Posted in baking

Baking Gluten Free Bread

I’ve decided to give baking gluten free bread another try. I have been Wheat intolerant for many years, from when I was quite young I think, only to get worse as I got older. I was advised that I might have a wheat intolerance almost 20 years ago and so I omitted it from my diet and gradually it started to feel like I was a different person. I have other intolerances but wheat is the main one.

I am conscious that most things we buy are wrapped in plastic, with Some GF bread in very heavy plastic, I presume to give it a long life. I’ve been thinking for a while that if I made my own it could reduce my plastic use. I know it’s very difficult to get a good texture with making GF bread but I’m going to give it a try.

This is today’s bake, made with white rice flour with some seeds. To my surprise it doesn’t taste of rice, it is very spongy, a bit like a fine crumpet. I tried a bit while it was warm and it was ok, but I’ll see how it toasts and if it makes a nice sandwich.

Posted in Autumn

Compost

My compost needed work as it had gone awry! It was overtaken with vegetation, especially nettles. I forgot to take a photo before me and my wonderful garden helper started our work, but all three compost bins were looking like the one on the far side of this photo.

I think I will be able to fill our brown bin several times with the foliage we cleared away, although I do like to keep as much as possible within our garden. I may well find a place in a dark corner to put it, so that any creatures can snuggle into for the winter.

We topped off the heap that was being put to bed to do it’s thing, with leaves raked from our paths

and then covered it and secured it with pieces of paving.

The compost below is ready to be used to mulch in the polytunnel and some saved to sow seeds in the spring. Then as you can see it is next to be filled with our yummy waste for the worms etc. to make into compost for us.

Below is the heap that is next to be used. I just want to show you this because on the top is wool carpet which I used to help to suppress the nettles that has started to compost down. I will now put that in with the new compost I’m making with our other organic waste, ready to make the next lot of compost.

My compost bins are now a thing of beauty ready for over wintering.

Posted in Christmas

Homemade Sweet Mincemeat

I really like making my own mincemeat if I get a chance, actually, I like homemade anything if I get a chance. I found a new recipe online.

I chopped all the fruit and added it to a large pan with the butter and sugar.

Put heat under the pan until the sugar and butter have melted. I actually put mine in a food processer to chop it smaller as I thought my first lot of chopping was too big.

Then add the considerable amount of alcohol! Mix well.

Then I put it in my sterilised jars and sealed them up. (it did taste good when I licked the spoon afterwards 😉

Notes:

I replaced the cranberries will other fruits because you shouldn’t give them to people who take warfarin and a family member of mine does.
This recipe contains nuts so you can replace them with other fruit.
You can replace the alcohol with juice if you wish.
To sterilise Jars, wash thoroughly in hot soapy water, then rinse and put them on a baking tray in a low oven while making up the mincemeat mixture. I always sterilise one more jar than I think I need, just in case.
I’m sure you can replace the butter with sunflower spread to make it vegan.

Posted in Preserving

Sweet Picked Beetroot

I’ve found this an odd semi-Covid year, I’ve also had shingles and it’s taken a long time to get my energy back. I’ve been inspired recently to get doing things again and I have some projects I’ve done that I want to show you. But first on today’s menu, pickled beetroot. I bought a 1kg bag of beetroot from a local shop that had been reduced to 50p and that’s motivation enough to make me think ‘pickled beetroot’ and today I made some.

I found a recipe in an old recipe book.

I made my spiced vinegar with 1 litre of distilled malt vinegar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1tsp black peppercorns, 1/2 tsp whole cloves, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp whole all spice 3 bay leaves and 3 tbsp caster sugar. I am going to bottle up the excess vinegar to use for something else along with the leftover spices.

He are my finished jars all ready for Christmas (or sooner) 🙂 I have re-used mayo jars and sterilised them in the oven.

Posted in sowing

Avocado

There is a place a short drive from our house that has fresh organic produce for sale, and local where possible. I try and buy from there as much as possible, meat as well as veggies, they often have nice ripe avocados. Who doesn’t ever want to try and grow something just for the hell of it, put a pit, stone or seed in some soil and see what happens, I did this with my organic avocado pit and check this out!

The leaves are huge and I love it and am very excited. It’s just been on my kitchen window sill. I’m going to pot it on soon and maybe look at how to look after it and see if it one day might bear fruit. I have a polytunnel to keep it in so who knows?! 🙂

Posted in Food, gardening

Beans Etc.

