Friday, 22 May 2009

Do chickens know these things?

Barbara, one of my Buff Sussex bantams is sitting on 8 eggs. According to my calculations, they are due to hatch tomorrow 23rd, or the day after 24th. Looking for something else in my "In Tune with the Moon"**, I came across this:

Male or female chicks:

eggs collected around the time of the last quarter will produce mainly male chicks. For female chicks, eggs should be collected around teh first quarter. For best results, incubate the eggs so they hatch between the New Moon and the first quarter.

Now, she started sitting on 1st/2nd May - first quarter, so hopefully mainly female chicks. Eggs are being incubated so they should hatch 23rd, 24th or so - New Moon on 24th.

Teh last lot of hatchings were unsuccessful last year, but I didn;t have the book then to check. I wonder if she knows, or is in tune with the moon for sitting, hatching, etc, and has sat really well this time as according to the book, there is a good chance of a very successful hatch.
Here's hoping, but it will be interesting to test the theories.

** In Tune with the Moon, by Michael Gros, Findhorn Press ISBN 978-1-84409-151-5

Simple beauty in nature

Isn't that lovely?

Hake and caper pie

We are fortunate to have a weekly visit from a fishmonger her in our village; he always has a good selection of very fresh fish, and I buy just the locally caught (ie British); sometimes he has fish from Dorset too, so can't get much more local than that, but Cornwall is a good second! Last week's purchase was a very nice piece of hake, a large, very fresh fillet, caught off the Cornish coast the day before. I baked it in the oven with butter and a splash of milk, with the intention of making fishcakes. Changed my mind and came up with this recipe for Hake & Caper pie instead.

1 large portion of mashed potatoes per person (seasoned, butter and milk added)
1 portion of cooked hake per person
Good handful of chopped fresh parsely
Stale bread made into breadcrumbs
Grated cheese (use up ends etc from fridge for this)
Good handful of capers

Mix the warm mash with the flaked fish - try not to mash the fish too much, keeping some bit chunky to get the full flavour; add parsley. Turn into a buttered baking dish, dot with butter and sprinkle on a healthy amount of capers. Mix the breadcrumbs with the grated cheese and cover the potato and fish mixture. Into a hot oven until piping hot and golden brown on top. Serve with a green vegetable - spring greens, good peas, cabbage etc and glazed carrots.

I had enough left over to freeze for making fishcakes in the near future too; so all in all, good value for £7.30 I thought.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Making things simple

“Any fool can make things complicated, but it requires a genius to make things simple.”

E.F. Schumacher

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

New to me soap recipe

I made this on Monday, it's now sitting wrapped and starting the curing process. Mostly I use a very standard lye and solid fat recipe, but thsi time went for one that used all oils, from the book "Making Scented Soap" by Linda Hamblen, which I got at the tip for next to nothing - that was a bit of a find, wasn't it? :)
this one used coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil; instead of the spring water I infused some water with dried elderflowers that needed using up, and added in some lavender essenbtial oil. It's a lovely creamy colour, and smells sweet. Looking forward to unwrapping it, slicing it and using it.

Seasonal salad

I've been picking small bits and pieces of the salads in the greenhouse, but this is the first proper one of the year - lovely and fresh, on the plates within 10 minutes of being picked :); had it with potato salad and cold roast chicken. I lvoe salad, and like adding all sorts of flowers and herbs to the usual leaves etc, for extra flavour and colour. I'm not a fan of salad in the winter, though, so rarely grow anything much along those lines apart froms ome Lamb's Lettuce occasionally. Lots more to come, and I try to keep up with the successional sowing to make sure it's there when I need it.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

MrsL shares her utility china...

Joining in with other bloggers who love this sort of china.........:) All my bits came from the tip, for pennies. The cups and saucers were in a box with several other smashed bits, which was sad. I saw the little pink jug on Friday last, but didn't get it. Changed my mind on Saturday morning, went back, and it was still there, so must have had my name on it. I love the gentle colours of these, very evocative of times not so long ago. I use mine, making tea drinking even more of a pleasure. Give me this over a modern mug, no matter how pretty, every time!

Monday, 18 May 2009

MrsL's very chocolatey chocolate fudge recipe

I made this yesterday; quite often the call goes up on a Sunday evening - "Got any chocolate?", and we inevitably don't, so I made this as the next best thing, but it's actually better than anything chocolatey you could buy! Easy recipe, but keep an eye on it as it's boiling sugar.

1 can condensed milk (397g)
4 oz butter
1/4 pint milk
1lb demerara sugar
3 tbsp good quality cocoa

Put the milks, butter and sugar in a large pan and heat gently until well melted and amalgamated; turn up the heat and boil steadily for 10 - 15 minutes, then test by dropping a tiny amound into a glass of cold water. If the fudge forms a soft ball, it is ready. When ready, remove from heat and gently mix in the cocoa, carefully - it will still be boiling in the pan although off the heat. Beat well and steadily for 5 - 10 minutes, with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk - when it goes thick and grainy it is ready. Pour into a greased tin and leave to set until firm, cut into squares. Enjoy.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

New look for summer!

Thought I'd freshen up the blog for the summer - hope you like it, I think it's brill!! LOL

First sweet pea!

This is the very first, small, but perfectly formed sweet pea of the year, plucked from its vine yesterday morning - so much scent packed into that tiny bit of loveliness, it's amazing! Prettiest of colourings too, looking forward to more. Summer's just around the corner now..............

I sat and sewed in all the ends of these crochet squares whilst having coffee this morning; they are destined for America as my contribution to a forum swap.

Very wet here today, so no gardening, but might sow a few seeds in the greenhouse. Allybea kindly sent me some spaghetti dquash seeds, so need to get them in. Otherwise, cake making, probably, but I see the sun is shining now, it can't seem to make its mind up. LOL