Archive for August, 2011

Allotmore heads East

Chris was  very keen to run a series of foodie evenings at Allotmore this summer. It turns out that everyone goes on holiday in August so in the end we had two fabulous nights and now have plans for lots more.

The first evening was our Moro Night, with plot holders cooking dishes from the Moro East cookbook – a really beautiful book which my old boss gave me as a present when I first told him about Allotmore and has been a bit of an inspiration ever since.  The idea was that everyone cooked a dish and brought it along and we had a mighty feast. It worked brilliantly, the plot holders are a talented bunch of cooks and we had beautiful weather and plenty of wine. I think we all ate more than we needed and it was a really nice way for the plot holders to get to know each other. I emailed Sam and Sam from Moro and they very kindly sent us a signed copy of the new edition of the recipie book which was really nice of them. We had a vote on the best dish and Carrie and her Chocolate and Orange Torte won 🙂 It was a really nice evening and we are now planning to do something similar for harvest time.

The second of our evenings was the curry and meteor night. Chris has always been interested in space and eating curry so the timing of the Persid Metor shower was perfect.  We tried to build a tandoor oven for the evening but we didn’t really have enough time to let it dryout so when we tried to fire it it exploded a little bit 🙂 Luckily the pizza oven can cook a good naan bread. We took a trip to Tooting and bought lots of lovely fresh ingredients and then I did lots of chopping and Chris cooked up a feast. He was cooking for pretty much two days but I think it was worth it. He made loads of different dishes and I think everyone enjoyed eating it. The plan was to camp out and watch the meteors are eating but unfortunatley the weather was conspiring against us and the clouds and full moon combo mean’t that we didn’t get to see any. Chris did dress up as Carl Sagan and do a talk on meteors though which was very funny and quite informative too 🙂

We are now planning a wine tasting and italian meal for some time in september and perhaps a trip out foraging if we can find someone who knows what to look for. Should be fun!

 

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The times they are a changin’

It seems like there has been a lot going on lately. It’s been a bit of a change for me as I have given up my London job and joyful daily commute ( well I’ve taken voluntary redundancy as the the timing seemed right and my heart just wasn’t in it any more) and I’m looking forward to a little hatchling of my own in October. I’d been doing my job for over 10 years so it is taking me a little while to adjust but I have been so busy I’m already wondering how I ever found the time to go in. There is so much to do – maybe I was neglecting stuff before I’m not sure.

Everything is growing really well, it seems to be a bumper year for potatoes and comedy sized courgettes. Lots of people are off on their summer holidays at the moment so I am doing lots of watering and taking the opourtunity to have a good look at what everyone is growing. Its very soothing looking at happy healthy plants in the sunshine 🙂

I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with the animals lately. First of all we lost a few of the turkey chicks within days of getting them, this isn’t totally unexpected as they are really fragile in the early days. You can’t help but feel you have let them down though. After that a couple more started to look off  colour and a couple more died. It’s quite strange how a bird can look like it doesn’t feel well just like people do. I was starting to get really worried and called the vet. They couldn’t do anything without me taking the chicks into the surgery which seemed like a huge risk as they don’t really care for car journeys so I called Jason who came to the rescue. I went over to visit him and Richard and they were able to give me lots of helpful advice and some medicine which improved the birds no end. They had also lost a few more than expected this year. It was really nice to have someone to talk to about it as I was starting to dread going into the shed in case their was more deaths.  The chicks perked up and the sun came out so I was feeling much more positive only to find one morning that what I think must have been a rat had managed to squeeze under the door of the shed and pull out one of the chicks. It hadn’t managed to take it completely but it had managed to eat its head and a little bit of its body. Just the sort of thing you don’t want to see in the morning. Again I felt so stupid as it was totally preventable and it wasn’t even that it had got one of the weak chicks, it had grabbed a nice fat one. Chris secured the door later in the day and so far all is well – fingers crossed! It’s been a lot of learning for me and according to Chris I need to stop taking it all so personally if I am going to be a proper farmer. I can’t help but care about them though. I can handle the killing and eating of happy meat but the needless deaths are so frustrating.

Death has been on my mind a bit lately ( cheery hey!) as time was up for the meat birds this week. They were getting so big and cumbersome, they couldn’t really get around too much anymore.  It made me sad to watch them alongside the other birds who all seem to be able to enjoy life.  They just seemed to have been over engineered and they couldn’t cope with life any more. I went on a raising poultry for meat course last week at Netherfield and mentioned how I felt about these Cobb birds, Sarah the tutor thought that as they were designed for intensive indoor farming they were indeed over engineered to put on weight as fast as possible and in the farming systems they would be designed for they wouldn’t have to worry about walking about as they don’t really get the chance.  It was a living, breathing example of what is wrong with the chicken industry. Chris and Pete bravely did the dreaded deed and I got involved with the plucking ( I still can’t do the killing bit) and we now have some plump birds for the freezer. Weirdly now though I’m not sure I can eat them. It’s the only wanting to eat happy meat thing and although we tried to give them a nice life I just don’t feel they were ever as happy as the other birds. See a long way to go till i’m anywhere near a farmer!

That was all quite depressing but there have been some fun times too. We have got a couple of new ducklings which are very sweet. Chris and I have started work on making a clay tandoor in preperation for the curry and star gazing night ( i’d forgotten how much fun making stuff out of  clay could be, specially in the lovely sunshine) and we had a beautiful day for our Summer Fete with some excellent stalls from Ella, Zoe, Aidan, Hannah, Immy and Chris 🙂 I’m going to have to practise my hula hooping skills for next time – the allotmore record currently stands at just over 10 mins continuious hulaing!

This friday is Moro night and lots of people are cooking delicious dishes from the Moro East cook book, i’m really looking forward to it  – I really hope the sun stays out for a bit. it feels like proper summer holidays like when you were little at the moment.

 

 

 

 

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