News, news and more news!

I am finally starting to catch back up with myself after a crazy few weeks, hence radio silence on here.  Firstly, Monday nights HAVE been a little different as I said in my last post and at the end of this post are a few of the videos we’ve done showing some of Grandma’s war time recipe.  Tonight (Friday) we will have a look through the books to pick one for this coming Monday, which I think will be savoury this time.  I’m trying to plan it in ahead of time as last week’s was rushed.  We would love for you to join our YouTube subscriber list as we are hoping to build a decent channel in the coming months and years too allow people can share in our experiences, learn from and hopefully enjoy.  
Anyway, enough of that.  There’s so many other things going on right now!  Firstly the gardens are growing GREAT guns – it’s been fantastic.  We’ve enough lettuce to feed an army!  The tomatoes are starting to grow but not yet ripen.
Beetroot is doing very well.  I’m sowing more for Autumn harvests.
 
The kale is growing really well and I’ve a couple of different varieties I am trying this year.  We are dehydrating most of it, then grinding it in to a powder to add to stews, smoothies, soups and so on.  Apparently kale is one of the healthiest greens you can have.  I intend to sow more to see us through winter and the hunger gap.  I’ll pop a couple in pots too, for reasons I shall share with you in just a moment.
Above are outdoor tomatoes, one of the lettuce rows, leeks and further away brassicas. 

 The space in the bed below are where the garlic were that are in the photo below that, freshly harvested and left to dry in the polytunnel.

 We have SO many cherries this year, it’s amazing.  This was a 15 minute picking session this morning, the colour on them is so vibrant.
Strawberries are pants this year.  They are throwing off runners which I have on my to do list to peg down and get some to use as replacement plants next year.  again I’d like a few in pots.  My Elderberry cuttings have taken, so I have 2 elderberry babies growing!!  I noticed a blackcurrant (had my first harvest!) is rooting one of it’s branches in to the ground so I shall snip that off and pop the roots in to a pot, again.  I’m also wanting to take cuttings from a willow tree we have and some roses, neither of which I’ve done before.  Saying that – I’d not done any of the previous before either so all will be well. 
The greenhouse and polytunnel are both tidy and maintained right now, as is the bottom veg plot (paddock plot).  The potatoes in the paddock plot look fab and I can’t wait to harvest some.  The top plots are suffering though, weeds are coming through this and fast and it feels like the asparagus is growing quicker than I can harvest it!  We’ve weeds galore on the car park which isn’t good when you have people coming to judge your house? 
Now why would we want people to come and judge your house?  Because we are FOR SALE!!!  What? Why? You are SO happy there I hear you say?  We are truly happy here and in love with the place.  Always will be!
However the opportunity has arisen to sell and buy a farm 10 minutes drive from us with 16.5 acres and plenty of outbuildings.  It comes with the opportunity to make income from it and combined with other things, means we could reduce our mortgage significantly, to the point where we could pay it off in 5 years or less.  As we stand here today, that wouldn’t happen and to pay it off early living here means very tight, thrifty living combined with extra harsh savings for at least 10 years.  We can totally do that, but if we can get this other place, we won’t need to. 
It is a very practical move if we do it.  We’d be moving from a big farmhouse to a bungalow, losing character and space.  Some may ask why would you consider that and to be honest, we’re going through all of these feelings ourselves.  Do we need the space inside?  Does financial freedom mean more than character and a homely home?  You can make any house a home, right?  We shall see, ours is for sale.  It may not even get a viewing (we haven’t after 1 week!) so it might not even be an option.  
For those who are interested, our house now and gates.  we’ve just under 4 acres in total.

The bungalow and its entrance we are considering. 

Another thing we have had going on is my health!  So I have finally had a diagnosis from the NHS and I cannot complain one bit, they have been fantastic!!  The good news is the illness I’ve experienced this year hasn’t been anything sinister such as cancer, I had the official all clear earlier this week.  I do however have a disease called sarcoidosis which I can totally deal with and manage, especially with the help and support of my nearest and dearest (friends as well as family there, thank you Lou xx).  Although it’s spoken of as a rare disease, it’s interesting to see how many people have it when you open up a conversation about it!
So it is Friday early evening now, I’ve worked all day and had a very productive day.  For the first time in ages I had no meetings (purposefully) and got through everything I need to in order to know where I stand on Monday.  Before work, the washing machine has been cleaned out with bicarb of soda and white vinegar on a hot wash as the clothes started to smell musty for some reason?  Over tonight and the weekend, I hope to make a rhubarb relish or something with the cherries and gooseberries I have just picked.  I’ll get more kale dehydrated and a few beetroot cooked.  Pork chops for our evening meal, with home grown veg.  Steven is making tea tomorrow, so if I get a soup made tonight for lunch tomorrow, I won’t have to do any cooking at all, meaning I can spend more time in the veg plot and working through the usual jobs list.  I’m going to do a youtube video on the plots too all being well.  Including the weeds!  No fake idealism here!  Speaking of which, here’s the links to some of the war time recipes ones I’ve done with the kids.  Take care.

Monday nights are going to be a little different round here.

This week’s menu plan is up and running and you can access it here.  
Before I wrote it, I tidied out the smaller kitchen freezer last night as it’s becoming bare (which is a good thing as you can get organised).  I have a good amount of mince beef in there and some chicken pieces for the meat to keep us going.  
I’ve taken out a mince and onion pie filling to use the pastry I have in the fridge from this weekend’s quiche.  Also I have taken out what I think is fishcakes filling! Time will tell.  Also an English muffin that Ste can have with his breakfast.  Every now and again it’s worth taking a good few things out of the freezer otherwise it ends up full of items you don’t use.
The veg box was great this week, as always and I’ve included it’s contents in the menu plan page.  I’m starting to get in to a routine with the new way of life now.  
On a Friday morning the milkman brings our milk – 6 pints of semi, 1 pint of whole and 2 litres of cream (only size he has and freezes, goes in to loads of recipes).  

Also on a Friday we get the chicken pieces from my Mam’s chicken that she doesn’t use, as well as the carcass.  That goes in the freezer in a bag purely for carcasses as I’ve decided to start making batch amounts of stock every 6 weeks, to coincide with supermarket shopping, as I don’t always have the right things in to make the stock.  The pieces go in bags too, ready to use in bulk when we have enough.   I make a loaf of bread or buns on a Friday night for Saturday morning and/or lunch time.

The veg box comes on a Saturday, the shop’s last drop off I think, which is around 5:30 to 6pm.  As sad as this may sound, every week I get excited by its arrival! Not as excited as eating our own produce though!

Before that though, first thing on a Saturday after opening up is to make another loaf of bread for my parents, plus some scones which we have either for a snack or with lunch and again to share with my parents.  

We also give them veg from the garden in exchange for the chicken (not that they ever ask, it’s just nice to work like that).  Saturday sees me making quiche or soup for lunch which I am trying to double up on to have some spare in the freezer.  I do it early on the morning to make sure I have plenty of time outside during the day.  Saturday suppers are still work in progress, I wonder if taking something out of the freezer is best on a Saturday.  As the veg box arrives 5:30 onwards, I tend to plan the following weeks menu plan early evening on a Saturday so I could do that whilst making supper I guess.  We shall see.
Anyway – to the point of the post.  Here is out latest YouTube video, where Grace and I explain what we are going to start doing on Monday nights from now on.  

Those who have been here a while will remember I used to do Monday night preserves, which I shall be picking up again on a different day, but for now, Monday nights are dedicated to recreating Grandma’s wartime recipes.  I have 2 of her handwritten books, which I am busy working my way through, deciphering some of the words and deciding what we can recreate over the coming weeks and months.  I will update my blog from next week to reflect what we have done too.  I do hope this is something people can relate to and can enjoy watching our family recreate these special recipes.  
For now, I’m off to take a look around the veg plot – early June is such a busy time!
Stay safe everyone.

Perfect pinwheels – recipe

Perfect Pinwheels

Link to YouTube video on how I make these is at the bottom of the page.
Makes 11 or so wheels, depends how thickly you cut them.
Vary the ingredients to what you have on hand.
Ingredients:
1 pack shop bought puff pastry
Tomato puree or bbq sauce
Whatever fillings you want – I mostly use:
ham, cheese, sweetcorn

Method:
Roll out the pastry on the parchment paper it comes in.
Spread tomato puree or bbq sauce over it
Add your chosen ingredients
Roll the pastry to make a swiss roll look
Cut in to 11 os ro slices (like you would cut a swiss roll cake mmmm)
Place on the parchment paper on a baking sheet
Bake in the oven for 10/15 mins on medium to high heat. 
As always with my recipes, keep checking them.
Enjoy 🙂



Comforting Chicken stock/bone broth – recipe slow cooker

Comforting Chicken stock/bone broth

Link to my YouTube video which includes how I make chicken stock


Makes as much stock as you add liquid. 
This is a guide, use what you have in and that you like.  Adapt and be flexible, it’ll turn out great regardless!  
Point to note, the healthier life your chicken has had, the healthier your bone broth/stock will be for you.
The addition of ginger is recommended to help with immunity (my opinion only!).
Ingredients:
1 chicken carcass, all odds, sods and last bits of meat included.
2 onions or leek
3 sticks celery
2/3 carrots
1/4 turnip/swede
Lots of garlic cloves
Root ginger, thumb size or so
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
Herbs such as thyme, mixed herbs
Bay leaves

Method:
Don’t be precious about this.  
Bung it all in, you can even afford the skin on the onions, it’s up to you.
Roughly chop the rest of your veg and put in the SC with the carcass.
Garlic I bash and thrown in.  
Ginger I cut up or bash to release the flavours and throw it in.
I don’t measure the peppercorns, cloves or herbs but feel free to.
Cover with as much water as it needs to have everything submerged, season with salt if you use it, I do.
Leave it on low overnight or for 6-8 hours and then once cooled, strain it through a colander then a sieve.  The liquid is your stock which you can freeze or pop in the fridge for a few days.  Use it whenever recipes as for stock and it is so nice!

Enjoy 🙂