A not quite cooking challenge update

This week I made some contemporary traditional English food. Not out of my recipe books but the From Paul Hollywood’s series Pies and Puds. The first was a Mutton Pie, this is a recipe that goes back to the middle ages in one form or another. I have never worked with a hot water crust before and it was a totally different experience, I will definitely be better at shaping next time.


Also made a sticky toffee pudding, another traditional British dish. They were both really, really good and I can’t wait to try them again. I am really looking forward to getting the hang of the hot water crust. Steve loves this time of year, The Great British Bake Off is back and that always inspires me in the kitchen. This week was bread week and I found out what I had been doing wrong for the garlic bread. I need to bake ciabatta not french bread for that airy rise.

Between the cool weather, the feast or famine rain and the rabbits, my garden has gone from doing well to done in. I am going to do some fall plantings but the whole yard looks tired and ready to pack it in for fall. I am not sure why but both Steve and I feel the same. We have been so lazy this summer. I have done a lot of knitting and reading and cooking and baking, but little else. Steve is painting the spare room to turn into a guest room but other than that it feels like an energy sucking machine has invaded the place since early July.

We watched a friends farm for 6 days a few weeks ago and that was great. Sheep and pigs and goats and chickens and ducks and rabbits. 🙂 I love the sheep, I really, really love sheep. We did discover that ducks are dumb and we don’t much care for them. 🙂 Today I am headed out to the farm for barn cleaning. Then this weekend is the craft fair, with heat indexes over 100F. We will see if anyone shows up.

Posted in Bread Baking, Cooking & Baking, Gardening, Homesteading, Livestock, Rabbits, Seven Centuries of English Cooking Challenge, The Great British Bake Off | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our first fair!

I finished, almost, the set up for our first fair today. We are vending at the Middleton Good Neighbor Fest next weekend. I am nervous no one will want my stuff and excited to see what people think. Here is my trial set up.









Posted in Knitting/Weaving/Spinning, Soap & Lotions, Urban Farming | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

The Rabbit and Leek pie recipe someone requested

Here you go! I hope this is legal…

Rabbit and Leek Pie

Rabbit and Leek Pie

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Other than knitting

I actually did accomplish something other than knitting this weekend, although I did do plenty of that too. I froze about 3 lbs of beans, washed my Shetland fleece from Emancipation Acres and FINALLY made flat bread worth eating.
I have been struggling with flat breads for ages, we eat a lot and I mean A LOT of tagines and curries, so you really need a flat bread. I have tried James Beard, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart and various online recipies but this weekend I got this The River Cottage Bread Handbook from the library and last night I successfully made roti. Tonight I went for broke and tackled this recipe . I have tried it several time before with disastrous results. But bolstered by my roti success it worked! Had it with a lovely mutton curry.

I also managed to clean out the chicken coop and under the rabbit cages, having all those little ones sure increases the rabbit poo.

The new chicks will be coming this week. Three to bring us up to five, I really wish we could have more, but the city says four and so we are pushing it with five. We are getting another Easter Egger, a Speckled Sussex and a Silver Laced Wyandotte.

We have two rabbits ready to slaughter and four more on deck, we lost one to the heat. They insisted on piling up in 94 degrees and humidity no matter how often I went out and separated them.

My potatoes have yet to blossom and the foliage seems to be starting to die back already, that I think, is not a good sign. Disappointing, as that project started out so well this summer. The tomato plants are shooting up and blossoming but I don’t think there is any way they will produce like I need them to, luckily we have a fabulous farmers market in town. Disappointing but not disastrous.

Now back to knitting and a glass of wine.

Posted in Bread Baking, Chickens, Cooking & Baking, Gardening, Homesteading, Knitting/Weaving/Spinning, Livestock, Rabbits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Would that I could knit all day

I started a cabled cardi last week and am totally charmed by the pattern. I want to knit all day, every day. Bullocks to weeding, cooking and cleaning. Here is the Paperboy Cardi pattern

I did stop knitting long enough to make a skirt with some wool that has been sitting in the fabric drawer for years. I just need to get some interfacing for the waistband and hem it. It will be perfect for fall with my new cardi.


Speaking of cleaning I guess I need to put that mirror on my list.

