Monday, 23 July 2012

Magical Butter!!

 In our quest to get rid of horrible nasties from our diet, one of Dave's stumbling points was his beloved margerine....he has always insisted he hated butter and would never touch the stuff until I kindly pointed out all the rubbish that goes into marg....only thinking of his health!! We tried Olive oil in the freezer....didn't really work and so he bravely tried some different shop bought butters and found that he could get used to Goats butter and maybe actually quite like it....

Going a step further and doing a little bit of kitchen science with the kids as well, we then decided to have a go at making our own butter to see how that would taste.......well... it's like a little miracle all of it's own (I'm easily impressed obviously!!) There's must be some kind of wizardry that turns a carton of double cream into some very delicious butter...surely? No, actually it's just a bit of effort and maybe ending up with arms like Popeye!

Your own homemade butter in a few easy steps...

1. Half / Three quarter fill a jar or tub with double cream (must be heavy or double to work) making sure it has a tight fitting lid.
2. Shake, shake, shake while doing a little jig around your kitchen...sharing the shaking is a great idea!
3. The magic happens in stages....first the cream goes thick, then gets to the point that it feels like it's not moving at all...keep shaking..
4. Next it starts to loosen a bit and if you open the lid to have a peak it looks a bit like curdled cream or scrambled eggs..put the lid back on and keep shaking..
5. Suddenly you hear liquid noise again and you know that the process is nearly done, this is the cream splitting into buttermilk and butter. You can now stop shaking...hurrah!
6. Pour out the buttermilk to use in baking or drink. B loves this on his cereal.
7. Take out your lovely lump of butter in your hand and just rinse under a cold tap giving it a gentle squeeze to get any more buttermilk out.
8. Pop it in a bowl and add salt to taste.
9. Pile it onto a thick slice of homemade bread.......heaven!!

I know this is probably no cheaper than buying butter but there is something special about making your own....and we can safely say that not many people will beat you at an arm wrestle if you do this every few days!!  

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Strawberries and Cream time....

We just happened to be driving around the other day and suddenly a shout went up from behind me ...'Mum, Mum the Pick Your Own is open, can we, can we??' Of course this means strawberries...I have to admit to never being a big fan of strawberries or soft fruit in general but there is something deeply satisfying about being able to go and pick fruit and then either eat it or make something truly scrumptious from it straight away. The weather up here has been pretty awful in the last couple of weeks so I was keen to get some before the crops were ruined by all the rain! 

The kids merrily picked two punnets full and then spent the walk back to get them weighed concocting some recipes to make when they got home. After a quick diversion to pick up supplies from the supermarket, I was banished from the kitchen and the chefs got to work.....well I was impressed!! E went for the understated strawberry and cream option, nicely sliced with added icing sugar to make the cream thick and sweet....delicious! B went for a more sophisticated shortbread, with strawberry puree and cream expertly drizzled over the top....delicious again!  For someone who claims not to like strawberries very much these were very yummy!! Maybe my tastes are just changing.....
Very proud chef!
The next day we had one punnet left so this was made into 'Quickest Strawberry Jam', a great recipe from the lovely Jamie Oliver. Ours didn't turn out like normal jam, a lot runnier but with the whole fresh strawberry taste still there rather than just a sugary one....delish. On homemade bread, with homemade butter (yes we did make it ourselves, I'll do a blog post on this next!!) it felt really great and tasted even better!!
Maybe strawberries aren't that bad after all!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

It's a long journey....

Feeling a bit despondent at the moment, the dream of having our own small-holding seems soooo very far away and I know there's lots of people who would laugh if they knew where we wanted to be from where we are now......then I read this.....
Just got to keep remembering...ANYTHING can be....