Saturday 29 December 2018

Walking the goats

What did you do on Boxing Day? We took the goats for a walk! A good way to burn off all those extra calories>

Christmas dinner

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!

Fried kidney for breakfast

We had one kidney to use up from our half pig so I had it for breakfast, chopped and fried. I love kidney and it is quite some time since we had this welcome addition to our diet. Fried with leftovers - a fantastic breakfast.

Making pork stock

We are continuing to extract everything we can from the half pig we got last month. The bones left over from the pork chops were boiled up to make pork stock. Two tubs are now in the freezer ready for making into soup.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Making marrow chutney

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.

Self-Sufficient in Suburbia - November

This is the November edition of Self-Sufficient in Suburbia, a month dominated by the need to create space in the freezer for the half pig that was due to arrive. We also had lots of mud and lots of jam-making!

Friday 14 December 2018

Waste nothing

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

Beans and booze

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

Bean loaf

bean loaf Dec 18 1

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.

bean loaf Dec 18 2

Monday 10 December 2018

Sustainable fuel

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

Whickham Library fair

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.

Reindeer looking strangely like goats

On Thursday I took 2 of our goats to the Christmas tree lights switch on in Sunniside where they were cunningly disguised as reindeer. They overdosed on Christmas carrots!

Sunniside Christmas lights switch on Dec 18 (10)

Sunniside Christmas lights switch on Dec 18 (4)

Sunniside Christmas lights switch on Dec 18 (3)

Sunniside Christmas lights switch on Dec 18 (1)

Plum, apple and rhubarb jam

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

Swalwell Fair

I took my preserves to another market on Tuesday - at Swalwell's Holy Trinity Church. Lots of people were there but 90% were below the age of 10. Sales therefore were not significant but a few mums and dads took home jam!

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Pig fat

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.

Taking the goats to Lobley Hill

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!

The pork arrives

On Friday last week, our half pig arrived. After weeks of creating space in the freezers, there was room for the 4 large joints, a stack of bacon joints and a load of chops with space to spare.

Making rhubarb chutney

We have loads of rhubarb in the freezer but we needed the freezer space for the imminent arrival of the half pig. So, I took out 6kg and made half into chutney. The other half is to be made into jam.

Mud and Mead

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.

Game soup

The leftovers from the pot roasted game we recently had made a rather good soup recently. Alas, we made so much that we were getting a bit fed up with game soup every night. Some of it has now gone into the freezer.