Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Cider Making!

I think it's safe to say a great time was had by all, Sue put it best on her Facebook update: "had a wonderful day making apple juice for cider with Carol Kirkup, Tracey Bennett and friends - amazing what you can do with a few barrows of apples, a garden shredder and a borrowed cider press. The shared lunch was delicious too -that really is what community is all about"

So true, a day only to be topped by our Xmas party where we get to drink it! I won't gush further but will let the photos do the talking.

First, collect apples by the barrow load

Next, organise a production line of small children to put said apples into a garden shredder.

Shred the apples neatly into a bucket, making sure no-one gets struck by half shredded apples flying out of the top.

Load the shredded pulp into a borrowed apple press and sqeeeeeeeeze.


Pause for lunch. (Don't want to overdo it)

And finally - the product of our labours, 7 gallons of apple juice hot footing it to Mark's brewing cupboard. How many pints each?? Roll on the Christmas Party!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Waveney Valley Food and Drink Festival

Seeing as it was crying out for a visit, we complied and went to the Waveney Valley Food and Drink Festival last weekend. The setting was lovely, as you can see right in the grounds of Bungay castle. It was a smallish affair but a great chance to meet other food producers in the Waveney Valley area.

I was quite taken with The Milk Shed, sellers of raw milk. If you ever travel the A143 towards Yarmouth you may have noticed their signs on the road just before the Grain brewery. They also have a Facebook page where you can see their eponymous Friesian shed which has tickled me so much I may have to actually visit.

I have talked about the concept of a Norfolk Road Trip before and the Milk Shed sits nicely among the smallholdings, farm shops and brewery on the Waveney Valley route.

PA Mobbs were also there advertising their 'Village Drop' scheme for Xmas turkeys. In a nutshell, if a group orders 10 turkeys and collects them a nominated drop off point, they'll get an 11th turkey free, so essentially a 10% discount. Birds cost from £40 for a 4kg one right up to £76 for 10kg. I did consider whether we should try and organise this for ourselves. Personally I can't participate as I will already be away for Xmas by the collection date but if anyone thinks they may be interested, let me know and I'll let you have the full details.

Another bargain heads up: Just Truffles in Harleston are offering 10% off Xmas orders placed between 6th and 10th November. For those that may not know, Just Truffles handmake truffles and chocolate products, their website is here.

There were loads of other interesting traders, too numerous to mention, the chicken sausage people, the duck and orange pie people, the pig cheek pie people, as well as a few 'usual suspects', The Flying Chef (hot dogs) the goat cheese people from the farmers market, St Peter's brewery etc etc

We really are lucky to live where we do, we're surrounded by some amazing food producers, I really don't understand by Norfolk isn't feted as a foodie haven in the manner of Shropshire. This is one of my motivations behind this blog, to raise awareness of the food culture around us.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Upcoming Food Events and a Pork butchery workshop on Sunday!

Adam enjoying Aldburgh 2010
I think this is what they call serendipity. "Hmm," I mused over lunch, "I'm sure the Aldburgh Food Festival is about this time of year, bet I've missed it." Upon calling on the services of Mr Google I discovered that it's actually this weekend! I checked out the workshops and guess what's running on Sunday afternoon? A pork butchery workshop! It costs £7 for a day ticket into the festival and then £15 on top of that for the workshop which I think is quite cheap.

Unfortunately it's too short notice at the moment to book spaces but the workshop isn't currently showing as sold out on the website (as some of them are) so it's a case of turning up on the day and keeping fingers crossed.

The festival itself is worth a visit and do check out the programme of fringe events - The Waveney Valley Food Festival at Bungay just cries out for a visit, surely! I'd love to do the Metfield Apple Ramble but it clashes with our cider making day.

Here's the website with full details: http://www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk/

Willow and Xanthe squabbling at Aldburgh 2010 while Tom Aitkins signs books behind them

On a much smaller scale is Goodies Farm Shop's Food and Craft Fayre. It's on 3rd and 4th November, 9 - 4pm. There are demonstrations, tasters and Santa's on hand to review Xmas lists. I haven't tried this one yet but hope to get there this year. Here's their website but it's not got huge amounts of detail about the event itself: http://www.goodiesfarmshop.co.uk/index.html

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saffron Community Foundation Visit

Today was the day we welcomed Michael Harrowven and Isabelle Agrir of Saffron Community Foundation to Kadesh for a visit. Luckily for everyone concerned, the weather has been kind to us, perfectly bright, crisp and Autumnal.

The animals were keen to say hello, although the runner beans we threw into the pen were probably responsible for the piggy interest. Crispy the chicken is a different matter as she used to be one of mine but when her egg laying days came to an end we 'retired' her to Kadesh. She seemed pleased to see us again, at least she insisted on being in the thick of the action as Steve showed Michael and Isabelle around.

