Monday, 24 October 2016

All things Autumn

We had some frost on the field one morning last week so I guess it's officially Autumn in Cornwall.  Sunday roasts are on the menu most weeks now, no getting away with a bbq outside so the bearded one has hung up his pinny for another year.  I have been fiddling with the lentil bake that gets trotted out regularly to go with the roast for us veggies in the family and so far this is my favourite version of it.  If I don't write it down somewhere I will forget what I actually put in it and it went down so well I'm thinking of making it for our Xmas dinner.  Nothing fancy but something all of us like (which is a flipping miracle in our family)  It is gluten and oat free so I can eat it, no mushrooms which youngest hates and no nuts which both of them hate.  As usual my cooking involves throwing in whatever I find and not measuring anything so these are rough measurements.  Adjust them to your own tastes, excuse the terrible photo, everyone was too hungry to wait for me to faff around with the camera.


A couple of cups of red lentils (very approx, )
2 small red onions
1 large sweet potato
1 sweet pointed pepper
handful of spinach
1/2 tsp of thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
2 - 3 oz Grated cheese

Cook the lentils in your usual way, drain well and set aside
Cook the sweet potato in the microwave and scrape out when cooled and set aside
Saute chopped onions and pepper until soft,
Add herbs, salt and pepper stir well and simmer for a further minute
Put the lentils and sweet potato into the pan with the onion and mix well
Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted.
Mix in the cheese.

Grease a loaf tin and pour the mixture in, smooth the top and place into a medium oven until heated right though and the top has browned slightly.

I actually made it in the morning and put it in the fridge ready to put in the oven with the rest of the roast in the evening.  Things that can be made ahead make life a lot easier!

It has been absolutely chucking it down here today, the cows are huddled against the hedges seeking shelter while the deer seem oblivious.  We needed something warming for our evening meal, as usual despite having lots of lovely cookery books I went online and found this Moroccan Chickpea Stew from The first mess   We had cavolo nero in the veg box so that went in as well, it made a lovely warming stew that certainly hit the spot.

I am still working on my shawl, I think I must be the worlds slowest knitter and could do with wearing it this winter not next!  I am o.k. with the shawl itself but it has a frilly bit to add to it which is looking pretty daunting so I may be asking for help from the knitters out there some time soon.  It is a Debbie Bliss pattern knitted in Fine Donegal from this book.  My wool is actually more of a green/blue than the photo shows, it reminds me of the winter seas.

Work continues slowly on the house  and we are working outside at weekends (don't you just hate getting home from work in the dark!)  We are waiting for the power company to upgrade the poles to the house before we can put up the solar panels, we are also in the process of replacing the light fittings with more efficient energy saving ones.  On the day we moved in, as it got dark we realised that most of the lights were not working, it seems that as they blew they were not replaced, we could barely see a thing!

 I was delighted to see several goldfinches in the garden this morning, they were occasionally seen at our old house tempted by niger seeds, but were pecking away at the grass here.  I have also been watching the mother deer with her youngster who are often in the next field.  The baby isn't completely weaned yet and I managed to get a photo of it feeding when it was in one of the more distant fields.  Not a great photo but you can just make them out.

I hope you have all had a great weekend.

Chickpea xx

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post, and sorry I have not replied, life is a bit hectic as usual.  I have had a busy but lovely long weekend, it is the Samba Bands 10th Anniversary so to celebrate members old and new gathered for an evening of fun and music.  Starting with playing Samba around a fire pit in the field, watched by a beautiful moon.  Then three members played their guitars and sang in beautiful harmony.  The evening ended with another member of the band on his 'decks' playing some 'funky' music that had us all throwing some shapes on the dance floor. (yes I have all the terminology)  Oh to be so musically talented, I would love to be able to strum a guitar and sing along.  I do love it when other people make a gathering special by sharing their musical abilities.  Unfortunately, the instruments in a Samba band are not really something to play solo and are very very loud.  Unless you have the whole band and somewhere with no neighbours it is not really something I could bring to a party on my own, banging on my little tam tunelessly would soon annoy all the other guests.  However the full Samba band playing together is a thing of joy and has everyone jigging around.  It was a wonderful night full of fun and friends,  my friend came all the way down from Norwich to attend.  She stayed with me (among the boxes I'm afraid) and we had a lovely few days catching up.  Lots of coffee and cake was consumed, we nosed around the charity shops in Falmouth and Truro and I even found a place that sold gluten free veggie pasties whoopee!! It is so lovely to have friends visit and I'll miss her.

