Posted by: hencorner | December 17, 2014

Let the Celebrations Begin…

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine

Christmas is coming – it’s practically here! As our celebrations begin, let’s make sure that our hearts and minds, as well as our homes and kitchens, are ready for Christmas. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the other things we’ve been up to recently…

We are currently building a new website,
by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

Pat's Wreath Christmas Wreath Workshop

‘The Advent wreath is constructed of evergreens to represent everlasting life brought through Jesus and the circular shape of the wreath represents God, with no beginning and no end.’

A few weeks ago, I planned a very special private course for a few friends where we gathered foliage from the garden at Hen Corner and wound our festive wreaths together, whilst sipping mulled wine and munching on mince pies… I’ve made my own wreath for the last few years, but this was the first time that I’d facilitated others on a workshop. We were all thrilled with the results and I’m pleased to say that we’ll be running an open course next year and inviting you to join us, the dates will be released next month. We are also considering a few other new courses for 2015; Afternoon Tea (making scones and strawberry jam), Christmas Hamper (making 3-4 treats perfect as gifts), and other ideas are bubbling away. Do subscribe, box top right, and you’ll be the first to know our plans…

It’s not too late to buy a course as a Christmas gift, we can post you a gift card which can be given to the recipient on the big day, or if you’re really cutting it fine, we can email you a card which you can print out yourself, we were sending them out on Christmas Eve last year!

Squash Noodles with Cashew CreamsBonapeti Dinner to your Door!

We were very pleased to have been given the opportunity to review Bonapeti recently, a new company that opens for business in January 2015, their mission is to provide ‘Freshly prepared plant-based meals delivered to your door for less than the cost of a home-cooked supper.’ It was such a treat to enjoy a meal that I hadn’t cooked after a busy day making our wreaths, the full review can be found here.

Cranberry SauceCranberry Sauce

If you like to prepare ahead for Christmas and ensure that every meal has little homemade touches, do try this recipe for Cranberry Sauce, it’s very easy to make and is really worth trying… Click the picture to open the film.

TM ToastComing up at the Corner

This year we have had courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’.

Into the new year, we have our Toast and Marmalade Course on Wednesday 28th January, this is a whole day course introducing both marmalade making and baking bread.

Why not come and join us? We have also planned all of our courses for next year, so whether you want to try something new or treat someone to a wonderful gift, have a look and book in early!

The Christmas StoryBook of the Blog Post:

The Christmas Story

A Lift-the-flap Book (Peek-a-Bible)

By Tracy Harrast

We’ve had this book for many years and I never tire of reading it to other young children now that mine are grown up…

This book is available with many of our other favourite books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • We are talking to Country Living Magazine and are hoping to participate in their Spring Fair next March
  • At least one of the chickens is back ‘in lay’ after replenishing her feathery plumage
  • We have grand plans for 2015, so exciting that it’s keeping me awake at night! Watch this space…

Jobs for next week:

  • Ice the Christmas cake, make the stuffing, peel the veg, etc.
  • Treat the bees with Oxalic Acid to kill off the Varroa mites
  • Put my feet up in front of a good film with a full glass to hand…

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | November 26, 2014

All about the bees, ’bout the bees

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve steamed our puddings, baked our cakes and will be winding our wreaths ready for Advent to begin. As we enter this season of preparation, let’s get our hearts and minds, as well as our homes and kitchens, ready for Christmas. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the other things we’ve been up to recently…

We are currently building a new website,
by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

Bee StreetTucked up but still centre stage

Whilst each colony of bees is almost at their lowest head count, with all the boys kicked out and the girls focused on protecting the queen through the coldest months, they are still attracting loads of attention as the general public are becoming more aware of their plight. Fortunately, as we keep our bees in an urban environment, they don’t face the challenges of mono-crop agriculture, heavy doses of pesticides or oil seed rape (which makes the honey smell and taste of cabbages). However, with the very mild winter last year, almost without a frost, the cheeky varroa mites found the perfect environment to reproduced virulently and cause havoc in the apiary. More and more people are becoming fascinated by these tiny creatures that pollinate so much of our food, as well as producing the most wonderful honey; we saw such a wide variety of people come on our bee keeping courses last summer and are thrilled to be supporting a London school as they begin to embark on their own bee keeping project.

As a London Bee Keeper, I have a Google alert set up which means that every time a new story relating to London Bees appears online, I receive an email linking to it. Football fans will know that this term is also the nickname for our local club, Brentford FC. Considering that their home, Griffin Park, is literally at the end of our road, I’m more than happy to keep up to date with their news, especially as my husband and son are both season ticket holders.

Brentford is famous for being the only club in the country that has a pub on each of its four corners. The nearest of which, to Hen Corner, is The Griffin which is owned by husband and wife team Gerhard and Claire who also bring culinary expertise especially on a Sunday Lunchtime or Wednesday Supper Club. I’ve been chatting to Gerhard about our honey and would love to see a closer relationship between the Brentford Bees and their local bee keepers!

