Garden Forage Soup

A good idea for using up bits and pieces and leftovers is soup. If something has gone a bit ugly or shriveled in your fridge, use them in Soup.  I sometimes have a little forage in the garden out of season too because you do occasionally find something to add to your soup out there too!

I had the end of a bag of potatoes, a bit of rubbery broccoli and a sad leek in the fridge. I when outside and gathered some thyme, some baby leaves of spinach that was tucked away and some bitter cress that had taken over one of my herb pots.

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This is what bitter cress looks like close up, it comes up like a weed and it tastes like cress!

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My very sad leek needed some layers peeled off but it was fine.

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Don’t just throw away this end that you cut off….

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…peel and trim a little and you get this, chop it up with the rest!

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I just use half an organic stock cube to help the flavor, these ones are good, they are not too salty.

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All in the pan with some seasoning to cook for twenty or so minutes.

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Whiz up in a blender and serve! Very cheap, yummy and nutritious 🙂

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New Years Marmalade

It’s the time of the year for marmalade, the Seville oranges have been in the shops and thoughts are directed to making a years supply of marmalade. The reason for this sudden desire to slice 6 pounds of oranges is two fold. It tastes better and it’s cheaper!

For several years now I’ve put the oranges in a food processor to chop them, but this year I decided to slice by hand. Oh my word, I was so surprised how pleasant it was to sit and slice the oranges by hand (with a nice serrated steak knife) in the quiet. A very simple life thing to do, and it was easier to extract the pips too!

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Once the sliced oranges have soaked over night they are meant to be simmered to reduce the liquid by a third. When I had heated the the water in the pan and added the sugar I realised I hadn’t done that!!!

I managed to rescue it by taking some liquid out, adding more sugar and a bottle of liquid pectin. Here on my pantry shelf are twenty jars of marmalade. I now feel like Moomin Mama and I have a very happy husband!

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It tastes exceptionally good too 🙂

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New Chicken House

To start off the new year of my Simple Life Blog, I’m excited to show you our new chicken house. Considering a chicken house the size we needed would have cost around £900 without nesting boxes etc, we decided to be creative and find an alternative solution.

This second hand polytunnel we found was the right size and only cost us £80!!!!new-house-1
All that was needed was to secure the sides with chicken wire so they can’t dig their way out.

We have a shut down for chickens here in the UK at the moment because of bird flu, but as soon as that is past we are going to cut out a large window along the the front and fill with chicken wire.

new-house-2So here they are, all secure and safe with lots of room. The nesting boxes you can see in the front corners are made from insulated dog beds which are easy to clean and only cost £35 each!

new-house-3The result, happy chickens and happy Debbie! 🙂

New Lamp Shade

One of my projects last week was to make new a very tatty lampshade.

I have a collection of used stamps and I have loads that I have accumulated that are no use in my collection, so the new project began.

After the laborious job of soaking the stamps of the paper of the envelopes, it was a fun and satisfying thing to do.

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What do you think?

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Now for the job of restoring the lamp base! 🙂

Latest Produce report

Despite the major neglect of the garden it is still producing wonderful things for me!

I think it’s the best year for beetroot in a long time and my carrots haven’t had carrot fly this year 🙂

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…and the first proper fruiting of a young apple tree. The apples are still quite sour so have to stay a bit longer, but I must keep an eye out for scavengers!

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We’ll soon be building a new chicken house, so watch out for that 🙂 I’m very excited!

Garden Success

How do you see success in your garden? Are you like me expecting that you can achieve what you might  consider great things as well as working and looking after you family and your house?! I continually have to put this success into perspective. There is only so much time you can put into growing things unless you are putting all of your time into being self sufficient (so my husband keeps telling me)!

I’ve just been out to explore the garden that gets attended way less than I’d like, to pick some things for lunch and this is some of what I saw.

I have pumpkins,

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beetroot,

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chillies,

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peppers

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and tomatoes

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and my husband says I should call this success! 🙂