Well what a rotten day yesterday turned out to be. It had started so well with glorious sunshine but soon it clouded over then down came the rain and up came a freezing wind. So much for a heat wave!!!!! I did however get the dogs walked between showers and managed to stay dry. Of course this was just what I didn't want with the smoker out in the garden, however, it is fairly well protected and I think it managed to stay dry. The only really vulnerable part is the wood chip biscuits which resemble Weetabix. I have devised a cover for the hopper made out of a plastic water bottle so in the event of rain they are protected. I gave the salmon about 4 hours of smoke yesterday so I will continue today with a similar amount then hopefully the fish will be ready for slicing and vacuum packing.
The bright new leaves on the philadelphus [mock orange] look quite spectacular in the sun and soon it will be covered in heavily scented white flowers. The plastic grass is none too bad either and certainly has reduced the work load dramatically. You will also notice in the background of the picture that one of our neighbours also went down the route of solar panels. I was doing a few calculations yesterday and last year our expenditure for both gas and electricity was £18 once you take the winter fuel allowance into consideration. So we are absolutely delighted with our investment. Although we are not slaves to the solar panels I do make sure that I used most of the electricity when the sun is shining and we are generating our own power. I am gradually getting used to using the induction hob and I absolutely love the fact that it has a timer so I can set things to boil and when it goes "ping" they are done. Better still I can go out and leave something cooking knowing that it will turn itself off. Today I have a rabbit to tackle. It has been soaking in brine over night and this morning I will dismantle it and make the pie filling. Tomorrow we have guests so I will be looking at making a selection of salads and cold meats for lunch, you see I am still hopeful that the weather will cheer up. Let's hope I have it right and don't end up wishing I had made stew and dumplings!!!! Now here is a bit of good news I did an experiment with some coriander ginger and garlic which I prepared like pesto and then froze in small pots. Well yesterday I used some for the first time and made a curry with some coconut milk and the left over chicken. You will be pleased to know that it worked fine and the flavours had not suffered appreciably for freezing. This is something I will do again when I have half a bunch of coriander and a bit of ginger that I don't know what to do with. I knew that pesto freezes well provided you don't add the cheese so I saw no reason why it shouldn't work with the asian flavours. I used a light groundnut oil rather than olive which would have tainted the ingredients. If you choose to try this one word of warning make sure you label it well you don't want to mistake it for basil pesto!!!!
Have a nice week end and lets hope the weather does actually improve......