Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lemon, Orange & Vodka Sorbet

After all the Masterchef hype I think I own almost all the little instruments they use on the show.
This year I've added a Food Processor and a Ice Cream maker to the collection.

My new Cuisinart Ice Cream maker in Retro Green

My first attempt with the ice cream maker was a Lemon, Orange and Vodka Sorbet, I didn't have enough Lemons to make Lemon Sorbet so I improvised. 

The finished result :o)

This is what you will need:
3 lemons
2 medium oranges
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
zest of 1 lemon
30ml vodka

Method I used:
Add the water and sugar to a saucepan and bring the the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer until all the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat and put in the fridge. This is a basic syrup and can be prepared ahead of time. It needs to be completely cooled before it's used in the ice cream maker so put in the fridge for around 2+ hours.
Juice the lemons and oranges, you'll need around 375ml of juice, plus the zest from 1 lemon. Let it sit for a while, then strain just before you add it to your sugary syrup, add 30ml of Vodka to your mixture.
Once everything is cool add it to your ice cream maker and churn for 25-30mins.
Add to a small container with a lid and put in the freezer or you can put the ice cream maker bucket straight into the freezer.
It needs around 5-8 hours to freeze.
and the last step........Eat it all up once the kids are in bed! 

Home made ice cream doesn't contain preservatives or gums that keeps store bought ice creams fresh. Eat your ice cream or sorbets within the week... if they last that long.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Feathered Friends

'Mr. It' came home one day and had a brilliant idea .. "Lets get chickens". 
To me this wasn't so brilliant beacuse (and don't laugh) I'm a little frightened of chickens.
Our backyard was fairly empty and we have dogs.. So I really had no idea where these chickens were going to live. 'Mr. It' had another idea.
So he set about building it all & spent copious amounts of time researching chickens.
We bought a coop for them to roost in at night and it had nesting boxes for them to give us fresh eggs in.

Our chicken area consists of a small area for the chickens to run around in (free range) plus a coop for them to roost in at night/ lay eggs in, etc.

'Mr. It' at work

Finished product - Veggie patch & chicken area

Our chickens
We have Isa Brown Chickens, they are the result of crossing Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites. They are a hybrid chicken, very popular due to their high production and large eggs.
We bought our chickens at 20 weeks old, which is the 'point of lay', however we didn't see any eggs for a good 2 months. 
We didn't name our chickens, they're all just called "Chicken" or "Girls" - If you've read Marley and Me you'd understand why you don't name chickens. 
My neighbour (I love her to bits) named her chickens something to the like of "Holly, Polly, Molly & something else". She's got a great heart & a great sense of humour. 

Miss 3 feeding the chickens

The coop - where the chickens roost & lay their eggs. 
See the little nesting boxes to the left.

We have a special grain feeder in the coop area and we did have a water bucket that was suspended off the ground, but believe it or not the chickens would still manage to get hay and other misc stuff into the water. We found (by fluke) water buckets work really well, but you have to keep them nice and full & clean them out still. 

Easy access to the fresh eggs


The hay turns a little yucky after a few weeks, it's then used in the veggie patch as mulch. Our chickens are happy to eat any scraps we have to offer... or weeds! 

I'm also glad to say... I'm no longer afraid of chickens ;)