Farmhouse Crusty White Bread Recipe

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Posted by Mick | Posted in Farmhouse Recipes | Posted on 30-10-2014

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Crusty White Bread

Farmhouse Crusty White loaf recipe

Nothing tastes better than fresh home baked bread, served warm with a generous amount of butter, or as an accompaniment to a stew, soup or casserole . Many of our friends have been asking for the recipe for the crusty white loaf that we make here at Wrickton Hall.

Ingredients

2 cups lukewarm water
1 sachet dry yeast (7g)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions

Add 2 cups of lukewarm water into a large bowl and mix in the yeast and sugar. Leave to stand for 15 minutes until a froth forms on top of the mixture. Add 3 cups of the flour, salt and oil to your bowl and beat until you have a wet dough (approx. 5 mins). Stir the last 2 cups of flour into the mixture, then empty onto a floured surface.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes, pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your hand, then folding it over. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Kneed the dough for another 5 minutes and place in a bowl with a little vegetable oil. Roll the dough in the oil until it is covered, then cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or cling film. Leave to stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Once risen, knock the air out of the dough, and on a floured surface, split the dough into two. Shape the bread into two long rolls and place on a greased baking tray. Cut about five slashes across the top with a sharp knife, and cover again to allow it to rise (approx. 30 mins).

Heat the oven to 180 C (Fan) and cook the bread for 30 minutes. Sprinkling some water over the bread halfway through helps make the bread even crustier.

Crusty White loaf

The wet dough mixture

Ready Steady Grow…

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Latest News | Posted on 09-10-2014

Moving into a new home means moving into a new garden too, and there is a sense that despite bringing some ready grown plants from our previous garden, we have to start all over again. There is also a great mystery that the seasons will unravel, and so far this year I have been pleasantly surprised by the plants that are already in residence. We had a beautiful array of snowdrops and daffodils brightening the cold spring mornings, and I am thrilled to see the climbers over the Ludlow, Shropshiregarden wall coming into full bloom, as well as a laburnam tree showing its beautiful purple blossoms. This is my favourite so far; my grandmother, who sadly passed away over twenty years ago now had three laburnams in a row in her rather regimented garden. Veg grown on one side, and a flower garden and lawn on the other, I do think that if she is looking down on us she would be quite proud of what we are trying to acheive here at Wrickton Hall.
We have been lucky in that there were already a couple of raised beds built in the garden that just needed turning over and some compost mixing in, and Mick picked up a greenhouse on freecycle to start the vegetable seeds. And now that we have met the beginning of May, the beds are looking promising and the greenhouse is growing in greenness everyday.

We have herbs that will not be too much longer before being planted out into a herb box; Mick made a planter last year from an old pallet, last year we grew far too much lettuce in it, but this year it will become our herb pot. We have onions and garlic growing well in one of the raised beds, with a row of early radishes, and peas, more onions, beetroot and lettuce in another. The brassicas, cauli, broccoli and kale are in a new raised bed that Mick rotivated about a month ago. Something again we learned with growing last year is that netting is a must, we have an eave full of swallows nests and plenty of other wildlife that would love to share our vegetables with us!

We are a little undecided yet where the fruit bushes are going; possibly a dedicated area that we can cage in to protect the fruit. We have brought strawberry plants across from the last garden and they are flowering already, and our trusty dustbin that the potatoes grow in has had it’s second layer of soil added to encourage longer and more productive roots.

Yet it is still a time of patience, there isn’t anything ready to eat, preserve, jam or soup yet, and there is still the waiting to see what else nature has in store in the wooded area of our garden, fruits I hope and I think there may even be a walnut tree; trees that have grown here year after year, appreciated by whoever has cared to enjoy them.
But alongside the successful growing of our fruit and veg, and the joy of seeing the flowers coming into bloom, there is also the control of the lawn and the weeds!

