Saturday, 10 April 2010

"Do-able renewables"

This is how an event in town is billed, so we're going along to have a look. Should be interesting. I'm all for renewable energy of all sorts, but I've a feeling some of this may just be trying to get folks to buy expensive equipment so that they can "take advantage" of the scheme for selling it back to the grid. Not quite the angle I'm coming from; I'd like to see proper and huge ivnestment by a government who cares and a monumental drive to get folks to use *less* power in all areas. It is a huge investment for most families to make, with no guaranteed payback; resources used for manufacturing and transporting equipment that may not work at a decent capacity due to insufficient wind /solar power; greenwash;fashionable thing to do - lots of ???? from me, needless to say.
We shall see what we sahll see, as my father used to say.
I will report back. :)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Old book, new book.................

As you know, I'm a bit of a library fiend; we are lucky where we live to have an excellent mobile library service; I can sit here in the sitting room and request books over the net, and a short time later they turn up more or less outside my house, and all for free. There is no charge for requesting books now, and I make full use of the service! It's a great way of trying before buying. Quite often there are only a couple or so of recipes or whatever I'm interested in, so to pay out for a whole book on the chance of it would be daft, so I read the library oens first, then decide if it's a keeper, when I'll go out and buy it.
Quite often, I'll read about a new book somewhee and request it straight away. Also quite often, the book is very new to the library, and I'm the first person to take it out - a brand new book, clear label in the front, only the one stamp on it.Other times, they're older books, but it's always interesting to see how many times they've been issued over the years; soemtimes somebody has pencilled in a renew date done over the phone.
A small glimpse into the lives of other biliophiles, I always feel :)
yesterday ahd me take out the two books above - one brand new, one older one with a lot of dates stamped on its label. The book looks old, is worn, but obviously well-read and enjoyed; it only dates from 1970, but when I did a quick calculation in my head, that's 40 years ago now..............

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The birds and the bees.............

Well, spring has truly sprung here at the Deanery:) It's a beautiful day here and I'm surrounded by the true signs of spring - everywhere is bursting with buds and blooms, the birds are singing and the sun is out; washing flapping and windows open; knitting in the garden.

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Or a drake's...........the poor ducks spend most of their waking hours trying to get away from randy drakes, and Sweetie and Lillith fly up and over and spend their day wandering around the garden guddling in puddles and snapping at flies. Here they are just outside the kitchen window. Lillith is the darker of the two.

As for the bees, well, it's almost time to open them up for the spring inspection. Thinking ahead I ordered some new frames and foudnation wax this morning so I'll be ready to set a new supe soon I hope. Today is a bit windy and chilly, so another few days won't go amiss. The ideal temp is 14 degrees on a still day, or as I prefer, when the flowering currant (ribes sanguineum) is in bloom, which it is now, so won't be long. They've been out and flying quite a lot on the sunnier days, so seem fairly healthy. I'm looking forward to taking a bit of honey this year; I didn't last year, just left them in peace as the weather wasn't wonderful. They seem to have made it through the winter OK and are raring to go. I'd like to get another couple of hives going if I can, maybbe this year, we;ll see. Top bar hives are very appealing at the moment, and I have the instructions somewhere to make one. Off to blow the cobwebs off the bee suit now!

Ordinary people...

..............are really quite extraordinary, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Homemade Pancetta

Traditional pancetta is made by preserving belly pork with salt, and then drying it for storage; sometimes spiced, sometimes plain. I made my own version of this last week; and am looking forward to trying it out soon.
I cut the belly pork into manageable pieces that would fit into my brining container and into the fridge. The brine was my usual one of 1 pint cold water to 1 oz of salt. Pork into the brine, and into the fridge for 5 -6 days or so. The meat was then removed, adn wrapped in a clean tea towel and put back inot the fridge for 24 hours. At this stage, I slice it for streaky bacon if I need it, otherwise, continue as follows: Slice the meat off the skin, but retain a good proportion of the fat, you don't want it too lean. Dice the meat into cubes and set aside.

Mix up your spices of choice; I used ground nutmeg, smoked paprika and chilli powder. Toss the meat cubes in the mixture until well coated, and spread out on a baking tray.

Open freeze, then pack into bags or containers as required.
I'm looking forward to trying this is pasta sauces, spaghetti, pizzas and soups.
Easy and cheap to do, but big on taste.

So go ahead, make fun of me.............

*talk me down, criticise me, take the proverbial out of me,poke fun at me, sneer away...........

“Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.”
- Oscar Wilde

*you know who you are lol

Monday, 5 April 2010

This made me laugh..............

I was in B&Q this morning, and having a look at the seeds. This old blokey, sporting a rather fetching woolly tourie sidled up to me and said in a most conspiratorial whisper "Got your first earlies in yet?"

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Honey rum

I was talking about this in the pub a few weeks ago to a friend; he said he used to drink it abroad, but had never seen it here for sale. Being me, I thought "How difficult could it be?"
I got myself a bottle of rum - the own brand type from a supermarket for this;poured it into a Kilner jar; added two good tablespoons of honey, gave it a good stir, closed the lid and left it for about four weeks or so, until the honey completely dissolved. We've tested it tonight, and it's very, very good; I imagine it would be lovely as a hot toddy if you had a cold - it would soon sort you out!
Will definitely be making it again soon.

Hot cross pudding.............

What to do with any leftover hot cross buns, even if they're slightly stale.

1 bun per person
1 egg per person
1 tbsp sugar

Slice the buns in half, or in three if thick, and spread with butter; cut each slice in half. Arrange on end in a baking dish. Beat the eggs with an equal volume of milk and add sugar; pour over bun slices and into a hottish oven until the custard is set and the bun tops crispy. Serve warm with custard or cream.