Homemade Bread and Book Update

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As promised, here’s the recipe for my easy to make/bake and life-sustaining bread…

For this recipe you’ll need a heavy cast iron saucepan and lid. I use a Le Creuset one, but any cast iron one is good!

I use the cup method of measurement since my daughter Cara bought me some stainless steel measuring cups for my birthday

dsc062672 cups organic wholemeal flour…spelt flour makes for a lighter bread!

2 cups organic white flour

2 cups mixed pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, linseed and poppy seeds. You can choose your own mix to taste!

1 & 1/2 tsps dried yeast

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp herb salt…any one will do.

1 tsp fresh finely chopped herbs…Rosemary or Thyme is good!

Mix well together, then add 2 & 1/3 cups of tepid water.

Using a big spatula, mix well for a few minutes.

dsc06264Now cover with cling film and set aside for 3-4 hours in your kitchen…room temperature is good enough!

dsc06263Pre-heat your oven to 450F and put your pan with lid in to heat.

dsc06262When hot, remove from oven, sprinkle a little flour into the bottom of the pan to prevent bread from sticking, pour in mixture, cover with lid and pop back in oven.

Bake for 30 mins.

Remove from oven, remove lid, then return to oven to bake for a further 15 mins.

dsc06261Remove loaf from pan and leave to cool.

 

Book Update…

The proof returned from the printers today, so I am busy reading and re-reading…

I expect the cover through in the next day or two. At that point I will feel confident enough to allow purchase of advance copies, knowing that the book will be off the presses and delivered to me by a certain date. I’m delighted with what I am reading and seeing so far. I’m happy also that I chose to go with printers here in Ireland, although this makes the book more expensive…the alternatives are not in keeping with what Bealtaine Cottage represents, works for and most importantly, cares for.

I hope to be back on this site with good news before the end of the week!

Blessings to you XXX

Colette at Bealtaine Cottage

Home Grown and Home Made Food

 

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The cost of food has risen and the overall quality has dropped.

Much of the fruit and vegetables being sold in the supermarkets may look good, but the taste is somewhat lacking. Considering these issues, it is fair to say that there could not be a better time to grow your own food, as well as make, cook and bake your own food!

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Today I have been harvesting potatoes and clearing the beds for the next planting or simply for mulching down with cardboard and straw.

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The compost heap is growing by the day as the beds are cleared and tidied.

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Elsewhere in the gardens, the burgeoning beds await their turn to be harvested.

This Golden Oregano will dry nicely and ensure tasty tomato sauces all winter!

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This is a sheltered part of the fruit gardens to leave the potatoes in the ground for a while to come.

Those at the back of the picture will stay where they are.

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You may remember how I mulched this ground last Autumn, using cardboard, straw and shreddings…now you can see the value of this exercise.

The earth is in good condition and any weeds that did grow were very easy to pull.

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This gives you some idea of how permaculture works…a forest garden with lots of shelter, biodiversity and ultimately, resilience!

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Lots of leaf drop feeds the soil, building a much needed fertility.

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Meanwhile, indoors, one of the few electrical items I own is ready to do a lot of sewing.

I also have a hand sewing machine for less labour intensive tasks.

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And in the kitchen I’ve been baking bread and making Houmous Dip.

There really is no comparison to home made and home grown food!

An Evening with Mr D’Arcy

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Snow is falling this evening.
It has fallen in small flurries all day, only to melt and try again.
This evening the snow is sticking.
A near full moon rose in the afternoon sky.
Spring has scurried back under a blanket of white.
www.bealtainecottage.comThe oven is very hot as the stove has been kept topped up with wood, so I have slid a tray of vegetables onto the top shelf to roast…always a healthy, tasty meal.
What remains will be blended into a soup, with stock and red lentils…tomorrows lunch!
DSCF0480I visited the library in town today and borrowed  books and DVDs, always good value, as the yearly membership of less than ten euros covers all loans, unlimited throughout the year.
DSCF0478Tonight will be a cosy time watching Pride and Prejudice, (The BBC version) on DVD in the lodge, wood-burning stove hot and kettle boiling for tea atop!
www.bealtainecottage.comIt will be cosy enough to enjoy the thought of snow all around the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a dreadful thing to be cold.
If I relied on Electric, Gas or Oil, I would be huddled in blankets for sure, as all are prohibitively expensive.
The advantage of the wood stove is that I can even burn old pallet wood in it and be assured of heat.
The skips in cities are filled with waste wood and many people are cold…this is nonsensical!
www.bealtainecottage.comEarlier today, as the sun shone into the cottage, Jack spread himself across the floor, enjoying the day that was.
www.bealtainecottage.comIt was lovely to watch him lapping up the Spring sunshine.
www.bealtainecottage.comThere has been a small lapse back into winter, but Spring is here!

