Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Cats, Colds and Cornbread Confusion






A not very scary scarecrow




All out war has been declared against the local cats who are using my veg patch as their public toilet. I have sprinkled smelly gel all over it and now I have brought out the big guns.  Well, a scarecrow and some windmills to be exact.  They are driving me mad, there are huge gaps in my planting where cats have dug them up.  Yesterday spurred on by the lovely weather I planted out the sweetcorn , courgettes, chard and squashes.  I'm really chuffed that I managed to grow them from seed so would be so upset if they were destroyed at this stage.  The sweetcorn have plastic milk botttles covering them while the others have a plastic tunnel placed over them until them are big enough to survive.  Any tips on keeping cats off the veg?



Growing milk bottles


The spinach and kale (and weeds) that have survived cat attack growing away nicely


I was tempted to make gluten free cornbread yesterday morning after seeing Dawns sausage and cornbread pie.  I am very confused by cornbread, it's called bread but it's nothing like a bread.  Is it savoury of sweet?



 I used this recipe found on Jamie Olivers website, but adapted it so that it was also dairy free using almond milk and soya margarine.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (buttermilk, whole milk, or almond milk work great)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative)


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Grease a medium-sized cast-iron skillet (or 8×8 baking dish) with bacon grease or butter, and place inside the oven while you prep the other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined.

Melt the butter and let it cool slightly while you whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Once the butter is cool, add it to the wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir gently together with a wooden spoon or spatula. Don’t over-mix, but let everything become incorporated.

Remove the heated skillet (or baking dish) from the oven and pour the batter in. Turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool slightly before slicing and serving. Serve with butter and honey for maximum comfort food feeling!

 The recipe is by Ariyele Ressler


Serving suggestions included eating it with chilli, I opted for the honey and I have to say it was nice as a sweet snack.

So can anyone, (especially any American readers), explain cornbread to me and how it is best served?  Savoury or sweet?

I am also still full of a cold.  It really doesn't feel right having a cold when the weather is glorious. In the winter you can snuggle up in a quilt with your lemon and honey, but it's too hot for that.  I came home from work this afternoon and just wanted to crawl in to bed instead of going down to the beach.   (or painting doors which I am meant to be getting on with) I must be really poorly!

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Sue a new follower on Bloglovin :)




34 comments:

  1. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/keep-cats-out-of-the-garden/ and plant up a sspecial catnip bed - they love it, and perhaps it will deter them from your more important veggie patch area ;)

    L_O_V_E the scarecrow :)

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    1. Thanks Dani, will check that out

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  2. I had problems with cats in the garden at our previous home. It made me so mad. I'm not sure why cat owners think it's okay to let their cats wander the neighbourhood using flower beds and vegetable gardens as their personal litter boxes. Can you tell I'm still a bit mad over it? Ha! :-)

    Where we live now there are no outdoor cats. They've been replaced by raccoons, rabbits, squirrels and deer. At least they don't use my garden boxes as litter boxes. They just eat the plants. I hope you manage to shake off that nasty cold you've got!

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    1. Haven't seen any raccoons out there :)

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  3. Corn bread can be sweet or savory, its nice with some chopped chillies and onion added as a savory, Cats I loath them they hate holly sprigs so if you have access to it lay some over the top of the newly sown seeds to deter them, whenever I eat or use any citrus fruit I scatter the peel on the beds they dont like the citrus smell but you have to keep replacing it as the smell dosent last too long, Have one of those big water cannon guns to hand and if you see a cat aim for it they will soon get the message and stay away.

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    1. Doh! I had forgotten about holly sprigs, I stuck some in the flower bed when I planted bulbs this year. I will put some around the plants. The gel I use is citronella but it doesn't last long.

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  4. Cornbread is mainly served with chili, but is good with any barbecued meat, baked beans, or creamed corn. Now polenta is the rage for cakes, there is no reason that cornbread can't take the same role, so drizzling with honey or real maple syrup is goo, but I bet it tastes great with any kinds of berries too. it is a useful side dish as Americans say, and my children always loved it.

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    1. Thanks for the tips Lynn. I was thinking of making some 'proper' baked beans sometime so I could eat it with them.

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  5. I forgot to comment on the cat problem when I was whittering on about cornbread, but my cat has been deterred by some bamboo sticks being planted at a slant in amongst my seeds so there is nowhere for her to get a good scratching action going, or for her rather large tabby bum to fit. Apologies for the typos in my first comment, real maple syrup is not goo but good. Have a lovely day in Cornwall - miss it so much, but I will be there in May. Whoopee!

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  6. I will order some good weather for your trip :)

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  7. Hope the cats stay away now. So annoying after all your hard work. I am lucky with all my dogs no cat would dare! Hope you feel better soon.
    Rosezeeta

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    1. Thanks Rosezeeta, really fed up with this cold now!

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  8. I lay spikey twigs/branches across our patch and also bamboo canes and possibly some pieces of chicken wire with the sharp edges tucked in - anything to "clutter up" the bare soil until the plants take over - it seems to work

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    1. Right, I'm going to go and lay anything I can find on them!

