Sunday, 29 November 2015
Monday, 23 November 2015
We rarely have beef. It takes up a great deal of resources to produce it so large scale consumption is unsustainable. Eating beef for us is therefore something for special occasions. Yesterday was our 30th anniversary so we decided that was worth celebrating. We had some beef we got in a local farm in a swap. It was also an excuse to try out the recently made horseradish sauce.
So dinner yesterday was roast beef, Yorkshire puddings made from our own eggs, our own vegetables and, of course, the horseradish sauce made from our own horseradish and cream.
We have lots of horseradish so we had a go at making horseradish sauce last week, helped by some of Pinkie's milk having a significant amount of cream in it. Here's the recipe:
- 30g grated horseradish root
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- half teaspoon English mustard powder
- half teaspoon sugar
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 300ml of cream from our goats milk.
Soak the grated horseradish in hot water for about half an hour, then strain it. Add all the ingredients together and stir well. That's it.
However, as our cream was a bit runny, we added a bit of flour to thicken it. You may want to add more grated horseradish, depending on taste.
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
I didn't get round to making crab apple jelly last year. This year I was determined to make some. There was a good crop on the trees in the local hedgerows so I picked a bucketful and used half to make crab apple jelly. The other half was added to blackberries to make bramble jelly. Alas, half of what I produced has already been traded.
Last month I made 35 large jars of sweet mincemeat. It is made largely from leftover materials such as soft fruit that has been pickled in gin and vodka to make fruit liqueurs, fruit purees made from the pulp leftover from making fruit jellies and jams, marmalade and jellies that failed to set.
These photos show the various ingredients at various stages of being mixed together.
Vegetarian suet was added. Chopped apples were also included. The resulting cores and peel were used to make a jelly. And, of course, a modest amount of brandy went in. There was no need to add sugar. The jams contained plenty.
Lots of preserves were included.
Lots of the jars of sweet mincemeat have already been used as swaps. The mincemeat however will, if not used this winter, mature over the next year and be usable next winter.
The roof has now gone on to the new goat house. All that's left to do now is to put on a door and install guttering. Geraldine and Georgina are starting to use it - but only because I've put their trough in it and therefore they have to eat there. They continue to prefer the old, knocked-about shed as their main shelter. That shed however will be moved out of their paddock shortly. We will repair it and use it for storage.
We will whitewash the roof in the spring.
Monday, 16 November 2015
A glut of marrows and a glut of ricotta cheese (what a terrible life self-sufficiency has inflicted upon us). What to do? Add some breadcrumbs, onions, celery and chillies to the ricotta and use it to stuff a marrow. It kept us going for two and a half meals.
We've had lots of roast chicken recently. Chicks hatched earlier this year are maturing and as soon as a cockerel starts crowing, he is invited to join us for dinner. We have another 4 cockerels to go. We recently had two birds roasted. Leftovers are used for a variety of meals, ensuring nothing is wasted.
Though the mass produced chickens sold in supermarkets have more meat on them than the birds we produce, the flavour of ours is, in my humble opinion, much better.
The unbeatable combination is roast chicken, roast vegetables (potatoes, beetroot and parsnips) and a tomato sauce.
Our own milk, eggs and sausages. All we had to buy to make toad in the hole was plain flour and salt. This was dinner for us last night.
The sausages were a bit of a cheat, I have to confess. We bought the pig from Bill Quay Community Farm last year and sent it straight off for slaughter. Some of it was made into sausages for us most of which have been in the freezer since then. However, I am planning to make our own sausages using game we get through swaps and chicken meat from the cockerels we regularly have to slaughter. We have lots of wood pigeon breasts and I am checking out old recipes to making game sausages. So watch this space.
We had a stash of purple tomatoes recently and no chance they could be used quickly in salads or day-to-day meals. I therefore invented a recipe for tomato and marrow chutney:
- 1 kg tomatoes
- 750g apples peeled and cored
- 375g sugar
- 250g onions
- 500g marrow
- 1 green pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- half tsp ground ginger
- 400 ml cider vinegar
Mix all the ingredients together and heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours until the consistency is that of a thick sauce. Then add to hot, sterilised jars.
This is quite a sweet chutney.
We recently got a couple of lettuces as part of a food swap. They went into the fridge and were forgotten for a few days. When we remembered them again, they were a bit past their best but still usable. I decided to make them into a soup, with some other vegetables. It turned out better than I expected.
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
On Sunday afternoon, more of the new goat house was built. We have now finished putting up the walls. Next weekend the roof goes on.
It is substantially bigger than the existing goat house we use for Geraldine and Georgina which you can see in the photo below has been knocked to bits by the two of them.
I recently made chicken potato cakes to use up some meat from one of our slaughtered cockerels. Recently, we have had to slaughter 2 more cockerels (they had just started to crow - at which point they join us for dinner as we are no longer allowed to keep cockerels on the allotment). We therefore have lots of meat to use up. We adapted the previous recipe by adding more vegetables - celery, peppers, onion and kale. Again, we were pleased with the results - useful as we are having them again tonight.
The chicken potato cakes went very well with our plum chutney.
Sunday, 1 November 2015
Today we started building a new goat house for Geraldine and Georgina. This is going to be a goat palace, much larger than their existing hut (which they have largely knocked to pieces). It will mean there is space for the kids which hopefully they will have next year, assuming we are able to get them successfully mated this autumn.
We've only build one corner so far but hopefully next weekend, we will get more done.