Archive for October 17th, 2008

The first frost!

I thought it was a bit nippy when I got up this morning but I didn’t really think about it until I got to the farm and realised that we’ve had our first frost.

The chickens were not impressed but the pigs were nice and toasty in their arks. Bubble was a bit shivery when she was eating her breakfast so I’ll top up the bedding in their ark, but I can stop worrying about them now.

Grumpy chickens -17 October 2008

Grumpy chickens -17 October 2008

Snipe -17 October 2008

Snipe -17 October 2008

Actually, the crisp* grass underneath my feet made me realise how much I hope it will be a cold, frosty winter. The pig field is prone to getting very very muddy in heavy rain and I’m not sure how much solid ground will be left if the winter is like the “summer” we endured. If it’s cold and frozen, we’ll be cold but not swimming in mud. I can give the pigs lots of extra bedding if it’s cold, but I can’t do much for them if it’s wet.

So here’s hoping!

* not a hard frost so soggy grass once I lifted my foot up

Slow cooking

Compostwoman’s recent(ish) post about her new slow cooker and the photos of their first meal from it has made me want to dust off our slow cooker. I haven’t used it much recently, but B and I always used to enjoy its contents about once a week – such an easy way to cook, especially if you know you’re going to be home late. Our favourite meal was brisket with potatoes, leeks, carrots, peas, beans… pretty much any vegetable going, plus a stock cube. Chuck it all in (I used to put the potatoes in first, put the meat on top of them, pour in the stock, chuck in the remaining veggies and then top up with water from the kettle til the meat was covered), put it on auto and come home 10 hours later for a yummy-licious meal.


So last night I set about googling some recipes and, as you do, ended up at Wikipedia. Only to discover that:

Vitamins and other trace nutrients are lost, particularly from vegetables, partially by enzyme action during cooking. When vegetables are cooked at higher temperatures these enzymes are rapidly denatured and have less time in which to act during cooking. Since slow cookers work at temperatures well below boiling point and do not rapidly denature enzymes, vegetables tend to lose trace nutrients. Blanched vegetables, having been exposed to very hot water, have already had these enzyme rendered largely ineffective, so a blanching or sauteing pre-cook stage will leave more vitamins intact. Green colors are retained better when vegetables are cooked quickly as plant cells are less likely to lose acids.


Turns out that my idea of a super healthy, very yummy and quick n easy stew / casserole might be yummy and quick (you know what I mean) but isn’t actually that healthy.

Back to the drawing board?

Or has anyone got any suggestions?