Saturday, 24 September 2016

Day 268 - Homegrown Herbs

The kitchen windowsill is looking very lush at the moment.
 I've recently brought all the pots of herbs in from the polytunnel,l as the dramatically fluctuating temperatures between daytime and night time were having a very detrimental effect on them, and anyway it's so much easier to snip a bit of this or a bit of that off when you're cooking and they are there right under your nose.  It also tempts me to add them to things I might not ordinarily add herbs to if they are close at hand. 
The rest of my herbs are outside in the old tin bath near the kitchen door and I'll start to bring a few sprigs of some of them inside soon, to dry over the heat of the Aga so I know I'll have a good selection for Winter use.
The cut herbs that I  entered into the Llanrwst Show were all chopped finely and dried, and then fitted into this one jar on the kitchen shelves ... handy for a sprinkle here and a sprinkle there of intense herby goodness.
Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 23 September 2016

Day 267 - There ... But Not For Eating

Last week and this we've had another few loads of wood chippings delivered by the guys who work to keep the roads clear of overhanging trees, including some of ours. 
 Every day when I walk the dogs past the heaps in the paddock I notice new batches of mushrooms and toadstools,  there's a new crop almost every day but they are most definitely not for eating.  I just don't have the confidence even with a book in my hand to know for sure if they are edible or poisonous. 

 I don't like any of the fungi family so I would hate to poison my beloved just in an attempt to save some money .... even though his life insurance is up to date  ;-)
Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Day 266 - Slimmer Pickings

A lot of things on the Veggie Patch and in the poly and net tunnels are coming to an end now, and the cooler nights means that some plants will not be with us for much longer, especially those out on the veggie patch which is pretty exposed on the hillside.
With this in mind some days the pickings are small, but are always worth bringing in and processing for the freezer ... or eating for tea :-)
This is pretty much the last of the outdoor sweetcorn, although in the net tunnel the plants are still full of slowly swelling cobs almost ripe for  the picking.  The chopped beans are a gift from last year, the one plant that didn't get eaten by rabbits seemingly has sprung back to life this year and is now giving us a decent harvest of small runner beans every couple of days.  I much prefer to pick them whilst they are small, they taste lovely with a little dollop of butter or mayo.
Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Day 265 - Making Cheese

I had a tub of homemade yoghurt that needed using up and no time to think of anything, so I did the easy cop out of making some home made cheese.  This sort of cheese is called Labne and is a mild and creamy soft cheese.
You simply pour your yoghurt into a muslin square and leave it to drip overnight or for up to 24 hours for all the whey to drip through.

As you can see you get lots of lovely whey.

Once you squeeze out the last of the moisture you are left with a lovely creamy Greek yogurt style cheese that is ready for any flavours you wish to add to it.  I simply added some salt and pepper before it went into the fridge, but I can add in some garlic or chives when I come to use it depending on what I want it for.  Seemingly it should last for up to a month,, but it's never made it that long in our house, it gets eaten up on crackers and toast much too quickly.

And of course you are also left with all the whey that has dripped out, which I pour into a large ice cube tray, so that I know each cube is a tablespoonful.  Once frozen the cubes are popped out and kept in a freezer bag to free up my tray for other things 
This whey can be used in all sorts of recipes, Google it for some more inspiration.  I tend to add a tablespoon to homemade mayonnaise as it keeps it fresh for so much longer, and it's also great for adding to homemade bread or scones and savoury biscuits as it makes them lighter and richer tasting.
So much better than throwing away some yoghurt that needed using or losing.
Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Day 264 - Spending Review

