Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Charity Event

A Coffee Morning for a good cause...

It's great to be part of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Harvest Knot

A simple enough craft to do
on a wet and misty day....

you will need:
a few stalks of wheat (available at any craft shops or florists, methinks)
strong thread
a pair of scissors
dried lavender bunch (or any other dried flowers available)
a cosy and warm place to sit
and a cup of hot cocoa

As you plaited the harvest bow
You implicated the mellowed silence in you
In wheat that does not rust
But brightens as it tightens twist by twist
Into a knowable corona,
A throwaway love-knot of straw.

Hands that aged round ashplants and cane sticks
And lapped the spurs on a lifetime of game cocks
Harked to their gift and worked with fine intent
Until your fingers moved somnambulant:
I tell and finger it like braille,
Gleaning the unsaid off the palpable,

And if I spy into its golden loops
I see us walk between the railway slopes
Into an evening of long grass and midges,
Blue smoke straight up, old beds and ploughs in hedges,
An auction notice on an outhouse wall—
You with a harvest bow in your lapel,

Me with the fishing rod, already homesick
For the big lift of these evenings, as your stick
Whacking the tips off weeds and bushes
Beats out of time, and beats, but flushes
Nothing: that original townland
Still tongue-tied in the straw tied by your hand.

The end of art is peace
Could be the motto of this frail device
That I have pinned up on our deal dresser—
Like a drawn snare
Slipped lately by the spirit of the corn
Yet burnished by its passage, and still warm. 

The Harvest Bow
by Seamus Heaney

Friday, 20 September 2013

Roast Chicken and Leek Quiche

For the cheese pastry:

4 oz flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 oz butter
1 oz vegetable shortening
2 oz cheddar cheese, grated finely

Sift together the flour and mustard.
Rub in the butter and shortening.
Stir in the cheese and mix to a soft, stiff dough with 2 tbsp of cold water.

Roll out the dough  on a lightly floured surface and use it to line an 8-inch flan tin.
Prick the base with a fork and chill for 30 minutes.

In a 200C oven, bake the pastry case blind for 15 minutes.

For the filling:

leftover boneless meat from  1 roast chicken
1 cup chopped roasted leeks
2 large eggs + 1 yolk, beaten
300 ml creme fraiche
salt and pepper

 Whisk the beaten eggs with the cream and season with salt and pepper.

Scatter the chopped leeks and chicken over the base of the pastry case.

Return it to the oven and, with the shelf half way out of the oven, carefully pour in the cream mixture.
Slowly slide the shelf back into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the filling is just set.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Leftover Food Ideas

We rarely are able to finish all our food in one sitting.
Often enough, I have to deal with some leftover food at one point or another.
I hate having to throw away good food - whether it's meat from your Sunday roast or veggies from your fridge, here are some of my cunning money-saving ways to help you use up your leftover ingredients.

On Sunday, we had Roast Chicken with roasted vegetables and gravy.
By the end of the meal, we're left with a good portion of the chicken uneaten along with some roasted leeks.

Quiche is a neat way of using the leftover chicken meat and vegetables.
Quick and easy to prepare, this dish makes the perfect family dinner for us.

I made stock using leftover bones from the roasted chicken carcass.
It took several hours of slow cooking but the result was better than any store-bought stock and it’s a great way to not let good bones go to waste.

And they do make the yummiest chicken rice!

That's one way to make your money stretch without having to waste unnecessarily while having some wholesome healthy homemade food!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Living the Dream

I always imagine my dream life in the countryside.

It was six months ago, to the day, that we packed our worldly possessions and made our way to what we now call HOME.

The house was a stone-build steading conversion - that's cow shed to you and me. Well, if it's good enough for the cows...
Nevertheless, it was this view that took our breath away.

Six months on...
After the initial bad weather plus a few blizzards in between, the weather has been absolutely fabulous for the most part, thus I was able to make the most of the time digging and planting, just to make the place a little more homey.

I must add, I've become quite skilled in my grass-cutting capabilities, no daisies left standing after I'm done with them!

During this time, we have had some very special guests...

I read within a poet's book
A word that starred the page:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage!"

Yes, that is true; and something more
You'll find, where'er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home.

But every house where Love abides,
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest.

A Home Song  
by Henry Van Dyke