We have invested in a self-propelled petrol lawn mower; Mick says that even I would be able to use it…I’ve managed to avoid it so far! Today the lawn had it’s second cut, and it only took five hours, compared to a day and a half a fortnight ago.

Sheep and LambsMick is looking forward to the sheep moving in shortly. (Hannah was given a lamb for her birthday six weeks ago so we are waiting for the lamb to be fully weaned and for us to construct some stock fencing and then we are ready, hopefully for five sheep and maybe even a pair of goats!) As far as the weeds go, so far it seems that just dandelions on the lawn are the problem: I’m not keen to pull out anything that I don’t recognise from the flower beds, just in case they take me by surprise and turns out to be a prize flower!

Keep an eye on Wrickton Hall news and follow the growth of our garden and some recipes to use with the home-grown veg over the weeks to come.

First House Guests

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Dog Boarding, Latest News | Posted on 23-04-2014

These past couple of weeks have seen the first doggy house guests here at Wrickton Hall, and so far it has been a complete pleasure. It’s almost like running a B and B but with a different kind of conversation. Mornings mean out in the garden for obvious ablutions then in for breakfast, a good playtime outside in the sun that we have been blessed with, a long walk, and cuddles on the sofa in the evenings.

Our first house guest was Drake, a beautiful Staffie, who loved to play in the garden, playing fetch with his toys and any stick that he brought back from his walks; we had quite a collection by the time he went home, and we would have had even more if he could have moved some of the logs he wanted to!

We have also had a very lively pair of puppies; Blue Staffie sisters, thankfully with coloured ID tags on their collars; the only way to tell them apart. They were hugely energetic, but long country walks would leave them cuddled up on our laps at the end of the day.

No doubt we will meet many more dogs as the year progresses, and many more of their owners too, I hope that we can continue our trend of sending the dogs home with everyone, both human and canine, happy with their holiday experience.

Home from home dog boarding

Resident dog boarders enjoying the home from home experience.

Our home from home dog boarding is located between Ludlow and Bridgnorth with visitors from all over the UK.

Sorting out the ‘pecking order’

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Chickens, Latest News | Posted on 23-03-2014

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It may be an old fashioned phrase for sorting out who is the boss, but we have certainly seen this perfectly in action over the past couple of weeks with the introduction of new chickens to our brood.

Rhode Island red Cockerel

Rodney

Our first hens, who moved here with us from Birmingham, are Warrens, a crossbreed chicken known for their egg production; bred from crossing Light Sussex with Rhode Island Red. With this in mind, Mick and Hannah went chicken shopping! Twice! The first trip saw them returning with a gorgeous young Rhode Island Red Cockerel who we have named Rodney, he is only a teenager at the moment and doesn’t yet have his tail feathers, but he is beginning to crow and get the general idea of how to keep the hens in order. Five Light Sussex Hens moved in too, so that we can breed some more Warrens, and Hannah’s overdue Christmas present of a Black Rock, and a Speckledy completed the brood under Rodney’s control. The pecking order is sorted out just as it says on the tin, it seems that those who can front up to each other and look the more dangerous are in charge and quite literally take them down a peg or two. Those in charge get the higher roost in the coops, the others are on the pegs further down!

Light Sussex Cockerel

Delboy

With all of our hens happily settled again, the egg production has increased, and I have regular orders from work friends, so much so, that Mick decided that with the ample space and the new coop that Mick built from a flatpack, we had the space to have even more hens. This time it was a trip to the local poultry auction in Bridgnorth and Hannah and I returning from work that evening to be introduced to our five new Lohmans, a hybrid again for egg production, and the most beautiful Light Sussex Cockerel. He really is a gorgeous young man, mainly white with full black and white tail feathers; being the elder of the two males he is now in charge of the brood. He is a little cheeky, and has tried his luck at fronting up to Hannah and myself, but can be pacified with a handful of corn on the floor. He happily bows down to Mick now too; his spurs needed clipping, as they would have been dangerous to the hens; done gently with no pain to either Delboy (our name for him as he is Rodney’s older brother ish!) or to Mick, and he has settled in rather nicely. Delboy is in charge of the brood, with Rodney as his second in command, and one of our original Warren ladies firmly in third place; pecking order sorted out.