Fruit & Nut Roll with Brentford Honey

Take inspiration from this short film that shows you how to make a stunning accompaniment for your festive cheese board or a unique gift for a special friend. We use our own honey for this recipe, but you can source honey local to you or find another supplier.

TM Toast

Coming up at the Corner

This year we have had courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’.

Into the new year, we have our Toast and Marmalade Course on Wednesday 28th January, this is a whole day course introducing both marmalade making and baking bread.

Why not come and join us? We have also planned all of our courses for next year, so whether you want to try something new or treat someone to a wonderful gift, have a look and book in early!

‘Oh yes, I am!’ This year I’m fulfilling a dream and am playing a part in a local pantomime, Cinderella, on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th. Tickets are available here and we’d love you to join us along with your family and friends (£5 adults, £3 concessions).

BoozeBook of the Blog Post:

Booze: River Cottage Handbook No.12

By John Wright

This book is kept to hand especially during the Summer and Autumn months of home brewing…
Beer, Cider, Wine… I’m double checking it now as it’s time to bottle up our apple wine.

This book is available with many of our other favourite books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • Our Stir Up Sunday Course was oversubscribed this year and filmed by Chiswick Buzz, we’ll share the film as soon as we see it!
  • Men’s Fitness Magazine published a great article on Urban Farming and featured Hen Corner and our chickens as a great way to produce your own protein
  • We are trialing a new Christmas Wreath Workshop which, if successful, will be open to all next year

Jobs for next week:

  • Write our Christmas cards and invite our neighbours over for festive drinks
  • Pop across to France for the day to select some seasonal wines
  • Practise my pantomime make-up for the final dress rehearsals

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | November 1, 2014

Half Term Hens & Honey Show…

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine

We’ve had a great half term holiday as a family which began in Paris to celebrate the first two years of my husband’s business and ended with us picking up a prize at the National Honey Show! Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the other things we’ve been up to recently…

We are currently building a new website,
by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

Paris PoultryParis Poultry

We had a wonderful long weekend in Paris with Andy’s brother, Rich, and his family to celebrate the second birthday of their new business Raw Unlimited. We saw all the famous sites, including a three-hour queue for the Eiffel Tower, and cocktails at Harry’s New York Bar, but a real highlight for me was to visit the colourful Marché aux Fleurs (flower market) which, dating from 1808, is the oldest and one of the largest flower markets in Paris. From Monday to Saturday you can find everything from orchids to orange trees and on Sundays it is joined by the Marché aux Oiseaux (bird market) with cage after cage of birds ranging from the tiniest of finches to an extra-large goose and a wide variety of parrots, pigeons and poultry on display for sale. I’m not sure whether the chickens were intended as household pets to be kept in a fifth floor apartment; caged birds seem to be the easiest, low maintenance, pet for a hard-working Parisian and whilst hens may contribute freshly laid eggs I think the farm animal odour might outweigh the benefits!

Another Prize!

Half Term finished with our annual visit to the National Honey Show at St Georges College, Weybridge. This year, with its mild weather that was perfect for bee keeping, saw 1,714 individual entries at the show distributed between classes that included inventions, photography, baking, brewing and all things honey and wax related. Whilst our honey didn’t scoop any prizes this year we were thrilled to pick up an award for our favourite Honey and Oat Cookies; they came third place in a class that included entries from all over the country.

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TM ToastComing up at the Corner

This year we have had courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. The next sessions coming up are Family Feathers and Fun! on 8th November and Stir Up Sunday on 23rd November, which is now fully booked.

Into the new year, we have our Toast and Marmalade Course on Wednesday 28th January, this is a whole day course introducing both marmalade making and baking bread.

Why not come and join us? We have also planned all of our courses for next year, so whether you want to try something new or treat someone to a wonderful gift, have a look and book in early!

‘Oh yes, I am!’ There are no courses in December as I’m fulfilling a dream and am playing a part in a local pantomime, Cinderella, on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th. Tickets are available here and we’d love you to join us along with your family and friends (£5 adults, £3 concessions).

Spoonfuls of HoneyBook of the Blog Post:

Spoonfuls of Honey – A complete guide to honey’s flavours & culinary uses with over 80 recipes

By Hattie Ellis

I’d seen this book first on Twitter and then held a copy in my hands at the National Honey Show. Filled with stories, recipes and beautiful pictures – this is a must for my Christmas list!

This book is available with many of our other favourite books from the Hen Corner Shop!

Other News:

  • Now that our honey has been safely extracted, the empty super frames have been frozen to kill any wax moth eggs, and packed away for next year
  • The bees have been slurping up syrup to store as spare food over winter
  • We’ve been continuing to treat our apple, pear and plum trees with a Codling Moth Nematode

Jobs for next week:

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

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