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!!!
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!!!!
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!! 😁
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:
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.
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
3 spring onions
1 garlic clove
2tsp of dill/mint/coriander (optional to add all 3, or just one or two)
oil for frying
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!!
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)
300ml of white wine vinegar
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!