Posted in Knitting/Weaving/Spinning, sewing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

High Summer

The beans are going gangbusters and we have 8 rabbits fattening for the pot. The rest of the homestead has not been as successful so far this year. We lost one of our chickens last week, we think to a stroke, she didn’t improve over night and we had to cull her. She was one of the 2 we had planned to cull this fall due to age so it did reinforce my decision that 4 is a good age to do this as she is the 2nd hen from that brood to have age related problems in the past year or so.

We have 3 new chicks on the way in a couple of weeks so we will soon be back up to 5. The soon to be 2 year olds are laying very well but their eggs have still not gotten to the size of the older girls. Due to them being different breeds maybe?

I hope our other hen makes it to slaughter, we haven’t had chicken in ages. Other than bacon and the amazing sausage from our local butcher a couple of times a month we are not purchasing any meat, haven’t for almost a year I think. Lamb, mutton and pork from Emancipation Acres which I get on work exchange, and our own rabbits are all we are eating anymore. Now if my garden would just improve!

I have been hearing from a lot of people that it is a hard garden year, again, odd weather and lots of rain have been making it a challenge. I am afraid that I will have to hit the farmers market for my tomatoes this year or there will be no sauce. The potatoes are full and have a lot of foliage but no blossoms yet to tell me they are producing tubers.

I made good use of one of the rabbits last night and did a Rabbit and Leek pie. It turned out wonderful with the exception of the puff pastry. It was my first attempt to make rough puff and it turned out ok but I shouldn’t have followed the recipe when I knew better. It said to put the pastry on the hot pie filling. Now I am obsessed with “The Great British Bake Off” and from watching know that you do not put puff pastry on a hot filling. It has to be cold when it goes in the oven. It was still pretty good, but I would have gotten the steel blue look from Paul no doubt about it. I also did a cheats Victoria sponge by making a tray bake sponge and cutting it in half.

The theme for the night was rustic but tasty and according to Steve it was a rousing success.

Rabbit and Leek Pie with questionable puff pastry

Rabbit and Leek Pie with questionable puff pastry

Cheats Victoria Sponge

Cheats Victoria Sponge

I finished another headband for the craft fair, I like this one a little too much though, almost hoping it doesn’t sell. It is up on my etsy site as well.

Today is supposed to be beastly with heat index hitting 90F (32c) so I think now that all the outside work is squared away I will hide inside and knit or spin. Hopefully it will be good for the tomatoes at least.

Posted in Chickens, Cooking & Baking, Gardening, Homesteading, Knitting/Weaving/Spinning, Livestock, Rabbits, The Great British Bake Off, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Still Here

Gardening, bunnies, bees, cooking, baking, farm work.  There you go, 2 months summed up.  The gardens, with the exception of my tomatoes are doing really well, especially the beans.  Everything in my hedgerow is producing except the gooseberries, not a lot, but producing.  The gooseberries look like they are taking hold, much better than last year.  steady mouthfuls of red and black raspberries, a few red currants and a cluster or two of black currants still ripening.  My tomatoes are still teeny, really teeny.  I am hoping they will kick it into gear when the nights get warmer again, it has been cool at night for the past few weeks with the exception of one or two days. 

Made up another big batch of  Chicken stock and canned it and need to do the same with the lamb bones in the freezer, I used the last of the lamb stock last week.  Made a huge batch of strawberry jam a few weeks agoDSC00687 DSC00688 DSC00689

30 half pints of jam, 10 pints of strawberry sauce

30 half pints of jam, 10 pints of strawberry sauce

and in May I canned a few jars of Rhubarb compote.  I absolutely love canning, I know that is insane but I do, especially when I go downstairs and look at all the food on the shelves.  

We have 5 new feeder rabbits having slaughtered our last 5 in June, it is so nice to have rabbit again.  We are going to put off breeding again until September so the does won’t kindle in the worst of the summer heat.

I made my first Victoria Sponge last weekend and it was a hit, I forgot to take a picture of it. I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking, but not from my cooking challenge, I really need to get back to that.

I cast on a new sweater, a cardi for me, and have been knitting washcloths and head bands

cabled headband

cabled headband

for a craft fair I am doing next month.  Made a new batch of Mango butter soap for the fair this week as well.  We will see if I sell anything, if my etsy site is any indication it doesn’t look good.

Posted in Cooking & Baking, Gardening, Homesteading, Knitting/Weaving/Spinning, Soap & Lotions | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments