Sunday, 14 August 2011

Celebrations - any excuse for a glass of fizz

A bit of a celebratory blog this time for a couple of reasons. Firstly it's now two years since my lovely husband and I got "married". It seriously doesn't seem to be that long ago and it's been a wonderful two years.
Me and my man
Secondly its a year since Millicent Hermione Oprah McEllis arrived into our lives. From the frightened little smelly black dog she has now grown into a very beautiful young lady with a huge appetite, wiggly bum and the most lovely demeanour as long as she can't see another dog!

Being licked to death by a very happy Millie
The joy of chickens - how I love to see them wandering around the garden, scratching through the lawn, trashing the dahlias, getting into the pots and rooting everything out, eating lettuce so loving grown. How I would love to see them all in a nice chicken casserole!

Seriously for a moment, the garden has passed the point of being established for the summer. All the delicate young shoots are now healthy plants and strong enough to usually survive an onslaught of the chickens so as they pass through the borders chomping snails and bugs as they go all is normally well. This year Miss Harriet has had the devil in her. Every pot is fair game and despite my continued optimism that the damage is never that bad the sight of a white silkie surrounded by the devastation of what was a collection of lovingly grown plants. Silkies can thank their lucky stars that their blue skin stops me from throwing them in the roasting pan.

Naughty chickens - Harriet, Ruby and Nigella waiting for a treat
Saying that, egg production, while not going to make us millionaires, is doing okay with a couple of eggs each day which is more than enough for our needs.

For some reason a couple of the chickens (Miss Harriet and Nigella shall remain nameless) seem to get mucky bottoms. Why this should be I can offer no answer, especially as Ruby has never ever had a problem. It just means that once a month there is a rather undignified bum washing ceremony however the girls do look especially lovely after the event and they always get a treat to counteract the indignity.
Thanks to all who baked and commented on the plum clafouti recipe. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Saying that I am still loving this huge harvest of blackberries and can hardly stop myself picking more every time we go out to walk the dogs. Our dear friends Tim and Katt came over for Sunday lunch with their lovely son, Finn so decided to cook another clafouti recipe I found which was even more delicious. Here it is

Blackberry and raspberry almond clafouti

Heat the oven to 190c/gas 5. Lightly butter a 23cm flan dish or tin (again not loose bottomed or it all dribbles out)

To make the batter mix together 50gm ground almonds, 2 tbsp plain flour, 100gm golden caster sugar 2 bantam eggs and 3 bantam egg yolks. Beat this up with 250ml of double cream.

Scatter 400gm mixed blackberries and raspberries in the buttered dish

Pour over the batter

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until well risen and golden.

Best served warm as opposed to really hot, and with lots of cream

So the end of another week, here's hoping that summer returns soon, I need some sunshine! As ever, don't for get to also check out Max and Millie's blog - link in the sidebar.

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