The next chicken purchase will be an incubator so that we can breed some purebreeds and hybrids of our own.

Chicken Breeds

A Light Sussex, Black Rock and Speckledy hen line up for breakfast.

Prepared whatever the weather?

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Chickens, Latest News | Posted on 13-02-2014

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There are times when following friends on twitter or Facebook; watching News 24, or even having the radio on in the car, brings us closer to the awful weather that we have been having. So many of our river towns here in Shropshire and nearby Worcestershire have been affected by the constant rainfall, and so many people have had damage to property and land; and with two more storms queuing over the Atlantic ready to attack, I wonder how much more damage can be done. Politicians and Environmentalists have already started the blame game, fuelled by the media; but realistically, there is nothing to be done but clear the mess and mend the damage.

At Wrickton hall we have thankfully weathered the first storm without damage. A few interesting drives along our country lanes in snow, floods and high winds have left me grateful for the log burner and a cuddle with the dog and cats on my return home; and I will admit to laughing when Mick had to chase the roof of the chicken coop down the garden in his wellies. But other than that and a couple of upturned patio chairs we have been safe and sound.

Winter Snow Near Bridgnorth

Snow on the road from Cleobury North to Bridgnorth

But I am not leaving anything to chance, especially with two more storms to come and media threats of continued weather disruption for the next month. Since we have moved in, I have kept and washed every sauce jar, and every plastic milk carton; recycling at its very best. Come the weekends, anything from the pantry that needs to be used up is turned into a sauce, or a soup, and saved either in the fridge or the chest freezer to be used when needed. I have spare milk in the freezer (this is the first time I’ve frozen milk, but it seems to have worked) a loaf of bread, soup, cheese, and a good supply of frozen chips!

Despite the cold wet and wild weather our faithful chickens are still giving us plenty of eggs, and we in return have stocked up on their food. Food for the pets is just as important as for us if we are stranded; so we have a stock of food in the utility room would probably last at least three months.Storm Damage

Spare logs are in the log store; I’m avoiding the standing joke in our household, that the myriad of books I have would make better fuel, and free up some bookshelves! Big woolly jumpers and thick socks at the ready, it’s time to batten down the hatches and hope that all those who are suffering from the weather can get through the next few days and weeks.

My first dinner party in Wrickton Hall.

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Latest News | Posted on 31-01-2014

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Tonight will see me hosting my first dinner party in at Wrickton Hall, and after a very busy week at work and a good amount of thinking and preparation in advance, hopefully I can relax and enjoy the company of our friends without spending the night in the kitchen.

 

Winter Warmer Dinner Party Menu

Starter:            Watercress and Goats Cheese Soup with fresh rolls. (Recipe)

Main:               Beef in Beer with Horseradish dumplings, served with creamy mashed potato and green vegetables. (Recipe)

Desert:             Pecan Pie with Whiskey Cream. (Recipe)

Preparation started earlier in the week, with making the soup and the Pecan pie, and an early morning this morning preparing the Beef in Beer for the slow cooker.

 

 

Burwarton Show 2014 | Shropshire Events

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Posted by Mick | Posted in Latest News, Local Events | Posted on 31-01-2014

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The Burwarton Show will be held  Thursday 7th August  2014 at The Showground,  Cleobury North, Bridgnorth. Shropshire.

The Burwarton Agricultural Show goes back over 110 years and is proud to boast that it is the country’s best one day show. The show will return this year with a wide range of trade stands as well as attractions including:

  • Cossack trick riding and wild west performances.
  • A static bird display from Hawkeye Falconry UK.
  • Craft demonstrations.
  • Vintage tractors. engines and machinery.
  • Sheep shearing competition.

