Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tortilla - (Spanish Omlette) with my wild garlic

This is one of my favourite dishes to make, not only does it taste good, but there are times in the year when everything I use is from the garden - eggs from our hens, potatoes and onions.  Decided to add some wild garlic as we've got tons this year.

Started off by lightly frying one large onion, sliced, until soft in olive oil. Next added steamed baby potatoes (used Jersey Royals which are in season right now) roughly crushed the potatoes, then gently mixed through the onions.  Added salt and pepper and continued to fry for a bit.

Next, I beat up some free range eggs (I used 13 from our own hens - this fed 5 of us with leftovers).   Added the eggs to the pan and gave the pan a shake  to make sure the egg seeped through the potato and onions.

I washed and sliced a large bunch of wild garlic leaves, (saved the stalks, chopped them up finely and chucked them in a chorizo & chickpea warm salad).  Finally sprinkled  the wild garlic on top of tortilla.

Finished off the omlette by putting in the oven to cook through (or under a grill maybe - I don't have one so just put in the top oven of the aga).  Then sprinkled the garlic flowers over the top before serving.

Really good to eat hot and even better to eat cold out the fridge (if there are any leftovers) - is also the perfect hangover breakfast or picnic food.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

hottest weekend of the year (so far)

What a gorgeous weekend we have just had.  Things are moving on quicker with the polytunnel now, got the beds all in place now.  We have one narrow bed on the left hand side, to grow beans, peas etc in.  A double width bed in the middle and on the right hand side we have left bare.  The plan here is to make a huge 'growbag' from weed fabric, fill it with well rotted manure and grow our tomatoes in it. 

We have left a working area at both ends of the tunnel and have also got two paths (wheelbarrow width) down between the beds.  Next weekend will see us putting the plastic over the top of the frame, and doing the final adjustments on the structure.  All the wee bolts will be adjusted to tension the plastic cover (well, that's the plan at least).

Elsewhere in the garden things are really starting to take off, my wild garlic is blooming and looking perfect for adding to a frittata or soup maybe?  Our lovage is absolutely perfect right now - and very tempting to grab a mouthful when walking past (as well as adding it to salads - yum).    We have finally planted all our tatties and I hope to get our onions planted in the next day or two.

We've also added a couple of new hens to our wee brood, some Amber Star pullets, they are around 16 weeks old, so about 5 weeks from point of lay.  They are happy docile wee things, and have started life in our 'baby' chook ark, where they can see and hear the big girls but not be bullied by them.  Their names are Princess Peach (Peachie for short) and Daisy - apparently something to do with Mariocart (the kids chose the names!).  We'll introduce them all when we move all the chickens to the other end of the garden, at night of course.  One of my friends has just started keeping hens and it's been so much fun helping her with setting up her flock.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Slow Progress

The polytunnel epic continues! We are erecting the polytunnel over some existing raised beds.  This means that whenever we need to put up the next bit of the frame, we are digging up old strawberries, moving wooden boarding and heaps of soil. 

I'm not being very much use at all, still got a sore shoulder.  But at least I can hand my (lovely) husband bolts etc - so it does feel as if I'm helping a bit.

We had a sad day yesterday, as we lost one of our old chickens - Brownie (she was about 5 years old). She hadn't been very happy for a few days and I had to separate her from the rest of the girls as she was being picked on.  She seemed to perk up a bit on her own but then went down hill quite quickly.  We've buried her up in the woods behind our cottage.   It's very sad when you lose an animal that you've cared for and has provided you with lovely eggs during her life. 

Weather has been so mixed this week, with us having heaps of snow on Tuesday and temps of 3oC, with hard overnight frosts.  So hoping it's finally going to get a bit warmer and more like May.  Still on the bright side, we are so far behind with our planting this year that it doesn't matter having such a late spring. 

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

May Bank Holiday weekend 2010

Probably should be renamed the weekend where I didn't manage to get anything done.  After a warm and sunny day last Thursday after I had ridden my horse and walked the dogs, I decided to get serious in the garden.  One of the beds in our front garden had become so overgrown with Ivy that it needed to be pulled up before the plants underneath it suffocated.  So I spent around 2 hours happily digging, weeding and hacking away.  The consequence of this was a pulled muscle in my left shoulder, which started to hurt Fri/Sat but then became a full-on muscle spasm on Sunday (ouch). 

Therefore all the work we had planned to do ended up being done by my lovely husband on his own, albeit assisted by our two sons (aged 13 and 9) - in addition to having to do my usual chores of mucking our and feeding horses etc.

Anyway, major progress has been made!  The ground posts and frame of the polytunnel are now up and in place, now we need to re-work all the old existing raised beds and finally cover it!

Looks like a bit of a mess at the moment - but at least the skeleton is now in place.

Other stuff we managed to do this week was close up the railway carriage with some tarps as our swallows have returned and we don't want them to nest in there and start laying as we would disturb them with the building work later - it's just a precaution as they haven't nested in there for a few years (the stables is far nicer and cosier and they get to dive bomb me everytime I go in the yard!).