Showing posts from April, 2016

Drying Food

I have always been interested in historical food.  That is to say I love learning new food preparation (actually not new, but new to me) techniques and trying out different recipes, especially if they are actually very old recipes in the first place.  I have always thought that our ancestors were more savvy than people gave them credit for and in trying out old recipes (combined with a thorough knowledge of basic cooking principles) I have discovered many firm favourites that now appear on our menus regularly. One such ingredient is dried mushrooms.  I bought the mushrooms last autumn when they were plentiful and cheap and I dried them strung up into loose bunches on our veranda.  The autumn sun did a wonderful job and they were very soon like little pieces of leather.  I jarred them up and put them in the cupboard. Where I completely forgot about them.  You need to be prepared in advance if you are using dried mushrooms.  They need a good nights soaking prior to cooking and

A Special Lesson

Today we went to a special Spanish lesson.  Our teacher was being filmed for a local TV show about foreigners coming to live in the region and although we have taken a break from classes we agreed to come and have a mock lesson to help her out. I didn't get any photos of the camera crew as I totally forgot about it when I met up with classmates I hadn't seen for a while. But I did manage to film something I had wanted to capture every time we walked to our lessons.  The frogs and toads that seem to chatter all year round but are especially loud in spring. Enjoy!

Working for Peanuts!

Once upon a time many years ago I had a notion that I would like to be self sufficient.  Or at the very least grow all our own vegetables.  I set about seeing if this was feasable.  I got an allotment... and later I got another one.  I very quickly realised that for us it was an impractical goal.  Have you any idea the amount of work required to grow ALL your own vegetables?  well, if you have very little else to do then ok, you might consider it.  But given the amount of interests and little projects that we have, we know, that we are never going to have the time to grow all our own veg. But that doesn't stop us growing some of it.  The veg patch is my domain and it constantly gets away from me.  I am always playing catch-up.  Still.  I like to grow stuff so I keep at it, in fits and starts, clearing little patches and planting something. I had some winter veg on the go and it was reasonably successful so I cleared a bigger patch and planned some new stuff. Peanuts!

Who can Find A Worthy Woman...

...for her price is above rubies.  Isn't that the saying?  Well I guess it depends upon your definition of 'worthy'... but let me tell you, a Man who can do DIY is worth his weight in Diamonds!  Even though our kitchen is fairly large I ran out of space.  To be more precise, after doing a bulk shop, which is intended to save us money and time, I have nowhere to store everything. If you had asked me my wish list before we bought this place I would have definitely included a walk-in pantry on my list.  This didn't materialise, there simply isn't the room, and this isn't a traditional farmhouse where you would expect to find one. So.... A new cupboard was ordered.  We already had a door, it was being used as a facing on an end cupboard.  But nothing in our house is a standard size so the cupboard that we ordered was a bit larger than the existing cupboard.  This means a bit of DIY before assembly. The space where the cupboard will go I know that women

Hay Fever Notwithstanding!

It's that time of year again.  Actually here I suffer most of the year round.  This is not something I bargained for when we moved here... but for the flowers I can put up with it.  I just think I need to get stronger anti-histamines. Anyway, the lavender has been gorgeous this year and the finca is so full of it I decided to make a few little gifts for friends.  Lavender Bottles as we used to call them.  The Spanish wild lavender is not as strong smelling as the French variety but it does have a scent. I picked a few stalks from each clump.  you'd never know that I had taken any at all. And with some ribbon from the stash turned them into scented wands for drawers or wardrobe.  I also added a little french lavender that was given to me as a gift some time ago to boost the scent, but then I found I didn't really need it. Once they were all bundled up the scent was really quite strong. And then I spent all the next day in bed with a crushing heada

3 Year Anniversary

On 10th April, we will have been here 3 years.  So how has it been? Mostly, everything and more than we hoped.  So. What turned out to be different from what we thought it would be? Firstly, we downscaled the animal side of things. Originally we had planned raising meat chickens, keeping geese and turkeys.  We changed our mind after keeping geese. It wasn't just the amount of work involved in keeping large fowl but also our reluctance to kill them.  Yes, we really enjoyed the meat and felt that we should do the killing, butchering ourselves.  and I did manage to kill one goose myself.  But I found that I didn't really want to do it again. So we have stuck to chickens for eggs.  And our reluctance to cull them has resulted in two flocks with two cockerels and several non laying chickens.  Clearly this is not good farm management and something has to be done... we know it... but we are not fast to do it.  Before the summer heat we shall have to cull four hens and