
All photographs courtesy of Blackmore Vale Magazine/Ian Sumner

Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings

A fabulous winter warming dish to keep you warm during these cold and snowy days.


750g/1½lb Lagan farm shin of beef or stewing steak
500g/1lb small onions, sliced
40g/1½oz dripping
1 tbsp flour
900ml/1½ pint hot water
salt and freshly ground pepper
500g/1lb carrots, halved lengthways
1 bay leaf

For the dumplings

175g/6oz self-raising flour
75g/3oz shredded suet
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Mixed herbs for flavour
good pinch salt and pepper
water, to mix

Preparation method

  1. Remove any gristle and surplus fat from the meat and trim into neat 4cm/1½in cubes.
  2. Fry the meat and onions in the dripping until lightly browned all over. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well. Gradually stir in the water and continue stirring until it boils. Season to taste.
  3. Cover and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Then add the carrots and bay leaf and simmer for a further hour, when it will be time to add the dumplings.
  4. To make the dumplings, sieve the flour into a bowl and add the suet, parsley, salt and pepper. Next add enough water to make a soft but not sticky dough, about 3 tbsp. Lightly flour your hands and roll the dough into eight small balls. Add to the stew and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.

Orchard Park Garden Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5JG
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