Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eggs galore and vegies to boot !

Our girls have started laying ! We are getting 2 - 3 eggs a day now. They started at about 38grams and are now averaging 45 - 54 grams. Its so lovely to go down to the garden and be greeted by cackling from the girls. They are now officially called Sofia (Miss L's favourite from junior Masterchef), Poh (my favourite from Masterchef) & Lewie (however Lewie is also known as Pancake, that is how Mst O best likes his eggs) Here are the first of our happy hens eggs - a perfect pair in the nesting box
A lovely boiled egg for breakfast - in our cute Easter Egg Cups
Miss L with her boiled egg and toast - yum yum ...... Not only are we enjoying the eggs now but we have also built a new raised vege garden so we can put all the chicken poop to good use. We have used some gorgeous compost that has been created by our resident bush turkey "Harold", he has meticulously created and tended his nest for the last 4 or years and a byproduct of this was that all our lovely expensive mulch that we purchased with the intention of keeping our weeds under control has now been converted into the most amazing black friable garden soil. So today my husband and I carried bucket upon bucket load of it from our lower garden, up three sets of stairs and a very steep ramp, to our upper garden so we could fill our raised vegetable bed that we built yesterday. It was a beautiful day to work outside in the garden - just look at that blue sky

Putting the bed together with recycled sleepers

Here it is all planted out.

Late this afternoon, and with our last long weekend for the year drawing to a close, I planted out the first intallment of seedlings. I then fertilised and watered them with high hopes for a successul crop. We have carrots, dwarf broccoli, red oak lettuce, butter lettuce, honey snap peas and oxtail tomatoes. We are now building a second garden bed as there is so much more I want to plant.

So off to bed I go to rest my weary limbs, it's been a great day.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner - Try it !

You have to try this one !!!!!!!!! I found it on this Martha Stewart site. I don't often recommend recipes, but this one has the thumbs up from me. My husband and kids loved it and so did I and it was so so SIMPLE !!!!!! Last night I put everything into a big tupperware container, i.e. chicken, beans, tomatoes and remaining ingredients, stirred it round, left it overnight to do its job, came home from work this afternoon, turned on the oven to heat, popped the chicken etc into a roasting dish (I put a sheet of baking paper on the base of the dish, saves scrubbing after) and stuck it in the oven for about 40 minutes or so. I used 6 chicken cutlets (removed most of the skin) and 4 chicken wings You could use a whole chicken and cut it up, or some chicken thigh fillets or even chicken breast if you want less fat. You can also just use a mix of drumsticks or marylands, it really does not matter. So here is what you do: 1 to 1.5kg chicken pieces (whatever you like, skin on or off, it does not matter) 1/3 cup olive oil 4 cloves garlic (roughly chopped) 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 tablespoons paprika,(use a mix of hot, sweet and/or smoked, whatever you have) tiny sprinkle of chilli powder, more if you like it hot *1 teaspoon salt - the recipe says 2 tablespoons (way too much for me) 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper 1 or 2 punnets of grape or cherry tomatoes 2 cans cannellini beans (washed and drained) 1/2 cup parsley (I did not use this as I did not have it) method: Mix together the olive oil, spices, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic etc in the dish you are going to use to marinate the chicken in (less dishes this way). Add the chicken pieces, beans and tomatoes making sure chicken is covered in the marinade all over. Store in fridge to marinate until ready for baking (several hours to overnight, whatever you like). Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius, pop everything in to a roasting dish, I laid a piece of baking paper on the base of the dish to make clean up easier, and simply bake for 35 - 45 minutes until chicken is nicely coloured and tomatoes are almost bursting. (I turned the chicken pieces over half way through and stirred the beans and tomatoes around a bit). If you wanted you could throw in some baby spinach leaves towards the end, maybe some kalamata olives or even add some chorizo sausage. You can serve with a bit of greek yoghurt if you like that. My son ate it with a tortilla bread. The beans are yummy, so are the tomatoes, and the chicken gets a type of coating on it almost similar to KFC (don't let that comment put you off). So, get cooking, it's well worth the try. (the picture shows chick peas or garbanzo beans, I used Cannellini and they were perfect, highly recommend using cannellini beans. Also I cooked until the tomatoes were almost a bit blackened and bursting open and caramelised, so yummy) Enjoy ...........

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Meet the girls !!!!

Well the coop is finally done and so this afternoon we made the trip to pick out our chickens. So here they are in their box about to be let loose into their new home. It was fun driving home with them in the box in the back seat, between the kids, cackling away.
Exploring their new house
Having a feed of layers mash
When it was time to lock them up for the evening I said "come on girls, into the coop", I opened the door, and in they went, just like that. It was like they knew what to do. They huddled in the corner, so I picked them up one by one and sat them on their roosting perch. An hour later we all went down to the lower garden to check on them, and they were all still sitting on their perch, just as I had placed them. So, all is well in the chicken coop tonight I hope, can't wait for the morning to check on them.
Oh, and what have we called them ?? Well Miss O is still calling hers Sapphire, Mst O is still calling his Lewey, and I am undecided. I am thinking I need to get a fourth chicken and maybe I'll call them Laverne and Shirley. Just maybe.


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