Unfortunately Katy continued to make us wait(y) for the cute new piglets we thought we'd have to show off. She's still waddling around not showing any signs of farrowing yet

Ruth very kindly made some of her pork liver pate (Recipe here) to give Michael and Isabelle an idea of the quality of the pork we've all enjoyed so far, both the Rosemary/peppercorn and Apple/Sage versions went down very well! For some strange reason no-one wanted to sample the cider I brought to go with the pate which meant I had to take it all home again. Oh dear, what a shame, I'll have to work my way through that tonight .....

And here we all, clustered around the appropriately shaped Pizza oven receiving our novelty cheque! Thank you to Saffron once again for helping us to get our project off the ground and thanks to everyone who turned up today and helped to make it a really lovely morning.

For a full photo gallery of the visit, take a look at our facebook page.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

This is what 60 kilos of apples look like!

I've been researching how many apples we'll need to get a decent quantity of juice to ferment. The figures I've found on Google vary quite a lot with 10 kilos of apples supposedly giving anything between 4.5 and 7.5 litres of juice. I'm guessing this is based on cultivated apples which are bigger and juicier than the little crab apples we'll be getting so it's probably wise to err on the side of caution.

Adam and I spent a pleasant 40 minutes on the Ling this afternoon picking apples from a large, very laden tree and this is what we've got. I've weighed a few bags using a luggage weight thingie (which isn't terribly accurate to be honest) and each bag is roughly 10 kilos of apples so we've got somewhere between 60 and 70 kilos.  I think 30 litres of juice is a reasonable estimate.

Whether this is enough depends on how many of us want to join in. It's another 2 weeks til I collect the fruit press but the apples are falling now so if we need more we should be getting them now(ish). Unblemished apples picked from the tree should keep easily until we need them. Windfalls can be used too but it's probably best to cut out the brown bits, freeze the good bits and defrost them when we need them. Hopefully they'll be easier to press when they're defrosted and soft.

I know of a few wild apple trees locally so if anyone wants to go and get some more apples, drop me a line and I'll let you know where.

Initially I also wondered whether we could ask Steve if we could use the pizza oven at Kadesh while we make the cider but I'm not sure it'll be a bit too much, trying to process this quantity of apples and make fresh pizza to order at the same time.

Any views?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Fancy some Mutton?

If you remember we vaguely talked about trying to source some more unusual meats from other local smallholders. Samphire posted on Facebook yesterday that they will have some mutton available in a month or so. I'm asking them to reserve a side for me so I thought I'd bring this to everyone's attention so you can ask too. If storage is a problem don't forget the communal freezer will be empty for at least the next 6 months!

Here are some links to Samphire if you want to get in touch:

Samphire on Facebook

Their main website

*Update - Have heard back from Samphire, all their mutton has been sold. Took a whole 10 minutes apparently*

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

VIP Visit.

For info, Saffron Community Foundation will be visiting us on 22nd September at 11am. I'm hoping to arrange a tasting of liver pate (I still have lots of liver in the freezer leftover from the Nose to Tail event that never was) and I'm hoping even more that Ruth will volunteer to make some! Adam and I will bring our gazebo to erect in the picnic area in case of rain.

I'm sure the trustees would like to meet as many of us as possible. If anyone's free next Saturday morning it'd be great to see you!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I am a Cider Drinker ....

.... and hopefully about to become a Cider Maker too. The fruit press is booked and I will be collecting it on 28th September. I'm going to send a Doodle Poll round to everyone so we can pick a weekend for Cider making. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for wild apples. We'll need to organise ourselves to make sure we've got enough time to go out and pick them before the pressing.

I'm hoping no-one minds if I have a bash at making verjuice, a kind of vinegar made from crabapples. Here's a bit more information, and if anyone wants to join me in having a go at making 'the condiment of the bard' please do.

What is Verjuice?

How to make it

On sale at £10 for 500ml!

Fingers crossed for nice weather and being allowed to use the pizza oven!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Boys! Girls! Raise Pigs - You can do it too!

Ta daa! Here we are at last. The brand new shiny Waveney Valley Pig Club. We've actually been going for over a year now but have only recently struck out as an independent club in our own right.

To date we've raised two batches of pigs, the first were Gloucester Old Spots and the second Mangolitza/Tamworth crosses (trouble makers in the extreme) We're based at Kadesh Community Farm in Palgrave where we have a paddock and pray for Katy the Gloucester Old Spot to have a big enough litter to keep us in bacon all year!

Over the last year we've learned a lot about pig rearing, not least the vast difference between our pork and supermarket pork. Living a healthy, outdoor life gives the pigs the chance to not only to eat a variety of vegetation but to exercise those tasty muscles too. This creates amazingly good pork, much darker and richer in flavour than even the most expensive supermarket meat.

Kadesh is a beautiful spot and home to a variety of animals, as well as pigs there are goats, chickens and turkeys. Members' children have great fun visiting, sometimes they're happy to help with the feeding, sometimes they collect eggs and sometimes we let them off the work and they can just run about in the picnic area.

Katy is currently pregnant and due to give birth in the next couple of weeks, we've no idea how many piglets she'll have, could be anything from 2 to 10 - that's an awful lot of pork!