Monday, 5 October 2015


blackberries Oct 15

I spent a couple of hours on Saturday picking blackberries in the hedgerows around our allotment site. The next job is to pick crab apples. I'll be making bramble jelly shortly.

Goat cheese and vegetable pie

vegetable and goat cheese pie Oct 15 (1)

One of the cheeses I made last week became a bit too crumbly so I have decided to use it up now rather than let it mature over the coming months. I therefore came up with a recipe for a cheese and vegetable pie.

vegetable and goat cheese pie Oct 15 (2)

Into a baking dish I put chopped vegetables - turnip, runner beans, carrots, cauliflower and onions - along with some of the crumbled cheese. Potatoes were boiled in goats whey and then mashed. Some of the cheese was also mixed into the mashed potato.

The goats whey used to boil the potatoes was used to make a white sauce by adding in cornflour. The sauce was then poured over the vegetables and the mashed potato was then added as the topping.

The dish then went into the oven for 45 minutes at 160C and then for a further 15 minutes at 180C to brown off the potatoes.

vegetable and goat cheese pie Oct 15 (3)

This was the end result. It is providing us both with 3 days' main meals.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

That's Christmas dinner sorted

geese Oct 15

I did a great swap this morning. We got 2 geese for 2 jars of marmalade, 1 of jam and one of plum chutney and a goat cheese. We will have one this coming week. The other will be frozen for Christmas (assuming there is any room left in any of our freezers).

There once was a lonely duckling....

duckling Oct 15 (3)

We put 6 duck eggs into the incubator last month. Sadly, only one duckling has hatched. We are keeping it in the brooder box for the next 2-3 weeks by which tie we are hoping it will be big and strong enough to go to the allotment to join the other ducks.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Making apple jelly

apple jelly Sept 15 2

Lots of apple peel and cores - waste from making jam and chutney - needed to be used up. The easiest way to do that was to make apple jelly. I made a batch recently. I think it's time to get some pork out of the freezer. It will go well with the apple.

Cheese making - step by step photo guide

cheese making Sept 15 (1)

I had another cheese-making session earlier this week so I thought I'd put together a step-by-step guide. First job is to get the milk in a large pan and raise the temperature to 25C. Then add starter and rennet. The curds will then separate from the whey.

cheese making Sept 15 (2)

The curds are then cut into cubes of about 1cm and the pan is heated to 45C.

cheese making Sept 15 (3)

The curds are then strained through cheese cloth and a sieve.

cheese making Sept 15 (4)

It then goes into a cheese press for 24 hours.

cheese making Sept 15 (5)

This is the resulting block of cheese.

cheese making Sept 15 (6)

Wax is then melted.

cheese making Sept 15 (7)

And then painted onto the cheese.

cheese making Sept 15 (8)

The wax coated cheese is then left in a fridge to mature for at least a month.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Bottling plums

bottled plums Sept 15

All our freezers are full so freezing a large quantity of plums was out of the question. Once we had made jam and chutney, we still had some to use up. I decided to bottle them. The process was easy. I made of syrup - 300g of sugar to a litre of water. The syrup was boiled and the cleaned, whole plums were added for 5 minutes. All the contents were then added to hot, sterilised jars, ensuring the plums were fully immersed in the syrup.