Thursday, 18 September 2008

New residents!

These are the next batch of Sasso chicks - there are 22 of them and they hatched early this morning, we are told! I don't know why we didn't get the ones that hatched on Sunday, as we had been told we were getting. However, they are gorgeous and we hope that they grow up to be as big as the ones we have already - who are now at the other end of their lifespan. I think that it has been good for the girls to see how these chicks live, grow and then have a useful ending. They have had a good life and been well loved!

These are the other newcomers today - 11 Japanese/coturnix quail. They have come from a breeder out in Norfolk, and we are not sure (apparently, neither was he!) how many males and females we have here; I ordered 10 point of lay hens, but he has sent 11, and told the FH that the extra one was because he thought that one might have been a cock bird. The FH forgot to ask exactly how old they are, so we are not sure when they may start to lay, so we'll just see how they get on!

So, the FH had a day out with his mate from round the corner, visiting the breeder and the hatchery to pick these up for me. He also had to get some chick crumbs, and deliver an order of books into the centre of Cambridge for me to one of the schools which regularly buys my books for their library. Coincidentally, the FH knows their Bursar from years ago so he called in for a quick chat with him too. What with going north into Norfolk and then into Cambridge, he certainly clocked up the miles today, but it was more efficient to do that than to do a lot of separate journeys. He stopped near an airfield and they ate their sandwiches whilst watching the planes come and go.

I have had a good day today - the YFG and I cycled her to school so I did two miles this morning for my exercise, several loads of washing went out on the line, the YFG's bed was changed as she was ready for the winter flannelette sheets to be put on, I made 5 dozen biscuits, cooked a new recipe for tea which went down well, tidied up the dining room a bit, and had a rest too! Recipes to follow:

Bacon potato pie - this is a concoction of mine!

I took some instant potato and made up about 2 portions, and used that to line a shallow Pyrex pie dish. I fried 2 chopped onions in a little oil and then put the onion in to the potato casing. Then I grated a little cheese (and it was a Little! about 3 oz) over the onion. I grilled 2 rashers of bacon and cut them up and put them over the cheese, whisked up four eggs and poured them over the lot and put it in the oven for about half an hour. The smell coming from the oven was glorious, the top went golden and crispy and everyone wanted seconds! I served this with carrots and steamed broccoli.

The biscuit recipe comes from a friend called Jane. She calls them "Oaten Biscuits".

You need 4 oz self-raising flour, 4 oz margerine, 3 oz sugar, 2 oz oats, 1 teaspoon golden syrup, 3 tsp boiling water, and a splash of vanilla essence. These amounts make about 16, but I quadrupled it and made 60. They freeze well in bags of a dozen and come out to thaw overnight before going into lunchboxes. I add a packet of chocolate chips to the recipe to make chocolate cookies - I don't add four when I scale up the recipe! Two bags is enough.

So, the method I use is to put all the dry ingredients into a bowl, with the choc chips, and then melt the margerine in a pan on the stove. I add the syrup, vanilla essence and the water to the pan and warm it all through. Then I mix the melted stuff into the dry ingredients. Sure, the choc chips melt somewhat, but that doesn't matter. Then I take spoonfuls of the mixture and put well-spaced on baking trays and cook for 10 minutes at about 170C. Ten minutes is enough, but they will be soggy when you bring them out - you need to put them on cooling racks until they are cold and then you will find that they have crisped up nicely. Lift them over carefully with a fish slice.

Rhonda has some excellent links for home-made Christmas gifts that I have been looking at today. I do have a stash of material so I think I will be going through it soon to see if there is anything that I can use to make a few gifts. I would also like to make myself a few new aprons, so I need to use a favourite apron to make a pattern. I will also have to get out the sewing machine and see if I can make it work...

Heading off to finish tidying the kitchen, fold the dry laundry and then take a bath.

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