Saturday, 29 December 2018
We don't really do Christmas in our house. We have rejected the consumerism and consumption that this festival has become. Thought we don't do presents and decorations, we do have Christmas dinner and we always aim to have as much of it produced by ourselves as possible. Apart from the flour used in the Yorkshire puddings, everything else was produced by us, or swapped for by use. Roast pork, sprouts, beetroot, potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings. Lovely!
Wednesday, 19 December 2018
We had some marrows that urgently needed to be used up. The result was a marrow chutney. I added a large amount of ground black pepper to ensure the chutney has quite a kick. They will go to our last fair of the year on Wednesday 19th December.
Friday, 14 December 2018
I often bang on about the need to avoid waste and to think of any food waste as a resource rather than something to be thrown away. Any water in which vegetables have been boiled should be kept for use as a stock. Such water often contains lots of the nutrients from the vegetables. In the video above I use the water in which I had boiled beans as stock for vegetable soup.
Thursday, 13 December 2018
On Monday I spent some time in the kitchen making a couple of bean loaves (see previous post) and two jars of fruit liqueur. The latter were made from plums and rhubarb that had been in the freezer. Thawing them had caused much of the liquid content to run out. The rhubarb and plums were then simmered to release more of the juices and then everything was added to brandy with a bit of sugar. Instead of the usual 3 months, I expect these to be ready in two weeks.
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
We still have lots of broad beans in the freezer from last year and in the cupboard we have jars of dried beans we bought years ago. Time to start using them up. I soaked the dried beans on Sunday and we also thawed a bag of the broad beans. They were then boiled together to soften them and then mashed. To this mix were added bread crumbs, garlic, onion, olive oil (made by a friend of a friend from her own olives - we swapped for a couple of bottles) and a half bottle of hawberry ketchup I made back in 2009 and which has been on the shelf of the fridge door ever since.
The mix then went into loaf tins and into the oven for an hour at 180C.
A good end result.
Monday, 10 December 2018
The wood store at home was getting a bit low so the chainsaw came back into operation yesterday and we chopped up lots of branches which were chopped from hedges and trees last year. They have had lots of time to dry out so are ready for burning in our stove at home - this appliance heats the whole house. The branches were initially fed to the goats. They eat the leaves, bark and twigs. What's left is fuel.
We still have lots of branches to chop up so we have plenty of fuel to get us through the winter.
Sunday, 9 December 2018
Yesterday I had a table at the Whickham Volunteer Library Christmas fair. Preserves on sale. Alas, people were asking for honey. We have some but it has not yet gone into jars. I could have doubled my turnover if I had some available. One fair left before Christmas. I'll aim to have the honey ready.
On Wednesday I was back in the kitchen again, making jam. The plums and rhubarb recently taken out of the freezer were added to some of our vast stock of apples to create a preserve. Notice how we are running out of sensible size jam jars!
Friday, 7 December 2018
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
The person who got the other half of our pig chopped much of the fat off the chops and offered it to me. This fat is a great resource for cooking and soap making. It will need to be rendered but that is a straightforward task. So watch this space for some interesting soap videos in the near future.
On Saturday I took two of the goats to Lobley Hill Community Centre at the invitation of Groundwork, the environmental charity that runs the building. There was a Christmas fair taking place. Sadly, the rain was a bit of a problem. Coal and Perky however ate their way through a bucket of carrots and a cabbage. And they made lots of friends as well!
Rotten weather and too much rain means we are suffering from mud. I had to put pallets on the floor of the goat house as an emergency measure to keep the goats off the flooded floor.
Meanwhile, the monthly meeting of Tyneside Beekeepers was held. The speaker was a mead maker.