Thursday, 21 September 2017

Beans, Beans, Beans .... and Some More Bloody Beans


My Lovely Hubby ... she says, between tightly clenched teeth .... picked these for me the other day.  I had been purposefully ignoring the not so little blighters on the plants at the top of the Veggie Patch for a few days, hoping they would maybe vanish or be eaten by squirrels ... but no such luck!!


So I had nothing left to do but set too and start to deal with them.


I bought myself a little slicing gadget, not the best available but all I could get my hands on at short notice.  Lakeland do a better, slightly easier to use one but I didn't have time to wait for delivery with all the beans glaring at me from the bench outside the conservatory silently yelling at me every time I passed  'Deal with us, deal with us NOW!!'


So a bit later the very best of them had been washed, topped, tailed and sliced ...


... spun to get all excess water out and they now reside on open trays in the freezer where I hope they are freezing their jolly green butts off.

The rest, the bigger more bean filled ones, are in baskets and after a day spent sunbathing still on their bench, are going to go into the shed to dry out to give us dried beans for Winter use or seeds for planting next year if they don't get eaten .... or if I leave the door open maybe the squirrels will come and steal them. 


Anyone know how to train a squirrel?

(I Googled it and got THE most random set of images.)

Sue xx

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tidying for Winter ... and Potato and Onion Soup


Alan is in the process of tidying up around the raised beds on the vegetable patch and emptying some of the beds ready for putting them to bed for the Winter.  The four beds highest on the hill just a few potatoes left to harvest so he started off by digging them up, then after a good weeding the beds were covered in black plastic which he stapled round the edges to try and stop the wind lifting it.

These beds are going to be the asparagus and rhubarb beds for next year, two of each, so we want as much goodness as possible kept in the soil and not washed down the hillside with the huge amount of rain we get here every Winter.  That is also the reason for keeping the little compost bin in place for now so it can carry on feeding the soil.  The rhubarb will be transplanted through slits in the plastic in a couple of weeks when it goes dormant.  That way, hopefully, next year we will have a lot less weeding to do :-)


I brought the potatoes he dug up into the house, after he had very kindly washed them for me, and added a couple of handfuls of my huge spring onions from the polytunnel to them.


They were sautéed in olive oil along with some garlic, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a couple of sticks of celery, before I added lots of vegetable stock.  Then it was all brought to the boil and left to simmer long and slow in the bottom oven of the Aga while we went out for a few hours.


Once home it was whizzed up with my stick blender and portioned out.  A jug full that we had for lunch today.  The glass bowl of soup that has been left chunky and has added peas, is for Alan's lunch tomorrow while I am in Manchester for the day, and the two two portion tubs are now safely stashed in the freezer for future use.

I have to dash now as it's time to deal with a vast amount of beans he has just harvested.  It's hard work this putting the hillside to bed lark .... I'll be ready for mine before he's finished at this rate.

Sue xx 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Yummy or Sludgey


My breakfast yesterday was this lovely concoction of colourful yumminess ...


... while todays was this tumbler of greeny sludge.


It might look a bit unappetising but it tasted absolutely delicious.

And the thing they both have in common is that they contain lots of things I have grown myself,  so they are full of satisfyingly homegrown goodness  :-)

Sue xx

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Freezer Inventory


I came across this brilliant freezer inventory on a website called Organised Home earlier, after a tip off on Facebook. 

See HERE.

They have the basic one you can just print out and write on, which would be brilliant for me when I'm out in the workshop at the big chest freezer, and also a version for saving onto your computer to fill in with your keyboard ... which would make it much neater and easier to read if your handwritings anywhere near as bad as mine  ;-)

Guess what I'll be doing one day next week then, and this time I'll try and keep it up to date and not let it fizzle out like it usually does.


There are lots of other very useful printables on the site too, including this weekly menu planner with built in shopping list. I've just printed myself one out, ready for next weeks effort to eat through the contents of the indoor freezer.

Sue xx


Friday, 15 September 2017

The Lingering Aroma of Vinegar


Yesterday I picked all the tomatoes that had ripened while we were away over the weekend and used them to make this recipe.


I didn't have exactly what the recipe called for but it was near enough.  Red wine vinegar instead of white, mixed pickling spices instead of all the two teaspoons of this, two teaspoons of that, dried chilli flakes instead of the four chillies ... and then I added a couple more onions and a tin of chopped tomatoes as it all seemed too liquidy.  


If this is tasty and I make it again I will definitely reduce the amount of vinegar I use.  It took almost FOUR HOURS of boiling to reduce the chutney enough for bottling.

  If you want to see the recipe click on the picture and it should enlarge.


But what we have got now is five jars of very rich tasting chutney stashed away ready for Winter use, and a house that still smells of vinegar!!


The stores cupboard filling up nicely, and the freezer is looking much healthier again too :-)

Sue xx

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Shopping From the Freezer


It's been a busy few days.  On Friday we drove up to Scotland ready for a family wedding on the Saturday, Sunday saw us hitting the road for home after having a brilliant time celebrating with the happy couple and lots of our other family members from North of the border.

  Yesterday we dashed round like blue arsed flies catching up with things at home, before taking the hire kilt back into Llandudno, doing lots of other  little errands and arranging to donate one of our sofas to the British Heart Foundation in readiness for redecorating the living room later this month (or early next if we run out of time ....which is more than likely).  On our way home we picked the dogs up from the kennels.  So now it's all back to normal at home ... well as normal as it ever gets here that is  😉

One thing I'm determined not to do much of for the rest of this month is shop.   After the last couple of weeks spent filling the chest freezer with homegrown vegetables, fruit and sauces,  and filling the cupboards with jams and marmalades, trailing round supermarkets or shops is the last thing on my agenda.  So to help with this, as you can see from the top photo, I have decided to get back to weekly menu planning.

Fifteen or so minutes spent with pencil and paper on Monday morning means that our evening meals for the whole week are sorted out, so no more standing staring into the fridge hoping desperately for inspiration to strike after a hard couple of hours in the polytunnel.


It also means that after a couple of weeks I should be able to 'shop' once a week from the chest freezer in the workshop and put everything we are going to be using jnto the smaller freezer in the house saving me dashing backwards and forwards looking for things .... well that's the plan anyway 😊

To make space, this week and for however long supplies last, we are eating down the contents of this freezer.   It's a bit like the Challenges I used to do really, and I'm already enjoying myself!!

Sue xx

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Balance


To balance out yesterdays post  :-)



Yes, I am vegan, or plant based whatever you want to call me.  I don't need a label, just as I don't need to eat meat.  I made a bad choice and ate some fish last week, it took me two days to get over it .... I won't do that again.


I am the happiest with my dietary choices as I have ever been.  It's amazing how much lighter you feel in yourself when you don't consume others, and when you tread lightly on this earth.



Sue xx