applesteamdream


Movement every day….

When we first started discussing the Applesteam dream, it all seemed like a pipedream, set somewhere in the future, in a land far far away…… As time passes, little by little, preparations are being made. The land is now sorted and all the legal stuff is signed off, and we are now in the process of learning about what we intend to build, and how we intend to live.

The Applesteam dream is now taking a turn towards thinking and planning the house, though construction won’t be for some time, the build will be here before we know it, so the next few years we have the luxury of fine tuning our home’s design.

It was my birthday the other week and two very dear friends, also in the process of planning major life changes and a new home, surprised me with some wonderful help towards our sustainable living….two books…..

Patio Produce

A wonderful book on growing things in small places, very surprised at some of the possibilities, can;t wait to get started. The second and most exciting for me is a book on foraging…

food for free

I have been talking about this idea for quite a bit of the summer and both myself and Richard are looking forward to our first free hedgerow lunch. I’ve got a few days away from the office, spending time with my parents this coming week and intend to spend some time digesting some of the information and tips in this book. Nettle soup and mixed weed salad here we come. Mmmm nettle bread…….that might work…

Tonight I am working on setting up a large lever arch file ready for inspiration, clippings and booklets to go in, so our build ideas are all together. By the time we’re ready to employ an architect to draw the official plans, from our own drwings, we’ll have all the relevant information to hand over to him ready to plan the build.
We’ve found lots of inspirational pictures on the internet of construction; design features; architectural detailing and layouts, but these will only be for inspiration as our home will be totally unique, a reflection of both of us. We are even reasearching some straw bale building courses at local colleges. If we manage to attend one before next summer, we may even do our own small workshop on the techniques next summer at a festival we attend.
Well, I must get on with the Applesteam Dream file now.
Ric
xx


Humble Straw.

Humble Straw

***

Humble straw – waste to some, line the horses stable,

a comfy mouse’s bed, dead of winters cattle fed.

But so much more when bound and tight,

When baled, pinned and stacked to height.

Form the walls around the frame, cut to shape an eve,

A soft window seat to read and snooze, allow my mind in dreams to loose.

Earthy shades and scented air, drifts me deep in restful sleep,

Upon my comfy window seat.

I dream of bright and fertile land to fill my eye’s horizon,

I dream a dancing trickling stream, I dream of fields of vibrant green.

Book from hand it drops and wakes, eyes a hazy slumber,

They clear to view from window seat, they see what I behold,

They see surrounding vibrant green, they see that dancing trickling stream,

They see my life’s love strolling by with wood to fill the fire,

This house of straw has given me my longing life’s desire.

 

 By Richard



Food and the Homemade Kitchen

My home office is in my kitchen so sometimes I end up multi-tasking, working and cooking. My herbs, I grew from seed are on the windowsill beside me, and have been used in several dishes already. Having constant access to fresh herbs is great, it keeps down the cost, tastes nicer and gives you a certain amount of pride to your dish.  I can begin to imagine what it will be like when we are living our new life in Ireland. The thought of eating our home-grown produce, home-made bread, sitting in chairs we’ve made from scratch at a dining table we’ve designed and built from scratch is mind-blowing. I know we’ll be living our dream together.

I love making soups but usually end up sticking to making one or two flavours, Carrot and coriander, cream of cauliflower, mixed veg. Today I thought I’d have a go at broccoli and cream cheese soup.

  • chopped onion
  • little olive oil
  • Plenty of fresh broccoli, chopped into small chunks (the stalks were sliced very thin).
  • A nice chunk of courgette, chopped
  • veg stock
  • ground coriander
  • 2 level tablespoons of low-fat, spreadable cream cheese
  • fresh chopped chives
  • salt % pepper to taste

Method:

  1. sweat the onion in a little oil, till turning transparent, add the ground coriander and stir in.add the broccoli and courgette.
  2. Add the veg stock and stir in, cover and simmer till the veg has softened.
  3. Using a hand-blender, blend the soup adding the cream cheese as you go.
  4. simmer for a few minutes stirring to prevent the cheese splitting.
  5. Finally add salt and pepper as well as chopped chives, stir in and leave to stand, covered for a few minutes before serving

Note: serve with some nice caramelised onion bread/buns and fresh butter.

Eco tips:

  • this can be frozen when cooled, so you can save fuel by making a large batch ahead of time. Also it tastes better the next day or when defrosted.
  • I stored this in the freezer using standard margarine tubs, they hold a nice hearty portion ( be careful though as they can be a little wobbly, so take care when putting them in the freezer).

Enjoy

Ric xx



Enjoying the Journey and Learning on the Way.

Well it seems like a lifetime ago now since we went to Ireland, what a wonderful time.  The countryside is everything I expected and more. Yes its green because it rains, but the light changes across the landscape are awe-inspiring. We were only there for a few days, but my heart and soul felt like we were home. As well as Richard’s upbringing in Ireland, he still has relatives over there, my dad’s family were originally from the emerald isle too, so it feels like a returning for me too.

The hospitality of people as we travelled around I found to be more than I was laid to believe. You cannot visit anyone without having homemade cakes, soda bread and jam, biscuits and sandwiches appear in front of you like magic. This felt very much like my Mum’s way of thinking, looking after guests. It has inspired me to gain more knowledge and skills ready for when we move over there. I have been practicing my baking skills, making breads, new versions of fruit tarts:

Strawberry and custard vanilla shortbread tart.

As well as the baking, I am at last learning to grow food from seeds and cuttings. On the window sills I have Chives, loads of basil (want  to try to make some homemade pestos), all grown from seed and re=potted. The rosemary and pepper plants were cuttings from friends. i intend for us to have a well-managed herb garden over there, close to the kitchen.

Time to get back to the baking, I think maybe garlic and rosemary flatbread, to go with the vegetable stew tonight.

The Applesteamdream continues to grow…….