The Great Food Fraud

lettuce in the tunnelThere is a pleasure in making the connection between our food and where it comes from.

strawberries in the tunnel at Bealtaine CottageSo many children grow up not knowing where their food has come from, or the value of what they are eating.

hens in the permaculture gardenOn the day I brought the hens home, I stood and watched them for simply ages!

I watched them investigate their new home and make soft little shrilling sounds, as they approved of the fresh straw and new found space.

Bealtaine Cottage pearsWhat we plant and grow tastes so much better than food we buy.

Of course it does!

Food in supermarkets can be weeks old before it’s eaten!

Not only that but the irradiation can make the food eternal…well almost!

Tomatoes I bought several weeks ago, remain in the pantry, perfect…what on earth are these people doing to our food?

Tomatoes at Bealtaine CottageYes, it prolongs the shelf life of the food we buy, but it also destroys the enzymes in the food!

This procedure involves exposing food to gamma rays from a nuclear source and has wide-reaching implications for our health and the environment.

Bealtaine Cottage Blackcurrants in the Permaculture GardensIrradiation is a way of utilising nuclear waste materials to keep food fresh longer and reduce the risk of food poisoning by killing the bacteria.

The food is killed, as it damages it by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals.

The free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also move around in the food, damaging vitamins and enzymes.

The free radicals combine with existing chemicals (like pesticides) in the food to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products.

Bealtaine Cottage lettuce in the potager gardenI could go on…you begin to understand why fresh, home-grown food is best!

Purple Sprouting Broccoli grown at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensMost people are prepared to pay a little more for fresh food but are unaware of the real age of the food they call “fresh!”

A loaf of bread may be 10 days old!

apple jelly at Bealtaine CottageTesco was recently reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority on claiming that it sold “fresh bread baked from scratch!”

Naughty and not nice Tesco, caught with pants on fire!

Tesco and most other supermarkets, ship in part baked loaves and finish baking them in in-store ovens!

Stanley stove at Bealtaine CottageThere are really very few, if any, cakes, bread or buns actually made in the supermarkets!

Permaculture Cottage Sep 2011 013Many fresh vegetables are flown in from all over the world and the average age of fresh peas, broccoli etc is about 10 days old!

Compare that to the stir fry I made yesterday, with vegetables a few minutes old.

Apple harvest at Bealtaine CottageOr the juice made with “freshly picked from outside the back door herbs” and fruit.

The weekend is almost here!

Why not get some food growing for yourself, for, after all, fresh is best and you will be saving money too!

Against , gathering tomorrow 1pm at the corner of O’Connell & Grattan Street, Sligo.

Preparing for the Collapse.

Spinning wheel and craft studio at Bealtaine Cottage Over recent months it has become more and more apparent that there is a massive problem rolling towards us in the financial markets.

Angel and Field Maple at Bealtaine CottageMaking money without production has been the mainstay of the economic markets.

Bealtaine Cottage February 2013The men in suits deal in commodities, pension plans, mortgages and hedge funds.

The standing stone at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013Money that is put into savings and pension plans is being scooped up and processed out of the country, to be invested in other, slave-labour nations of corruption and despotism.

The lower pond in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage in February 2013That money should be invested in our own economies, but, asking for integrity and honesty from the bankers and brokers is a useless and pointless exercise.

The Ash tree walk in the Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013So, it behoves us all to think and act in a prompt and practical way to avoid, as best we can, being a hapless victim in all of this.

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine CottageMy advice is simple and easy to apply.

1.Grow food. Edible gardens, allotments, containers, patios and window ledges…great fun too!

2.Build a pantry and stock it well. This will cut down on multiple visits to the supermarket.

3.Learn as many practical skills and crafts as you can. Knitting, sewing, carpentry…everything is treasured that is hand made.

4.De-clutter your home. Let the energy flow freely around your living space.

5.Teach yourself to cook and bake. This is a real chance to improve your health and become powered up!

6.Collect together a library of knowledge and interest. The internet may never be as reliable as a solid book of information.

7.Invest in the most comfortable bed you can afford. You do, after all, spend one third of your precious life in bed!

8.Make your home cosy and draught-free. Your home is your haven, your sanctuary, your blessed space…be comfortable and warm in it.

9.Bulk-buy local when available. This will enable you to turn food gluts into storable feasts.

10.Invest in a chest freezer and put it in your new pantry…don’t forget, even a spare room will double as a pantry, especially a north facing one.

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Keeping Good Health This Winter with Dracula!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureOne of the mainstays of good health…organically grown onions here at Bealtaine Cottage on the veranda, drying out before stringing.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Onions, Apples and Blackcurrants, organically grown, will provide an enormous amount of protection from colds and viruses and at the same time help to keep the blood free from oxidants.

All this because prevention is better than cure!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureA pot of tea, comforting and refreshing as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant

organic garlic, Bealtaine CottagePermacultureGarlic…not just for keeping vampires away!