The Burwarton Show will be a fantastic day out for the family, who will be able to enjoy the entertainment, the food hall, and a wide range of heavy horse, cattle, pigs, goats and horses/ponies. Family tickets cost £32.00 in advance (2 adults + 3 children). Full information and tickets are available at The Burwarton Show website.

 

 

Ludlow Dog Day | Sunday 20th July 2014 | Ludlow Dog Events

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Posted by Mick | Posted in Dog Walks, Local Events | Posted on 31-01-2014

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Ludlow fun Dog Day 2014

Ludlow fun Dog Day 2014The first Ludlow Dog Day will be held in the grounds of Stokesay Court, near Ludlow, on Sunday 20th July 2014. The dog day will have many attractions to delight the whole family and will have lots of ‘doggy’ stuff throughout the whole day.

This is one fun packed day that you really must write into your doggie diaries.

Attractions at the Ludlow Dog Day include:

  • Dog Display team
  • Fun Dog Scurry
  • Pet dog Rally Obedience
  • Dog and Duck

There will also be a wide selection of stalls, demonstrations, children’s activities, tours of Stokesay Court and fun dog classes for everyone to enter with prizes.

Tickets for the Ludlow fun Dog Day are:

Adults: £6.00 in advance (£7.00 on the day)

Children (4-16yrs)/Concessions: £4.00 in advance (£5.00 on the day)

Family Ticket (2 Adult 2 Children): £16.00 in advance (£20.00 on the day)

Free Parking and entry to Stokesay Court Gardens included in the ticket price.

The Ludlow fun dog day is being organised by the Rotary Club of Ludlow to raise funds for good causes. Full information about the day, and opportunities to sponsor or advertise may be found on their website.

Pecan Pie with Whiskey Cream

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Farmhouse Recipes | Posted on 31-01-2014

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Pecan Pie with Whiskey Cream.

Ingredients:

Pecan Pie:

Ready made sweet pastry base (life’s too short!)
2 Eggs, beaten
100g ish of melted butter
200g ish of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
100g of pecan nuts, some whole some crushed.

Ingredients:

Whiskey Cream:

Double Cream
Caster Sugar
Whiskey

Method:

Pecan Pie

Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, and eggs. Add the pecan nuts to the mix. Pour the mix into a ready made pastry base. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on 150/gas mark 4. The pie is ready when it has set and goes a lovely golden brown colour on top. It can be served either warm or cold, will store in the fridge for a couple of days, and will reheat in a gentle oven.

Whiskey Cream

Whisk together a pot of double cream, with about a dessertspoonful of caster sugar and a generous shot of whiskey, until the cream forms the consistency that you prefer. Serve generously with a slice of Pecan Pie.

Beef in Beer with Horseradish Dumplings

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Posted by Teresa | Posted in Farmhouse Recipes | Posted on 31-01-2014

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Beef in Beer with Horseradish Dumplings.
(Slow Cooker Recipe)

Ingredients:

Beef in Beer:

500g of diced beef
3 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion, sliced
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
2 handfuls of diced mushrooms (or Button Mushrooms left whole)
1 teaspoon of Marmite
1 can of Guinness or other Real Ale.
Gravy Granules

Horseradish Dumplings:

Suet
Flour
Salt
Cream of horseradish sauce

Method:

Beef in Beer:

Place all the ingredients except the gravy granules into the slow cooker, stir them together, put the slow cooker on low, put the lid on and enjoy your day! As you start to make the dumplings, check the beef for the thickness of the sauce, add gravy granules as required.

Horseradish Dumplings.

Stir together in a bowl the suet, flour, (I use about half and half) and a teaspoon of salt. Stir in the horseradish sauce; I love the flavour of horseradish so would use a very generous teaspoonful. Add cold water very slowly to the mix, a little at a time, stirring it together until the mixture is bound. Divide the mixture into small balls, and place on top of the cooking beef. Put the lid back onto the slow cooker and cook until the dumplings are like white fluffy clouds.

Serve with creamy mashed potato and green vegetables.