One chicken: ~14 serves

Posting this in case some find it useful. Also because I’m delighted to have come up with another useful variation.

I will only buy free range chicken, and buying it in pieces is expensive. So every so often, I buy a whole free range chook, from which I get at least a dozen meals, sometimes more.

The legs and wings make two meals. I usually make a ginger/soy/honey marinaded slow cooked thing with noodles and veg. Tonight I did a baked thing with cream/zucchini/mushrooms/rice instead.

The thighs make two meals. My standard is a cacciatore variant

The breasts make about 4 serves. I usually do satay or curry but random pasta sauces are also good.

Then the new thought was- instead of just making stock from the resulting carcass, steam the meaty carcass for half a hour. I put thyme and bay in the steaming water. Let this cool, strip the carcass and one gets about a cup of cooked chicken, useful for sandwiches, pasta, pizza etc. Say another two meals. If you have inexpensive white wine, use that for all or half of the steaming water. Either way, the resulting water is a rich stock.

The steaming water counts as stock, then one can boil the bones(including the any of the other bones you haven’t already boiled) for more stock. Say ~1L stock that will make 4 serves of soup.


Brew stocktake


I feel the Montjoye beer stocks are getting thin. So to help decide what next to brew, I’ve just been through the cupboards and done a stocktake. There is still a great deal of booze!

13 PET bottles of Golden ale. This is 49 x 330ml serve equivalents. I’ll take this to parties and events in the prompt.
the rest are all in small glass bottles, 330ml or near that.
7 of Little Teapot stout- nice to drink in cold weather, and works well in a stew.
9 of Amiable Ale English mild- best drunk unchilled but I think this has gone too fizzy to take to parties now- like much of my brewing sadly
16 Twice Bitten dry amber lager. This has been very popular. I think it goes down better in hot weather, so this might sit for a while.
2 Free Falling pale ale (hopped with Cascade only, hence the name). Other people seem to like this. I think it’s a bit boring.
7 Festival ale (English best bitter)
6 golden ale. This was supposed to be pretty much the same as the one above, but I think there was a mix up with the grain. It turned out weak and I added “adjunct” to strengthen it
36 Merry Measure brown ale. I like it, it’s a lighter take on a brown. It wasn’t hugely popular at the CF tasting, some thought it sat between styles.
So 83 serves of beer in glass. Plus the PET makes 132 serves (plus the few bottles in the fridge, which I didn’t count)

13  of the 2015 apricot cider- likely the most popular thing I’ve made yet.
55 or so of 2016 apricot cider not yet bottled.
36 mulberry cider. Really too dry to be pleasant to drink. It might develop. Works fine in cooking.
56 a full batch of the new ciderry
Which makes160 serves of cider.

Or 292 serves of booze, not counting the various macerated spirituous things in the pantry, or the bits and pieces of mead and fruit wine.

Writing this confirms that what I am short on is pale ale. So the next brew will be a pale, hopped with Citra, which I haven’t used yet but comes recommended by Rurik. I’ll see how that tastes, but I have only a precious couple bottles of my favourite- a Nelson Sauvin hopped beer (this one is a lager, but I prefer it done as a pale ale). So I’ll probably make one of those too.

I’d like to redo the brown ale that tasted AMAZING at 18mths old, and lay it down for… in 18mths time. This started out quite hoppy and sweet. The last bottle I drank had developed raisin flavours and was really smooth. Yum, I want more of that if I can manage it.

I’d also like to try something like the amber lager as an ale. I think that would land somewhere near a Little Creatures pale.

Well, that’s four brews planned, that’ll do for now.


Sewing for how long?

I suppose I started sewing at about 4 or 5 years old? Pattern darning on hessian to start with, guided by my Mother and Grandmother. Several of those pieces still exist in my Mother’s collection. My Mother sewed most of our clothes when my brother and I were small. Initially, much of the fabric came from her old full skirted 50’s and 60’s frocks. My Grandmother, dear Nana, wanted to be a tailor, but her family could not afford the apprenticeship fees so she had to go to work in a pickle onion factory instead (one of the saddest stories I know). She did manage to study at nightschool however, and had considerable skill. Nan made lots of Mum’s clothes of course. Nan (and Gramps) lived with us from when I was about 10, so I grew up with two fairly accomplished dressmakers. Now I have Nan’s last sewing machine, sniff.

So large scale embroidery was my start. Then making dolls clothes, both by hand and later machine. Practicing on sewing machines by making “stamps” and spirals etc with old needles on paper. Also making dolls. Pipecleaner dolls and dressing them, often in different country’s traditional dress. I was impatient with school sewing lessons because they didn’t do things the way my family had already taught me. by late high school I was starting to make clothes for myself, partly because I had access to fabric, but very little money. I kept making clothes all through Uni days, and in the latter part of that, discovered the SCA. Costume became part of the sewing mix, but without much historical accuracy at the beginning.

So many weekends and holidays were all about the gift of time in which to sew. I remember one set of Easter holidays when I was so excited because I had time to make a coat. That coat got made and worn lots. I was so happy both making it, and having made it. For years, I’d spend weekends sewing in the family dining room while listening to one of two sets of albums- Eurythmics or Steeleye Span. I’m astonished in retrospect that my poor family were so tolerant of this. Yeh I should get out more, or have got out more, but I’d not be as good a seamstress if I had.

I have kept making clothes for myself ever since. Some of the impetus is that I don’t have a figure that matches the shapes that retail clothes are made to fit. I look way better in well fitted custom made clothes. I can’t buy trousers that fit for any money, or shirts, or anything much except knits and shoes, and even the knits I fairly often end up altering (actually, I’ve altered a bunch of shoes too). I also love fabric, really love fabric. Well, I really love high quality fabric, especially when I find it for cheap.

I continued my dressmaking education by reading lots of “Threads” magazines, books, and learning things from my sewing friends. Later I found my costume experience informing my general dressmaking. I haven’t used a commercial pattern in years. Commercial patterns don’t fit any better than retail clothing. I did however learn a lot about garment construction from the instructions in the commercial patterns I worked with for years.

You know that advice for writers? “just write, lots, keep doing it, write, really”. Well for me it was sewing. I could simply not count how many garments I have made, or altered, or remodelled. So many. Mumblety years worth. I’m pleased with what I can do, but I suppose I feel I ought to be able to do more. This was not though my paid career. So it’s just a well developed hobby, but if I’m away from needle and thread for too long, I crave it.