Pantry special

Pantry special!! Some time last month I started harping on about the pantry.  After much deliberation, I decided to go with plastic containers for my pantry over Kilner Jars.  Firstly, my children help with a lot in the kitchen (my kids are 9 and 6 for those who don’t know) and glass, kids and an extremely hardwearing farmhouse tiled floor are not a great combination.  Secondly, the Kilner jars were just too expensive to even make a start on.  We do already have a few Kilner jars but I think I would like to use these for the homebrew alcohol that we’re trying out.  They look very pretty lined up and the colours of the fruit in the alcohol do them justice.  I researched online for the plastic tuppawear type boxes, yes I am that sad, and settled on Tesco’s Klipfresh.  I have ‘free’ next day delivery with Tesco so they were ordered and turned up as expected, plonked in the greenhouse by our kind postman.
Now, they aren’t cheap either.  I do however manage to easy my conscience with that knowing that they are an investment (I can hear my husband’s comments in my head as I type this).  I think they are an investment anyway.  Remember my comment about flies a few weeks ago?  Well these containers keep their contents fly and bug free (think weevels in flour) and moisture free too.  If items that are decanted have a specific cooking time, I will take a photo of the instructions but to be fair, I don’t tend to follow packet instructions when using the Aga.
Here’s what the pantry looked like, unedited, on the day that I ordered the containers. 
I spent a long time, with the help of my daughter, sorting the pantry out so that it now looks like this.
Anything that was open in terms of cereal, flour, sugars etc, were decanted into a container of suitable size and a label on to remind us what it was.  If an item was not open, it was stored with other like items for when it was needed.  I did notice the self-raising flour was coming to its use by date and given that we now have a freezer with lots of space in it, it would be criminal not to bake some cakes and freeze them sliced ready for unexpected guests and packed lunches, wouldn’t it now? So that’s on the cards for the weekend.
Overall I am rather pleased with how it turned out.

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.