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**Thread of little facts & things**....3

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I think, as a generalisation, that popular recipes have been lazily adapted until their original strengths have been forgotten.

Take, for example, the perennial favourite bolognese ragu. Pretty much everyone has their own recipe, but almost all I've tasted rely heavily on both the meat and the addition of further meat stock. Trouble is that meat is the expensive bit and the end result is very salty and heavy. Precious little subtlety. Although there's no definitive recipe, the common themes involve an onion and about four carrots and a similar quantity of celery to less than a pound of mince, a glass of white wine and about a cup of milk, and cooking for at least 4 hours. No stock, no herbs, no other flavourings. The result is a surprisingly sweet sauce, but still plenty of flavour despite being about half the cost per person of what most people normally cook now on account of being bulked out by so much veg. Ditto shepherds' pie. It's not mince with mash on top, it's at least half vegetable, in order to bulk out the meat, and the veg adds a sweet/savoury complexity that is sorely missed when not there.

Now that meat production has been identified as such a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, there is a real incentive for meat-lovers to return to traditional frugal cooking and make a little meaty flavour go a long way. That, in turn, will reduce reliance on meat in our diets and so give us the freedom to choose not to eat a meat-based meal when only bad quality cheap meat is offered.

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I just bake my tinned lentils like I would with mince. Of course needs far shorter. 

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Does anyone out there eat Primula cheese spread? I ask as OH loves it with Marmite (!) and we've not been able to get it for a few weeks. On further investigation it seems that there is a supply problem; all stocks withdrawn after some very nasty bug was found in some tubes - not sure exactly what possibly botulinum from memory. OH Googled it and read it out to me whilst I was cooking and so not paying as much attention as I probably should have been. If you have any lurking in the 'fridge possibly best to bin it! Apparently it's all varieties.

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It’s one of our Christmas rituals!! The prawn one on Ritz crackers. Always worries me how long it lasts - thanks for the warning!

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On the subject of well-raised meat - we had a lovely supper of lamb chops from M&M's male lamb, with an anchovy and shallot sauce, wilted green veg (spinach, red orach and red veined sorrel) carrots, new potatoes and freshly podded peas. Except for the anchovies, all the ingredients came from either a a friend's land or our garden.

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We've just bought 6 chickens from the local farm which breeds for meat and sends to slaughter at 12 weeks, which may not sound long but it's a lot longer than 5 ½ weeks in a shed in the UK. These chickens are in tremendous condition and well feathered, having spent a lot of time free ranging and sometimes flying to graze in the neighbouring fields. Very timid though and could only be taken out of the barn on the final day, to avoid undue stress for the others. Cou-Nu (naked neck) isn't a breed you would see often in the UK but a few have been shown. Derived from a TNN but much bigger. We were advised not to have a cockerel because they can be ferocious and we have seen that for ourselves, but one of these pullets looks suspiciously like a cockerel and I won't be surprised to hear him singing from the top of the hill any time soon. Still, at 30€ for the six we won't complain. Canary yellow feet and very strong legs which gets them onto an 18" high perch with ease. We suspect the farmer selected these for us carefully, because we have seen some rather tatty ones in the fields.

They are in the new 'Fort Nox' enclosure, which isn't quite finished as intended because the ground is far too hard to get the electric line posts in as we've had no rain for weeks. Taken 3 years to get it built, for many reasons but the most significant was the total lack of grass on that patch of land, just flat weeds. Grass can only be sown in October so that was 6 months lost for a start. Then finding posts for the principle points (it's not square) is a whole new story as was getting them into the ground (I knew that scaffold tower would be handy).

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My favourite is the shopping trolley one DM! 

I gather naked necks are easier to pluck.

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Not raising them for meat Patricia W. They will come into lay end of October and should give us eggs over Winter. Unfortunately because of their abnormal size they don't live long; two years we've been told. But in that time they will have a nice life and then we'll 'rescue' some more. If we end up with a cockerel the plan may change?

At the moment we're struggling with the heat, even though their coop now has 4 high-level air vents and the pop-hole open. Job for today is to make and fit a mesh door into one of the access doorways, then do the same thing for two other coops. No shortage of work here!

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56 minutes ago, Blackrocksrock said:

People of Walmart!!!

Sadly, I've seen the pyjama brigade in Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Bad taste is not fussy.

As the original comment suggests, I'll happily forgive the fashion and etiquette sins if the social distancing rules are respected.

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Oh dear - pyjamas at least cover the body - half naked people used to go shopping in Weston and it wasn't a pretty sight!  Beach only people - not the shops!  🤢  Not that it's a place I've been to much, but OH's family live near there and it's the closest town to them.  It was an eye opener I tell you - things cannot be unseen.  Especially the old guys wearing Speedos that are too small for their ample bodies. 

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I thought going topless (females) had gone out of fashion but my 19 year old back from Mallorca said its the in thing there. He didnt know where to look (well ok he did!!!😂)OH piped up " your mum used to go topless" 😮 Too much info and yes I did but 30 odd years ago pre kids gravity and breast feeding🤣

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For the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeding a hedgehog in the garden every night. I think it must be sleeping under my hydrangea - I hear it wake up, have a scratch, have a drink from the pond and head for its cat food at the same time every evening.

Two days ago the chickens alerted me to a very skinny hedgehog walking very slowly across the lawn in the hot sun. I put it in a cat box and ended up taking it to our local hedgehog rescue. They’ve kept her as they discovered she has a heavy parasite load so they’re going to treat her and fatten her up a bit before she comes back. 

I thought that must’ve been ‘my hedgehog’ but that evening I went out to listen for it just in case, and it was still here! So two hedgehogs!!!!!!

Then tonight - I went to feed my hedgehog, and just after it started to tuck in, another came along!!!!!! AND I’ve just looked up the noises going on and it’s courtship behaviour! I’m so excited!!!!!!! 3 hedgehogs 🦔 🦔 🦔 😁

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Good for you :) we had a daytime hedgie who also turned out to be very sick with a heavy parasite load; sadly, the rescue had to put her down. Folks, if you see a hedgepig out in the daytime, it is probably poorly, so you'd be best off calling up a wildlife vet or rescue to help out. @Egluntyne is the forum's hedgehog expert.

Love this, isn't it clever?

image.thumb.png.db139651a873d10f367c30b3506bf863.png

 

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Oh wow! That's really clever!

On the subject of hoggies we are really lucky to have the wonderful St Tiggywinkles only 20 mins from us. We have just bought a hoggy house from someone in the village who makes various bird boxes, bug houses etc and will put it out in late September ready for our gang. I'm not sure if they hibernate singly or in groups though.........

Still putting water out for them but not food as I'm keen for them to much my slug thugs! They'll get more food at the end of August though as they need to be 550g or more to get through the winter.

 

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Love hedgehogs too - not had any in the garden for a wee while - was one couple years ago when I was trying to catch a fox and it ended up the in the cat trap eating the cat food!!.  Then saw the fox take an interest in it and chased the fox away which also meant the hedgie disappeared too.  

I love the hedgehog B & B house - thats neat and hope they use it - if not I think you will end up with mice in it!   Did not realise how fast they could actually run - they are very quick off the mark.  How great to be so near the Tiggywinkle hospital - wish I could go see them there.

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