The blessed relief of Friday. August and September are crazy months here and Fridays at least involve me staying at home getting to do home things.

The chooks are settling in well. They are not so tame on arrival as our first chooks were but each day they get a little more confident when I come along with food. I boiled up swede and barley and vegetable peelings for them yesterday. A huge pot full. No eggs yet. The last two nights have been calmer on the wind front which hopefully is a little more pleasant for my five chooks. I am very very happy to have chooks again.

I am growing things inside again. I am starting off with kefir again after a break of several months. I made bread this morning using a wheat leaven. I've got a little bit of rye left (I liked my rye starter earlier this year) but have moved to wheat loaves as my flour supplier is out of rye until next season. A few weeks ago I made carrot and ginger pickle from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions book. The recipe said it was a good choice for people new to lacto-fermented vegetables and this has been the case for me. I will make it again. I used whey from our yoghurt which was just yoghurt from an easi-yo sachet. Now I have kefir again, I expect I will get whey with more probiotic goodies in it. Given the volumes of kale we have outside, I hope to use some of it for my first go at sauerkraut next week.

Last night I made chicken pie with part of Raelene's rooster. It tasted nice (never made chicken pie before) but I will try a different pastry recipe next time. I fancy a flaky pastry but the ingredients in the bought stuff are offputting. I guess sometime I will feel the kitchen mucking around love sufficiently to make my own flaky pastry. Fionn is now asking for a mince pie "just like the shop ones Mum". We might indeed make our own sometime but I think some of the shop additives and dubious ingredients can be left out.

Time to make chicken stock and escort a child to school. I suggested I walk him there in my pyjamas and he said no. No fun that kid.

This is my new favourite blog find: Nourished Kitchen. A recent post on low energy cooking had some interesting energy use comparison data. I find that when I am trying new things, I am not very efficient on the energy use front. Just getting the bread made is achievement enough without having planned what else will go in the oven straight afterwards. But after a bit of practise with a new bread recipe, I start making triple batches to be cooked at the same time. The baking I've been doing with my new Kenwood mixer has mostly been successful but I have yet to get organised the way my Mum taught me decades ago. Perhaps this afternoon I will have the kind of bakeathon I once did with biscuits and slices in perfect succession. Low energy stock is easy though, I much prefer to use the slow cooker for stock than a pot on the stove.

Still looking and planning in the garden. I am about to order two cubic metres of mushroom compost. We simply cannot make enough compost here to fill the punga raised bed. In addition, I need to raise our oldest bed substantially to compensate for the fact that the shed spouting drains directly into the soil below it.

Alright alright alright. I guess I have to get dressed now. I hope you all get good gardening weather this weekend.


applepip said…
The Destitute Gourmet has a chicken pie recipe we often make with no pastry underneath, but a herby cobbler topping over the top.

Here is the topping:
1 1/4 cups of SR flour
mixed herbs of your choice
75g butter
water to mix

Pop flour, herbs and butter in your new mixer and whizz until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add cold water until dough forms. Knead lightly on floured bench, then roll to fit the top of the pie dish. Lay dough on chicken mixture (needs to be quite a wet one in my experience to make it especially yummy) and score diagonal pattern across. Bake for 20 mins. Easy and yum.
Heather said…
Real flaky pastry is a pain in the butt to make (lots of rolling, dotting with butter, rolling again etc.), but Alison Holst has a 'quick flaky pastry' recipe in 'Meals without Meat' that I really like. I use it for meat pies and apple pies and whatever, and cook it at 220 degrees. For one nine-inch double crust pie you need:

* 1 1/4 cup white flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 125g cold butter
* approx. 1/2 cup milk soured with 1 tsp vinegar or 3-4 tsp lemon juice

Mix flour, baking powder and fat in the food processor until it is uniform and looks like bread crumbs. Gradually add soured milk until it starts to clump a little. Work it by hand into a ball and store in the fridge at least 30 min. or until needed. The pastry will have visible pieces of fat in it.
Pippa and Heather, thank you both. I'll be trying the gray and Holst recipes out soon. Pippa, rubbery gnocchi - I'm still a gnochhi novice, but would suspect you overcooked them?

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