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  9. I am lucky in that my slinky Jane visitor cat has seen off all the others, I have raked a corner bed to a very fine tilth and she uses that most of the time. I brought some pepper dust with me from Lincs and scatter that around my new plants and seeds. I have pushhed twiggy sticks in here and there and used holly leaves. A few things have got netting or fleece covers supported by bits of old hose pipe pushed onto canes in the soil. I just try to cover all the angles really. I have cornbread with chilli and any "wet" food, it makes a change from rice or pasta and I like it.

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  10. *grin* -- i second the citrus peels and anything to make scratching an unpleasant experience for the cat. if you're feeling engineer-ish you could bury a bit of string tied to a tin can full of pennies or nuts/bolts <-- anything that will make a rattling noise --- and booby-trap the garden. once you frighten a cat as it's attempting it's "toilette", it'll always remember. [i used to work in a cat hospital] :)

    i've never understood cornbread either, it's neither sweet nor savoury to me.....even after living in the southern US for a bit, i still don't get it.

    hope your cold feels better soon!

    xo

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  11. Your scarecrow made me smile! Your cornbread made my mouth water! xx

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  12. I don't have a problem with cats but the pigeons round here decimate my veg patch if I'm not careful. I like the milk bottle idea. Although I don't eat meat I will often make cornbread to serve with gammon or ham. The sweetness offsets the salty meat really well... According to my family! Hope your cold gets better soon... I had a cold all last week which was not much fun.

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    1. We don't have a pigeon problem round here and luckily the seagulls aren't interested in the veg patch.....just the bin bags!

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  13. few ideas for cats, you can buy silent roar, which is dried Lion poo, it does work but not for long and it get expensive. Cats hate lemons, I often slice a lemon ans throw around the plot, I also grow lemon grass and lemon balm in the herb garden. The best for my small veg plot, I have added hoops and covered with a net, will keep the bugs away as well, the rain gets through and helps the tempature on the cooler nights.

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    1. I have some lemon balm in a pot, I will plant it in the veg plot, thanks for the tips

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  14. Good luck with the cats -- you have my sympathy! As for the cornbread, it depends what you are doing with it, but I would say it is savoury more than sweet, and is not bread in the bread sense! Add ins are great, I just made some with blue cheese and sage, you could do chilli, actual kernels of corn, a bit of cheese, red and/or green peppers. Eat it hot with a bit of butter with savoury dishes - hearty soups, chilli, just as it is warm out of the oven. I can imagine it with bacon (not sure if you are veggie?) and some maple syrup. I wouldn't do anything like jam or marmalade, but that is my personal choice! It does taste sweet compared to bread, but there is no sugar in it. At the end of the day enjoy! I hope that helps and gives you some ideas. xx

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    1. I love the sound of blue cheese and sage, I have put chilli and kernels in it before. I put sun dried tomatoes in the g.f. bread I make so could try that as well. Thanks for all the ideas Amy!

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  15. Your beds look very pretty with the scarecrow and windmill. I have problems with chickens digging up my garden but I suppose that's my fault for letting them roam.
    You've inspired me to make cornbread. It looks yummy. Feed a cold they say, and you did:)

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  16. Google 'Wind Harp Bottle' very easy to make and you can paint them, will keep cats and birds away from your veggies. Apart from that holly or gorse or a hose pipe! We have one cat out of our six that loves newly turned earth, preferable a newly dig bed in the tunnel! the rest of them are very good.

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  17. Yes I was looking at the water pistols in the garden centre! Our cat doesn't go up there, it is all the neighbours cats.

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  18. It is annoying isn't it, that if a pet dog pooed in your garden or sat on your outdoor furniture or scratched it up, you would be in your rights to go and complain to the owner, and it would most likely be dealt with, but cats - don't get me started! I have tried everything, I even spent an afternoon carefully creating a bamboo maze over a newly dug up patch of soil, only to see a cat carefully squat in it like a Ninja. My neighbour's cat also likes toying with birds but not finishing them off, if a dog persistently attacked wildlife you could probably get the dog warden to do something about it. Strange set of double standards isn't it?

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  19. My philosophy is animals do what they do, that's nature. Cats are semi wild so wander around, it would be wrong to shut them in. Dogs on the other hand are domesticated so we can prevent them from going into neighbours gardens. If cats see a freshly dug veg patch they will go in it. I blame my cat for being such a wimp, she sits inside and growls at other cats in our garden instead of chasing them off :)

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  20. If you find an answer to the cats please let me know. I haven't even tried to grow veg for the last couple of years because of them. I also need to empty my bird feeders, they have gone mouldy because no birds come near anymore. It's such a shame as I used to love watching them. I hope you are soon rid of your cold. X

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  21. Hi, thank you for the welcome, I hope I am the Sue on bloglovin. :) love your blog. No suggestions for the cats though sorry. Maybe get a dog lol ? X

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  22. Hi, thank you for the welcome, I hope I am the Sue on bloglovin. :) love your blog. No suggestions for the cats though sorry. Maybe get a dog lol ? X

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