Happy Autumn

I’ve had to change my morning routine round to suit the change in season.  It’s too dark when I go out at 5:50am to let the poultry out, or even to feed the horses in the field.  So I complete my morning jobs that are to be done in the big barn and then head back in the house for breakfast and to wake the kids.  Before we leave for school and work, we go back out in our muckers and farm coats and feed the horses in the field and let the poultry out then take the dogs up the lane to stretch their legs.  It’s working well though I do notice the later in to the week we get, the harder it is for us all to get up, even though we ensure to go to bed in good time.  Slowly, things come together.  They do fall apart again, when I forget to get the meat out for tea, or haven’t prepared the lunches due to being busy elsewhere and it slipping from my mind, but for the most part it’s going in the right direction.

I spent part of last night on the phone to a friend in need instead of doing what I had intended to do, which was clean out and organise the kitchen cupboards.  So tonight I plan on getting on with that for an hour or so.  The cupboards have turned in to a bit of a dumping ground for any papers and odds and ends that inevitably end up on the kitchen table and need to be put somewhere in a hurry before a meal is served out.  They fill up surprisingly quickly!
Not only that, but a major learning curve of living where we do is flies!  I’ve never seen so many.  They duplicate within the hour, I’m sure!  So ensuring food is cooked and covered or cooked, cooled and put in an air tight container and stored in the fridge or pantry is high up on the list of priorities in the kitchen.  I know this is good practice anyway but it was never an issue previously if I left the cakes or bread on the top to cool without a tea towel or such over them.  I don’t have many more air tight containers or storage boxes so I am going to have a look on Lakeland etc and see what they have on a budget.
I’m excited to report – earlier in the year, I tried one of my first experiments and planted a bag of old potatoes that were too old to eat, directly into one of my muck heaps (without the bag!).  The muck heap was a pain as the previous owner had left all sorts of junk in it that shouldn’t have been in a compost bin.  At the time we didn’t know this until I started putting new manure (from our horses) on top of it.  By then it was too late, I wasn’t digging through it all again so I decided to try the potatoes and if it failed I’d just leave it all to rot.  I’m pleased to say it didn’t fail!  We harvested this little lot which I’m really pleased with, given that I’d prepared for lots of foliage from the manure and no potato production.  We had some of them with a slow cooked pork joint and veg from our veg box delivery and they were delicious.  I’m going to try pumpkins too next year
I also harvested a good amount of potatoes that were put in later than suggested and they turned out ok too.  So we have plenty of these for the next month maybe.

The dream is becoming the reality with each week that passes (including menu plan!)

I’ve been working on the menu plans now I am full steam ahead with the veg box and Tesco decision.  I will normally update this post type on a Thursday, but this week it’s Friday seen as though we’re just getting going.   Veg is delivered on a Wednesday, each week.  Items delivered will be seasonal and I’m working a menu plan based on the delivery contents instead of shopping to the menu plan. 

Wednesday veg box cost £26.27 and contained:

Veg box (£13.50) contents:  Milk, cheese, cream, salad bag, tomatoes, plums, oranges, bananas, sweet peppers, new potatoes, onions, broad beans, carrots.

In addition to the Standard Box I bought:

1 x RAW MILK 1ltr (Emma’s Dairy) £1.50

1 x SEMI-SKIMMED MILK 2ltr (Emma’s Dairy) £1.79

1 x SKIMMED MILK 2ltr (Emma’s Dairy) £1.79

1 x CREAM – DOUBLE 500ml Acorn £2.02

1 x RED LEICESTER CHEESE (Lye Cross Farm) 245gm £3.27

Plus delivery of £2.40.

The menu plan to use these lovely items is as follows:

Wednesday – Slow cooker beef with veg patch and veg box veg and mashed potato. Leftovers – make pie and freeze/use mash in potato cakes.

