Friday, 23 December 2011

It's a wrap!

The material I bought to replace wrapping paper is still going strong on it's 3rd year, as are the home made gift tags.

This year, as last we will be volunteering at the community Xmas lunch on Xmas day - really looking forward to it. Roast, all the trimmings, plus pud and ice cream and berries. And no cooking!

I hope you and your families enjoy a relaxing holiday season. See you in 2012!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Preserving p*rn

Blackcurrant cordial, strawberry balsamic vinegar, blackcurrants in syrup, and blackcurrant jam to be.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Saturday in the kitchen

It's been productive day. I have made 28 jars of jam, jelly and chutney - redcurrant, redcurrant and jalapeƱo (an experiment), blackcurrant jelly, strawberry jam and cherry chutney. I also have cherries soaking in vinegar to make sweet pickled cherries, and strawberries steeping in white balsamic for a strawberry vinegar.

I've pitted 3kg of cherries and dehulled 2nd of strawberries (thank goodness for a without a trace marathon on tv and a rainy day!). Don't ask me how much washing up I've done!!

Time to put my feet up with a cold glass of something I think. I hope you're having a good weekend what ever you're up to.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


2.9 kg from 4/5 of one bush ... And still another one to pick. Still have some in freezer from last year and about 10 jars of assorted redcurrant jellies. Have offered some to neighbours, but if they aren't interested then I guess I'll make a big batch of pectin stock. Waste not want not and all that :-)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Kitchen Diaries pasta

It's getting to be that time of year when I can actually get more than a few greens from the garden - of course that also means it's getting to be the time of year when I need to be creative with broad beans. Nigel Slater to the rescue!

Broad bean, ricotta, mint and chorizo pasta - based on a recipe by Nigel Slater
  • Make ricotta (it's easy!) (or use store bought)
  • Get some pasta on the go - whatever kind you fancy really
  • Pop broadbeans in boiling water for 3-4 mins, then drain and pop from skins if they are large
  • Fry some garlic (first of the new season garlic - lovely!) in some olive oil, then pop in the chorizo, broad beans, mint and ricotta and warm though
  • Add the drained pasta, and a bit more oil
  • Toss through the parmesan and serve
The original recipe didn't call for chorizo, but I had some left and I think it would have been too bland for my taste without it. It still needed (to me) a liberal grinding of black pepper - but I like spicy/hot food . It woudl also be good with bacon I think.

On the table in 20 mins tops if you don't make your own ricotta first.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lost and found

Guess what I found in the woodshed? Apart from wood and bark and assorted junk items that may be useful in the future.....
Eggs!  I wondered why there had only been one...or none for the past few weeks - I thought it was just because the chickens were getting a bit old (only 1 stared laying this year). But no - they clearly find the bark more comfy than their nice nest boxes!
The dorking is the main culprit (the only chicken we have that lays white eggs) - in all there were at least 17 - a couple slipped beyond my reach.

Now I'm off to test how many of them are still fresh!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

More meals from the Kitchen Diaries

I have only managed to make about 3 new meals from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries, so I think I'll keep the same book for November!  I made a low-egg frittata, but forgot to take a picture (sorry).

Last week I made chicken legs with yoghurt, harissa and mint - very easy and tasty. Use leg (deboned) or thigh fillets. Mix a couple of tablespoons of thick yoghurt and harissa (less if you don't like it so hot), then drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of oil. It won't look too appealing but hat's OK. Coat the chicken in the paste,  then grill or pan fry (recipe says grill, I pan fried). When cooked top with mint, and serve with the accompaniment of your choice. Quick, easy and very tasty.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Day tripping

Sometimes you just have to take a day off from the chores.  Enjoy yourself by just hanging around and catching some sun...
  Make a new friend, and watch someone else do some work...
Take an old time riverboat cruise and let someone else make you lunch while you watch the water under your feet...
 and enjoy the scenery...

 Thanks Jerry for a great day out!
 Your reward - proper English pork pies ... don't eat them all at once - it's a long trip to get some more!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Fruit to be

 The peach tree in the veg patch is laden with fruit this year, in spite of a bit of curly leaf, and there are a few nectarines in the orchard as well.
The brambleberries have had a radical haircut so won't be incredibly productive this year, but they are flowering happily, As usual it's raspberry city (foreground)

 Red and black currants are looking good again this year
The mariposa plum is laden - although not as laden as it used to be - I didn't realise the chickens would eat off the green fruit at this stage. Oh well, live and learn. The 3 rhubarb patches are kicking along nicely and showing no signs of transplant stress
 This apricot tree doesn't look very inspiring, but there's plenty of fruit!

Friday, 21 October 2011

In the veg patch

 First salads of the season, and the nastirtium that just keep going all over winter in the frost-free bed
 The garlic is coming along well, as are the peas and broad beans.
Wild rocket that self seeded - far superior in taste and peppery-ness than arugula. Plus a new bed using some recycled plastic bed framing kit Jerry found on sale at Bunnings. because you can never have too many beds for growing things :-)
And finally a quick back garden remodel update - after a couple of weeks the grass seed has become baby grass
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