Saturday, April 27, 2013

Meat, Bacon, Canning and stuff...

I have had a busy few weeks as the pigs are no more and have been processed into tasty things. I miss them as they are really fun animals to have, but the land needs a rest as it is very compacted. In the future it will be lovely fertile land with all that pig muck... Anyway, back to the kitchen.

As we had 5 pigs to cut up I decided to have a go at one myself. I bought myself a new knife, cleaned the hack saw put on the "pig in a day" video by River Cottage and set to work. I wanted to make lots of bacon and our normal helper did not know how to make back bacon and I wanted to give it a go. It took me a long time but this is half a pig in bits (minus the back leg!). The bottom left big pieces are bacon, lower is back upper is streaky. Top left is the shoulder which I was going to turn into sausages.  Top right is filet (tenderloin) and middle bit is a roasting joint, right is the bones cut out from the back bacon (the spine and some ribs - which made lovely bbq bits!) I cut up the back leg into some smaller ham joints and then used the rest to make sausages.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Missed out summer, back to winter!

Woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.......






And then I saw one of the polytunnels.......boo hoo....


We propped it up, and it is sort of back to the right shape, it can grow plants in anyway. Back in the autumn I build 2 new tunnels and they were slightly different. The one that collapsed had its's poles a little wider apart and all winter I meant to prop it up, but never got around to it. It just took a night of heavy wet snow to break it's back. We had about 12cm but it is raining now and I hope it will all be gone tomorrow and the ground can have another chance at drying out. It was doing pretty well up until now!

The pigs are no more. I have days and days of preparing meat as I hope to be canning most of it. We did an experiment yesterday with some beef mince and some moose mince (say that quickly!!) and made some meatballs and canned them. We ate the leftovers for dinner and they were pretty good. We over spiced them because the canning process seems to change the flavour a bit. All four jars sealed and  we will wait and see what they taste like! Interestingly, I found out yesterday you can can bacon.....Our last bacon did not freeze well because of all the salt. We learnt our lesson and will try to do it differently this year.

Here is a picture of the canned meatballs, in a red wine broth....



Monday, April 8, 2013

Exposing The Wallpaper

Yesterday I felt far enough ahead on the garden to start picking off the wallpaper in the room with the new floor. Underneath the years of layers there is the original wallpaper, or pretty old paper anyway! Below waist level all the paper has been removed because we needed to check that there was no rot in the walls, which is a shame, but I think that we can put some tongue and groove over the lower section.

The picture above shows the layers. On the right, high up is the top layer on top of fibre board, then a layer of plastic, which has to be removed to improve the breath-ability of the wall. Then there is the sort of brown flying bird(?) layer, which has gold on it. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Plants, plants and more plants!

Despite the cold nights the days have been glorious. We have had weeks and weeks of sun and I even have a sun tan!! The greenhouse in the day is lovely and warm, actually far too warm and I have had to open the windows AND doors! Because it is not warm enough at night I have to bring in the plants and   because of the sheer numbers we were getting overrun by trays of plants! As we have no water at the moment I decided to cover the bath with boards and put them in there. I have trays of tomato plants, broad beans on the go ready for the plastic tunnels, peppers, lettuce  potatoes chtting and  3 large trays of shallots. And that is just in the bathroom! The shallots are just starting to shoot and they have a story....


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Circles in the sky!

There are 3 aeroplanes doing some sort of high altitude manoeuvres and they are creating circles in the crystal blue sky! There are 3 separate areas of patterns in the sky..... pretty, polluting and pricey!


Can you see it?


Ham and potato

The other day we went to a party and I decided to make a ham to take with us. I have been putting it off thinking that it was difficult and I have to say it was incredibly easy to make a delicious ham. I chucked the large de-boned back leg into a very large pan of water, added onions, garlic lots of spices....cinnamon, cloves and some other ones which I have forgotten now! I boiled it for about 5 hours and then let it cool a bit and mixed up some of our home made birch sap syrup with some mustard powder and a little bit of dark sugar and pasted it over the de-skinned ham and popped it into the oven. It was delicious!!!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Horse power

Today a local man and his horse came to work in my friends woodland. William had cut all the wood and stacked it.