Thursday, 31 July 2008

Transition Forum!

I believe that Creative Living forum is the first Transition Forum:

It's an idea I've been mulling over for a while now; I see the forum as an online community; we are very widely spread, a lot of us living in rural, isolated places, in amongst folks who may not think like us. So, today, I launched the Transition Forum part of Creative Living - how we, as an online community can face head on teh challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change. Will post up here as to how we go, am quite excited about it.

Thursday - more non-electric progress!

Much cooler today, bit of a breeze, but on and off with the showers, so am watching the watching. Above is today's baking - chocolate muffins and a loaf of spelt bread. First time I've tried spelt, so looking forward to tasting that later. have decluttered the other end of the kitchen, so am happy with that; waiting for a friend to come and collect my electric sewing machine. I bit the bullet and offered it on the forum, as I am determined to sew without electricity. I have a choice of 3 machines of my own to use, but want to get the treadle on up and going first. Also on the energy front, I have the forms completed for transferring to Good Energy, so will get them posted off tomorrow. Small steps.......

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Honeysuckle wine

This is a lovely, light flowery white wine to make. Only ever use the flowers, as the berries are poisonous; having said that, there is an edible one, but you have to know it for definite.

3 pints of honeysuckle flowers - measure in a jug, lightly pressing down
1 gallon just off the boil water
1 tbsp dried yeast
2 1/2lbs white sugar
2 tea bags
1 lemon
handful sultanas/raisins

Look over the flowers, only use the best ones, and watch out for insects. Put in large bowl, and pour over the water; cover, and leave 24 hours. Strain, then warm up the liquid to blood temp; add the rest of the ingredients, stir to dissolve sugar. Cover tightly and leave for about 5 days in a warm place, then transfer to a demi-john after straining, and ferment out. Bottle, label and leave at least a year if you can.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Calendula scones

Although only resulting in a very subtle taste difference, the fresh orange petals look lovely in the scones; serve them with fresh butter and a big pot of tea. This recipe makes 2 dozen small scones.

1lb self-raising flour
4 oz butter
milk to mix - soured or buttermilk if available, plain milk otherwise
1 calendula (pot marigold) flower, petals only

Heat the oven first; the scones need a good fast oven to rise quickly. Slice the butter into the flour, then rub in lightly with finger tips to the crumb stage, then mix in petals. Mix gently with the milk to a softish dough. Divide dough into four, turn out on to a lightly floured surface and roll out, cut into shapes and place on baking sheet. Bake in fast oven for 10 - 12 minutes until risen and golden brown, cool on rack.

Too hot for gardening

We've had a spell of very hot weather recently, and by about 10.30 am it's too hot for me to do much outside, so I just water the greenhouses and that's it, apart from picking what's ready. So, today, it was cooler to work in the kitchen, so got lots done; batch of sausage meat maturing ready for sausage making tomorrow; honeysuckle wine in the demi-john; calendula scones and a butter sponge baked; Provencal chicken liver pate made; bottled 1 quart of cherries and 1 1/2 quarts of pineapple ready for processing tomorrow;made and cooked a rabbit casserole with medlar jelly and mustard; started off a batch of mustard; did some washing; de-cluttered the table. I also sorted through a huge bunch of lavender I foraged (with permission ;)) from a friend's garden. It's now strung up to dry, tied with red wool. I like to use the red as a nice contrast - it might as well look pretty as it dries........I'll be using it for some new lavender bags for the wardrobe and trying out some weaving and new recipes I hope.

Sunday breakfast

Once or twice a year we put out the Rayburn to give it a thorough clean out; this time coincided with some very hot weather, so we left it off from Friday until last night. As a result, we've been living on bread and chese and salad, but had a cooked Sunday breakfast as usual, only outdoors. Home cured bacon and duck eggs , the eggs only haveing travelled about 10 yards down the garden into the frying pan! Look at the size of the yolks............:0 We boiled water for coffee in the storm kettle, which I love. Brilliant breakfast, sat out at the table by teh fire pit in the early morning - birds, bees, butteflies, clucking hens and quacking ducks, nosey goats, blue sky and sunshine.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

In the garden

These are the only runners I grow now, Sunset. Beautiful peachy pink flowers and the sweetest tasting beans.

This is lovely, but I will need to curb its enthusiasm, and really try and find out what to do with it - I think the roots are used. Lovely flowers, though, the inula family.

A very beautiful shrubby plant this, which I grew from seed several years ago - flowers of purest white, cut away to reveal the fresh green calyx underneath.

Wish you could smell these..........the plants have done very well this year, must have been all the rain! I've picked dozens of bunches so far, a few still to come yet. One of my favourites, especially the bicolours.

These seed all over the garden; not the fuller's teasel, but the other one. I love the flowers, and leave them for the finches to eat the seeds come the autumn; very stately and grand looking, adding good height around the place.