Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I feel like I've been chained to the kitchen for weeks, with occasional and brief forays outside to pick more fruit. Harvest is only a short period of time, so I shouldn't complain. I will be glad of the preserves and frozen vegetables come winter.

Yesterday, besides making a fish pie and apple crumble, I processed 4 containers' worth of apple puree and a big bowl of runner beans for the freezer. We sometimes give in to the 21st century (and our own laziness) and order a Chinese takeaway, and the meals come in these great reusable plastic containers with lids - exactly the right size for freezing a 2 people portion of soup, or a dose of stock, 4 pheasant breasts, or enough apple puree for a pie or batch of muffins. And the containers form a tidy, space-saving stack in the freezer, unlike bags which roll around and split. Well, that's my excuse for ordering out. Oh, and it's supporting a local business. I'm getting through our stash pretty quickly now, but we'll have enough. I'll run out of freezer space first, as I've just taken delivery of 10 packs of venison sausages from Paul the stalker, as payment for the wild pig.

Did you know in the middle ages, the term 'venison' referred to any animal killed in a hunt, from rabbit to deer to bear? That is your fact for the day.

I also made 2 gallons of sloe gin. The gin won't be ready until this time next year, when it has been thoroughly steeped in the sloe juice and sugar. That probably sounds like a lot of gin, but shared out with a team of pickers-up it just about lasts one shoot season. The dark purple bottle on the left was made some months ago and is just about ready for this season.

The mobile cider press is coming next Sunday, but my bramley apple tree is looking denuded, especially after last night's heavy winds. I will speak to Rupert the cider farmer and beg some of his fruit. He's always generous to us and I'm sure he'll spare me a bucket. I made the mistake of freezing the juice in a huge gallon container last year and once opened it only stays fresh for a day or two, faster than I can drink it. Then it turns to vinegar. Not a waste though - cider vinegar is reputed to have health-giving properties for horses, so I tip a cupful in Alan's and Kitty's buckets. Everyone gets a share.

Aside from making my daily loaf of bread - Mike's staple diet, he eats a loaf a day - I've been chained to the village cafe's sink today. It adds a few pennies to the coffers. In this case, it has paid for Spud's new indoor crate. She outgrew the old one -any longer in there and she would have been a bonsai pet.

But it's Pip who's in the 'doghouse' today. As I was getting in the shower, she came in proud to show off what she'd just rolled in. It was all over her face and behind her ears, and she had a nice racing stripe down her left side. So I had to shower her before I could shower myself and go to work. Dogs: if they're not eating something disgusting, they're rolling in it.

And on that thought, I'd better get on and feed the horses, make dinner, and maybe even mow the lawn. Thankfully, there's nothing I can make from grass clippings except compost, and that doesn't take up freezer space.

1 comment:

Poppy Cottage said...

You put us all to shame. I have no idea what is in my freezer and my fridge smells REAL bad!!!!! ( I mean really really bad!!) so maybe that is a job for today in my if I sit down I might just have to close my eyes........

Right another coffee then the fridge!!!