Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Salad


This a lovely and easy to make recipe, any in season vegetable can be used, when I made this I had eggplant from the farm, tomatoes and cucumber it also works well with squash and I bet pumpkin would be fun. 


Ingredients:

  • 5 small eggplants, sliced.
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • one small cucumber cubed
  • a small handful of fresh basil, chives and parsley 
  • 1/4 of a red onion 
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • a dash of olive oil
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a lemon squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the dressing
  • one can of chick peas
Method:

  1. heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. slice the onion, vegetables and add to a baking foil lined baking sheet, add a little olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes until soft. 
  3. open a can of chick peas and add to a large bowl, then add the roasted vegetables.
  4. meanwhile mix the lemon juice with the olive oil and fresh herbs.
  5. add to the chick peas and finally mix in tomatoes and cucumbers.
This would make a healthy snack or packed lunch or a side dish for a meal.



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Friday, November 10, 2017

Shortbread with Edible Flowers.







About 6 months ago I started selling edible flowers that I grow on our farm I have always loved edible flowers and even used them in recipes on this blog at times like this Saffron Mango Lassi, Flower Power Salad and this recent Summer squash caprese salad. On a facebook conversation with a famous local chef, I asked if he needed greens or flowers for the restaurant and he replied that the only flowers he buys are edible.  This started me thinking and over the months I have had so much fun growing different seasonal edible flowers and selling to local restaurants and bakeries. I have learnt when best to harvest and how to store and deliver to ensure freshness. As a solo farmer I quickly learnt its hard to grow enough produce for farmers markets and so many are doing this well locally. We also have a few chickens that we enjoy I thought I would be able to sell eggs, I have here and there but you really need lots of chickens to do this also their production goes up and down with the seasons. Now they have been molting and laying a lot less. 

If you follow Ladybird Farm on facebook or Instagram you will see we have a fun selection of chickens, all different breeds and sizes we got the first hens from my daughters class and raised them from chicks these have had babies themselves now. What fun to see them go broody and hatch little chicks. 


I made these shortbread cookies with the kids recently and we decorated them with pressed edible flowers. I have pressed a few to extend shelf life as the season is winding down now and to be honest will more than likely end after this weekends frost. 


Ingredients:


  • 5 oz butter diced and a little extra for greasing
  • 8 oz of plain flour and some for dusting
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar to make a light icing to stick on the edible flowers.
  • pressed edible flowers, viola work great be sure to use only pressed edible flowers grown with no pesticides and herbicides organically. A simple flower press works great and it only takes 1-2 weeks in the press. 


Method:


  1. grease a baking tray with butter
  2. sieve the flour and rub in the butter with fingers until it looks like bread crumbs
  3. mix in sugar and make a firm dough
  4. roll it out onto a floured surface to about 1 inch thickness and use cookie cutters for desired shape, 
  5. sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden
  6. once the cookies have cooled, mix confectioners sugar about 3 tablespoons with about 1/4 cup of water to make a light icing. 
  7. coat the cookies with the icing and decorate with the edible flowers. These would be wonderful for the holidays.  Also kids love helping make them.





Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks so much for stopping by.

Hugs 


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Summer Squash Caprese Salad



As summer winds down in this part of the World, here's a salad to savor the flavors of summer with grilled squash, fresh tomatoes in a caprese salad, simple and so good. 


Ingredients:
  • two small squash - one zucchini/courgette and one yellow squash sliced.
  • 2 tomatoes slices, heirloom varieties in different colors work best.
  • a handful of fresh basil sliced.
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • a little olive oil.
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar.
  • sliced mozzarella.
Method:

  1. grill the squash with a little oil, salt and pepper.
  2. slice the cheese and tomatoes, arrange as above with the cheese in between 
  3. add basil and balsamic vinegar and garnish with edible flowers. 










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Friday, September 8, 2017

Caprese Chicken Rollups Recipe

Caprese Chicken Roll-Ups recipes for you Here this recipe will serve for 4 peoples. Just simply follow the bellow steps how to cook Caprese chicken rollups recipe.

Caprese Chicken Rollups Recipe

Caprese Chicken Rollups Recipe

INGREDIENTS of Caprese Chicken Rollups Recipe
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 8-ounce package mozzarella cheese
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tomato, sliced

Balsamic Reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup honey

PREPARATION for Caprese Chicken Rollups Recipe
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
2. In a saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar and honey over high heat. Stir until sauce reduces to ⅓ cup. Set aside.
3. On a cutting board, slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally.
4. Cover chicken with a piece of plastic wrap. Using the rough side of a metal mallet, pound the chicken until ½-inch thick. Repeat with remaining breasts.
5. Drizzle olive oil over pieces of chicken and season with salt and pepper.
6. Place 2 slices of mozzarella on each piece of chicken. Spoon ¼ cup of diced tomatoes on each piece of chicken. Place 3 pieces of basil on each piece of chicken.
7. Roll up the chicken, making sure the ingredients are tucked under the breast and not pushed out the sides.
8. Place the roll-ups in a greased baking dish. Drizzle each roll-up with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160˚F (71˚C).
10. Place one slice of mozzarella on each roll-up. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes until the mozzarella has melted over the chicken.
11. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes. Place a basil leaf and slice of tomato on each piece of chicken. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Enjoy

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

York, England



York, England is a special city and one to put on your radar. Its rich in thousands of years of history and old world charm with its farmers markets and agricultural areas surrounding the city, the ancient cobbled shambles that look exactly how they would have hundreds of years ago. You can sip tea in one of the tearooms and try the famous Yorkshire pudding. 



