Sunday, 30 June 2013

Everything is back ot front in the garden, the potatoes that I planted in February are not flowering, but the ones I planted in April are just starting. I had to dig one tub of the later ones up as the stems were rotting, I got enough for a meal, or two, although not as many as I was hoping for from three seed tubers.

Also the strawberries are starting to ripen, just got to keep the birds off now

Broad Beans are going to be a sucess, despite the slugs best efforts,

and the blackcurrants are beginning to ripen,

Roast Chicken today, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

As it happens, after my last post, I had no other work, there was a job in  the early hours that cancelled, normally they are the ones that never do, but this time it meant an early finish.

Back home, my garden has really taken off, with peas,


and even a potato

showing up.

I did the Ciabatta for Oats, as well as the usual Sourdough and Soda bread,

before my next shift (and last for a while)

My car is getting more economical as I wear the engine in, this time on the trip from Brixham to Gravesend I averaged 89.6mpg, which is pretty good On the return trip however the figure was lower, I wonder if that's because I'm in more of a rush to get home than I am to get to work?

 I've been scouting out the blackberries, and this year there seem to be a large amount coming, looking forward to Wine, Jam and some Balsamic Vinegar if I get plenty.

These taken variously, but I'm not letting on were or you'll whip them before I get there,not very charitable I know, but the blackberry pickers here are a possessive lot!

There is a new farmers market at Occombe Farm in Paignton today, which might be worth a look, Oh: and I made a no-knead wholemeal loaf.

Ready to bake

I like the idea because there's little work involved, and the dough proves for 18 hours, which gives it a lot of flavour.

I have an order for Millie and Me in Brixham, they are having an Italian evening on Saturday, and I am doing the Focaccia and Ciabatta for the event. All the info on that will be on the Bread blog, so do have a look.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

At work

Another day at work, and a trip through the Thames Barrier,

And past the dome,

As you can see it's a lovely day for a cruise, back to sunny Devon tomorrow.

I've  actually written this on my new Tablet, the addition of a keyboard makes it as good as a laptop, but half the size and quicker to start up. Plus being a bit more modern, it picks up on the wi-fi here, which my laptop didn't always do.

When I get home, I have all sorts of bread to do, I brought 10 Ciabatta up here to order, and have another 10 to deliver on Monday. Oats want 30 more on Saturday, in addition to the regular Sourdough and Soda Bread order for Monday.

Meanwhile, and before I can go home, I have more ships to pilot on the Thames.

Monday, 17 June 2013


A couple of people have mentioned that I don't 'do' recipes any more on this blog.
The reason is simple, I've given up on measuring quantities in everything except bread and cakes.

I have found that it suits me more to develop an idea by throwing stuff in to see how it turns out.

I believe the Australians among you will recognise the concept of Hash Magandi, where everything gets put in the pot. While I'm not a fan of the extreme variant of that (Irish Stew and Tinned Peaches) I do think that proportions are in most cases put there as a guide. And if there's more of you then use more stuff! Or do some Garlic Bread to bulk it out.

About a clenched fist sized portion of the finished dish per person is probably reasonable, when veg and sides are added.

So here's my Bacon and Pasta bake, boil some pasta in lightly salted water till its not quite done.

Make a cheese sauce, with added grated cheese and make it thick. Fry your bacon pieces (I did mine in Chorizo fat for added taste)

Mix it all together, then bake till the cheese bubbles. Easy.

Serve with Garlic Bread,

I've got to give a mention to Evergreen Farm, whose meat I buy at the Totnes Good Food Market.

In the past, we have had the sausages (Pork and Marmite!) and lots of other stuff. As it was Fathers day, we decided to have steak and brought some Rump. After bashing it with a mallet and rubbing with Garlic, I was surprised to find that it cooked in about 4 minutes (Medium)

    It was probably the best steak we have had in ages, and will be on the shopping list next month.

To try and be a bit healthy, we had potato wedges, I have told you about these before, but this time I marinated them in Orange Balsamic Vinegar,

 and Olive Oil, then sprinkled with Semolina before baking.

A big thank you to George, my daughter, for the Fathers day beer she sent me from Australia,

My girls have clubbed together and, as a birthday and Fathers day gift helped me buy this:

A tablet with a keyboard, for work, many thanks to them.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A quiet Sunday?

I had a quiet saturday, after driving home from work, by the way the ship fitted in the lock without touching the sides (the captain said I was an artist!)
Glad to see the back of it!

and hoped that sunday would be the same. Fat chance of that, I have Sally's bread to start, including Spelt Ciabatta, which involves sourdough starters, natural yogurt and pre-ferments. Also I wanted to start Elderflower wine and Vinegar, and cook a ham hock in marmalade for lunch.

So I walked the dogs early, and started at 7am with the Spelt pre-ferment for the Ciabatta.

 I had already fed the sourdoughs, ready to make dough after lunch.

I was in the garden, picking elderflower, when I had a look at the fruit trees/bushes and the roses. All of them are showing promise,






And finally, the Elderflower.

I managed to pick enough for wine, and some vinegar.

So while the water was boiling for the wine, I infused the elderflower with white wine vinegar, it will take a couple of weeks, and will need stiring every day. I can then bottle it for salad dressings.

When the water had boiled, I added the flowers and will leave it for a couple of days before adding sugar and yeast.

About a year ago, I started saving the dregs of home made wine in a container, intending to let it feremnt into vinegar.
I aquired a mother, threw it all together and forget all about it, until today, when I was looking for some oil, it had developed nicely, and I decanted a bottle, it tastes good, and will liven up salads.

Now the Ham hock,

In the oven for 30 minutes at 220, to start it off, then at 160 degrees for about 90 minutes,after an hour add the potatoes and veg, at the same time paint a coat of marmalade on the meat.

After the hour, cut the meat off the bone and return it to the pot, coating with the juices, and return it to the oven.

Until it looks like this, Yum.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Friday at work

I'm at work, and trying to catch up on all sorts of things between jobs. Work has got busier, which is a good thing (although not at 2 in the morning) as it means that the effects will filter through the system over the next few months.
 It's been very warm in Devon for the last couple of weeks, and about time too! In an effort to avoid sunburn on my bald patch, (enough information) I have been walking the dogs through some of the lanes, where there is a bit of shade.
We have Yardes lane,

and a shady place at Sharkham,

which they enjoy.

Also, when you get to the top of Southdown hill, you get a good view across Torbay,

My camera has been playing up a bit, so I have only a few pictures this time, but I did get a nice close up of the foxgloves which are appearing .

But only  a few of the Grapefruit marmalade.

I usually make this in June, when the Seville Orange runs out, and this year I had a lot of requests from work, so I made about 30lb, saved some for me and mine and brought the rest up to sell. In 12 hours overnight 9 of the 23 jars have gone, so I hope that the rest find a good home.

I've been bottling wine, to make space in the airing cupboard for Elderflower, which is just starting to blossom, and got Rhubarb and Dandelion safely put away for the winter.

The Rhubarb (on left) looks a bit murky, but those are bubbles, its crystal clear once it's been left to settle, now all that is required is patience.

I'm typing this at work, I have to go and put this vessel in Tilbury Lock, it's a bit of a squeeze, there is only half a metre clearance each side!