My garden is flourishing, mostly things I haven’t planted, but it’s full of life!

Look at these beans, they are ones that seeded themselves last year and they are magnificent! There are so many bean pods on them. They are one of our favourite vegetables so we are very happy, not quite ready to eat yet though.

These are beans I sowed in the spring, they are doing very well too, so we will have a succession of them through the summer. As you can see we have a few corn poppies around as well.

The green house is looking good, here are aubergines, hot chillies and some sweet red peppers just coming through.

I also have more chillies, and a few tomatoes still to be planted up.

Even though I wasn’t able to tend to my garden as much as I would have liked, it is doing well and I have lots to be greatful for 🙂

Posted in Greenhouse

First Sowing of the Year

As you may know, I always like to get the sowing of broad beans in early. The earlier I sow, the more I can grow and you do need a lot of plants to get a decent portion of beans. The seeds in the paper cup are left over from last year and have been sitting around in the damp, but I’m giving them a chance, you never know. The others I’ve chosen for quantity and they were bought in the autumn when I sowed my first lot straight into the garden.

I have sowed twelve of each and I’m looking forward to the first signs of growth, probably three weeks.

The ones I sowed in November are somewhere near that polytunnel that’s in need of repair (wind damage!). The water has receded now but who can say whether the broad beans will still germinate. I love the anticipation 🙂

Posted in Preserving

Pickled Walnuts

Well we’ve lived in this house with a very large walnut tree in the garden for fifteen years and I’ve never pickled walnuts before. I remember Grandma and Grandad having them at Christmas but being only little I never tried them to see what they tasted like.

So here goes!

Pick them in July. First they need to be tested with a fork to make sure the shell hasn’t started forming. Then put them in a brine for two weeks, changing the brine every three days.

Then lay them out on a tray to dry, they will then turn completely black.

The white dust on them is the dried salt so I rinsed it off before pickling them.

This is the vinegar and spices to be brought to the boil in a pan.

Put the walnuts in sterilised jars and fill up with warm vinegar. I shared the spices between the jars as well

Two months and I can see what they taste like! 🙂

Posted in breakfast, cooking, Easter, family, Food, Fruit, home, Jams & Jellys, Self reliance, spring

Pancakes for breaKfast

With the kids or on your own we can celebrate food over this strange time of lockdown. You can make pancakes for breakfast, especially at this special time of Easter!

2oz plain flour, 2 eggs and a little milk makes 6-7 small pancakes. Double that for more, halve it if you are on your own (give left overs to the birds) 🙂

I use gram flour as I can’t eat wheat but use any plain flour!

mix it up together with a fork squashing any big lumps, little lumps don’t matter.

Turn on the pan on a high heat and add a tiny bit of oil (we are cooking them not frying them) and spread it out over the pan. You might have to add a little more during cooking all the pancakes but remember a teeny tiny bit!

put a large spoon of mixture into the pan.

Your pancake needs turning over with a spatula as soon as little craters start to appear like the ones I’ve ringed around.

Only leave it like this for a few seconds and then put on a warm plate and make the next one.

Note: When the pan looks like it’s smoking, don’t panic, just turn the pan down a little but not a lot, you need it hot.

Then you can put them on the table with all your chosen toppings 🙂 You can use savoury toppings if you prefer.

Note: in your enthusiasm, don’t forget to move the pan safely of the heat.

For the more fussy among us, just jam is ok 🙂

Happy eating!

 

Posted in 2020, Cleaning, Food, gardening, Greenhouse, In the garden, Organic Gardening, Self reliance, spring

Shiny Greenhouse etc.

it’s a really beautiful day today, if a little chilly, but it encouraged me out into the garden. I love being out in my garden and doing things to make it look nice. I knew one of the things I had to do was to finish cleaning the green house, so I got on with that first. Now it’s not only is it shiny on the outside…..

…..it’s (mostly) shiny on the inside. Which means I can actually see through the glass 🙂

I did some cutting back and sweeping up

and tidied up the rose arch.

I took a sneaky peak at the seeds I sowed about three weeks ago and there’s signs of life.

I love to see things growing, I find it such a blessing, I can’t wait to sow some more 🙂