Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on February 11th, 2012 -

A Helping Hand 

We have been quiet on the farm in the run up to half term with just one lovely family staying with their two young children in one of our Scandinavian lodges. I was so proud of our children who came to join them on the feed run on Sunday and really encouraged their little ones to be brave with the animals and show them how to help out.

Feeding the ducksA helping hand on the the tractorLessons in donkey feeding

Carrying hay to the donkeysWatching the deer togetherstroking the rabbits

Helping on the farm

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

What have you been up to outside with the children recently? From a trip to the beach to a play in the park or the garden, please support healthy outdoor time for children by linking up and sharing your pictures here. If you can please take a minute to see what others have been up to as well and leave them a comment, I’m sure they will appreciate it.


What’s Cooking? Perfect Lasagne

Posted on February 9th, 2012 -

Lasagne: A family favourite cooked from scratch

Vegetarian or mince, both are delicious and easy with my fool proof recipe I have developed here for my Coombe Mill Cuisine range. 

Top Tip:Lasagne

A good food processor takes away hours of thankless chopping enabling you to make your own healthy sauce at a fraction of the cost of ready bought. It is also a great way to ensure children take their 5 a day without even realising it! 

Ingredients:

Carrots, Onions, Mushrooms and a couple of garlic cloves. I add veg in at least equal quantities to meat

Mince or pulses (I use red lentils with kidney beans or chick peas)  

Tinned tomatoes

herbs: Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, parsley) paprika and cumin, black pepper, salt

Cheese sauce: Whole milk, plain flour, butter, seasoning, grated cheddar cheese

Lasagne sheets

Topping: Grated cheddar and porridge oats 

Method

Brown the mince in a large casserole dish on the hob to burn off all the fat for about 20 – 30 minutes, for the vegetarian version simmer the pulses as per packet instructions. Red lentils take about 20 minutes. Tinned pulses like kidney beans can be added at the end.

mince browningRed lentils cookingKidney beans chopped

Add the herbs and seasoning to taste and cook on a low heat for a further 2 minutes. I love the smell that comes off and the colour change as the herbs blend in with the mince or pulses.

 Herbs marinated mincemarinated pulses

Meanwhile place all the vegetables in a food processor and whiz to mince size pieces. Add the chopped vegetables and tinned tomatoes to the mince or pulses and simmer gently on a very low heat for about an hour and a half, this long slow cook ensures the meat is tender and the vegetables retain their taste and nutrition.

 VegetablesChopped Vegchopped tomatoes

Make the cheese sauce by combining all the ingredients and stirring with a whisk over a gentle heat until it thickens.

Tip:

If the sauce becomes too thick, just let it down with a little cold milk. 

Cooked meat and vegCooked pulses & vegcheese sauce

 

You are now ready to assemble the compnent parts into lasagne.

Begin with the meat / pulse at the base of the casserole dish, then place a layer of lasagne pasta followed by cheese sauce. Repeat finishing with cheese sauce. 

 

Lasagne pastaLayering LasagneLasagne layering

Sprinkle porridge oats and grated cheese on the top for a delicious crunchy cheese topping and bake in the oven at 180degrees for 25 minutes or until the pasta is soft when a knife is inserted through the centre.

Ready for the ovenOut of the ovenReady to eat

At this stage, I then cool and freeze the meals ready for our holiday guests to simply defrost and reheat in the microwave or the oven after a busy day on the farm or out at the beach. It is a classic dish which freezes well, so if you are making it at home I thoroughly recommend making it in large quantities and freezing one or two for another time.

If you like this recipe then do try one of the others under my “What’s Cooking” category. 


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on February 7th, 2012 -

Country Kids from Coombe Mill


Digging into the Past

Posted on February 7th, 2012 -

A Series of Firsts meme

 

I was recently tagged in a “Meme” by the fabulous and friendly   to continue this meme started by the lovely Lou @Bobbity666 over at Bloggomy.  Firsts is just that, a trip down memory lane about some early and significant firsts in your life. I am so very comfortable with chatting about motherhood and farm life, dragging up my own teenage history is a little more out of the comfort zone, but never one to turn down a challenge, here goes!

Who was your first boyfriend?

Now what counts as ‘boyfriend’? I am guessing I have to own up to the 1 date wonder with the boy in my class who I agreed to go out with, just so I didn’t look like someone who never had a boyfriend. Oh the angst of being 14 years old. 

First person you kissed?first kiss

That same boy; then he had the nerve to tell the class the details of ‘that kiss’. Needless to say there was no follow up kiss on offer!

First Job?

My first job was the checkouts at our local Tesco in Aylesbury. 12 hours on a Saturday during my A level years. It was a killer and all for £15! I would never have believed then that I would have ended up going back to Tesco as a graduate trainee buyer 4 years later!Tesco tills

What was your first pay packet – can you remember what you bought? 

I really am struggling for what I bought with my £15 from my Saturday job, probably one of the records I am about to mention! I do remember saving up my pay packets to go inter railing round Europe before going to University. We managed 4 weeks on £300 (excluding the train ticket) with a lot of nights spent on trains travelling from country to country!

First CD or Record you remember buying?

Well CDs hadn’t been invented in the 80’s when I discovered music. It was a while till I actually bought a record, I think everyone used to ‘tape’ the top 40 with Steve Wright on a Sunday afternoon on radio 1, trying to edit out Mr Wright! My first records I remember in my bedroom were Duran Duran and Culture Club. A slight aside but I also remember receiving Now volumes 1 – 4, and where are we now, about Now 80?

First holiday abroad?

Rhodes Island

Like  my first holiday abroad was to Rhodes, age 15 with my parents. Actually I think that may have been boyfriend number 2 at the same time and kiss number 2 with the Greek waiter at the hotel. I obviously had a thing for Greek men from a young age since I ended up marrying one! (Farmer Nick is Nikos to his Greek family) 

What age were you when you moved out from your parents home?

I was 18 and off to university. I didn’t realise it then, but I would never live at home again.  I had a wonderful 3 years and then rented with fellow graduate trainees near Tesco head office in North London. My parents still live in the house I left and my children love going back to visit Grandma and Grandpa 
 
 
Kids and GarnadparentsKids and Grandparents Kids and Grandparents
 
 
 
That all seams so long ago, I really had to dig deep, well all except the first boyfriend and kiss, you never forget that for good or for bad!
 
I am now tagging some more lovely twitter friends to continue with this meme……


Majestic Peacock

Posted on February 5th, 2012 -

Project 52 & Silent Sunday

 

Peacock

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky   Silent Sunday