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Month: June 2014

This Week In My Kitchen

This Week In My Kitchen

I’m joining in with Heather this week, chronicling my kitchen time each day.  It doesn’t seem like much but this work does take up such a big part of my day, the preparation, the cooking and of course the cleaning.  I’m always in and out of my kitchen, checking on bread, washing butter, popping food in and out of the oven.  I love thinking about what we’re going to eat each day, checking my fridge and cupboards for ingredients, or lack thereof.

As the boys are growing so are their appetites, they always seem to be hungry for something.  Given a choice they’d eat things I don’t approve of all day, but I’m so aware of their growing bodies, the bones they are forming that need to last a lifetime.  I want to know  they are putting goodness into their tummies as often as possible.  So I make double batches of breakfast pancakes, ready for the snack time call; fill the fridge with fruit and which up huge batches of hummus for a quick lunch.

DSC_0730 DSC_0731 DSC_0732 DSC_0733Now that we are in full fledged summer, the foods we are eating are shifting.  We’ve left behind the soups and stews, pies and rich gravy.  Instead we’re beginning months of salad eating, filling our tums with the greens of the season, cleansing our systems and eating lighter foods that feel good in the heat of summer.

There are a couple of things that are a staple on our table, it’s just the accompaniments that alter; there really is nothing as popular in our house as a home grown roast chicken at any time of year.  In winter it comes with broccoli, peas, yorkshire pudding and gravy, but in summer the side is salad, feta and delicious roasted veggies.  There are few things I like more than roasted root vegetables and I’m trying to teach my boys to enjoy their sweetness too.

DSC_0735DSC_0739 DSC_0740 DSC_0741As well as trays of vegetables for roasting, I’m prepping bread this morning.  I won’t be eating it myself but I still enjoy making it for Stephen and the boys.  I like knowing that the bread they eat, for sandwiches, toast or just smothered in butter, is wholesome and not filled with additives and preservatives.  Instead I’m using some of our own honey and raw home made butter.  The honey really does help the yeast do it’s work and adds a mellow flavour, the butter gives is smoothness and richness.  As I scrape the last bit from the container it reminds me to make some more, I’ve plenty of cream in the fridge for just this purpose.

DSC_0734DSC_0736 DSC_0737DSC_0742A home raised chicken is sitting on the counter, slowly defrosting ready for tonight’s dinner.  It always seems a little incongruous to me to be eating chicken while we still have birds outside.  This one is from a previous batch, but his distant cousins are currently beginning to explore the outside world, enjoying the sunshine and clover that it offers.  I love that the connection between what we eat and what we grow is so immediate, and as the summer continues I look forward to filling our table with more of our own produce.  Right now we have salad greens, eggs, milk, meat and honey, all raised here on our own farm.

Over the next few days I plan to make a big batch of hummus, some mayonnaise, quinoa salad, quiche, scones and maybe even some strawberry jam.  Oh and of course some cheese.  It’s busy here in the summer kitchen!

Rainy Days

Rainy Days

My friend Amber who writes at her blog The Wild Garden, wrote the other day about her daily summer schedule.  She talked about working outside on those hot sunny days and inside on the rainy ones, allowing the weather to dictate rather than trying to apply an artificial schedule.  I think that has a lovely ring to it, though I couldn’t apply it wholly to our life here as farming is a bit of a rain or shine business, I really do feel that I’d like to have more of a natural ebb and flow over the summer months.

The last month has been so hectic my head has been spinning.  What with chickens going to harvest, new chickens arriving, breeding plans for animals, gardens being planted, family visiting, house improvements, hay equipment being bought…it’s felt pretty non-stop.  This weekend we were out doing chores until well after 8pm and I started the week feeling a bit on the frazzled side.

DSC_0720 DSC_0723 DSC_0724So when Stephen arrived home early from work at the same time I arrived with a new DVD for the boys from the library, it seemed the perfect time to just stop for a bit.  We all sat together and watched a movie, resting and laughing, enjoying some cuddle time.  When today dawned very wet and dreary (cancelling the scheduled Farm Workshop for another day) it seemed right to take a quiet day.  A busy day outside had been planned so, with all that cancelled, what to do?

DSC_0713 DSC_0714 DSC_0716Well there’s the regular farm chores of course, feeding animals and checking on baby chickens throughout the day; there’s house chores and cooking and the odd bit of tidying up, but other than that…So today has been a quiet day, a day of listening to the boys discuss which Harry Potter character they like best, based on the lego book we got out of the library yesterday.  A day to lie down on the sofa and rest my poorly back while reading a saucy recreation of Regency England.  A day for extra cuddles and maybe even a tiny snooze in the lull of a rainy afternoon.

Tomorrow will dawn hopefully bright and we’ll begin the work of getting in the hay, hay that will feed our cows for the coming year.  There’s weeding to do, matting to lay down, mulch to spread, grass to mow, plants to plant out, cheese to make, foraging to do and a million other things that weave in and out of summer days.

DSC_0721DSC_0725DSC_0728 But not today.  Today there’s the sound of the rain on the steel roof, beating a tattoo that lulls the house into sleepy quiet.  There’s dashes out into the rain, work to be done as quickly as possible while the cool water splashes our faces and makes our hands slippery and wet.  There’s the chance to rest, just for one day, until the sunshine beckons us out into the green again.