Monday, 22 March 2010

Spring into ebay...

Now that Spring is here it feels like the time to begin new projects...

I bagged myself a bargain on ebay, a wrought iron baker's rack for 99p! I was the only bidder and I felt so guilty for paying so little that I took the seller some of our girls' eggs and a bottle of home-made plum schnapps!

The plan is to paint it with metal paint and put it in the garden with my herbs on. I've already given it one coat of 'Hammerite' and I will post photos when it's done and in situ :0)

This is the photo of it from ebay...

Our other little project, that's been in the pipeline for some time now, is our quail keeping plan. We bought ourselves an incubator and brooder for Christmas and the plan is to hatch our own chicks, bring them on then use them for eggs and meat.

Before you quail (*ahem*) at the thought of us eating our own birds, isn't it better to make sure that an animal you eat has had a good life, know what its been fed and make sure it has as stress free an end to its life as possible?

I've bought a 2nd hand hutch from ebay which we will make into a nice little cosy quail residence with branches, stones and little hidey places for them to, well, hide in!

Again, here are the photos from ebay and again, more photos will follow once its in situ. The run is 4ft x 4ft so nice and large... well, it is if you're quail sized!

Monday, 8 March 2010

we pasta the test!

I used 600g flour and 7 of our girls eggs. I blended the whole lot in the food processor until it resembled bread crumbs then worked it by hand into a dough. Blimey it was hard work! Still, we now have fresh pasta and used up some of our egg mountain so it's all good! :0) Half of it is in the freezer for future use and with hindsight, half those ingredients would have been plenty.

It was the inaugural outing for the pasta machine we bought *ahem* quite a while ago, when I convinced 2 sheds that I'd use it immediately! Still, we got there...eventually! :0)

For a first attempt I thought we'd just stick to flat lasagne style sheets, which I cut up and used to make little canelloni tubes. The bolognese sauce and the cheese sauce were both home-made so all in all, we're chuffed with our effort, very tasty it was too and no chickens were harmed in the making of this pasta! (not a battery egg in sight).

Salute! :0)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

relish it!

spicy sweetcorn relish

**I didn't have mustard seeds so just left those out. I used white wine vinegar and I now have a lovely bottle from that to use for home-made liqeuer :0)
I also didn't have enough sweetcorn so made up the volume with red peppers. I didn't have a green pepper so used a yellow one**

Makes about 3 -4 average jam jars

500g tinned sweetcorn
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper + 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 red or green chilli, finely sliced
500ml white vinegar
250g sugar
1 level tbsp of salt
1 level tbsp of mustard
3 tsps of yellow mustard seeds
1 level tsp of turmeric
1 level tsp of curry powder
A few grinds of black pepper
about 1 tbsp of cornflour mixed with a little water

Before you start, prepare the sterilized jars and lids.

1. Rinse the sweetcorn under running water and allow to drain.
2. Mix together the vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan and place over a low heat till the sugar begins to dissolve, then turn up the heat so it starts to boil.
3. Add the sweetcorn to the pan along with the rest of the ingredients ( except the cornflour, mustard and salt). Simmer the mixture for about 15 mins, stirring it regularly.
4. Add the cornflour mixture along with the mustard,salt and a few grinds of black pepper, stirring well.
5. Continue simmering the mixture till its nice and thick (should take no longer than 4-5 mins).
6. Pour the mixture into sterilized jars and seal tightly.
7. Place in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks. It will keep for at least 4 months (unopened).

Monday, 1 March 2010

hatching a plan...

We've got too many eggs! Or, have we got too many chickens? No, definitely not too many chickens, no such thing as too many chickens! ;0)

What to do with all these surplus eggs then, even with giving them away to family and friends I still can't use them up fast enough.

Sell them of course! :0)

So, I got some cards printed up from 'vista print' for free, I only had to pay a small amount for postage. I put the name of our road in front of the word 'eggs' to make it stand out and I popped them through all our neighbours' doors.



So far, I've got an order for a dozen eggs a week from one neighbour. I always fancied being a farmer! :0)