Friday, 22 September 2017

Baking in the Slow Cooker

I only usually bake for the weekends as we all try to eat reasonably healthy during the week, tonight we are having omelette and salad for tea so the oven would not be switched on and I didn't want to use it just for a cake. So I thought I would try baking in the slow cooker.

I picked a very simple recipe.

It uses cup measures but easy to convert to oz or grams, I actually prefer using these little cups less faffing about.

Cinnamon Banana Bread

1/4 cup butter melted
3 bananas ( mashed)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1 large egg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

In a bowl mix the bananas, butter, sugar and egg.
Mix the bicarb, salt and cinnamon into the flour and then mix into the wet ingredients.

I used a cake liner inside the slow cooker, the recipe said to cook for 3 hours on low but I cooked on high for an hour and 20 mins.

The verdict - It was perfectly edible, good results, I thought the top may have gone soggy if the condensation from the lid dripped on it but there was no condensation. 
So would I use it again for baking - yes, but will only do this when I am not using the oven for cooking tea as when I use the oven I like to make use of the shelves.

Anyone else tried a slow cooker cake?

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A good week for freebies.

Hello and welcome to my new follower Michelle.

I have had some good freebies this week.

These salad pots and biscuits were all picked up in Waitrose, using a shopping app made them completely free, the apps I use are Shopmium and Checkout Smart, all offers have expiry dates but these offers are still on there. You simply buy the product, pay for it and then upload your receipt then get paid via paypal, very simple. 
We all have accounts so that is why we can get three of everything.
I don't shop in Waitrose by I have a mywaitrose card which entitles me to pick up a free magazine, which  would usually cost £2.00, so I picked up the latest magazine as well.

From the Checkoutsmart app 3 pots of free yogurt.

As well as checking freegle, freecycle daily I also check gumtree as there are freebies on there as well.

These were a gumtree freebie.

2 boxes of cards - 24 in each.

 From freecycle - this little concrete bench, it has been placed at the top of the garden near the aviary, so we can sit and watch the birds.

We went to the cinema twice this week.
We are on the three phone network and every Thursday they give away freebies and we managed to all get a free cinema ticket, so three tickets in total and then our son used a meerkat movie code so that gave us another free ticket, so we had four tickets in total, our son has a cineworld unlimited card, so all three of us went on Wednesday and Friday for nothing. We watched Wind River and American Assassin.

The more freebies we can get the better as obviously we are spending less money.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Aviary - New Arrivals

We picked up the last of the birds yesterday afternoon.

So a little bit more about the birds.

We thought very carefully as to what birds to have, no point in putting birds together which don't get on and the ones we have chosen are hardy and can survive harsh winters, they have the roosting box which is very cosy and their will be a heat lamp/night light put in their sometime so if it the weather gets severe they will still be warm.

The avairy must contain, an iodine block and some cuttlefish the birds get essential nutrients from these.

There is a dish of grit on the ground for the quails and also another dish in the roosting/feeding area, grit is essential the birds need this to aid their digestion.

All the birds are paired, 6 Zebra Finches.

Easy to identify the cocks from the hens, the cock bird has the bright orange cheek patches.

They are very productive when it comes to breeding, most bird keepers (unless they have breeding rooms/sheds) only allow breeding in the Spring and Summer months. So no nest boxes will be placed in ours now.

They can lay up to 6 eggs and will have several broods

The quails are happy, just going around picking up and bits of seed which fall to the ground, and they also have a quail mix as the feeding area for the other birds is inside and they will not get that much else. They have dish on the ground which is a mix of fine seed and chick crumbs.

They very occasionally will sit on their eggs , they will lay the eggs anywhere, if collected and put under a bush there is a chance the female will hatch them out, but not very often and the male can often be very aggressive to they young, most people hatch the eggs out in an incubator, we did this when we used to keep them so will probably do this again at some point.

1 pair of Diamond Doves, as you will see the cock bird has no tail feathers, he had been kept in a cage indoors and when he was caught his tail feathers came out, but they do grow back and won't take long and he can fly around fine, he was so happy when the female arrived. The cock birds have a brighter ring around the eyes, they will only have one or two chicks at a time. They will eat the finch food and they also have a cockatiel mix and will eat any small seed really and millet and maybe some greens.

These are the new arrivals and the last ones we our having, so the aviary is not over crowded.

These beauties are Bourke's

They are a very small parrot and around the size of a budgie.

The hen is the one on the left.

When we picked up these yesterday we also saw their young, they can produce some beautiful colours, we kept Bourke's before and they soon got to know and trust us and would come an land on me, very gentle birds. These will lay between 3 and 6 eggs, and they eat the same as all the other birds we have and also like a bit of fruit.

So we can sit back and enjoy watching them now, we go in and out the aviary regularly so they will soon be happy and trust us, in the winter months we are putting the garden chairs in the greenhouse so we can sit and watch them.

They have plenty of room and everything they want, and I have to add they are in far better conditions then where they came from. They will be very much loved.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Passing of Summer

Summer is passing, another week or so it will be the Autumn Equinox.

The view from our sitting room, early this morning, the leaves are changing and starting to fall.

Conkers scattered on the drive, the children will be delighted they come along with their bags picking them all up.

 Leaves blowing across into the garden.

A taste of summer, blackberry jam on toast for breakfast.

The roses are still blooming.

The last of the sweet peas.

The last few raspberries have been picked.

The summer flowers still doing well.

The sweet little Robins are always following me around.

A small leaf variety of spinach growing in pots in the greenhouse.

The peppers have been so slow this year, I shall have to harvest them soon.

Making the most of the breeze.

Always plenty to eat for the wild birds, we have lots of visitors in Spring when they are feeding their young and then it goes quieter in the Summer then they all come back when its cold and they are hungry.

A little bug and butterfly house this week bought from home bargains for £2.99, I like to help wildlife.

Have a good day, I shall leave you with an Autumn Collage.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Aviary

The aviary is now complete apart  from just another piece of roofing to go on at the back.

The birds can stay under cover if they wish or they can go out and bathe in the rain, or bask in the sun if they want to.

Some panels have also been put around the sides and the back to stop any drafts, and there are some roosting areas, where they can go in a large box.

At the weekend we picked up the chinese painted quail,  3 hens and a cock bird, when having quail the it is advisable to have 1 cock to 2 or 3 hens as the cock bird can be very rampant.

The first night we just put in a cardboard box so they could shelter for the night.

The next day my husband made a lovely box for them and put in a bit of greenery so they can hide away if they wish.

Last night we picked up a diamond dove and this morning picked up 6 zebra finches, we were only going to have 4 but they gave us an extra 2 and also another diamond dove, the one we picked up last night is very happy now.
So all the birds are now paired up. We still have a few more different ones to get.

This is the roosting area - the door is lifted up at the moment and we put some food in there to get them to go in there so they could learn there is a nice cosy area for them, it has also been designed like this so I can clean it easily, when they have got used to going in and out the big flap will be closed and there will be just a little hole for them to go in and out as they please.

 Just a mini rant.........

Not published on this blog but I had a comment from someone who likes to occasionally leave long winded comments on this and other blogs, the said person commented about birds being kept in cages and aviaries.

Well I value everyone's thoughts and opinions, but would just like to say we are not being cruel keeping birds in an aviary, birds have been bred and kept in captivity for thousands of years, our aviary has plenty of room for the birds we will be housing.

Why is it whatever you do someone always tries to beat you down? so please give me a break!!

They will be much loved and cared for.