Happily Ever After

Posted on December 20th, 2011 -

Taking Time OutSarah and Paul

Taking time out from busy lives is never easy. In our case, leaving Coombe Mill on a busy Christmas changeover weekend to Travel en family Cornwall to Essex really does take some planning. However last weekend was my niece’s Wedding Day and with nearly 12 months notice there was no excuse not to make the effort to meet up with all my family and see her special day. Farmer Ted and Gill came into their own managing the changeover for us here at Coombe Mill leaving me to simply pack with Wedding attire for 8. 

The Journey

There is no easy way to do a 5 – 6 hour journey with children. Having tried various methods over the years, the one that works for us is pack at night, set the alarm and travel early morning while the rest of the world is still asleep and the roads quiet. It worked as planned and with a quick McDonald’s breakfast stop we were at the Premier Inn Braintree http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/BRABAR/braintree-freeport-village meeting with family and friends by lunch time. Our first time in a Premier Inn and I must say I would use them again. My only criticism was that there was nothing for the children to do, though they were very patient when the kids took over the foyer to practice their Gymnastics.  Outside play in a car park at -2 degrees did have its limitations and our late extended family lunch in the pub soon lost its attraction for the children once the food was eaten and the adults chatting and drinking!

The Wedding Morning

I made a point of capturing some of the morning action for Sarah since this is the part she will have missed with her own preparations. I would love to have seen some of these scenes from my own Wedding.

Breakfast at the Premier InnWedding party are ready, what about my gang!!Wedding Bus in Loading

 

The Amazing Wedding of Sarah and Paul

The sun shone, the couple looked so perfectly in love and the day went like clockwork. I don’t think I have been to such a beautiful Wedding and I was so pleased to have been part of such a special day. Even my gang scrubbed up well after the picture above in the car park and wore their Sunday best!

I have turned the Service and Reception into Videos which I hope Sarah and Paul will enjoy watching when they arrive home from honeymoon in the New Year! 

 

A Personal Message

Thank you Sarah and Paul for all the work and effort you and those close put into the day. From the written instructions, to booking the accommodation, the bus and that fun photo booth, you really did make it a great day for all your guests as well as a magical one for you both. Wishing you all the happiness in the world! Fiona x


Silent Sunday

Posted on December 18th, 2011 -

Silent Sunday

 

Christmas Tree with Kids decorations

Silent Sunday


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on December 17th, 2011 -

Kids & Puddles

Winter on the farm does need a good pair of wellies. Our kids know all the best puddles to test them on too! 

Kids in puddle

What have you been up to this week with the kids outside? Whether it is the park, the garden or a day out please come and share your outdoor play pictures here and support healthy outdoor living. Free Coombe Mill Kids Sun Hat to my favourite snap each month.  Grab the badge and link up below. Thank you.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Farm Holidays Cornwall


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on December 15th, 2011 -

Country Kids from Coombe Mill


Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

Posted on December 13th, 2011 -

My step by step guide to cooking this classic family dish.Chicken and Mushroom pie

I cook in large quantities for our family of 8 and for our reception shop meals. The quantities are very forgiving, go with what feels right for your family, or cook in bulk and freeze as I do.

This basic recipe is great for all the family as it is tasty enough for adults yet subtle enough for children. I am a big fan of one pot cooking for a family meal and not turning the kitchen into a menu of individual choices.

Ingredients 

Whole Fresh Chicken. Free range if possible.

Tip: You can use chicken breast which is much easier and quicker but more expensive or Turkey breast works well too and is cheaper than chicken.

Mushrooms sliced, any variety

Garlic clove or 2

Carrots or other vegetables of choice. Tip: sweet corn works well and popular with most children.

Salt and pepper

Olive oil and butter

Tin of evaporated milk

Plain flour

Method 

1. Remove Chicken skin and place in a large pan. Cover in boiling water and simmer gently for half an hour. Cool then remove from the pan, bone and place chicken pieces in a casserole dish. Reserve the liquid. Boling chicken may sound strange but it is the best method for keeping it plump and juicy. To me there is nothing worse than dried out chicken. 

2. Saute the mushrooms and crushed garlic cloves in a little olive oil and butter for 3 minutes on a high heat.

Lightly frying the mushrooms and garlic

3. Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish with a slotted spoon reserving the garlic and mushroom juices.

4. Return frying pan with juices to the heat. Add a few spoons of the reserved chicken juices, good knob of butter and large spoonful or 2 of plain flour, salt and pepper to taste. Gradually add the evaporated milk a little at a time.

Adding chicken stock to mushroom juicesseaoningAdding the milk

5. Simmer and stir till a creamy sauce is formed, if it is too thick just add more of the chicken stock and or evaporated milk.

simmering and stirring

6. Lightly boil the carrots or other vegetables and add them to the casserole before pouring over the sauce. 

drained cooked carrotsPouring over creamy sauce

7. I like to top the dish with either creamy mashed potato or  sliced saute potatoes. For these I peel and slice the potatoes then simply place them in a roasting tin with a little olive oil for about half an hour while the chicken is cooking. Then just arrange on the top of the casserole.

Tip: A puff pastry top works well for a change, or the basic mix served with rice. 

 Sliced PotatoCasserole ready for the Freezer

8. For my freezer dishes here at Coombe Mill, I then cool and freeze the meals ready for our guests to simply defrost and heat for about 30 – 40 minutes (depending on size). Otherwise the casserole can be chilled till needed in the fridge or heated straight away. A delicious family meal that can be made in advance ready for a busy evening or made in batches and frozen for those days when there just isn’t time!

 

Chicken & Mushroom Pie

Give it a go, ask any questions in the comments below, or come and stay here on holiday and try one of mine!