Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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My step by step guide to cooking this classic family dish.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
6. Lightly boil the carrots or other vegetables and add them to the casserole before pouring over the 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.
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!
Give it a go, ask any questions in the comments below, or come and stay here on holiday and try one of mine!
I have been awarded with the Liebster Blog award and am very honoured. This is an award bestowed upon bloggers with less than 200 followers and the idea is to foster new connections between bloggers. Apparently the word Leibster is German and means dearest, so this is a great award to have been given by the lovely More_than_a Mum.
The rules for the award are fairly straightforward, to thank the person who nominated you and nominate 5 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
Here is my list of 5 bloggers I am following who appear to have less than 200 followers. Sincere apologies if I have misjudged this and you have more but the Liebster award comes to you with best intentions and congratulations from Coombe Mill!
A truly bubbly lady with a delightful toddler called Emily who is the center of her lovely blog, not to mention parenting product reviews and some great competitions. Catch Clare on twitter too at emmys_mummy
I love Amanda’s writing style. She has a book out called Diary of a Mummy Misfit and her parenting posts on the blog are so well written I often find myself laughing out loud. Well worth a read. Mummy_Misfit will find Amanda on twitter
Weekends are precious and when we are alone here on the farm we like to turn feeding the animals into a family affair. We can happily while away a morning on the farm, feeding and petting the animals, chatting and catching up on any little jobs that need doing along the way.
The children have been keen for Daddy to teach them how to drive the tractor. Today it was Theo’s turn. All our younger guests have a “pretend” go, sitting on Farmer Nick or Ted’s knee and helping at the wheel. Theo decided he wanted to be like his big brothers and really take control. Pretty good for a first try, though at age 9 he is still not strong enough to apply the brakes!
Some highlights from our morning
The animals are all very hungry now that winter is here and delighted to see us with their daily rations!
Daddy had his tool kit on hand for a spot of repairing in Jurassic Park (the Chicken, Duck and Wallaby enclosure). A few slats had fallen off the chicken shelters and they are an essential now that the weather is turning for winter. They will be all cosy again now and we may even find an egg or two for our breakfast in there!
The children rode back to the house in style as Daddy allowed them a somewhat unconventional ride on the tractor!
Please come and share your snaps of the children enjoying outdoor play. Active minds and bodies make for healthy kids.
December is upon us and we have begun enjoying the wonderful Cornish build up to Christmas.
Festival Fun in Padstow
Last weekend, Padstow Town held their annual christmas festival. It is such a lovely town with the harbour, beautiful clothes and gift shops and all delicous places to eat from bakeries with tasty pasties to pubs and restaurants, including the famous Rick Stein restaurants http://www.rickstein.com/Restaurants.html. For the festival add in an amazing Samba band which can be heard right across the harbour, 2 large craft tents with all sorts of lovely Christmas present ideas and cookery demonstrations, finishing with turning on of the spectacular Xmas lights. It makes a perfect day out just ambling round and soaking up the atmosphere.
We met up with friends there for a lovely family day. The children adored the stands inside the tents, helping themselves to the chocolate and fudge freebies, ensuring they had sampled every variety from lemon cheesecake to chilli chocolate before parting with their money! Clio adored the craft stands, as did Mummy, while the Samba band generated crowds of on lookers.
After a successful afternoon, the children were torn with staying on to see the wonderful lights by night and being back to our local village in time to meet Santa, sing carols and enjoy a mince pie or two all courtesy of the St Breward Carnival committee. With mulled wine on offer from St Breward Stores http://www.stbrewardstores.co.uk/ I knew where my vote lay. The kids were keen to see Santa too, so we promised a return visit to Padstow one evening when school finishes for fish and chips and admiring the Christmas lights. An annual treat we look forward to each year.
Santa never fails to impress. I love the twinkle in the children’s eyes when they see his sleigh all lit up and the Christmas music blasting out to signify his arrival. My eldest 2 now consider themselves too grown up for this one, but to the younger 4 it is still magical. I remember my own excitement at Christmas time around their age and find myself wrapped up in those feelings all over again with them.
Still to Come…
Santa has many visits still to make local to us at Trelawney Garden Centre, Trago Mills and the lovely Santa express at Lappa Valley and Bodmin to name but a few!
Eden at Christmas
The Eden Project is under half an hour from us and the lights are again quite something, but the real treat there is the ice skating. The children adore this one and it lasts right through until the new year. http://www.edenproject.com/ Go skating then warm up with a visit to the biomes!
Coombe Lights Up
School finishes early this year on 15th December and I am looking forward to many of the other exciting Christmas treats in Cornwall still to come. This weekend our Coombe Mill lights go up and the real Christmas trees come in for all the properties which is a great family event here. Plenty of ladder climbing for Farmer Nick and much dancing around below for the children shouting “up a bit Daddy” “over a bit Daddy” and so on.
Christmas Eve at Coombe Mill
Finally if you are staying at Coombe Mil for Christmas we have an open house Supper party on Christmas Eve for all our guests after the local Church Family Christingle Service. A wonderful way to begin Christmas with the Nativity story at Church then family drinks and dinner with us. We have even got a little Santa surprise for all the children staying with us!
If you are considering coming to stay do give us a call on 01208 850344 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org as we still have some cottages left and would love you to come and join in the fun. If it is all a litle too close for this year, then do consider a family gathering here for Christmas 2012.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.