Garlic at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture garden 015Traditionally, whole bulbs of wild garlic were placed under the thatch of Irish cottages, just above the door, to keep away evil!

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It is no surprise that the writer of the book, “Dracula,” was, in fact an Irish man, Bram Stoker.

Garlic keeps the blood clean…apparently!

A slice of garlic placed on a cut will kill all infection!

rosehips Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureStudies now suggest that Rose-hip extract can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.

Rosehips at Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureIn the past this was used to make a poultice which was then applied to painful joints in hands, knees and hips.

 Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureIt has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and will successfully treat the inflammatory condition AND is free of any side-effects.

Rose Arch at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThis is a very easy to grow cure and has many other uses…for example, the hips are packed with Vitamin C!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture breadAnother case of prevention being better than cure…sunflower seeds, used in bread-making will provide a good source of Omega to the body and be powerful in the protection of good health all round.

I add the hulled seeds to bread and flapjacks.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture catsWe should enquire of the older generation what it is that has kept and continues to keep them in good health.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture home made soupHome made vegetable soup is one of the best sources of goodness to keep good health throughout the winter.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture pumpkinsI make this in batches, using pumpkins from the pantry and keep it in the fridge, along with home made bread.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture PumpkinsPumpkins will keep for the entire winter if stored in a cool pantry.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture TreesThe Elder tree was used as the mainstay of good health in village life long ago.

The leaves, bark, flowers, berries and roots were all used in folk medicine and herbal cures.

Bealtaine Cottage interior designThis is another easy to grow tree that keeps on giving…Elderflower Wine is absolutely scrumptious!

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(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

Growing Freedom

Growing freedom is manifesting in the new mass movement of allotment holders and people turning their oil-hungry lawns into edible gardens.

Freedom and choice is what happens when you decide to grow…whether it’s in a window box or on a half acre smallholding, or more.

The mindset of producing food in growing, foraging, making and storing induces a sense of liberation, as well as a feeling of well-being and harmony with the Earth.

Freedom of choice begins to manifest before your very eyes, for free.

Food: organic or not; how much and what kind; for storing or for selling; food to share, food to give; the choices go on…and as this happens, personal knowledge grows immensely!

Storing and making and baking and cooking and creating…

Growing food , whether it be you actually doing it or simply enabling others to grow by buying surplus, locally produced food is of great benefit to the new scheme of things…cutting down on air miles, pollution and supporting local economies.

Creating small food communities by locally sourcing, helps to grow communities, encouraging interaction on a natural level.

Selling or sharing a surplus is a positive social networking ingredient!

The choice is yours.

Isn’t that a great word, “choice?”

Eight Ways To Live a Better Life

This is not a check-list.

It is not about ways to recycle or buy greener energy.

There is enough advice out there for you to check out.

Lists are good for remembering things in a hurry and ensuring everything is done, completed, bought…

This is simpler and permanent.

It is what I have learned about living as lightly as possible on this beautiful Earth.

These small bits of advice are not in any particular order, but as I think of them and how they have made a difference to my life…


*** Re-claim and nurture knowledge.

Talk with older, wiser people.

Keep a notebook of knowledge.

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I have tapes I recorded of my grandmother talking to me about her life and feelings on so many different and intriguing things.

I talked lots with my mother,  pictured above at Bealtaine Cottage.

Mum learned from me too…we exchanged ideas a lot.

Staying at Bealtaine enabled Mum to develop her love for Earth too.

***Develop a close and binding relationship with Mother Earth, through a closer contact with Nature.

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We are of the Earth and we will return to the Earth and are as much a part of the cycle of life as the seasons.

***Turn off the television, or even get rid of it, and nurture silence, peace, communicating, reading, listening…for all these will allow YOU to live instead of living life through a screen.


***Sow and plant food, flowers, trees…whatever your space allows and if space is limited, rent an allotment.

If allotments are in short supply or non-existent, pester your local council to provide them!

***Re-learn to love food!

Cooking, baking, tasting, canning, making wine and cordials, sharing…food is the one part of living everyone shares.

It is a great common denominator.

Food brings people together…it certainly used to!

Home made wine in demijohnsBealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Banish TV dinners!

Decorate your dining table, no matter how small, with a vase of seasonal greenery.

Use table mats and fine crockery for the beautiful food you make.

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Light a candle on your table…celebrate the fruits of the Earth and reject the poisonous, tasteless garbage of the corporation!

***Practice kindness.

Kindness towards others and oneself.

I love the concept of “Random Acts of Kindness.”

***Our grandparents used their acquired skills to make their living environments easier and more beautiful…sewing, carpentry, kitting, painting…whatever you are good at, keep at it and teach others!

I have recently learnt to make willow baskets and will be able to pass this skill on.

***De-clutter your life!

This is a mantra I say to myself.

Less really is more.

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