Posted by: hencorner | July 11, 2016

We’ve moved!

Hen in Street

We are delighted to announce that this blog has now moved to a shiny new website at HenCorner.com
We have transferred across all previous subscribers and encourage you to sign up to new posts on the new site as we won’t be posting on here any more.

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Thank you for your support,

Join us on the journey!

 

 

 

Posted by: hencorner | June 30, 2016

Our Urban Smallholding

Six Chicks Header

We’ve been living the Good Life recently; the kitchen garden is booming, we’ve harvested nearly £700 worth of food, the bees are making honey and the new chicks have hatched…

Urban Food Awards

As our business has continued to flourish over recent years, we’ve decided to enter the Urban Food Awards run by the Mayor of London, Borough Market and London Food Link. As we are developing new skills and now making a number of different products we have nominations in quite a few of the categories: Honey, Preserves, Bread and Most Inspiring Producer. Winning an award in this competition that celebrates the best food produced in London would mean so much to our business as we continue to encourage others to live more sustainably. Place your votes here!

“London’s fantastic small food businesses are vital to our economy and to the vibrancy of our city. The choice of food on offer in the capital is more varied and exciting than ever before, with something for every taste and budget. I urge you to support your local food business and vote for your favourites in the 2016 Urban Food Awards.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London 

Urban Food Route StrawberryWe love to welcome schools, course guests, Micro Bakery customers and others to come and discover more about where their food comes from.

Recently we partnered with Livity, a Youth Marketing Agency, who are making a series of films putting people where they don’t belong, encouraging young people to ‘Go Off Road’ – What’s the worst that could happen?

They brought presenter and comedian Mikes Comedy from Brixton to Hen Corner to spend an afternoon outside of his comfort zone, he absolutely doesn’t do animals, so between the cat, the chickens and the bees, he had to really brace himself to push through. He made a great loaf of bread and some fab strawberry jam – it’s well worth a watch!

Other News:
  • The fertile eggs hatched 6 beautiful chicks right on cue, at the moment it looks like half are Silver Laced and half are Gold Laced all are Bantam Orpingtons
  • Xanthe Clay included us in her recent feature in The Telegraph about DIY dairy: how to make cheese at home
  • Just days later, we had our first Cheese in a Day course with guests taking home the three cheeses, loaf of bread and rosemary biscuits that they made
Jobs for the Week:
  • Find a Pick-Your-Own farm to gather some strawberries for the new jam season
  • Prepare for a Corporate Team that are coming for the day next week
  • Protect the almond tree from the squirrels, I really want a harvest of nuts this year!

After a day on the Urban Smallholding with my worn out wellies and leaves in my hair, I must look more like Worzel Gummidge than Felicity Kendall! I find that there’s something so satisfying about creating your own food from raw ingredients that you recognise as plants and animals.

Is there a type of food that you would like to make for yourself?

Posted by: hencorner | June 13, 2016

I’ve got the cure…

Bacon 16:9

Last weekend I was fortunate to participate in a Butchery and Charcuterie Course, this was my Christmas present from Andy and I’d been waiting for months for the day to come around. I got up early on a Saturday morning, not always easy with our Micro Bakery being Friday evenings, popped some ice packs into cool bags and set the Sat Nav for Hackney…

Black Hand Food

Hugo Jeffreys, a trained artist and chef, set up Black Hand Food in 2014 to pursue his love of food through creating amazing products from fantastic pork. As Hugo is producing a extensive range of charcuterie, bacon and sausages from his Hackney kitchen, hand made made from whole carcasses of pig, I thought this would be the best place to start my journey. I was keen to understand the processes which create such delicacies using traditional methods of curing without cooking the meat.

‘There are no mistakes in butchery… Only more sausages…’

Marc Frederic, Le Charcutier Anglais 

ButcheryWe arrived to find half a pig on the table, along with a selection of knives, demonstrating just how hands-on this would be. After Hugo’s introduction, the knives were handed over and we got to work. We cut the pig into manageable size sections whilst Hugo explained the different cuts available, both the well known leg, shoulder and belly and the lesser known collar and cheek. After we removed significant bones to make butchery easier, we progressed to curing. Hugo demonstrated a dry cure technique that we applied to 3 large pieces of meat each to make bacon and then explained the process of air drying cured meat both as whole joints and as salami sausages.

 

BLTOnce all the meat was prepared, we washed our hands, hung up our aprons and enjoyed a selection of delicious Black Hand Food products washed down with a cool beer. As a guest, I came home with more meat than I could carry and looking forward to my handmade bacon, salami, collar and lardo.

Just five days later, the bacon was ready to slice. I can honestly say, and my family agree, that this is the best bacon we’ve ever tasted!

Guests at this week’s Spoon Carving Course were treated to a bacon sandwich breakfast with a porky Quiche Lorraine for lunch and we’ve since made a drying cabinet to air dry our salami and cured collar and lardo.

Other News:
  • We’ve put some fertile eggs under Broody Bunty that we bought from Keith’s Orpingtons, they should hatch on Monday 20th June
  • During Half Term we celebrated nine years of keeping chickens, Pearl, a Cream Legbar, is our oldest hen at 8 years and still lays beautiful blue eggs
  • We are planning a new Sourdough Bread Class for a Saturday later in the year
Jobs for the Week:
  • Pack up the car with flour and bowls to take to a Kingston Infant School, we are teaching 120 Year 2s how to make a loaf of organic bread
  • Check on the bees, we are hoping that they’ll make us individual rounds of honeycomb this year
  • Boil some jam and bake some scones, we are hosting a Hen Party Afternoon Tea here at Hen Corner

So I’ve butchered a pig and brought home the bacon, have you got any food ambitions that you’d like to try?

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