 Pictures from the farmers market, it was fun to see the sheep and wool for sale. 




Me and my lovely family, we spend the night and day in York en route to my cousins wedding. 

Below is the fabulous York Minster, a fine gothic church with over 2000 years of history, you can read more here


Isn't the church amazing and to think folks have worshipped on this spot since 627 AD. 




If you visit be sure to pause and look up at the ceilings. 


Another interesting thing about York is its Viking history years ago when a carpark was being built the builders stumbled on an ancient settlement that started a dig and then a museum documenting times when the Vikings settled in the region. Interestingly as we were lining up to enter a Scandinavian couple who are Vikings were there. They enjoyed the museum.

Have you been to York? or do you plan to?






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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Ode to Bees




This blog post is dedicated to bees - all of them,  native species and the famous honey bee. 

They work hard and without them we wouldn't have food to eat. They are fascinating to watch and very intelligent using special dances to communicate with one another. I often take pictures and videos of them pausing to marvel at these special and vital pollinators. 

I even take pictures of them on holiday and eagerly wait for them to start their activity each spring. 

The last few years I haven't sprayed any weed control on my grass at home. Each time I see a bee enjoying clover, I just can't do it. I don't spray at all at the farm and plant flowers just for the bees. 

I love the new initiative in Winston Salem, where I live Bee our Future on Instagram. The local bee keeper Josh is inspiring. 


I also love following Debbie Roos on twitter an Extension agent in Chatham County NC with a passion for native pollinators she offers tours of the pollinator garden and is a wealth of knowledge follow here on twitter.


Collecting pollen at the farm.


When volunteering with the school garden we plant for bees, and chat about their brilliance and importance. 

We all know bees are important and have read about their decline in the news. A local bee keeper of 50 years recently visited me at The Farm, he plans to add a hive in the spring he says he has steadily seen a decline as agriculture has changed and used more chemical inputs.

While we do maybe need some herbicides and insecticides I truly believe we have become chemical dependent. I recently noticed a group of social media influencer dietitians attending a sponsored trip in Copenhagen, Michelin star meals, and speakers on bees. Also the need for GMO to feed the world.  On this point reducing food waste globally and gardening more would also play a vital role in feeding folks.
 Its organized by Porter Novelli an advertising agency with food industry sponsors often Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science. I have no issue with GMO crops many of my neighbors in Yadkin County NC grow them and we live in Harmony. 
My issue is that recent science shows potential harm from neonicotinoids, maybe not directly but studies show they affect bees behavior and the amount of eggs laid

I have read many articles on this topic from trusted news sources. Then theres Bayer's PR side with websites and sponsored events and a bee care center in Raleigh NC they even sponsor the flowers along the road side in NC. While these are all good endeavors and I appreciate them surely taking the science seriously and finding alternatives to chemicals for weed control is vital. 

One farmer I follow in North Dakota uses cultivation to control weeds in his soybean fields and I even saw mention on the tweets of another farmer laser controlled weed control.


Here's a flavor of the conference I mentioned.




 It's messaging is in line with good PR but I ask you to look big picture. Read the science, chat to bee keepers and farmers, and do your part we all play a role, often companies are profit driven. Avoid spraying your yard, hand pull weeds, plant for bees and make friends with them they need YOU.




Bees on a Thistle in Scotland. 
Admiring a bee in Germany



References:

1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/14/542895824/popular-pesticides-keep-bumblebees-from-laying-eggs
2. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/neonicotinoid-pesticides-slowly-killing-bees/





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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Beech Hill Farm, Maine




On our recent trip to Maine we stayed in Bar Harbor and visited the amazing Acadia National Park, stay tuned for future posts. We loved driving across to the other Quiet side of the Island and through Southwest Harbor. A delightful little town with an amazing bakery and cute shops. On the drive down we took a side road and saw a sign for Beech Hill Farm. As a farmer and food lover I always love visiting local farms and farm stands, seeing whats in season and local to the area and chatting to the growers. This is well worth a visit if you visit Mount Dessert Island. Its a diverse organic farm associated with College of the Atlantic and they train farmers. 

It has a wonderful farm stand with a great variety of freshly harvested vegetables, eggs, local cheese, bread and more. The young farmers are friendly and enthusiastic and happy to answer questions.

There wasn't an official tour but they are fine allowing you to wander around and look and visit the little pigs. Maine is a cold and Northern state with a fairly small growing season so greenhouse and high tunnels are used lots. 

So when you visit Maine as well as Lobster, great seafood and the famous wild blueberries enjoy fresh vegetables from its many farms.







They have 6 full time staff and such wonderfully weeded beds. 




This was such a wonderful idea. 

 oink!



Hope you enjoyed the wee virtual tour.

Hugs

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