Recipe books and geese

First on the list is using my abundance of recipe books. I love them. However I am terrible for finding something online, normally BBC good food and just having the recipe on my phone. What a waste of books and the money that went into buying them. So I am going to combine both methods. Tonight I had chicken out of the freezer and an abundance of leeks in the veg plot to get through which I feel hugely pleased about. So Mary Berry’s chicken with leek, potatoes and thyme seemed perfect. I had left over green veg from the other night. I was sceptical tasting it during cooking but it turned out lovely. A very nice recipe that can be cooked ahead. Please msg me if you would like the recipe.
 
 

 Remember Ryan the goose? Well turns out he should be called Rhianna or whatever the female equivalent of Ryan would be. Our male goose confirmed it yesterday.

One of our other female geese has been acting strange again which means she is either poorly or laying eggs again. Turns out she had stashed 3 eggs in the shed.
This mild winter is playing havoc with things. The geese think it’s Spring and there buds on the trees which normally wouldn’t be up yet. We’re due to go below freezing again tonight having said that.  Stay warm 🙂

Aga in the summer

We decided to keep the Aga on during the summer despite many of our neighbours or friends switching theirs off.  Our kitchen is a big old farmhouse kitchen that is north facing.  In the winter, it’s just a nice temperature in there despite the Aga kicking out some heat.  In fact the whole house is cold so we tend to congregate solely around the Aga in the colder months. 
I did think it would be too hot in the summer and although it’s been hot, we’ve been able to manage it.  Now why don’t we turn it off?  Well we use it every single day for a multitude of tasks.  Steven’s overalls for work (he’s a butcher) dry on there a couple of nights a week, the kids clothes that inevitably get wet, dry on there before they dash back off outside, our boots dry in front of it (yes, even in the summer), we have toast on it daily, boil the kettle and every main meal of the day is cooked on it plus the dogs love laying in front of it! 
Now if I switched it off, I’d have to find alternate methods to do all of these things, using electricity instead of oil and to be honest, I don’t want to.  Whether we will feel the same next year, our second summer in the house, I don’t know.  It will also depend on how much the price of oil rises too.  Not to say that we have money to burn on oil this year, we don’t.  I just don’t feel as much pressure from it as I would should I be paying double the amount.  It is a part of the family now, I simply love it and I think I would always have one now. 
Ours is 45/50 years old according to the engineer who services it for us.  He installed it in the farmhouse many, many years ago and it was a good age then as he bought it second hand and reconditioned it.  It’s an amazing little thing. 

When we moved here, well just before, my Mam and Dad bought me Mary Berry’s The Complete Aga Cookbook and it’s extremely good.  It’s very informative and so many recipes in there that I’m working my way through.  I think I will pick a month and make a dish a day (or so!) from it.  This will help me get through the recipes too as I am terrible for having recipes books and then making 1 or 2 from them and shelving it.  I’ll maybe do that through November, when the clocks have gone back and I have less time outside.

Aga toast – from when we first moved in and ever since!

 

Quite comfortable here

 

Poor Buddy!

 

Yummy food from the Aga

 

He seems to be here a lot!

 

See what I mean?

 

The Aga fixes poorly children

 

and sends you off to sleep if you sit there too long

A little bit of everything.

Isn’t it lovely to see the changing seasons?  I love the country I live in.  There is a definite move from one season to another and with it brings new things.  Moving into our smallholding has shown us new seasonal sights, especially harvest.  Every day I look over to the fields around us and see the farmers hard at work, the roads have the tell tale bits of straw which have escaped when being transported, lined up along their sides and every few days we see bales of hay and straw piling up at random points along the horizon. 

For us personally, moving into Autumn is the shift from summer eating to slightly more Autumnal dishes, slowly introducing the slow cooker again, eating basic staples like mashed potatoes with beef gravy (yum) and my mind turns to making things like soup again.  I know you can make soup in the summer but it’s not something I enjoy eating during the warmest months and I enjoy the process more in the Autumn and especially the Winter.  One of my favourite soups is anything with sweet potatoes, squashes and pumpkins.  Speaking of which, I’ve been growing pumpkins this year and one of them is enormous!  It probably won’t taste very nice with it being so big, but I have decided to enter it into a local show on 17th September.  It’s our first ever show, first ever pumpkin actually, so I though let’s go have some fun.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’m thrilled to say my daughter has followed in my footsteps with regards to enjoying cooking and has started making some of our meals.  She’s 9 and I am extremely proud of her.  Here she is knocking up some apricot and pumpkin seed flapjacks for our packed lunches.  They were so delicious, I didn’t get to take a photo of the end result!
The new company that we’re using for the veg box scheme are called Riverford and so far I am really pleased with them.  Their veg is so fresh and tasty and the milk has a good date one it.  Here’s the last order that came. 

 But what on earth do I do with tomatillos?!

I bought some granola to get an idea of what to include if I made my own.  It wasn’t cheap, £4 for this little tub, so I won’t be ordering it frequently, but hopefully I’ll like it and make my own as I’m struggling with what healthy breakfasts I can have.

Our girls have been producing eggs left, right and centre.  We’ve had about 120 eggs spare at any one time so if anyone has any ideas of what to make with eggs apart from frittatas, quiches, cakes, eggs on toast etc then I would appreciate them! Some of the eggs have been huge over the last couple of weeks.  The one of the left is a hen egg next to a duck egg (second from left) and 2 standard hen eggs on the right.

Whilst we were off we took our metal detector into the field as it used to be a medieval settlement so we hoped to find some exciting hints into what happened there in the past.  We were told it was a graveyard but looking at it from an aerial view you can see the outlines where the houses/rooms/foundations were.  On this photo we’re in the right hand side.  It’s all changed since the photo was taken and the big farm has been split into 3 but we an see our fields on here.  It’s really interesting and I think I will see what I can find out about its past.  We managed to dig up 2 horse shoes and some parts of a rusty old gate.

 

In the garden, I’ve cleared out the veg beds that had finished producing and that don’t come back next year.  I noticed we have some raspberries coming from the same canes that produced around 4/5 weeks ago.  Should that be happening and are they summer fruiting or autumn (I realise this is a silly question to some!)?

We really have had a lovely summer holiday, there’s nothing as fabulous as family time in a place you love.  I’ll wrap up now as I will be wittering on all night otherwise.  Back to normal now 🙂