Thursday – 12 egg frittata with bacon tomato & cheese, potato cake, salad (veg box) and veg patch radish with salad cheese.  Leftovers – Lunch on Friday/after work snacks

Friday – Veg plot cauliflower cheese soup followed by veg box broad bean, Feta & Spinach Pie with veg box salad

Saturday – Bacon & Egg buns/Sausage buns, meal out (not takeaway and once in a blue moon!) with visiting family on night but home for pudding of strawberry shortcake with extra thick double cream.  Saturday extras – Make quiche/flapjacks/meringue/shortcake & sweet potato soup.

Sunday – Diced beef in gravy, veg patch peas if any, veg patch cauliflower, broccoli & cabbage with veg box carrots & new potatoes.  Use onions in gravy.  Strawberry shortcake if any left or strawberries with meringue (made Saturday) and cream.

Monday – Shakshuka with sausages served on plain flatbread or with pittas (never made this before, looks yum).

Tuesday – Slow cooker chicken curry with rice and naan

 

The plums will be eaten fresh and also used in a chicken, leek and plum pie for the freezer/coming meal.  The cheese, milk and cream will be used in some of the above meals, breakfast and in general everyday use.

In addition to the veg box, every Friday I will get my Tesco delivery of fresh items that The Organic Pantry don’t sell.  Each week I need food to cover the weekend’s guests that drop in (bacon, cakes to be made etc), my daughter’s packed lunch items for the coming week (son doesn’t have them), the weekly basics and top ups of items that have ran out such as flour, treacle, toilet roll etc.  Today’s Tesco shop includes:

6 small pork pies – £2

Deodorant £1.5

1kg Jam sugar * 2 £4.16

Sweet potatoes 5 –

Apple juice cartons * 2 packs £1.6 (check as coming up as £1.95)

Rolls * 12 £1

2.5kg potatoes £2

Oats 1kg £0.75

220g Cherry tomatoes £1.50

600ml dbl cream £1.5

30 pack shreadded wheat £2.18

Bananas £0.80

Bubble bath (Christmas hampers) £1 each * 2

Shortcrust pastry £1.50 (Yes, I know).

8 pack Blue ribands £1.69

Lunchbox malt loaf singles £1.35

Mixed fresh peppers £0.85

Mushrooms £0.90

Tuna 4 pack * 2 £4.98

Choco snaps * 3 for offer £3 check this too

More bananas £0.90

Mild cheddar stick £1

Baking butter £0.85

Carrots (horses) £0.45

Squeezy yoghurts * 2 pack £2

 

This allows me to put together 5 packed lunches for Grace, afterschool snacks (pork pies, yoghurts), breakfasts for all of us for the week, soup basics and some quiches for my lunch/teas.

If you’ve managed to get to the end of this post without falling asleep, I salute you.  I would like to say, to avoid any comments that may question it.  Yes the veg box scheme and milk is more expensive than going to Aldi or Tesco.  Yes I could save more money buying the same items in there.  No I don’t want to do that.  However we do have a budget and we stick to it.  We want to be able to eat locally and seasonally whilst supporting as many local businesses as possible.  This helps us and does my part for them too.  Ideally we want to be self-sufficient but know that we can’t be entirely due to our lifestyle of having to work (for now).  This is a big learning curve for us here on our smallholding and we are embracing every minute of it.  Happy Friday everyone 🙂 xx

PS some pics of how things are coming along.  I will post about them in another post but I don’t like non picture posts, especially on a Friday!

This is the muck heap I threw the old supermarket potatoes in that were destined for the bin/compost otherwise and they’re growing!!

Eating or cooking?  No idea.

More apples, eating or cooking I don’t know.

Plums?

More plums?
Definitely plums!
A redcurrant bush hiding at the back of the orchard which seems to be thriving well on its own!
Our first harvested onion 🙂 We also had potatoes but they went too quick to get a photo.

Aren’t they growing?  Adorable!

I was being spied on by the neighbouring cows when letting the ducks out this morning.