Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Food for free

Today is a jam making day, or more correctly a marmalade making day. Monday we were at friends for the day and they have a large, heavily laden orange tree in their garden,the winter months are when the oranges are ripe, one of those trees that flower and fruit together, we came away with eight pounds of oranges, far too many for us to either eat or make into juice but we both love marmalade, I have the first three pound simmering away, marmalade is not a quick job unlike most of the jams that we make, it requires several stages. This Christmas I was given a zester, so half of the orange peal has been zested and the other half grated, hopefully by this evening we will have our first batch of marmalade made. Of course marmalade is normally made with Sevilla oranges, however I have never been able to find them in Spain, maybe they all go for export.
So far the winter has been kind to us unlike other parts of Europe, we are getting lovely sunny days, very little frost and just one day of snow, it's also been quite dry, with only a few wet days. We just hope that the snow is not storing up ready for the peach blossom, this happened a couple of years ago resulting in a failed peach crop.
The new kids are doing well and enjoying themselves frolicking around in the field with the other kid.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

An eventfull week

However much we have tried to skip Xmas it just never happens and we now concede that it's a good time to have friends round and enjoy a meal together, compleat with all the trimmings.
This year was mainly home produced,however, I dont think prawns are something we can grow ourselves, well I suppose we could try fresh water cray fish but that might be taking self sufficiency a tad too far, so we are happy enough that the geese and the veg were ours, the sausage rolls, mince pies, Christmas pud and cake all home made, the greenery to decorate the dining room was all from the hedge rows, decorations that did not entail the uprooting or cutting down of a tree. Keeping it simple is fun although a lot of work! somewhat a contradiction in terms.
The past week seems to have be very busy, Simon had the last three of our table birds to slaughter, they all weighed about the same 6.5 lbs, and are definately worth doing, we have only cooked one so far, and it tasted like chicken should. Then came the slaughtering of the Xmas geese, this is quite hard work, and they are one thing that neither of us feels quite right about killing, geese have real personalities. Still that's the price we are prepared to pay. So the job was done, and all that was left was the baking, until Thursday. Simon went out to pick the greenery for the decorations and came back in with a new born kid, we instantly named him Noel, photo taken and the kid returned to mum and there was the second one. So we now have two more kids, Noel and his sister Gabrielle.
Christmas day was bright in more ways than one, we had our two newly married friends over with their helper, and after the meal played silly Xmas games,and had deep conversations, putting the world to rights, although it was conceded that is no longer possible to do so. The latest Wikileaks are an eye opener.We are glad that we did 'DO' Christmas this year, for who knows what the future has in store?