This was my dinner this evening – courgette frittata with side salad – and it was made entirely using things from our garden (with the exception of the wild garlic pods – some were from our garden, others from further into the woods).
– courgette (although I only used one in the end – could have used a bit more for flavour though)
– new potatoes
– pickled wild garlic pods (not in picture)
– eggs (from yesterday, needed beating better hence the egg white bits)
– basil (grown from seed this year) & oregano (had for a few years)
– salad leaves (lollo rosso)
– and, ok ok, a little oil for frying the courgettes – a small cheat ;)
It could have used a bit of salt & pepper for flavour but other than that, was pretty damn good!
And that’s another goal ticked off my list.
1. To make a meal using only ingredients I’ve grown, raised, caught or killed myself.
April was an interesting meat-y month – we learned how to kill & dress chickens, and we also learned how to make sausages. It was also the proper start of seedling season – and that’s continued in May. So far, we’ve only had lettuce from the garden (winter gems) but the seedlings have been going well. This year is an experimentation year – I’m growing lots of different things to see how things grow in our new garden and also getting used to the different beds (two have proven to be shallower than expected, two deeper).
We’ve also been on a Wild Food Foray, which was a lot of fun and very interesting. I would like to go on another specialising in woodland wild food since that’s our main habitat.
My second attempt at a sourdough starter (after a first failure during the cold cold winter) failed miserably at the start of May – when everything came to a bit of a halt because I was sleeping 14 hours a day and tired for the other 10. However, we learned about slow rise bread while out on the Wild Food Foray and I thought that sounded bloody brilliant – so I’ve been grinding that lately. (Grinding in the levelling-up-at-video-games sense rather than the wheat-ears-to-flour sense.) Although each loaf takes nearly 24 hours from start to finish, it’s a relatively cheap thing to grind at and John is loving all the good, fresh bread.
2. To travel to a place on my “top ten places to go before I die” list.
Nope, still nothing on this one.
3. Finish writing my second novel.
I started to read through what I’ve written so far and while I haven’t done it so far, I know what my next step is (re-drafting while typing it up), then I’ll continue with the story.
4. Learn how to make sausages – wet English style ones and cured ones too.
As I said in #1, yes! Done this one! One goal off the list – hurrah!
Well, we made English wet ones and we learned the theory of making ones for curing (since it’s essentially the same). We also figured out we could use our half garage for hanging – it’s out of the way so it won’t stink up the house, quite cool and could easily be made a little more ventilated. Now it’s just a question of getting a mincer and giving it a go.
5. Spend at least a day fishing out on the North Sea.
I’ve done some research into dog-friendly places to stay on the coast, but that’s it so far.
6. Finally finish learning how to drive.
Done nothing on this.
7. Make a full outfit’s worth of clothing for myself – including spinning any wool used.
I learned how to spin today! Ok, technically that’s a June thing but sshhh! I’ve had the day off today and decided to learn a new craft – I intended it to be dyeing but when I went to the wonderful Textere Yarns (somewhere I’ve been intending to visit since before we moved to Bradford), they had lots of pretty coloured roving so I decided to give it a go instead. It’s lots of fun but my shonky homemade top whorl drop spindle is showing its shonkiness already so I’m going to get a better made one I think (and/or try to make a better one myself).
Today I’ve also started making a light dressing gown for myself for summer – from some lovely fabric I got from a random great fabric shop on Leeds Rd. I couldn’t find a decent pattern/how-to online so I’ve kinda made it up as I was going along, based on the theory of making a kimono wrap for a baby. I’m going to finish it tomorrow – if it works out, I’ll write it up and arguably, by itself, it’ll also be a full outfit, or rather an infit ;)
Tomorrow, I’m also going to try dyeing stuff – got some boring shop-bought dyes to start with but I’m hoping to go natural and find some suitable leaves at lunchtime when we’re out with the Lil’ dog.
8. Learn how to program and make a mini-game/application using Ruby.
I’ve returned to my programs and stuff a couple of times but as I said in my last update back in March, I’d reached a bit of a hurdle in my book, and that’s pretty demotivating. However, my list of ideas for simple programs is growing so I’ll get back to it soon.
9. Climb a mountain or at least a jolly big hill.
Still doing a lot of walking with Lil – or rather a lot more walking than we ever used to. Tom keeps mentioning Snowdon and/or the Three Peaks so maybe, maybe.
10. Participate more in the real world – plan/run a real life green event or scheme.
Again, lots of ideas and I’m *almost* ready to take the first step on two of them.
1. Her freshly clipped coat feels like velvet.
2. We worry – as we always do – that the play is bordering on fighting but the woman assures us that it is definitely play. The dogs bounce around together amongst the oak trees as we talk about them behind their backs.
3. The slow-rise bread – 22 hours in the making – comes out of the oven too late to eat with dinner so we have it as dessert instead. Its golden dome is perfectly cracked, its centre spongy & bubbled.
One of my ten goals for 2010 was to learn how to make sausages. I’ll admit it was a bit of an easy one — the “make to-do” list item on your to-do list just so you can cross something off straight away — as I was already planning on attending a sausage making course in March. When March came along though, I was incredibly disappointed when we had to cancel our places a couple of days before the course – and delighted when Rachel, the course organiser, said they were running the course again a month later, and would we like to attend that instead?
The course took place on Saturday at Old Sleningford Farm – a lovely informal community/small holding near Ripon in North Yorkshire. The drive up showed off Yorkshire at its best – the sun shining on all the hills, dales and cute cottage-filled villages – and when we got there, the group were having a cup of tea in the sunshine next to the herb garden. There were five of us on the course, plus Rachel & Martin, who ran the session together.
Once the tea was supped, we headed into the purpose-built kitchen and Rachel & Martin told us about their experiences developing the recipes, how they’d come up with their fatty/lean meat ratio and why they used homemade bread instead of rusk. Then we read through the recipes of the sausages we’d be making – all standard wet pork sausages but we were given two recipes for dried/smoked sausages and throughout the day, they discussed how each stage would be different if we were making them (we also got to try the dried sausages at lunchtime – super yum!). They had also thoughtfully copied out large versions of the recipes and hung them on the walls so we didn’t keep having to refer to our take-home A4 papers.
On Friday night, we killed, plucked & butchered two chickens. As you do.
To be accurate, the wonderful John B and my John did the killing, then my John’s brother Chris and I joined them in plucking, then John B showed me how to dress the chicken, and then I showed Chris.
The chickens first came into our collective lives late last year as unwanted day old chicks and Chris handreared them in a make-shift nursery in his conservatory until New Year, when he had to clean out the chicken poop, ahead of the arrival of his son, Zachary on Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year. Despite being planning/building a chicken pen/coop since we got this house last September (well, planning it since I went on a chicken course in April last year), we still weren’t ready to take them when Chris needed to get rid – and John B, who already had his own girls, offered to take in the still-unsexed chicks. He gave us regular updates about how they were doing – and a few weeks ago, his suspicions were confirmed: two of them were definitely boys. Over the last week, the boys had become somewhat randy boys and were hurting his girls with their “affection” so one way or another, they had to go. John B has been banned by his daughters from eating anything they’d named so he couldn’t do it and a friend on his allotments offered to do the deed instead – but he thought he’d give us first refusal.