The Last Shop/ 4th September
Money Spent Today - 9p
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £4.00
Money Spent in Total - £321.08
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £286.75
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £7.63
A comment by 'Maryb' left on yesterdays post made me realise that I haven't discussed money for ages ... mainly because nothing has altered.  We still have a paltry £7.63 in the cash pot, there is still £48 worth of M&S vouchers in my purse and the Nectar point total stands at around the £10 mark.
We simply haven't needed to shop, we have been eating fresh every day from the poly and net tunnels supplemented by bits and bobs from the freezer in a vain attempt to make room for more freshly picked and processed crops to go in there.  The milk that was photographed on the 4th September post was put into the freezer for the following weekend and was used then.  We were both down in southern England over this last weekend so no milk was needed at all for home.
It's all back to normal now and I will have to venture to good old M&S and blow a whole voucher to get some milk for this coming weekend so you will have a shopping post in the next couple of days.  I don't know what else we need except milk to warrant spending a voucher ... but I will find something, I'm determined to hold onto the cash!!
16 days of No Spending - a record  :-)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Day 263 - Freezer Tetris

It's that time of year ... with lots of the home grown food now prepped and in the freezer the space has almost run out.
We have two freezers, one is in the kitchen and is the smaller half of the large fridge freezer and the other is the large chest freezer in the conservatory, they are both almost full to capacity.  So at the moment whenever I have something that I just have to squeeze into one or the other of them it's a question of a quick game of freezer 'Tetris', which was once my favourite computer game but it's not so much fun with packs of frozen food in either hand and seemingly no room to put them down.
Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Day 262 - Bread

I've been trying to get into the habit of making our own bread again. 
It's one less thing to draw me to the shops, when really I don't need to go, if we already have some bread in the house.  Of course it's so bl**dy delicious it gets eaten twice as fast!!
My loaves haven't yet reached the pinnacle of perfection to look at that I used to churn out regularly, but they taste the same and really that's all that matters  :-)
My basic bread recipe, if you're interested, is over on Our New Life in the Country, on the 'Recipe' page.
Today is A No Spend Day


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Day 261 - Beating Mr Birdseye

Our peas haven't done brilliantly this year. 
We've been eating them directly from the pods while we've been out and about on the Veggie Patch and in the tunnels as delicious little snacks with the pods being thrown to the chickens for conversion to eggs, but the only peas that made it into the house before the plants were struck with mildew were these.
I am pleased to say though that in getting them from 'field to freezer' in under 30 minutes I've beaten any promise made by Mr Birdseye (of frozen pea fame) for freshness :-)
Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 16 September 2016

Day 260 - 2000 Radishes .....

I didn't know what to use my vegetable show cash winnings for at first.   I knew I wanted it to be food related but also I didn't want it to impact on this Challenge.  So when the opportunity came up to fill some gaps in my seed drawer with a selection of seeds at just 50p a packet at the garden centre I  knew this would sit well with me.
So £3 of my £17.50 winnings was invested on cucumbers, radishes and spring onions along with two packets of flower seeds for Nut Wood in Spring.  Not a bad buy, at full price these packets would have cost me £14.82.
So I have, potentially :
2000 radishes
160 Spring Onions
and 10 Cucumber plants
... as well as the Borage and Chamomile.
I've been buying my seeds at this time of year since we started our little journey into self sufficiency.  Most garden centres reduce their packets of seeds to 50p each in August and September to get rid of all the old stock, and always the seeds have a long shelf life.  All my new packets say to use before 2020 .... so there's no rush to get them sown   ;-)
Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Day 259 - Bumper Crops of Apples

This was just a five minute pick up of windfalls, 5kg of apples waiting to be turned into some apple wine by Lovely Hubby.  We are trying to vary what we make with all these lovely rosy apples, up to now we've made jelly, wine and crumbles, and now that the cooking apples are dropping their trees it will be time to turn to even more crumbles and lots of pies for the freezer.
So many people are getting in touch to say that they too are having bumper crops of apples.  It truly is a good year for British apples, which makes it such a shame that the supermarkets are still full of imported apples  :-(
If you don't have a tree yourself it would make real sense now to search out a farm shop or Farmers Market and source your apples directly from the folk that have grown them, there will be some brilliant bargains to be had this year.
Today is a No Spend Day