Organic Pasta Recipe

I made my own Tagliatelle yesterday… a first for me.   I have to say I really enjoyed making it, so much so, i’m now converted … no more shop bought pasta for us

Recipe :

  • 250g Italian “00” Flour
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 4 Medium Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Cold Water
  • Pinch of Salt

Method :

  • Put the flour in a mound on a clean surface (preferably marble) and make a well in the middle.   Put the whole egg, egg yolks, 1 tbsp cold water, the polive oil and salt into the well.
  • Using your fingertips, mix all the ingredients in the well together, then gradually draw the flour into the centre little by little.
  • When the dough is almost completely amalgamated, knead it 4 or 5 times with the heel of your hand, then roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film, and refridgerate for 1 hour.
  • Divide the pasta dough inhalf; re-wrap one portion.   Roll the other portion through a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting.   Continue to roll it through the machine repeatedly, narrowing the setting by one notch each time until the sheet of dough is 1.5mm thick.   Roll it through once more to prevent shrinkage when you cut it.
  • Fit the appropriate cutter on the machine and cut the dough into linguine, spaghetti or tagliatelle.
  • lay the strands on a sheet of grease proof paper or lightly floured parchment to aerate them and prevent tangling.
  • To cook the pasta bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil with a few drops of olive oil added.   Add the freshly cut pasta and cook for abour 1 1/2 – 2 mins, until it is al dente (tender, but firm to the bite).   The precise cooking time is determined by width and thickness of the pasta strands.


Recipe Source : “Eggs by Michel Roux” ISBN 1-84400-196-2

They’re Crowing and Fighting !

Oh dear…. I went out to the cheeps this morning, only to find big partridge pekin’s comb and wattles bleeding, and hanging onto white silkie cross’s neck,  the two of them running around the coop fighting one another, with Big PP having a distinct advantage….

BPP’s wattles and comb covered in blood….

So I dug out the old rabbit hutch and seperated him, putting small PP in alongside him for company, these two seem to get on and have not fought (yet)! … then Big PP started to crow! abeit a squeeky baby version of a crow… it really sounded a bit like the character Anne from Little Britain! 🙂

My son seems to think that small PP might just be a girl (he is hoping) but apart from their size, they both have similar colouring… my friend over on Neepsthat I bought them from advised that a good way of telling the sex with partridge pekins is… males have a copper/chestnut plain breast feathers and females have lighter lacey coloured breasts.   I’m sure they’re both boys…

Unless I can find new homes for them… time is running out for the PP’s.

6 Weeks Old Pekin Chicks…

Here are my cheeps… they are now 6 weeks old, and my friend has helped me to identify the sex of them.

First picture is our black pekin, this wee one really holds itself well and has such a lovely nature… and as I predicted it is a wee girl Yipeeeeee…. I can now pick a name for her 🙂

Then we have a lovely pair of partridge pekins, unfortunately they are both boys, and I am in the process of finding them a new home/s.  I’m quite sad, because they both come to the front of the coop to meet me.

Last but not least Punk Chick.. I literally had to pin this one down to get a picture, it squawked and struggled like hell, i’m amazed I managed to get this picture.. no ideal of the sex yet, but i’ll hazard a 99.9% bet that its a boy too.


Meet the Cheeps : Black Pekin

This is our black silkie chick d.o.b. 18.05.08

I have a feeling this one might (just might) be female, but shall still remain nameless until I know 100%.

I sat up the back garden on the swing seat with this morning with this wee one and it quite happily sat perched on my wrist… I have to admit  this one is my favourite 🙂


Meet the Cheeps Punk Chick (Silkie-X)

Meet Punkie our little silkie cross chick, we always said that we wouldn’t give names to any of the cheeps until we knew what sex they were….

This little one is the exception… it’s wee feathers stick out all over the place and is a mixture between a bundle of fluff and feathers 🙂

My other half is convinced its a wee boy and calls it Sid (as in Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols) because everytime he looks in on the cheeps to make sure they are all ok… punkie is chasing all the others bossing them around and squaring up to one of the partridge bantams..

I’ll post regular updates on the cheeps and take regular photographs of punkie/Sid to chart his/her progress

The Baby Birds at the top of the Garden

Baby Bird

Originally uploaded by T o w n i e

This year our bird house had a couple of wee visitors, they made a nest, laid some eggs, and hatched their babies…

I took this picture yesterday, I think they are blue tits, but I may be wrong, as the parents had a kinda tufty thing going on at the back of their heads…. so I should maybe say they are tits of some kind but not sure which.

Today when I got in from work they were gone… fully fledged and flown the nest… I’ll miss them cheeping away and their parents flying in and out feeding their brood.

I wonder if they will continue to visit out garden.

Rapid White Bread (Breadmaker Version)

My son put in a request this morning for some home made bread… so I had a scan through my bread book (ISBN10: 0-7548-1788-1) for a quickie recipe to make 1 small loaf..

Here’s the recipe :

  • 210ml/7.5fl oz/1 cup of Water
  • 22ml/1.5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 375g/13oz/3.25 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 15ml/1 tbsp skimmed milk powder (non fat dry milk)
  • 7.5ml/1.5 tsp salt
  • 15ml/1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5ml/1 tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast.


  • Pour the water and the sunflower oil unto the bread machine pan.   However, of the instructions for your particular machine specify that the yeast is to be placed in the pan first, then reverse the order in which you add the liquid and dry ingredients.
  • Sprinkle over the flour, covering the water.   Add the milk powder.   Place the salt and sugar in separate corners of the bread pan,   Make a shallow indent in the centre of the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast.
  • Set the bread machine to the rapid/quick setting, medium crust and press start.
  • Remove the bread at the end of the baking cycle and turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

Cooks Tip:

On the quick setting the yeast has less time to work, and breads may not rise as high as those cooked on the normal/basic setting.

In cold weather it may be necessary to use lukewarm water, to help speed up the action of the yeast.

Make your Own : Chinese 5 Spice Powder

Make your own : Chinese 5 Spice Powder.

I bought some pork belly strips with a view to sticking them onto the bbq this weekend, I thought I would give them a try instead of pork ribs, easier for the kids to eat (no bones) also it is a relatively cheaper cut of meat.. and tasty to boot!

I wanted a Marinade for them so scanned through my bookcase and found a book called “Barbeque” over 200 sizzling dishes for outdoor eating – ISBN 1-84038-260-0

Found a fab recipe on Page 32 – Five-Spice Rib-Stickers.. sounded fab so got stuck in and started to make it, only had one problem, I didnt have any Five Spice, so had to make my own from scratch, grinding the whole spices to powder in my pestle & mortar.

Five Spice Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground star anise
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

Combine all the spice powder together, use what you need and store the rest in an airtight container.

Marinade Recipe :

  • 2 tsp. Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh root ginger
  • half a teaspoon of chili sauce
  • 4 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. dark muscavado sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sunflower oil

Mix all these ingredients into a bowl and add the pork belly/ribs and marinade overnight in the fridge.

Verdict : 10/10  – they tasted great and the kids loved them too! 🙂

Coffee Choc Chip Cookies


I made these tonight for my daughter, she had a few friends round 🙂 Needless to say, there are none left lol



  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) / 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 1 cup / 6 ounces light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups /  8.75 oz cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet white & Milk chocolate chips
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F / 150 degrees C / Gas Mark 2. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
    2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
    3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
    4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
    Makes:   24 cookies