gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

It’s porridge, but not as we know it

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In our house you need to be very careful in the mornings which pot you take your porridge from.
Those with two legs and no feathers get fruity, nutty porridge to keep them going for the day. We love it.
Those with two legs and feathers get porridge with pasta, raisins, sunflower seeds, meal worms, left overs of rice, potatoes, vegetables, bread crusts….
They love it!
In this cold weather, with so little sun light, we need to keep tummies full and warm to keep those yummy eggs coming.

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The day starts at around 7.30 am when light is just showing in the sky, and the ladies usually retire for the evening around 4.15pm, earlier if it is very dark and wet. I love peeking in at them all snuggled up in their feathered duvets. I wonder what the chat is about?

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World Egg Day. It’s today!

The International Egg Commission tells us-
“World Egg Day is a unique opportunity to help raise awareness of the benefits of eggs and is celebrated in countries all around the world.
World Egg Day was established at the IEC Vienna 1996 conference when it was decided to celebrate World Egg Day on the second Friday in October each year.
For centuries, eggs have played a major role in feeding families around the globe. They are an unbeatable package when it comes to versatility and top-quality protein at a very affordable price. And they are also an excellent source of choline, essential in memory and brain development. When you factor in convenience and terrific taste, there is just no competition.

Eggs are one of nature’s highest quality sources of protein, and indeed contain many of the key ingredients for life. The proteins contained within eggs are highly important in the development of the brain and muscles, have a key role to play in disease prevention and contribute to well being in latter life, particularly in relation to eyesight (avoiding macular degeneration).”
the IEC press release is available here

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This ad for the Irish Bord Bia claims to deter in your personality type by how you like your eggs in the morning.
Personally I like mine with a kiss!

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Happy World Egg Day!

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Giant Green Cabbage

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It isn’t every Sunday morning I come home from church with a giant green cabbage. But today I did.
And what a whopper! Those are my favourite pair of summer shoes (UK size 6) beside this beauty, grown by “Pip” who gave us a talk on having faith the size of a mustard (or in this case cabbage) seed.
We will be enjoying the heart of the cabbage, the Gillybirds are tucking into the first few outer leaves, which came complete with a dessert of slugs.

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I hope the Gillyboys eat their cabbage with as much enthusiasm as the hens did!

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Ending term with a Big Pop!

Smallest Gillyboy, number 4, leaves primary education tomorrow. An occasion filled with happy memories, sad partings and nervous anticipation of the transfer to “big school”. And that’s just me, I’m not sure how he is feeling.
Yesterday he came home and dropped the bomb that today his class were to provide healthy fruit based snacks to be sold in aid of charity to the rest of the school at break time.
Some boys were making smoothies, others providing fruit kebabs. Our idea was to make healthy popcorn. Popcorn seems to be enjoying a revival as a healthy snack these days. The Gillybirds just like the Unpopped variety. Having never tried savoury popcorn there was a lot of googling and then a trip out to Tesco for ingredients.
We have a popcorn maker which was an excellent and well used birthday gift many years ago. It works by a concentrated blast of hot air, so there is no oil or butter involved at this stage. It’s one downside it that it is very noisy.
The dogs quickly learnt that not all the popped corn ends up in the bowl, they sat eagerly with their tongues hanging out waiting for a stray piece to chomp.
To the freshly popped corn we added-

Chilli powder, lime zest, juice of 1/2 lime, about 2 tsp of oil to bind, crushed sea salt.
Or
Chopped fresh garlic and rosemary lightly fried in a knob of butter, sea salt, Parmesan cheese.

Nothing was weighed or measured, just chucked in and taste tested until we got it just right.

All very healthy and extremely tasty. Little Gillyboy has quite a mature palette. I was hoping his school chums did too.
We bagged it up and labelled it, fingers crossed that it would stay fresh and crisp overnight.

He came out of school beaming today as the popcorn had sold like those proverbial hot cakes. All for a good cause.

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I am passing on these toppings as some of you may be spending your nights watching a certain global football tournament and looking for some lower calorie nibbles.

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Mrs Gillybirds Abroad

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At the end of February I enjoyed a wonderful week of skiing in Folgaria, Italy. We had beautiful sunshine, fresh snow, plenty of laughs, new friends made and old friendships reinforced, and my wee legs got lots of exercise. Thankfully I managed to follow these instructions on the boot room door in the right order

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And just about avoided this happening on several occasions

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And in the evenings, there were always interesting options on the menu

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It was a lot of fun!

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Kiss Me Quiche

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We have had the most amazing weather for the past week. Today the temperature is down 10 degrees and it is raining a little, and surprisingly it is a welcome break for the garden, the dogs and those suffering from sunburn!
Mr Gillybirds was away from home longer than usual last week so to mark his return to the coop I decided to make some quiches from scratch. Yes, pastry and everything. Now those who know me (hello Mrs C) know that I have a particular dislike of pastry. Yuk. So to roll out the pasty pale stuff is a big deal.
And just to make matters worse I dug out our dear friendMichel Roux “Eggs” book. You may recall my blog about a year ago when I attempted Michel’s roulade with limited success. I should have learnt my lesson and thrown this book away then.
As a girl guide back in the day our motto was “be prepared”. So we were doomed from the start.
Just in from the school run at 3.30pm I crack open the book at “flan pastry” and read that once made it has to rest for 1 – 2 hours before baking. So I hurry the process and by 3.40 the pastry is in the fridge having a wee rest. Not so poor poor mama, now dealing with squeezing homework out of hot, sticky boys.
By 4.30 I can’t wait anymore. If wholesome food is not on the table by 5.30 there is likely to be trouble. The fairly well rested dough is rolled out and subjected to cutting, pricking, parchment wrapping, covered in baking beans and baked “blind” for a precious 20 minutes.
In the meantime Michel and I focus on our fillings. Good job those hens have been on laying form, as this recipe for one quiche requires 3 whole eggs and 6 yolks, and lots of double cream and cheese. That’s a whole lot of eggs! I made two quiche, one traditional bacon lardons and the other salmon and broccoli.

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20 minutes later, the beans and the parchment were removed and the pastry subjected to another 15 minutes of the oven. It is approaching 5 pm and already the Gillyboys are restless.
By 5.10 the yummy creamy filling is added, with grated cheese mixed through. Keep calm and carry on.
This bakes for 20 minutes.
It’s 5.30. I’m starting to panic.
“Lower the oven temperature setting.”says Michel. “Cook for another 15 minutes”. I read on…”Scatter cheese flakes over the surface and bake for a final 5 minutes”. I feel like scattering ripped pages of the book around the kitchen. I resist.
Oh my. Another 20 minutes to go. But it was worth it. Golden and glowing the quiche emerge from the oven at 6.50. And no one complained.
With fresh salad leaves, some fried baby potatoes and tomatoes so sweet and juicy we really enjoyed this meal.
I’ve got leftovers for lunch for me and second Gillyboy who is studying at home. I think they may be even nicer cold.
After days of hotel food (yes even lobster) Mr G really does appreciate some good honest home cooking. 😉

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PS did I eat the pastry? Well no, I fed it to the dog.

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