Posted by: hencorner | January 29, 2014

Paddington would have been proud!

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine
It’s great to have this year’s courses well underway, this week we’ve been baking beautiful bread and making marvellous marmalade. Our course guests took home their wonderful creations and can enjoy a home-made breakfast or a sneaky supper, if they can’t wait that long to sample their goodies. 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!

Paddington at stationKeep it under your hat?

Well that’s where Paddington Bear used to keep his marmalade sandwiches, yet I’m sure that they made his hair very sticky. On our recent Toast and Marmalade course we were getting sticky hands kneading dough as we made our wonderful loaves of organic bread. Whilst it was wet and windy outside, it was warm and bright in the conservatory at Hen Corner and such a delight to spend the day with Justine, who discovered us in Out and About magazine, Jules, who blogs as Chiswick Mum, and Sean from Cultivate London. We nibbled on ginger oat cookies, mugs of coffee to hand, and dovetailed preserving and baking throughout most of the day. A homemade lunch of bread, soup, cheese and chutney was a welcome reward after a morning of chopping and kneading and an organic chocolate and chilli cake was enjoyed whilst the last loaves baked to perfection. There was lots of talk about making more marmalade at home over the weekend and baking more batches of bread, I do hope they all try it again!

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FFF SkylarComing up at the Corner…

This year we have planned courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Our next course, on Saturday 22nd February, is the first of our family sessions where children and their grown ups can hug a hen and consider if chicken keeping would work for them.

Family Feathers and Fun includes all the information of our Urban Hens course but also provides treats and craft activities for our younger guests.

Book of the Blog Post:

By Daniel Stevens

I’ve had this book for a while and it was so helpful to read again as a refresher before our course this week.

The book explains the hows and whys of bread making helping us start with a basic recipe and follows up with many variations equipping us to bake a different artisan loaf each week…

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

  • Other News:

  • We were thrilled that Country Living magazine featured our courses on their blog
  • London blogger Chiswick Mum published a lovely interview with us
  • More of Matilda’s pumpkins have been used to making winter warming soups

Jobs for next week:

  • Give the fruit trees a winter wash and prune
  • Put the finishing touches to our new website
  • Try and build a shelter for our peach tree to protect from leaf curl

 

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | January 10, 2014

Planning the plot

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine
We’ve had a full week back at work and 2014 is well underway. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the things we’ve been up to as our plans for the year start to unfold…
We are currently building a new website, by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

Finished pathways‘What shall we grow this year?’

Was the question that my friend, Matt, asked me over breakfast on New Year’s Day. I was pleased to see that he was eager to begin his plans to spend more time at the family allotment and was impressed to hear of his successful lettuces (Icebergs, don’t you know) and the bumper crop of pumpkins that his daughter, Matilda, had grown last year. Giving good time now to planning your plot and choosing your crops can make all the difference when it comes to harvest time.

Throughout last year, I recorded everything that we produced in the garden at Hen Corner on a Harvestometer with Capital Growth; they were running a campaign for Londoners to grow a Million Meals and we worked out that between the fruit, vegetables, honey and eggs we gathered 200kg of food worth approximately £1,160.00 contributing to 2496 meals! With this under our belts, we’d better get cracking to improve on that in 2014…

Fruit Basket

So how did I answer Matt’s question of what to grow? Well, I suggested a few categories that should ensure your toil in the soil is as rewarding as possible:

  • Favourite foods – See what grows well in our climate (not bananas or pineapples!) and try growing something that you love to eat; french beans are fun, tomatoes are tasty and cucumbers are crunchy
  • Best fresh – Most of the food we buy in the UK is at least a few days old, if not more, and many fruits and vegetables convert their natural sugars into starch once harvested. New potatoes and baby peas are just a couple of crops that taste amazing when freshly picked. Where else can you eat food within minutes of its harvest?
  • High value – Raspberries and redcurrants can be pretty pricey in the shops but growing your own can produce bowl after bowl for many months of the year. We harvested around £35 of raspberries in 2014
  • Perennials – The old faithfuls that feed us year upon year; rhubarb, artichokes, hardy herbs, horseradish, etc. Our favourite is asparagus and, once established, a bed can feed a family every week from April to June. We grew nearly £30 worth of asparagus last year and it was so fresh and tasty.
  • Fruits – These usually harvest every year with the minimum of maintenance, we have apples, pears, peaches, figs, plums and a variety of soft fruit
  • That which stores well – Winter squashes keep for ages in a cool place, rhubarb and runner beans are happy in the freezer, and other foods can be preserved or fermented, hic!

