Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Kid bucks the trend: No carseat

Blue Vein, all grown up.
Proud parents Helen and Shelford were today inundated with requests for parenting advice, after their kid announced he was moving out, getting a job, and paying his own rent. Helen confided that she thought her son Blue Vein was just kidding when he first made the announcement. "After a while," said Helen, "I could tell he was serious - no butts about it."

Said an excited Blue Vein "I've been milking it at home for long enough. I don't know whether I will return. It's exciting to be able to earn some doe. I'm looking forward to visiting the baas."

The rest of the interview was not reported, as Blue Vein kept butting in and bleating on.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Creamy baked custard (with goat's milk, no added cream)

Goat milk baked custard - light, creamy, sweet and quick.
A light, creamy dessert for two - a quick but decadent alternative to using your goat's
milk for cheese.

1 C goat* milk
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 whole egg, at room temperature
2 T caster sugar
1/8 t vanilla essence
1/2 t brown sugar**

Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F). Place two large-ish ramekins (to hold about 1 1/2 C liquid - this is larger than your average ramekin) on top of a tea towel, in a roasting dish (anything with high sides). Sprinkle the brown sugar on the bottom of each ramekin (1/4 t per ramekin).

Heat the milk over a low heat until almost simmering (if you see steam coming off the top, you're there - do not let it boil). Turn the heat off. Leave to cool 5 minutes.

While the milk cools, combine sugar, egg yolks and egg with a fork (not a whisk - the fork incorporates minimal air into the mix, which makes for a smooth custard).

When milk has cooled for 5 minutes, stir in the vanilla essence and pour very gradually into the egg mixture, stirring gently but constantly with your fork. The warm milk helps the eggs to begin cooking - but be careful to pour gradually, so you don't cook the eggs too quickly (which will cause your custard to curdle). Once combined, pour into your ramekins (you can do this through a strainer to enhance the smooth texture of the custard, but we always forget to).

Place ramekins in roasting dish in the oven. Fill a jug with hot water from the tap, and pour the hot water into the roasting dish to reach the same level as the custard inside the ramekins. The aim is to prevent direct heat on the custard - hence the tea towel underneath the ramekins.

Reduce heat to 160°C (320°F). Bake 30 minutes, or until a butter knife inserted into the custard comes out relatively clean. The custard will still be slightly wobbly in the middle (but remember that it keeps cooking outside the oven).

Remove ramekins from the water, and refrigerate. Serve lukewarm or cold, depending on how long you can make yourself wait. Enjoy.

Thank your friendly milk-producing goat and dedicated egg-laying hens with grain.

*Or whole cow's milk - just don't tell Helen.
**Or use 1/8 t nutmeg, or even both...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Happy Families

Proud parents Helen and Shelford having a lazy Sunday morning
by the wood pile with new kid Blue Vein (Bluey)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

True Blue Vein

Helen (centre rear), tiny little Bluey (left) and buck Shelford,
a happy family.
It was a love story that rivaled Will and Kate, and maybe even Kanye and Kim. Helen von Danswan, heart-broken widow, found love on the internet when the short-but-handsome Alpine buck Shelford answered her ad in the lonely hearts column. Love at first sight was followed by a whirlwind romance; Helen and Shelford have been inseparable since Shelford arrived at Fiveacres early in March.

But whirlwind romances attract gossip like poorly-fenced vegetable gardens attract goats; when Helen's midline began to expand, whispers of pregnancy could be heard all over Fiveacres. This morning, Fiveacres awoke to the news that Helen had gone into labour and delivered the couple's first kid, one four-and-a-half pound Blue Vein.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Oat, linseed, sesame and oregano crackers

Feed your farmer with these healthy, grainy crackers:

For the crackers:
2 C plain flour
2/3 C wholemeal flour
1/2 C rolled oats
3 T linseed
3 T sesame seed
3 T fresh oregano, chopped (or 3 t dried)
4 T oil
2 t salt
cracker pepper (about 30 twists of the pepper grinder, or to your taste)
1 C hot water

For the topping:
cracked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Thoroughly mix all cracker ingredients to form a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench, shape into a ball, then divide into eight. Roll each eighth of dough into a sort-of square, about 8 by 10 inches (20 by 25 cm), then cut into smaller squares and place on a large tray (this recipe makes about four tray-fulls). Unless you are incredibly patient, your bigger and smaller squares won't be quite square - we think the almost-square look adds to the rustic farm-fresh look. Sprinkle cracked sea salt over the top (or, for more decadent crackers, brush lightly with oil and then sprinkle with cracked sea salt). Bake 15 to 17 minutes, until golden.

Cool and store in an air-tight container. These crackers are tasty on their own, or served with your favorite goat's fresh cheese, and some chutney.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Grass always greener: Ram discharged from hospital

Roger Ram working the camera after his release from hospital.
Fiveacres today rejoiced as Roger Ram was discharged from hospital. Said Dr. Shepherd: "It was shear determination on Ram's part. We didn't think he would make it - he sure pulled the wool over our eyes."

Meanwhile, Ram's young son Molasses is sheepish after Ewes of the World lampooned him for shearing his desire to know what was in Ram's last wool and testament. Molasses maintains that there is no truth to the reports, and that Ewes of the World is simply spinning yarns.

Shovels all over Fiveacres breathed a collective sigh of relief, as did Mr Farmer.

Monday, 22 July 2013

BREAKING NEWES: Roger Ram in critical condition

Ram and some of his flock, in younger, healthier days.
Close friends and flock of Roger Ram, Fiveacres flock leader, are tonight keeping vigil at Ram's bedside as it emerged that Ram's health condition was "critical." Ram was rushed to hospital in a stock truck earlier today - he is  estimated to be nearly 70 sheep years of age (13 human years). Ewes of the World reported that a journalist had herd Dr. Shepherd advise the chaplain it was time to shear the newes of Ram's critical condition with the flock. Fleece Street Papparazzi continue to line the wools of the hospital waiting in anticipation for newes of Ram's progress.

Mr Farmer keeps looking reluctantly at the shovel.