Tuesday morning

I had a nice successful day yesterday and managed to get the dogs out for a nice long run in the sunshine though I was surprised at how cold it still is.  The hens have finally been released into their big pen which means that I have to go twice a day once to let them out and once to put them to bed.  I was very pleasantly surprised that they put themselves to bed easily and I didn't end up having to chase them round the pen.  They have been having great fun with all the turf from the lawn and I am sure that given a couple of weeks it will no longer be turf but converted back to soil.  On my way back from the walk I dropped in at the butcher and restocked my freezer with normal meat items - we have been on game and veal for some time so a bit of pork or lamb will make a pleasant change.  I stopped off in Tesco to buy some lard as I had ideas of making some pasties today and while there spotted a load of pousin going cheap [no pun intended] so with the addition of a very good flavoured stuffing and wrapped in bacon they were cooked in the new halogen oven.  So far everything I have cooked in it has been a great success and I am feeling more confident using it.  The economics are obvious as you are heating a small space very quickly and only using 1.3 kilowatt-hour which is far less than a kettle.  Yes, a microwave is quicker but you don't get the nice browning effect and crisp pastry.  Using the two in combination is great as a large baked potato takes no time at all.  Today I am due to receive a delivery of vegetables which will include some beetroot and I have intentions of making a beetroot and chocolate cake which I will cook in the halogen oven - this will be my first attempt at a cake using it and we will have to see just how well it turns out.
As I sat drinking my cup of tea yesterday afternoon evening I thought someone had lit a bonfire as there were great cloud sweeping in over the garden but I then realised it was mist blowing in from the river Medway and shrouding the garden in fog.  I have never seen it come in in quite such an obvious way and as yet I cannot see if it is still there as it is pitch dark.
This morning I am all set to make a batch of pasties the pastry has been in the fridge over night so it is just a case of rolling it out and preparing the filling.  This time I think I will use the big oven or I might even freeze then uncooked as I do like them hot.
The wonderful Jane is due today and Mark the gardener is going to buy me some plants from a nursery  down near Canterbury.  I have two Phyllostachys Nigra [black bamboo] plants some three meters tall on order which will fill in a couple of gaps in the back of the border where we have removed the Tibetan raspberries which were getting over grown and are pretty spiky to deal with. I always feel it is really spring when my mind turns to planting. Now that the hens have vacated the glass house I can also get in there and have a bit of a clear up, you cannot imagine the mess that 4 hens can make over the course of the winter. But first there are the pasties to be made and the chicken stock to strain cool and freeze.

Have a good day all and lets hope the sunshine keeps us all warmer today.....

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