You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.
I’ve been so busy recently. We are having a lot of work done on the house and its difficult to get on the computer sometimes. As we have wooden floors, everywhere seems permanently covered in dust. I think I’m fighting a losing battle.
So, back to the chickens. We have always had complaints from the neighbours about them. We didn’t clip their wings and every so often one would fly over the fence and go have a go at the neighbours plants. We would have to go chase it round until it got bored of the game and let us catch it. It can get very tiresome trying to apologise whilst stood in the middle of the neighbours favourite flower beds.
This didn’t bother us too much as I was just happy that the chickens had a good life and were able to run free. The real problems came with the rats. The problem built up over a period of time. We put poison down but we had to be careful where we put if because of the chickens and dogs playing in the garden. The rats were just too clever and only ever ate from the chickens dish. One night I locked the chickens in the coop and filled a 12 inch round container with chicken feed to a depth of just under one inch. By next morning it was completely empty… heaven knows how many rats there were!
We tried everything, we moved all food supplies indoors, cleaned the cage out every day, only put scraps on the patio for the chickens but the rats just kept coming. One night when I went out to do a head count before locking the chickens up I had the fright of my life. I leant into the coop with my torch to count the chickens when a rat that must have got trapped in the coop decided to make a run for it. It ran straight for the little door, but of course I was stood in the way so it launched itself and hit me in the chest before falling at my feet and scurrying off. From that night I was terrified of doing the head count and had to force myself to open the coop.
So anyway the chickens have now gone to live on a small holding a couple of villages away. They free range just as they did here but now they have ducks and geese to play with. I’m really sad and the garden seems so quiet.
Once the chickens had gone, we went straight outside and filled the feed bowl up with poison and by morning it was empty….
So no more rushing up to my feet and mugging me whenever I go into the garden. I really miss the eggs as well. If anyone knows anyone who sells fresh free range eggs in the Ashby area, then please let me know as I certainly won’t be buying any from the supermarket now I’ve been spoilt with freshly laid ones.
Juice bars seem to be springing up everywhere and people are talking about the advantages of wheatgrass juice and sprouting seeds.
As a person who mills my own flour, I always have a large supply of wheat grains in stock. Sprouting grains is incredibly easy to do and you do not need fancy and expensive machines so save your money and use an old container and your windowsill.
I have an old Tupperware steamer that I use for my sprouting grains. It is in three parts. A base, a middle colander type basket and a lid. This is rather a sophisticated set up actually and you can make do with an old jar and a pair of clean tights for straining the liquid off.
This is my method.
I get a few grains of wheat and rinse them under the tap to remove and dirt and debris. Then I leave the wheat grains in plain water overnight just to get the germination process started.
Next morning I drain them off and just leave them. Within a day the little shoots are beginning to come through. A couple of times a day (when I remember!) I take the middle part of the steamer with the seeds in and let the water from the cold tap very gently wet the seeds. This keeps them hydrated and ensures good germination. A day or two later I start nibbling on them every time I walk past the windowsill. They have a lovely fresh taste that I would liken to podded peas.
You can sprout lots of different types of seeds and grains so experiment. They are so good for you… its like eating little nutritional powerhouses!
Here’s a picture of my seeds set up. As you can see, the little steamer works perfect, no need for expensive seed sprouters!
Don’t worry about liquid feeding the seeds. Each seed comes with its own little food supply built in and that will last it until you eat it.
If you leave the seeds for a week or so you will have the wheatgrass that is often seen in the juice bars.
At this stage you can juice the seeds and make delicious wheatgrass juice. If you don’t have the right type of juicer for the job then its best to eat the seeds before they grow to this stage. They are still edible but you will probably end up spitting out the fibrous part once you have extracted all the juice and goodness from it. Not very ladylike, but a lot cheaper than buying a glass from a juice bar!
Ok I have more kefir babies ready and looking for new homes. I’ve gone to my waiting list and people have either not replied or have now found a supply of their own. I havent got time to go through everyone so I think the best thing to do is just say that the first three people who add a comment to this post can have them.
I’m really sorry to people who are genuinely waiting patiently but the list just isnt working so I’ll pop up a notice everytime I have some spare and we’ll do it this way
Once three comments have been added, can people watch out for the next lot (it doesnt take long for me to have some ready)
I’ll email the three people and then ask for a SAE. Soon you’ll be on your way to bowel bliss! Its quite an exciting way to do it I think and then everyone stands a chance!
By the way, I’ve started shaking my kefir as hard as I can everytime I walk past the worktop where they live and I’ve really noticed a difference in the resulting milk. If I catch it just right now its as thick and creamy as any yoghurt. It also tastes better, not quite so sharp. I don’t actually know what the shaking does but I shall keep it up!
I bought some of that powdered milkshake stuff. Nesquick I think its called and have started adding that to the kefir along with a little milk. Its gorgeous! I know what you are going to say, its full of chemicals but I only add a teeny amount and i’ve gone from holding my nose and drinking the kefir straight down to actually enjoying the drink so in my book its got to be worth it!
Sunday roast dinner was a gorgeous piece of pork from the farmers market. I think the best gravy in the world is made with the juices of the pork so its always one of my favourite roast dinners.
Anyway I bought a piece larger than I needed so I could stretch the meat over two days and on Monday I made a really nice sweet and sour pork. I enjoy doing a traditional meat and veg dinner and an international meal the day after – it gives my tastebuds a workout!
There was enough food here for four of us, however my son Alex is a vegetarian so I just did him a separate dish with the vegetables in but added diced quorn instead of the pork. Everything else was the same as we had.
Sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice
Leftover pork joint
1 large onion
Ten button mushrooms
Couple of large tomatoes
Couple of peppers (I used red today as that’s what I had in)
For the sauce
8 oranges (10 for a pound at the market)
6 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp arrowroot (cornflour will do but won’t go as glossy)
2 inch piece of ginger chopped finelyFor the egg fried rice
2 mugs full basmati rice
2 tbsp soy sauce
Put the rice on to cook whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Chop up the pork joint, onion, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms and lightly fry in a little oil.
Juice the oranges and add the juice to a pan with the sugar, soy sauce, ginger and vinegar. Bring this to the boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the rice is just about cooked, heat a wok or heavy based pan with a little oil and add the eggs, stirring until the egg is almost cooked. Add the drained rice and the soy sauce and give it a good stir. Season and add a bit of chopped coriander for colour.
So now you have three pans. One with the heated and cooked meat and veg. One with the sweet and sour sauce and one with the egg fried rice.
You will notice from the picture that my sauce has bits in. This is because I used frozen grated ginger. Normally I add the ginger to the veg if its fresh, however I find frozen to go a bit watery so added it to the sauce instead. It doesn’t matter when its added to the end dish.
Combine the arrowroot with a little water to make a paste and then add to the sweet and sour sauce. Mix well and let it cook through for a minute or two to thicken and go glossy.
Egg fried rice cooked in a huge cast iron wok.
Serve the rice and vegetable/meat dish and then pour over the glossy sauce. Add a little coriander to garnish. My family loves this dish and its so easy as most of the ingredients are in my store cupboard. I love the colours in a sweet and sour dish. It always looks vibrant and cheery…. are these words usually used to describe a dish? I don’t know but its pretty good for a leftover / storecupboard supper!