Monthly Archives: November 2014

Christmas Dinner

This is just to record that the gosling we hatched this year and that was then pretty much raised by Pierre and Lucy, dropped dead last week while we were away. This is sad because it’s a complete waste of a life (although we have a friend we’re keeping it for to taxiderm if she can get her head around taking it on!) but it’s also annoying because we have no idea why it’s died and we should have dispatched it a couple of weeks ago as it was ready. We just ran out of time. A bird in the hand…

Touch wood, it doesn’t seem to be anything the other birds have picked up so perhaps because it was young and a little more susceptible to things it caught something off the wild birds in the area, or perhaps it was affected by the fireworks although these have been going on some time now. Either way, it’s a shame and the incubator investment put in by my dad still hasn’t paid off! We’ll try again next year.


Flight of the Muscovy

A while back, in an effort to diversify the bloodlines of our muscovies, we bought in a batch of eggs from eBay to incubate. This invariably doesn’t go that well, I’m not sure why we never learn (combination of eggs travelling through the post not being ideal and duck eggs being tricky to incubate), and this batch was no different. We only had two hatch and one of them was much smaller than the other. We thought this was because one was a boy and one was a girl, so we called them Batman and Robin as their pied markings looked like masks. They both survived just fine but Robin is almost definitely a cross with something else. So she doesn’t lay eggs and very quickly she learnt how to fly down to the river, taking Batman with her from time to time. Following a wing clip she wasn’t able to do this any more and simply looked longingly in that direction instead.

And it turns out Batman is a girl, and is a Muscovy, and does lay fertile eggs. So overall, the plan worked and some of her eggs were hatched by Virginia this year. We’ll be keeping one of the boys this year. She too was very persistent with sitting on a clutch this season and sat on a handful of eggs, of which two hatched. At this point Robin’s attentions a turned to the job of duckling rearing and as soon as Batman and the two ducklings were out of the ark she set about becoming surrogate mother. This was helpful and she seemed to have forgotten she could fly.

However, the ducklings have now grown up (the boy was dispatched yesterday) and Robin has lead the charge for her, Batman and the girl duckling to make day trip to the beach. So far they seem to be returning at sensible times, and are hopefully therefore safe from the fox, but a mass wing clip is in order, which is easier said than done when they have worked out their escape route already…

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Warm Pumpkin Salad

This recipe is vegetarian, gluten and diary free.

This is a dish that I have developed over the last few weeks. I have been trying to think of inventive ways to use our pumpkins. We have a pretty good year for squash and can easily use one a week between now and Christmas. This recipe is great on its own, but can equally be served as bed for meat. I served it recently to some guests with some slow cooked duck legs cooked with apricots. The quantities below serve 4 people.

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Ingredients

half a medium to large pumpkin diced into 2cm cubes
2 leeks diced
Basmati Rice (measure as normal for 4 people)
Pumpkin seeds
Dried cranberries
Large handful per person of Baby leaves (I use chard, because I have it growing), but any leaf salad would be fine.
Olive oil

Optional extras
A few strands of saffron for the rice
Sesame oil instead if olive oil
An Orange.
A parsnip
I don’t eat garlic, but I am pretty sure it would be a nice addition if it was roasted along with the pumpkin.

Method

Toss the pumpkin ( and parsnip if using) in oil
Roast in a hot oven until soft (180 for 30-40 mins)
After the pumpkin has been in for a while, cook your rice and then set aside.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan, soften the leeks, turn your rice into the pan and coat with the leeky oil.
Toss in the cooked pumpkin and mix for a moment in the pan.
Take the pan of of the heat and set aside.
Get a large bowl, put your pumpkin and rice mixture into the bowl
Add you pumpkin seeds and cranberries and lastly your baby leaves
Dress to your taste, but I use a little oil, some balsamic and a big squeeze of orange.

Serve in warm bowls

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Inspiring Eden

We’ve just got back from a little trip down to Cornwall, and while we were there we visited the Eden project for the forth time in 15 years. It’s so great to see it developing and I always find it really inspiring. Sooo we have decided to expand our growing space.

Becky came up with a great idea to lift some of the paths in our vegetable garden, thus increasing our growing space. So today we went from this.

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To this

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She is a genius.