Busy days at the cottage

My latest baking project – one that even takes longer than the three-day Sourdough Bread-making event! – is almost completed. All going well, the Husband and I hope to welcome a small new inhabitant to the cottage early next month, to join our family of two humans, three hens and one cat (yes, we’re back to one again – sadly the road by the cottage claimed Large, our big tom cat earlier this week).

Things may get slightly sporadic around here over the next while as I try to fill the freezer with easily managable meals, stock up the store cupboard and fill the tins with baking that will keep us going for a while. There’s not going to be much time for baking with a new baby in the house! Flapjacks, both Honey and Chocolate versions, and Ballyvoddy Tea Bracks are top of the list, baking-wise, while I have a large ham hock (just €2.49 from James Whelan’s Butchers in Clonmel and it will feed us for days) just waiting to be turned into freezable pots of soup and several casseroles in mind for the savoury side of things. Anybody got any other suggestions?

Meanwhile, the Husband – inspired by our weekend course at Glebe Gardens – is concentrating on assembling four handsome raised beds so that we can plant up plenty of vegetables to keep ourselves well stocked for the summer. In preparation for planting, the spare room is playing host to several egg-cartons-worth of potatoes being chitted, or sprouted. This year we’re going with Maris Peer (I was seduced by its salad-friendly properties) and, unlike other years, we decided not to plant them on St Patrick’s Day after last year’s crop rotted in the ground when inclement weather hit during the last half of March.

We were able to get the potato seed from Fruit Hill Farm through the North Cork Organic Group, along with a bag of shallots which I’m looking forward to growing. I rarely buy shallots as they are a little expensive but love to cook with them so it makes perfect sense to grow our own, especially if our one remaining cat can can keep the rabbits away. Otherwise, there just might have to be a few more Rabbit Stews!

Caroline

Caroline

Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Daily Spud says:

    Oh Caroline – that’s very exciting news for you! Hope everything goes well with the new arrival.As for the spuds, I still have mine chitting away (having had it on good authority that Paddy’s Day, is, on average, too early to put them into the ground around here). I really should get a move on with preparing the veg beds, though – lots of stuff I want to try growing this year.

  2. Joanne says:

    Caroline, best of luck with everything in the weeks ahead. Great idea to stock up the freezer! Enjoying your blog very much since tuning in at start of the year.

  3. Caroline says:

    What else are you planning on planting, Spud? The Husband went through our box of seeds last night, writing out a planting chart (which, of course, will promptly get forgotten about!) so he’s all organised – just got to get those raised beds together. We’re hoping to grow lots of Ushiki Kuri squash again this year, along with kale, purple sprouting broccoli, calvo nero, leeks, spinach, beetroot, chard/silverbeet and plenty of salad greens. We’ll have to put the child to work!Thanks for your comment, Joanne. It’s always great to hear from a reader! Nearly had a disaster the other night when the freezer door got left a little ajar but fortunately I realised that it hadn’t closed properly before there was too much damage. That’s what comes of trying to wedge too many things in there!

  4. NiallH says:

    Hello Carolineits great to hear of your news-good luck! Met Pat Slattery at the Good Food event in Larkins Garrykennedy St Patricks evening and we made the link with yourself in the course of our chat! Small world- getting smaller! Pat told me of your move to Cork and it sounds great. Best of luck with all your plans and activities.Niall HeenanTir na Fiuise Cottageshttp://www.countrycottages.ie

  5. Ellen Townson says:

    Congrats Caroline- that is great news! You seem well prepared! I have 2 teenaged boys and I STILL stock up the freezer whenever I can, to make daily life a little easier to juggle! I now have extra hands in the garden and a family who loves great food as much as I do. You have so much to look forward to!!

  6. Daily Spud says:

    I bought a ton of seeds at the Organic Centre in Leitrim when I was there a few weeks back – though I fear I may have been getting a bit ahead of myself in terms of my ambitions for the garden. Courgette, mange tout, french beans, swiss chard, custard white squash, kohl rabi, celeriac, salsify, scorzonera and more besides! I’m not entirely sure I’ve thought this through fully – I’ll get the spuds in the ground and work things out from there 🙂

  7. Caroline says:

    I’m so jealous, Niall! I was really hoping to be at Peter Ward’s Patrick’s Day dinner but things conspired against me that night. I got a great review of the evening from Pat and Ruth – they mentioned they met you – so I’ll have to try and make it to the next Nenagh event. Hope your cottages are going well. I’m going to have to come back at some stage in the future, we really enjoyed our stay – and have yet to get to Broca on the Water for dinner.With two teenagers, Ellen, I hope you have a big freezer! I have a little under-the-counter one which is brilliant for every day use but not so good when you’re trying to ram it full of pre-organised meals and homemade bread. Organised? Well, I’m trying – and trying to be sure and have some couch time with Little, the remaining cat, every day as well to just chill out. I think Little’s nose is going to be well put out of joint with the arrival of another small being to the cottage!You seem to shop for seeds like I do, Spud. My eyes are always bigger than my space but it often leads to some interesting juggling in the garden. The Organic Centre is wonderful – the Husband and I did a cheese making course there a few years ago and loved the place. The shop is very tempting…and don’t, whatever you do, join up with the Irish Seed Savers Associationor get in contact with Brown Envelope Seeds or gardening will definitely start to take over your life!

  8. Jo says:

    Good luck with the birth, Caroline, I hope it all goes swimmingly, smoothly, beautifully! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *