Archive for September, 2011

Our last hatch: 0-8 weeks

Just hatched

 

The last two - still damp from the egg

 

Almost 3 weeks

 

5 weeks 1 day

 

Which brings us to here! 8 weeks.

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How things are in spring

A quick tour of the burbfarm in spring.

First, the rockery:  This will be our herb garden from now on, so…

…the old herb garden can become a strawberry patch!  We’re about halfway through the process. This bed will have marigolds too, for company.

Below, the garden veg we’re eating:  Rocket, and..

…snowpeas.  The rocket is nice a little wilted.  I put hot gnocchi over them, with our sun-dried tomatoes from last season, parmesan and vinaigrette.

Here is next season’s crop, in a cement house under clear plastic (bodge greenhouse).  Mainly tomatoes, but also some herbs.  Might have a grape too (yellow pot) but I’m not sure if (a) the seeds were even viable and (b) this is one and not a weed.

Here’s our most productive pen, and the one we’ve hatched from.

And here’s the robinia that will shade its run.  The leaves have just started emerging, which is an uplifting sight.

Our 8-week-old hatchlings, who I think look tastier by the day!

And these are our new additions, from our own chickens!  A mix of Rhode Island Red and RIR x wyandotte.  So cute, but I’ve had to put one down since this picture, making two so far, because of birth defects.

 

How to make proper scrambled eggs

I should preface by saying, in general, I am a pretty lousy cook.  I barely do any of the cooking in our house, especially since WhatWouldMacGyverDo is an excellent cook, but scrambled eggs is something I do well.  Thankfully it is also something the toddler eats very happily!  You might be thinking, this is not such a great achievement, you know how to cook scrambled eggs too.  But trust me, if your method includes either of the following:

you really, really don’t.  If you have previously been cooking scrambled eggs in the microwave or whipping them up, you don’t know what you are missing.  Growing up, my family always had scrambled eggs made in the microwave, but since being taught the method which I will outline here, there is no going back.

(I should probably point out that there are other techniques similar to mine that also produce genuinely good scrambled eggs.  WhatWouldMacgyverDo’s method for example which is essentially a variation of this method.  They are basically very similar in cooking method, but mine turn out thicker and chunkier.)

Okay.  So what you do need, equipmentwise, is a flat based frying pan, a flat headed wooden spoon and a stove top.

The ingredients are: 2 eggs per person (or more if the eggs are on the small side), butter, and pure cream (not thickened).  In a pinch, full cream milk will sub for the cream, but it’s obviously not quite as delicious.  Skim milk is just sad.

Mandatory accompaniment is toast, naturally,

Optional accompaniment, fresh herbs.  Ours this morning were tarragon, parsley and chives from our garden.

You need to have everything ready and at arms reach before you start.  This may sound a bit like telling you how to suck eggs (haha get it?  I crack myself up…) but the timing is critical to have everything cooked at the same time; the eggs cook very quickly and you need to watch them the whole time if you want to avoid over cooking them and turning them to rubber.  The more eggs you have though, the longer they take to cook.  If I’m just cooking two eggs, it is a bit of a race with the toaster, but you have a bit more breathing space with six or eight eggs.

Immediately before you start, put the toast down in the toaster.

Put a knob of butter (don’t be stingy, and use more for more eggs) into the pan and turn the pan to a medium heat to melt it.

Spread it around to cover the base of the pan.

As soon as it is pretty much melted and as quick as you can, get cracking (there’s just so many lame jokes to be made!)

Break the yolks with the wooden spoon.

Worry at the eggs (push them gently with the wooden spoon) to stop them sticking to the pan base.

This worrying is what will slowly ‘scramble’ the eggs.

Continuously scrape the eggs from the base of the pan so they don’t stick.

They will quickly begin to thicken.

Keep scraping the base of the pan as it thickens.

Thicker

Almost thick enough

They will look still mushy or not quite cooked but this is the point where you pull them off the heat. The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking them.

Done

Once off the heat, add in a decent slurp of cream (again, more cream for more eggs.  For two eggs it’s about a tablespoon, but I never measure!)

Stir the cream in gently.  The fat in the cream stops the cooking and makes a custardy texture.

And they’re done!

Grab the toast, which should be up by now, and serve them up, with snipped fresh herbs if you like.

As soon as the eggs are on the plate, put the pan in the sink and fill it with water to soak while you eat.  This will make cleaning it much easier.

Nom nom nom...

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but eat immediately!

Toddler style. She doesn't seem to like the toast with eggs so we don't bother with it for her.

All gone.

So there you have it.  May you never have the horror of microwaved scrambled eggs again!
(And perhaps WhatWouldMacGyverDo will follow up with his slightly different technique).

Winemaking part 2

We have finished bottling the wine now.  It took 2.5 hours and we still have to clean up.  But out of that we have about 20 litres of wine, excluding the wastage to sediment and the inevitable sipsies.  The answer to the most important question is: it tastes really good!  It’s remarkably dry and clear, with some faint fruitiness and the slightest hint of sweetness.  It’s also really strong!  Some pictures:

The right tool for the job is a proper siphon designed just for that purpose – $16

This is how much we had left when we ran out of wine bottles…

So we resorted to:

and…

And our spaghetti jar, which held an admirable 3 litres or so.

Having tasted it and found it good, we’ll have to keep tasting to make sure we haven’t introduced too much oxygen during the bottling (which would turn it to vinegar) or incompletely sterilised the jars.  It would be a tragedy if it went off before we could drink it!

Now, a little lie down to recover from all those sipsies…

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