I was  also delighted with another visiter, as you can see from the photos above we had a visit from this magnificent Stag.  Isn't he a beauty!  I first spotted him from the bedroom window, went into David Attenborough mode and crept down the field to get closer.  As you can see it didn't take him long to get wind of me as I balanced on a hedge trying not to fall onto the barbed wire.  I then crawled up behind a mound in the field thinking I could fool him, as I peeped over the top there he was staring straight at me, probably thinking what a plonker.  Just look at those antlers, he looks ready to protect his ladies from any interlopers.  Just to be near such a powerful creature was absolutely thrilling.  He didn't stay long after giving me the stare, and ushered his ladies off to safety.  I love living here so much, I wake everyday and think how lucky I am.

My craft room is coming together, I had the floor laid yesterday and I love it,  I can't wait to get everything set up and start a new sewing project. It's all very 'shabby chic' but this is exclusively my 'woman cave' so I can go mad and have whatever I want. This is the first room I hope to finish, It is the smallest and had the least to do, just a few holes to fill in.  I keep forgetting to take 'before' photos, but it had pink walls, a grubby pink carpet and a huge curtain pole and curtains in what is a very tiny box room.  The pole and curtains have come down and as we are not overlooked probably won't be replaced with anything.  I'll share some photos when it is finished, I now have to fit all of my many boxes of craft bits and pieces in here!

I hope life is good to you all

Chickpea xx

Monday, 10 October 2016

Annoying the Country Folk (Controversial post alert)

I knew moving back into the countryside would bring up very different issues than living in the city, one of which is hunting and the whole 'Countryside Alliance'    So when the local hunt sent a card to the  house addressed to the previous owner saying they would be hunting in our fields I rang them and pointed out that we now owned the property and would not be allowing hunting in any shape or form here. Evidently I was not believed and the very next morning someone came to the door asking for the previous owner while refusing to say who they were.  No doubt they will try to find the person who bought the rest of the fields to get permission to hunt all around us.  I found it all rather menacing as he told me on the phone that 'no doubt I would be seeing them sometime'.  Many years ago we rented a winter let on a farm, early one morning the hunt turned up and I had to rush out to rescue my two terrified cats as the hunters laughed making lewd comments about my 'pussies'.  All very unpleasant and not an experience I would want to repeat.   It is a subject that people feel very passionate about on both sides, I have had chickens killed by a fox, I didn't blame the fox who was doing what nature intended, I blamed myself for not keeping them secure.  It is awful when lambs are killed by foxes but I don't believe using dogs to hunt them is the answer.  None of my farming uncles and cousins have ever felt the need to don the scarlet.  It may not make me popular with some local landowners but I will not be welcoming them.

Of course there is the good side of living in the Countryside, someone from the local village knocked on the door asking if we could store his camper van in our barn - it's surprising how popular having a big barn can make you ;)  When he discovered we are new to the area he went out of his way to tell us all the goings on in the village and dropped by this morning with all sorts of info about activities including the W.I.  My only experience of the W.I. was when I worked in Sheltered Housing and the lovely ladies from the local W.I. would come around with all sorts of things for our residents.  My immediate thought was I'm far too young for the W.I., and it's all jam and Jerusalem, but realise that I may be doing them a disservice.  Are any of you members and what are your experiences?  Would they welcome a left wing, gobby atheist?

Our local town recently elected a Mock Mayor after throwing the real Mayor into prison.  He processed through the town, in and out of the shops while people threw sprouts at him.   I have no explanation......but I love weird goings on.

In the evening the history of Penryn was illuminated onto the towns buildings.  Luckily my friend who is a born and bred 'Rinner'  did a running commentary for me which included the fact that the towns people hid a very infamous lady pirate.

Life has been extremely busy but came to a halt of the weekend when I came down with a horrible cold and spent most of it sleeping.  I hope you are all keeping well, there seems to be a lot of things going around at the moment.

Chickpea xx