Monday, April 25, 2016

The warm and the wind!

It would appear that Spring has Sprung and Summer is just over the horizon here in Manitoba, all be it windy at the moment. I am busy busy busy with all sorts hobby farm hence my distinct lack of blogging! My first batch of eggs went into the incubator yesterday, a barnyard mix of heritage breeds that should produce some wonderfully varied dual purpose breeds. I now need to wait 10 days until I can candle the eggs in order to see what is good and what is not.
In about two weeks time I will start to collect more eggs for the second batch. Hopefully in that group there will be some duck and maybe turkey eggs! Watch this space.
My tomatoes and chili plants are growing in leaps and bounds, and over the next wee or so we will start to get the potatoes in the ground. All go, but we love it!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes and Chilies

The tomato and chili seeds I planted indoors a couple of weeks ago are growing well. There is a few weeks to go yet before I can plant my 52 tomato plants of different variety and 25 chili plants of different variety outside.
I have started two weekly waterings with an organic plant food and we have been crushing egg shells onto the soil in the greenhouse, tomatoes and chilies love calcium.

All of these plants are heritage varieties, they will have different size fruit, varying taste and color and will be used in all sorts of different ways. I cannot wait to try them all!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Homemade Macaroni Cheese

Here in Canada the amount of packet Macaroni Cheese that gets eaten is phenomenal, it is a huge mainstay for many families. It is unfortunately full of cancer causing colors and flavors that just do not need to be in something so simple an easy, a meal with very few ingredients. Here is my version of this classic tasty favorite.

1 packet of macaroni or elbow pasta (about 225g) We use organic pasta
2 oz of unsalted butter
 2 tbsp of white flour or cornstarch
4 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of grated cheese

Fill a large pan bring some water to a boil and add the pasta, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until just tender.
Whilst the pasta is cooking place the butter, flour or cornstarch and milk into a pan and cook on low until thickened, make sure you stir it or it will be lumpy. Once the mixture has started to thicken add the cheese and mix until well combined. Season with pepper and take off the heat.
Once the pasta is ready, drain well. Watery pasta will make the sauce to thin.
Add the cheese sauce to the pasta combining well. Put the macaroni cheese in a large baking dish and sprinkle with extra grated cheese and some Parmesan cheese (optional)
Grill until bubbly and serve
This will serve 6 and leave leftovers!

Simple and Satisfying

It takes very little time or effort to make this dish. It really is worth making. Enjoy proper Macaroni Cheese without hurting out health. It is good on the budget too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Gravy Goes Wrong!

On occasion when I roast a chicken I place a lemon half in the cavity, and sometimes when I slow cooker a chicken I add a lemon half to the liquid. It adds a nice citrus zing to the finished gravy.
I found out that adding a lime half to the slow cooker liquid adds a nice zesty flavor to the chicken, however it gave the gravy an awful bitter taste that was quite gross.
But, not to waste I saved the bitter gravy and some pasta water and made a soup with it.

Making the Soup

The soup had a few leftover potatoes in and some stale bread to thicken it. Once cooked I added the scrap chicken meat and pureed the soup.

Not bitter at all

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Planting Done

After many weeks of waiting to get my tomato and chili seeds started indoors I finally got them done. There were eleven different varieties of heritage tomatoes and five varieties of chilies. Hopefully they will start to germinate over the next couple of weeks. Chili's always seem to be a bit finicky so any that do germinate need lots of care. I will write about chili care in a later blog when I have some to show.

Little and Large

Every so often upon collecting eggs we get a surprise. In this case it was a mini duck egg, I think it was one of my Khaki Campbell ducks who started laying this year. It takes a bird a little while sometimes to get into the right egg laying mode so mix ups and odd egg sizes can happen until the bird gets into a regular cycle.

Baby Egg

The larger egg is a normal size duck egg! The baby egg had a tiny little yolk but more white.