Posted by: hencorner | November 19, 2011

Left on the doorstep?

I know it’s that time of year when we are all looking out for extra parcels… be that Christmas shopping that we’ve ordered online or lovely gifts being sent to us by friends and family, but recently we’ve had a few surprise items left on the doorstep that were very much appreciated.

Last week, a whole set of demijohns, complete with syphon and bottles, were left for us (this will be very handy if we have enough grapes for wine next year) and back in September we came home one day to discover two huge baskets of apples left for us to juice into cider, not forgetting the beautiful vintage Kilner Jars that we inherited last November. However, this week was something different again…

‘Why would you want someone else’s garden waste?’

I hear you say as I rummaged through the  two huge sacks of spent nasturtium plants that were left on the doorstep this week…well subscribers may remember the post from last October where we introduced you to Nasturtium Pesto. Well this year our next door neighbour has had the most amazing display of the flowers throughout the summer and autumn, so when they were planning on pulling them out, they asked if I wanted them. It took a while to pick off all the leaves and seed pods (we pickle them as capers), but after blitzing them with garlic, lemon juice, parmesan and olive oil, we ended up with nine jars of summer that we can enjoy throughout the winter.  Once again, we’ve very much benefitted from things others no longer needed, thank you very much dear friends!

Something I’m leaving to go mouldy…

Now I wouldn’t leave this on the doorstep, as it’s too precious, but this is Hen Corner Blue, a cheese that we’ve developed over the year and currently have a batch maturing for Christmas. The blue mould is completely deliberate; we add a bit of Penicillium Roqueforti in the early stages of the process and then pierce the cheese (forty times) to allow air to enter the body of the cheese kick-starting the trademark blue marbling. We are hoping to make all of our cheese for this Christmas, we have Camembert on the go and are planning a semi soft cheese rind washed in cider and smoked over applewood. Then nearer the time, we can make a fresh soft cheese with garlic and herbs.

Other Highlights:

  • The apricots and almonds that were soaking in brandy have been mixed into a Christmas pudding with the family sixpences by a stir and prayer from everyone in the house.
  • The Mulled Wine Christmas Cake is made and maturing – it has a whole bottle of port in it!
  • We think that we have hatched three little cockerels and one of them is trying to crow each morning! Unfortunately, we can’t keep them here in London and have a few thoughts on what to do with them so watch this space…

Jobs for next week:

  • Final prep for Family Feathers and Fun – our family chicken course on Sat 26th November.
  • Bottle up the cider for its second ferment – that’ll make it sparkle!
  • Crack on with the big winter prune and clear up – haven’t started yet!

Have a good week yourself…

Join us on the Journey!


  1. What a lovely read and what kind freinds you have i was going to make a christmas pudding but david said at the moment it will be cheaper to buy this year maybe next year have a good week yourself from Linda

  2. A lovely read for a Sunday morning, I do rather envy your cheeses! The pesto looked delicious too!

    Re your 3 cockerels – I know how you feel – I have a lovely Chocolate type Orpington “hen” I bought at 10 weeks old in August and it is now revealing itself to be a boy. I am desperately trying to find him a good home, he is stunning. You may have seen my recent blog via Twitter about poor Bunty’s predicament – you can read it here if you like – at the time of writing I hoped the seller would take him back as promised but she has just postponed due to lack of available housing for him, and so like you I am trying to find a caring home. Not easy! And my neighbours have already heard the crowing……

    Best Wishes Frances @HenMad

    • How ironic! Three of our chicks are Chocolate Bantam Orpingtons… and the one we believe is a girl is called Bunty!
      We don’t name the boys….

      I’ll let you know their outcome…


      • Oh that’s so weird!! Bertha is indeed more of a bantam but her breeder says she thinks she might be a bit runty, as she should have been normal hen size. I would say she has some bantam in her as her feet are very petite! Bunty is the opposite! What are you planning to do with your boys? I really hope I can find a good home for “him”, it is a worry as we are fond of him! I am contacting everyone I can think of who might take a handsome young cockerel…..

      • Ah, cockerels are a completely no-go in London….

        The original plan was to eat the boys… let’s see if we do!

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