Why not have a go yourself this year? What would be your favourite food to grow?

TM Toast

Coming up at the Corner…

This year we have planned courses right through 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Our next course, on Wednesday 29th January, is right in the middle of the Seville orange season and we invite you to join us to make your own Toast and Marmalade.  Bring your pinny and roll up your sleeves, this special course has been designed to help develop your artisan culinary skills as we create beautiful bread and marvelous marmalade… 

Book of the Blog Post:

Fruit EverydayRiver Cottage Fruit Every Day!

By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I was very pleased to receive this as a Christmas gift and am sure that it will help me as I resolve to eat more fruit this year; it is the perfect, self packaged, ready meal – yet none of us eat enough…
Let’s hope this book will be the encouragement we need to start getting fruity!

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

  • Other News:

  • I treated the bees with Oxalic Acid to help destroy varroa mites, I chose a warm day and all three colonies seemed happy
  • The chickens have noticed the days getting slightly longer and are laying a few more eggs
  • We enjoyed a wonderful rolled shoulder of pork roasted to perfection last week, and still have loads more in the freezer

Jobs for next week:

  • Give the fruit trees a winter wash and prune
  • Put the finishing touches to our new website
  • Try and build a shelter for our peach tree to protect from leaf curl

 

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

Posted by: hencorner | December 30, 2013

2013 – Review of the year…

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine
We hope that you’ve had a great Christmas and are now looking forward to the exciting journey that 2014 will bring. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the things we’ve been up to throughout the year but as we welcome in a New Year we’ll celebrate some of the highlights of 2013…
We are currently building a new website, by subscribing to emails (box right) you’ll never miss a thing!

Choc & Nut Meringue StackReady to Party?

I love this time of year, celebrating with family and friends then hopefully a few quiet days for reflection, rest and relaxation before we hit the New Year running.

As we are still within the 12 days of Christmas, a decadent dessert is always welcome to help celebrate the New Year or simply whisk away the wintery winds…

Here is the recipe for our Choc & Nut Meringue Stack. Do have a go and post your pictures on Twitter or Facebook – It’s not as complicated as it looks…

Looking back…

One of the biggest highlights of 2013 dropped through our letterbox in the very first week – it was Country Living Magazine featuring Hen Corner in Country in the City. We were then very pleased to be featured in many other magazines throughout the year as well as commissioned to write articles about our country life in London. Each of our features, publications and films can be found here.

Natalie, Valentina & NickAt home…

We have been really pleased with the success of our courses. This was the first year that we ran our Bee Keeping Courses and Stir Up Sunday; we even delivered bespoke courses for a Hen Party and a 60th Birthday Celebration! Great fun was had by all with over 100 guests coming to Join us on the Journey since we started. More courses are lined up right throughout 2014, why not come along and meet us?

DSCF3917And Away…

Feather Down Farms kindly invited us to stay at Billingsmoor Farm in Devon; we had a wonderful time in their fabulous tents, enjoying hand-made pizzas whilst watching the sunset before huddling round the stove for an evening game of cards. It was such a privilege to meet Jayne and Robert Lammie and discover more about organic dairy-farming here in the UK. We highly recommend their holidays for 2014, the height of luxury in the good outdoors…

TM Toast

Coming up at the Corner…

This year we have planned courses right through 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Our next course, on Wednesday 29th January, is right in the middle of the Seville orange season and we invite you to join us to make your own Toast and Marmalade.  Bring your pinny and roll up your sleeves, this special course has been designed to help develop your artisan culinary skills as we create beautiful bread and marvelous marmalade… 

Chicken NuggetsBook of the Blog Post:

Chicken Nuggets: A Miscellany of Poultry Pickings

By David Squire

I was very pleased to receive this book as a Christmas gift, it is beautifully illustrated with top tips and wise sayings; perfect for the chicken lover in your life!

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

Other News:

  • This year’s cider was wonderful with our Boxing Day Ham
  • We made Foie Gras with the liver from our Christmas Goose and confit from the legs and wings
  • The chickens are sheltering under their clear covers and are starting to lay more eggs as the days start to lengthen

Jobs for next week:

  • Treat the bees with oxalic acid to control the varroa mites (yes, I’m a bit late on this one)
  • Dust down the propagator for our early seed germination
  • Plan the replacement of our raised beds – the wood has rotted so we are going to try recycled plastic timber

Happy New Year from all at Hen Corner!

Have a good week yourself…Hen logo good

Join us on the Journey!

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