Posted by: hencorner | June 9, 2011

Since you’ve been gone…

Sorry we haven’t posted for a while…

The reason is that we’ve had some very good friends from Australia come to stay with us here at Hen Corner. Richard & Rachelle Attieh and their four beautiful children are staying for a month or so and it’s been a privilege to learn some new kitchen skills from Rachelle who not only runs a food co-op just outside Sydney, but also is fortunate enough to have a friend with a cow that supplies her with fresh raw milk for cheese making!

Whilst we haven’t got access to quite as much milk as that, we’ve had a good go at Feta, Ricotta and Camembert (pictured) using unhomogenised milk from Abel and Cole. The Feta (which you can eat in a couple of days) was great – so we made a second batch today, however, the Camembert needs a few more weeks of maturing to get the inside nice and runny…. can’t wait!

To Market, To Market…

I thought that it would be nice to take Rachelle to our very own Borough Market to show her the sights, sounds and smells that London has to offer to her ‘foodies’. We were drawn to the fresh fish stalls who were displaying huge fillets of tuna and swordfish – perfect for sushi! I hadn’t made it for a while and it was so much more fun with the two of us working together. It wasn’t long before a mountain of nori rolls and hand shaped sushi were stacked up, ready with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce, for an evenings banquet in the garden. Unfortunately, we hadn’t realised how much the six children would enjoy and devour so had to knock up a second batch for the adults – no lunch box leftovers that day!

English Champagne?

Well not by appellation rules exactly, but our London elderflowers can produce a sparkling wine with such heady floral top notes that you would happily allow your mind to drift away to summer celebrations that toast all that’s good and local.

A simple brew of fresh elderflower heads, lemon zest, juice and flesh, fermenting in a sugar syrup for a week before either transferring to a demi john for a still wine (where the sugar turns to alcohol) or decanting into sterilized  screw top bottles (with an extra spoon of sugar) for a second ferment that releases carbon dioxide creating the natural fizz. Mmm, will we get the sunshine to enjoy with the sparkle? As Rachelle is pregnant, we’ve held back some of the brew and added a Campden Tablet to stop fermentation, this is a perfect cordial to enjoy as a drink, a base for desserts or even to combine with sieved gooseberries to make a curd that will rival any imported lemon preserve…. the Best of British!

Other news from the Corner:

  • Sadly Auren (our oldest hen) died. She had peritonitis but didn’t seem to be in pain for long.
  • We settled the melons, aubergines, super chillies & cucumber into the ground (in cold frame)…
  • All of the squash, tomatoes & peppers are established in their beds and more Nemaslugs have been watered in.
  • We’ve heard that our Organic Lime and Pink Grapefruit Marmalade has made it to the top three for celebrity judging this weekend!
  • A new Eglu Go is coming tomorrow, very excited!, and the plan is to move the broodies (Ascot & Butternut) into it to first try to break their broody cycle (which has been 5 weeks now) then to be ready and set up to order some hatching eggs for when they go broody again… so watch this space for some new chicks!

Jobs for next week:

    • Continue to harvest asparagus, sugar snap peas & mange tout
    • Pick the strawberries & raspberries on a daily basis
    • Monitor the automatic watering system (even with the rain)
    • Check the squashes (Butternut, Turks Turban, Courgette & Giant Vine) for slugs
    • Plant in the brassica baby plants
    • Get ready  for Wednesday’s course Urban Hens – Keeping Chickens in London

Have a great week yourself now….

Corners aren’t just for squares!

 

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