applesteamdream


WOW…..
February 17, 2013, 8:27 am
Filed under: Applesteam, Fruit, New life, sustainable living | Tags: , , , ,
can't wait to get this made into marmalade...

can’t wait to get this made into marmalade…

We have both been through a lot over the last few years, both of us have lost people really close to us, both family and friends; we have both been manipulated and emotionally battered by those that claimed to be friends, and we have both come through together, still in-tact and very much stronger together for the experiences shared.

Last time we posted on here, plans were still going ahead to move to Ireland to build the straw bail house and new life of our dreams. Well the best thing about dreams is they can change and grow as we grow, The Ireland plan has been put on hold, probably permanently, who knows. The new plan and change is already several months through the planning stage and into the implementation stage.

In two weeks we will have packed our home up in Nottingham for good: we will be on route to our new life in Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean. Some of the ideas we had for Ireland will be implemented in Malta, living a greener life; home baking; self sufficiency (as much as possible) are all still in the plans. As well as furniture design, furniture renovation and creating art inspired by our surroundings.

Our new home is on a hill top overlooking the Mediterranean sea. We have a lovely walled garden, surrounding our property, overgrown at the moment, but with lots of potential.  Some of the garden has already been cleared ready for re-planting. At the side we have a terraced kitchen garden that needs weeding and planting. Luckily we already have established fruit trees, with grapefruit, tangerines, oranges and lemons. There is a grapevine too which will hopefully bare us fruit, along with what we think might be a cherry tree as well as several olive trees and fresh dill.

We will continue to post updates, recipes, and photos as well as green ideas.

Hope you will remain with us for the journey

Ric & Richard xx

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Our Culnady Dwelling.

We’re both hard at work in every department of building our applesteamdream, Ric has accumulated many recipes and ideas inc samples of eco roof tiling (made from recycled bottles).

Eco-slate

Eco-slate 2

Here is a couple of photos of the tile’s, as you can see the difference  in look to standard tiles is very little though they are so much better insulation dew to the proses of weathering, the tiles bond together expelling all air gaps and crate one solid membrane.

We have been searching for an architect to help with the straw bale build and have found Tagarts of Belfast, they designed the Ecos building in Ireland and have taken our project on with wonder and enthusiasm  (at first I think they thought we were bonkers but after the full plan was unfolded they have come round to our way of thinking that everything is possible,  or at least excepted or madness).

All of the land paperwork has now been completed thanks to the hard-working solicitor (J McNally’s) of Magherafelt, we are the proud owners of the land appointed to Culnady Road, Upperlands, its taken six years in total so as you may imagine we are delighted.

Next thing will be a January trip back over to clear and survey the land fully, the house will be built on a platform to take into account  the natural slope towards the river and help protect the straw bale construction. Lots of planning to be done.

Well all for now, Happy days –  Richard & Ric.

 



Christmas Smile

A deep breath is what it takes,

time to bake the Christmas cakes,

feel the cold of winters flakes,

a deep breath is all it takes.

A bright smile for all to see,

no cost involved as smiles are free,

the warmest gift from you to me,

the way our world shall always be.

A glass of wine to drink your health,

in your eyes I see loves wealth,

our love for each is never stealth.

Richard x



A Lovely Gift

Last evening Ric surprised me with a ticket to the Grand Designs Live show (which is tomorrow, Sat 8th Oct). The show has a massive section on Eco building, straw bale construction and different heating/cooling systems. I’m not sure I have enough brain space to take it all in in one day so a reusable bag filled with hopefully recycled leaflets will be required.
We will return with ideas & photos soon.
I can feel some tired feet coming on.

Take care, Richard



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


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…….