food


This weekend in the garden, we got at the berryfull but overgrown elder.As the photo shows, the apples are dropping too.

 Elderberries are very potent vitamin C containers, have a lot of vitamin A, and some research suggests they have strong antiviral properties.

We make juice. The berry recipe:

  • Lots of elderberries
  • Cloves
  • Star anise
  • Cinnamon

Cover with water, boil and reduce to a thickish liquor.

Strain, add sugar/honey to taste…  Simmer again. 

We’re probably going to keep this one liquid (in stoppered bottles), but quite like the idea of procuring some gelatine (beef/veggie), and jelly baby moulds, to make winter sweeties with the next batch.

The elder bush is in the chicken run, and they greatly enjoyed the offcuts.

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Saturday night’s alright for loafing. I’m a big fan of IFTTT at the moment. It’s great for automating fiddly tasks I’d never get round to otherwise. “Add” a track on Spotify, for example, and it could send it to a specific playlist. Does the same with SoundCloud, for another example. So, one might generate a nice evening selection wivout scarcely lifting a thumb.

Fiddle de dee, loaf, loaf, loaf. Apparently, yesterday was National Guacamole Day. Some avocado marketing guru is patting themselves on the back for that, I’m sure. However, as a fan of guac, it deserves a nod. SFA, take it away!

I need revolution, ’cause I can’t afford the price of cake.

Best wishes to everyone enjoying the moon cakes.

Waxing gibbous over Yorkshire, earlier this evening.

June’s persistently dour sky cracked a grin twice today, which was all the time needed to dig in the legs of the platform base and heave the henhouse into place.

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Pallet screwed to four posts to raise it up for a little shady area, henhouse fixed on top of that. The base’s legs are dug-in about a foot, and the exploratory spadework for that revealed several areas where a former ornamental pebble garden has been submerged with topsoil. Not at all easy to dig through, and prompting a rethink of the positioning for the fence posts.

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These are eight feet in length, so  need about two feet of foundation. Can you dig it? I hummed, Mock Turtlishly. We need to fence in the fowl, to avoid any unfortunate incidents with the local cats who use this section of the garden as a cut-through, and of course to keep out urban foxes.  I’m fairly sure it’s only that one corner that’s pebbled, but the perimeter may end up taking an odd line if I unearth any other obstructions. Still hoping for a buried priceless classic car, obviously, although further discarded bags of cement that have become solid pillows of immovable matter seem more likely:

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Sleeping on’t, he dreamed of chickens ascending and descending a small wooden staircase, illumin’d by crepuscular rays.

So, yes, fence next.

Following a short hiatus for…well, I don’t know what one might call it without sounding like a ginormous ass: de-rutting, groove reclamation, headspace refurbishment (“Hey, I like what you’ve done in here…”)… a comfort break… The Mortal Bath resumes refilled, topped up, nice and bubbly.

It was half term holidays this week just gone, and some sort of physical distraction from the scholastic toil was required. The stated aim had been to build a henhouse. This is the second time I’ve built one, and it was much easier going now I have more than the barest notion of carpentry I did the first time. I’m still fairly cack-handed, but it seemed to fit together less troublesomely.

So, I’m pleased to record, this evening, as the sun shone over the garden (which it has failed signally to do the entire rest of the leaden-skied week, by the let’s-emigrate-to-the-Mediterranean-immediately way), the coop was completed:

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We cracked a can of Amstel to toast its wooden goodness, and as a libation for the future roosting joy and eggy successes of its inhabitants. (Clunk of cans, distant approving cluck of hens…)

No garden today. Today I had to work. Periodically, ‘they’ let the boarding school students out to see the real world, and buy stuff.

As duties go, getting what was effectively five hours to wander round Leeds city centre browsing in record shops and going for a big bowl of spicy chicken noodle soup has to rate among my Most Preferred.

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Mmmm…  Bún gà Huế… Just delicious, from Pho, in Trinity Kitchen

Music finds, courtesy of Crash Records: Du Blonde (the continuing wonders of Beth Jeans Houghton), and Nozinja:

Coaches, headcount, bosh. “Not a bad shift…”
Back to the shovel next week.

Bank Holiday Monday, and we went to enjoy the trad ents of Bilton Gala.

By a cruel twist of meteorology and planning, the event was held in a brighter-much-later muddy field, that had posed such problems for arriving stallholders that the beer tent guys just gave up and drove off.

How is a parent supposed to tolerate slipping about on soggy grass, periodically dispensing two pound coins to allow a child to ride round in circles (hanging chairs, fire engine, horsies) for three minutes, without the assistance of alcohol?

Fortunately, there was this stall, the Little Breads bakery, selling chocolate scotch eggs. Ganache, brownie and creme egg centre.

This is the best image I could find:

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I didn’t have time to record the deliciousness myself. As I said to the baker who helpfully suggested microwaving it for 30 seconds, it was going to last about that long from the stall. I made it a bit further than that, but apparently my eyes were sparkling after I hoovered it down.

Sugar… Somehow, there’s always a way for it to save the day.

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