Scrumptious Saturday: pumpkin muffins

We grew a heap of pumpkins this year as I use them for forest school usually, for Montessori activities, for the mud kitchen etc but with the current circumstances, Forest school was cancelled this year for the Halloween special….

So we have been thinking of ways of using pumpkins!! Luckily our Piglets LOVE them and have eaten a good few of them!!

But we have also made pumpkin muffins and the kids loved them!!!

Method

  • STEP 1Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases. Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and both sugars together in a large bowl. Break up any lumps of brown sugar by rubbing them between your fingers.
  • STEP 2Whisk the purée and eggs together in a jug, then add to the dry ingredients with the melted butter. Whisk for 1-2 mins with an electric hand whisk until just combined.
  • STEP 3Bake for 15 mins until golden and risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Will keep for three days in an airtight container.

We added dark chocolate chips for added yum!! And also tried a few with cream cheese icing like you would use on a carrot cake!! Yum!!!!

Smallholding update!

Living the dream!!!

So many people say this to us!! And it always makes me laugh a little, yes in so very many ways we are living the dream, but I really don’t think a lot of people realise how much hard work the dream is!!

Take this week for example!!

All the rain and wind, meant slipped roof tiles and James braving the ladders to fix them, because water had started to come in through the ceiling in the boys room!!

We had a small electrical fire resulting in us losing our immersion heater…. no big deal we light the Esse for hot water mostly at this time of year! But more wood hauling…

More water around than ever it seems…. and for some strange reason multiple air locks in the water pipes of the house (seems to be a weekly occurrence requiring us to drain the system)

So we go puddle jumping to feed the animals and the pigs are happily digging themselves ponds!!

Rats!!!!! (And foxes!! We have lost 10 chickens this year to two fox attacks one where they clear chewed through the wiring of the cage!) but back to the rats, they have increased hugely this year and now as well as trapping the beasts we have to repair rat damage building the ducks a new home and repairing the floor of the chicken house, despite having “rat proof” feeders! We also have a nest in the workshop, so each time we go to get firewood we catch movement out the corner of our eyes and they are wily beasts avoiding the traps set or even bold enough to lick them clean without tripping them!!

And we have been working hard on the new build! James has painted the internals walls, the rear access ramp and front steps have been built by our wonderful builder!

And that’s before we even get started on the effects of Covid, isolations and lockdowns….

BUT would I swap this?? Would I go back to life before????

A million times no!!

Thank fully living here we have been (until this week) sheltered somewhat from Covid effects and having the land here means we have always had something to do and somewhere to go! The land allows us to get outside every day, to work, to look after our animals and to play.

We have the time and space to grow our own food and raise our own animals for eggs and meat and wool. So we know where our food comes from and how they have been raised and treated, which is important to us and waking round at this time of year both shows me how much we have done and how much more we have to do to put everything to bed for winter, then the willow harvesting can begin and I can put in more fedges, new plantings and try to soak up some of the water!!

We have some snippets of time to follow our own interests and this will hopefully increase as the years go by and things get more under control!!

Tomorrow we bring in the horses for winter and move the sheep into a more sheltered field for the winter, and maybe a bit more gardening or repairing…. today we eat a roast dinner from our own animals and our own veg and maybe I’ll steal some time to knit!!

And one day we will have field shelters, under control gardens and land, rat proof poultry pens, and a holiday let up and running!! So rather than living the dream more working towards or on the dream!! 😁

Scrumptious Saturdays – Ketchup in the slow cooker!!

The Fourth in our series of recipes! And a great slow cooker ketchup that tastes better the Heinz stuff in our opinion and does not have half the ingredients!

You will need:

  • 1.6 litres of pureed tomatoes
  • 120ml of water
  • 125g sugar
  • 180ml of white vinegar
  • 1tsp onion granules
  • 1/2tsp of garlic granules
  • 2 tsps of salt
  • 1 tsp of English mustard
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper

Method:

  • Blitz the tomatoes in the blender
  • add all the ingredients into the slow cooker
  • Cook on high for 10-12 hours, until it has reduced by half
  • Blend again with a hand blender
  • Push the mixture through a fine sieve and bottle.
  • You can water bath can this to make it last longer!
  • if you like a bit of a kick, you can also add chillies to make it a chilli ketchup!

We would love to see your efforts!! Please hop on over to Facebook or Instagram to show us!!

Scrumptious Saturdays – Apple Jelly or Chilli Jelly

As the apples are harvested it can sometimes be very daunting as to how many there are around here! It increases each year as we have around 50 trees (albeit a mix of plums, pears and apples) that we planted in November 2014!

We stew some apple for pies and crumbles, we juice loads for apple juice (which we water bath can for longevity) and cider…. and then there is jellies and sauces!!

You will need:

  • apples
  • jam sugar

Method:

  • If you would like to make apple puree sauce as well as jelly then core, peel and chop your apples, otherwise rough chop your apples
  • Put them in a large pan with water and boil until it has all turned to mush
  • Pass the mixture through a jelly bag, i.e. load it up and leave it to drip, do NOT squeeze the jelly bag or the liquid will not be clear.
  • Wash out the pan and return the dripped through apple mixture to pan. Using approximately one pound of sugar per pint of liquid add your sugar.
  • Bring the mixture gradually to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved and then stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches jam temperature.
  • Pour your apple liquid into hot sterilised jars and seal.
  • If you would like to make chilli jelly dice your chillies and add them to your hot sterilised jars just before you pour in the liquid.
  • If you would like to make puree sauce, push the contents of the jelly bag through a sieve, add a little sugar to your taste, reheat and jar in hot sterilised jars.

Come and show us your efforts with apples over on Facebook or Instagram!

Scrumptious Saturdays – Chocolate Courgette cake

The third in the series of recipe posts and this is one of our favourites!

You will need:

  • 375g flour
  • 75g of cocoa powder
  • 2 tsps of baking powder
  • 1/2tsp of seasalt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 120ml of oil
  • 120g of butter
  • 340g of light brown sugar
  • 2tsps of vanilla essence or extract
  • 1 pack of chocolate chips
  • 400g of grated courgette

Method:

  • Preheat Oven to 180
  • Cream together the butter and sugar and add the vanilla
  • Add the oil and eggs and beat
  • Add in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix well
  • Add in the courgette, seasalt and mix well again
  • Add in the chocolate chips
  • Pour the mixture into one large cake tin or two loaf tins, greased and lined
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

We would love to see your efforts!! Please hop on over to Facebook or Instagram to show us!!

Scrumptious Saturdays – Courgette and Feta Fritters

The next in our series of recipe posts from the recipes we use regularly around here at the smallholding, preserving our harvests for scrummy treats through the year!

Today is the turn of Courgette and Feta Fritters

You will need:

  • 600g grated courgette
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions
  • 150g feta
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2tsp of dill/mint/coriander (optional to add all 3, or just one or two)
  • oil for frying

Method

  • Add the salt to the grated courgette and leave for 10 minutes
  • Using your hands try to squeeze as much liquid out as possible
  • Add the flour, eggs, and mix well
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well again
  • put a frying pan with a small amount of oil in the bottom over a medium to high heat and spoon in tablespoons of mixture to make individual little patties, flipping them half way through cooking to brown both sides lightly.
  • These taste amazing hot or cold and freeze really well so if you batch cook a load you can add them to lunches as and when!

We would love to see your efforts!! Please hop on over to Facebook or Instagram to show us!!

Scrumptious Saturdays – Beetroot and Horseradish Chutney

I have decided to share a few of the recipes I have collected, tweaked maybe perfected for our tastes here on the holding preserving our harvests and allowing us delicious treats through the year, whether they be canned, jarred or frozen!

I am going to start with Beetroot and Horseradish chutney as a request from a friend who came recently to camp out in our fields as a quiet alternative to a camp site. (and yes we are thinking of using our 28 days allowances now each year for weekends of campers!)

Beetroot and Horseradish chutney

You will need:

  • 750g of raw beetroot, trimmed peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 dessert apple, diced
  • 2 tbsp of freshly grated horseradish (top tip if you freeze it before grating it wont sting your eyes, plus you can grate a heap and freeze it for future use)
  • 200g sugar
  • 300ml of white wine vinegar
  • 2tsp salt

Method

  • Put all the ingredients into the pan ( I use a large heavy based pan or Maslin pan)
  • Bring the pan slowly to the boil stirring until the sugar dissolves
  • Cook gently then for 1-1.5 hours stirring occasionally
  • Once the chutney is done, you will know by performing the channel test (use a spoon, drag it along the bottom of the pan to create a channel and if no liquid refills it fast then you are good to go)
  • Jar up into hot sterilised jars, put on lids and allow to sit in a dark cupboard for 2 months before using.

I hope you will enjoy joining me on this culinary journey and would love it if you shared your efforts over on the Facebook page in the comments or over on Instagram!