In case anyone thought I'd disappeared into thin air, I am in fact still here, but have undergone an inadvertent style makeover. I thought I would try one of Blogger's new template designs, just for a bit of a change, and of course, it made my blog almost unreadable. So I had to spend ages messing about trying to make it ok again. Whilst I enjoy blogging, messing about with computers is not my most favourite occupation, in fact it seems like a bit of a waste of time when you're already up to your eyes in apple based harvesting activities viz
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Where we've had trees cut down to improve light levels, we get an annual crop of these pretty little Ink Cap type fungi.
They appear almost like magic, overnight, usually after heavy rain has soaked the ground, and on the area where the roots of the felled tree are still in the ground but gradually rotting down. Fungi help this process, and do no harm. Indeed many millions of fungi are found in healthy garden soil and are essential for plant growth.. Although the Inkcaps in my garden aren't edible, some inkcaps, notably the Shaggy Ink Cap, or Lawyers Wig, which you can see everywhere in the autumn, are edible. I've tried Shaggy Ink Caps fried with a bit of bacon, and found them ok but nothing special, and not so good as many other wild fungi, such as Parasols, which are delicious.
Incidentally, Inkcaps are so called because all members of the family soon deliquesce, as it's called, into a black inky mess, soon after they're picked, and the resultant liquid was used as a writing ink.
It goes without saying of course, that you should never consume any fungi you pick unless you are absolutely certain about what it is. Amanita Phalloides or the Death Cap mushroom is said to be the cause of more than 90% of European fatal mushroom poisonings, and to the untrained eye can look remarkably like a tasty supper. So take an expert, do a course, and take great care.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Grandchildren are like buses, you wait ages for one, and then in no time at all you have the makings of a First Eleven. I just had to share this lovely picture. It's our grandson Brown Toby telling his newly arrived brother Alfie George to smile for the camera. Just too cute!
Monday, 6 September 2010
I have a few pheasants in the freezer that I needed to use up and the remains of a bacon collar joint in the fridge, not to mention a mountain of plums, and so this recipe is the happy result. It's a hearty pie but I think the plums just lift it out of the ordinary and would probably work ok with chicken though I would use boned thighs for this recipe.
Pheasant and Ham Pie with Victoria Plums
1 large clove garlic crushed
Chop and fry the onion, garlic and carrot until soft. Add the chunked ham and pheasant. Sprinkle with flour and fry until well browned, stirring from time to time. Season well. Add a glug of red wine, and enough stock to make a sauce. Add the chopped parsley, turn into a pie dish and press the plum halves into the gravy. Cover with the half sheet of puff pastry, trim, and brush with beaten egg or milk. Bake in the middle of the roasting oven of the Aga for 20 minutes, (gas about mark 6) until well browned, then move to the bottom oven for another half hour or so (gas about 3). Serve with a seasonal green veg.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
What could be nicer than a glass of freshly pressed apple juice. Juice from my own apples, pressed by me, grown by me, no chemicals, no additives, no airmiles, no packaging, truly organic, sounds great doesn't it. Well it is great of course, but this being my first foray into the ancient art of apple pressing, the results have been a bit, er, mixed. As you can see from this picture, the juice looks a bit like muddy water. Not very appetising.
First of all, the press I bought online from Selections, is really too big for the amount of apples I have. I wanted the 12 litre size but they had sold out, but I have loads of apples, I thought, so I might as well get the bigger one. Not loads enough it seems. Before you can press your apples you have to reduce them to a pulp and this reduces their volume dramatically. So a few bucketfuls of windfalls only half fill the press by the time you've pulped them.Lesson one. It's recommended that you use a Pulpmaster, a tool that you use in conjuction with an electric drill. But I found it quite a faff, and I'm sure I could have done a better and quicker job with the Magimix, despite what I've read about this not being the case. Most of what you can read on the internet about apple pressing and cider making is written by men, and I don't wish to sound sexist or anything chaps, but I can easily pulp apples in my Magimix without reducing them to puree. But then I use a Magimix all the time.