Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

Rainbow eggs

We finally have a decent rainbow of eggs going on!

20120624-104848.jpg

The good and the bad

The bad part about keeping chickens: looked out the window this morning and saw a rat run across the roof of one of the pens.  (Note to self, must get less lazy cat).

The good part about keeping chickens: just went outside, collected three eggs and scrambled ’em for lunch.

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).

My computer died and I lost a month

So the title says it all really and that’s more or less why it’s been so quiet here lately.  I just can’t be bothered typing a whole post on the iPod touch.  Also, winter is truly upon us; though it does not officially start here until June 1, last week we had -7°C overnight.  So not as many interesting things have been happening in the garden.  Our brassicas are looking a bit sad (I don’t think they are in a great spot I might move them) and the herb garden is dying back, though the garlic, peas and broad beans are sprouting and growing nicely.  I’m counting the days down to the winter solstice (29 to go!) so the days will start getting longer again.  It’s not even winter yet and I’m already hanging out for spring!

The three sussex chickens have slowed down their laying with the shorter days and we usually only get one egg every few days now.  This is one of the down sides of having purebreds rather than commercial hybrid layers whose tendency to broodiness and winter slow down have been bred out of them.  However I much prefer to be helping to keep increasingly rare breeds of chicken alive, so I am happy with the purebreds.

Craig the rooster started crowing a few weeks back and he and Red started having a few tiffs so we moved Craig in with the chicks on the other side of the house.  He is now king of the roost over there rather than at the bottom of the pecking order in the big pen (he was just so small compared the the enormous sussexes and Rhode Island Red!), so he is a Very Happy Boy Indeed.  I finally finished building the little chicks a secure run with a roof, which is now installed.

New run

Chicken sized door

This side butts up against the existing coop

Run with the lid down

Hanging feeder

Chicken sized door to the outside

All in place. The bricks have been replaced with latches now too.

The big pen has been in a bit of a state of flux over the last few weeks as our friend has been bringing us her boys as she is downsizing her flock.  Some are a bit small to eat yet so we are growing them out.  We’ve now eaten two Rhode Island Reds (this one, plus another a few weeks later), and at the moment we have five boys in the growing queue – another RIR, the two barnevelders, an ancona and an araucana.

RIR #3 and ancona boy

The barnie boys

Red and the two barnies

Including Red and Craig, we currently have almost as many boys as girls, but luckily Craig is the only crower, and he doesn’t crow much yet and so far the neighbours don’t seem to mind.  I dearly wish we could give them eggs for being so great about us having chickens, but we just don’t have any!

And finally, some chicken dramas recently:

  • One of the barnies ripped off a toenail/claw.  It was only half off at first and it bled a lot so he got to be isolated for a few days until it pretty much dropped off.  Incidentally, this is now the only way we can tell the two barnies apart.  This one is Barney, the one will all his toes is Fred.

Missing a toenail (don't worry, it's actually betadine here)

  • Juniper got a cut on her comb
  • The sussexes all got lice so everyone (including us in the process – ew) got to have several extra Pestene (flea and mite powder) doses.  Dusting flapping animals with a fine powder.  Not as fun as it sounds.
  • While excavating to install the new chicken run we discovered a family of mice living under the little coop.  Four baby mice were rapidly dispatched with a spade, and six more (and counting) with traps since.  This area is in the middle of a mouse plague so I suppose we couldn’t stay immune forever.

Excavating a mouse house under the little coop

Four baby mice

Well, that’s about all I’ve got time for now.  Off to bed soon, early to bed early to rise and all that – it comes with the farmer/toddler territory!

Monster egg

One of the things I’m loving about having chickens is see just how different eggs can be in shape and size, between chickens and even from the same chicken.

Adelaide and Henrietta are still our only layers and each prefers to lay in a different nesting box (we have two, which should still be plenty for the six girls when they are all laying) so it is pretty easy to tell who lays which egg at this stage, but already the shapes of each girl’s egg is quite different; Adelaide’s is pointier and Henrietta’s tend to be a bit bigger, more like ~60g than Adelaide’s ~50g.

On Sunday, however, Henrietta laid a simply monstrously large egg.  She hadn’t laid for a couple of days, so it really seemed like she was making up for it! It topped the scales at 80g.  I felt seriously sorry for the girl!  The next day she laid a much smaller egg, I presumed making up for the previous monster.  For comparison, here (L-R) is one of Adelaide’s standard size eggs, Henrietta’s monster Sunday egg, and Henrietta’s little Monday egg.

Monster egg, little hands

Sure enough, this morning when we cracked them open for breakfast, the monster was our first double yoker!

Double yoker

I thought that would be it, but today she laid another 80g egg.  I guess we will have to wait and see if it is another double yoker…

Autumn equinox harvest

The garden has done really well considering how late I got all the vegetables in.

The tomatoes have really come out this year – I estimate I’ve picked about 8-10kg total so far, and there must be at least another 2kg still ripening 0n the vine.

Tomato glut

Tomato glut 2

We’ve had so many over the last few weeks.  It has been lovely being able to pick them fresh for lunch and dinner each day, and still we have so many left over I’ve been able to start preserving them to eat later in the year.

Some of the tomatoes

Laying the tomatoes out to dry

Drying the tomatoes

Sundried tomatoes

Not technically sun dried – I used a friend’s dehydrator – but just as delicious!

We’ve also had beans and corn, though not nearly as much as I would have liked!

Corn harvest

Corn and beans for dinner

Tomatoes and beans

The sunflowers have finished blooming and are the heads are drying out so we can collect their seeds.

Drying out sunflower heads

Sunflower seeds

The new raised bed and the new herb bed are coming along nicely.

The raised bed is finally thriving

New herb bed seedlings (and don't the chickens look great in the background!)

And I’ve got the winter harvest seedlings under way.

Winter seedlings (and an avocado that started growing in the compost, not that I'm expecting it to survive the winter in this climate!)

We have two laying chickens now – Henrietta and Adelaide – and are getting about three eggs every two days from the pair of them.

First eggs meal!

I’ve also been doing a bit of wild foraging with two very good friends.  We’ve been blackberrying twice – I would never have believed how much better freshly picked blackberries taste.  Blackberries are a terribly invasive weed here and the free and tasty fruit is the only redeeming feature.   I used some of them to make a blackberry sauce.

Boiling up wild blackberry sauce

It was very, very good over ice cream!

Blackberry Sauce + chocolate icecream = black forest goodness

So all in all it’s been a rather delicious, though busy, few weeks.  We’ve also been busy building a (hopefully reasonably soundproof) rooster box for the chickens to sleep in – Red is right on the verge of crowing, so we are rushing to get it done before he annoys the neighbours.  Pictures to follow when I get my act together and remember to photograph it.

Henrietta, you are a star!

%d bloggers like this: