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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Jamming, Canning, Freezing & Packing up for the next chapter

Tony and I can’t quite believe that having arrived here in May, the time has now come to start the next chapter and so this week finds us finally purchasing a chest freezer so that when Tony returns from settling me into ‘school’, there’ll be plenty to keep him fed for the foreseeable future but equally importantly and given we now have over 100 ears of corn ripening and about 50 pumpkins coming in (the largest of them is already over a metre long and apparently not yet ripe – we’ve had the neighbours round to inspect and advise!), it’s going to be important to freeze what we can so that we can enjoy the bounty in the coming months.  The cauliflowers are also just starting to appear but still no sign of the broccoli or brussel sprouts yet so those should still be a few months away which is just as well as our freezer is still only a small chest freezer with a 210 litre capacity and I’ve already managed to half fill it with individual portions of lamb stew, lamb curry (recipe below from my sister – it’s an excellent one to use up leftover lamb, turkey or chicken), beef bourgignon, moussaka, lasagna, courgette soup, courgette cake and carrot soup, much of this made with our very own vegetables now that we have celery, carrots, onions, courgettes and aubergines ripening as I type!

Chicken Curry
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 x Chicken Breasts, diced
2 medium onions, diced
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil (or sunflower)
Half a sweet pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
2 medium chillies
4 cloves
1 tsp turmeric
3 tsps garam masala
2 tsps ground coriander
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsps cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
2 dessert spoons of natural plain yogurt
Fresh coriander
Salt & pepper

Method:
1. Make a paste with the sweet pepper, garlic, ginger & chillies.  Set aside for later.
2. In an oven proof pot, heat the vegetable oil until hot.  Add mustard seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds & onion and fry until onion is soft.
3. Add the paste made earlier, fry for a minute and then add the rest of the spices and fry for a few minutes.
4. Add the chicken and cook until browned.
5. Add the tinned tomatoes and the yogurt.
6. Put on a lid and cook in the oven for an hour at 180 degrees.  Check half way through and stir – if needed add a little water.
7. Add salt & pepper to taste, and sprinkle on the fresh coriander leaf.
8. Serve with pilau rice & naan bread.

Variations:
1. Use lamb steak instead of chicken.
2. Use lamb mince instead of chicken, and add some frozen peas.

Our neighbours just popped round last week with an enormous bucket of raspberries which would have been impossible to eat in time and so I made a few pots of raspberry jam and having been to one of our local markets on Saturday where I found some lovely Charlotte strawberries at an excellent price, I purchased a few kilos and also made a bumper batch of strawberry jam.  The same neighbour who gave us the raspberries also mentioned that he had more tomatoes than he could use and so asked if I’d help myself if we could use them and so I’ve also spent the better part of an afternoon this week peeling and boiling tomatoes and the cupboard is now stocked with jars of fresh tomato sauce, all properly sterilized and should be good to use over the winter once the fresh tomatoes have all disappeared.  Whilst chatting with him as I was ‘legally scrumping’ his tomatoes, he asked if we wanted to plant some raspberry plants in our veggie patch and if so, he’d be happy to give us some of his plants for planting during the month of November (apparently the right time to get the raspberry plants in the ground) and so I’ve asked Tony to follow up with him – fresh raspberries will be a phenomenal addition to our garden next year.

We had our last visitor for the ‘season’, my father arrived last Thursday and returned home on Sunday, literally a flying visit but a lot of fun and of course the time flew by – the day before we enjoyed a lovely lunch ‘chez nous’ with some friends who are currently living in the UK but who we’d last seen in Cayman and prior to that we had a few days with some friends we’d last seen 15 years ago (Cayman friends again but last seen at a wedding in Scotland!) who now live in Austria – it’s been a fun couple of weeks and a little busier than we’d originally planned however it turns out that’s been a good thing as it’s taken my mind off the apprehension that the next chapter brings – although I’m sure it will all work out, it will be the first winter we’ve spent outside of Cayman in 20 years and so I am packing my thermals and figure if I am prepared for the worst I should at least remain warm even if I experience the worst!
(some photos below of the last week spent with friends and family).





And so I shall leave you with an ‘a bientot’ and hope I can report periodically on any progress made on the farm especially given that in between all the renovations planned on the property, Tony is also planning to prepare a small part of one of our fields for planting vines next year…..more to come on the future wine produced from ‘Chateau ‘Opwood’!

1 comment:

  1. It was really great to see you guys again too.
    Have fun in Switzerland, youre gonna have a blast :D
    Paula

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