Rabbit Pie

20130129_182909First trip into the office today sees the debris of unfinished work taunting me from various locations of the desk and floor. By and large, matters are under control. Rather than file nearly completed tasks I take pleasure in waiting until they really are finished before stashing them away.

My heart rate therefore calms as I realise that there are no real panics to deal with. I have some business events and weddings to organise which sees me tapping away at the computer in between calling various suppliers and customers. Orderliness is shortlived. Over the top of my computer screen I spot a furry creature emerging from the shrubbery just outside the office window.

Ever since planting the wildflower garden, which borders the shrubbery, I have been on rabbit watch. The seed company identified rabbit attacks as the main threat to the flowers reaching maturity. To counter this I bought an air rifle.

Throughout last season the rifle was regularly used. The rabbit population was not diminished. However, the pellets discharging did succeed in sending the hungry monsters sprinting off away from the flowers and across the fields.

For the last couple of months I have not seen any rabbits in the wildflower garden but today a very confident adult is staring contemptuously at me while munching on some seed heads.

Picking up my air rifle and the tin of pellets I head off to the utility room from where I can get a clear view of the wildflower meadow. Slowly I open the door. Unbelievably this is the precise moment that the breadmaker, sat on the counterside in the utility room, breaks into its next kneading cycle.

The rabbit hears the noise and turns towards the sound but does not bolt. Waiting a little longer for it to get accustomed to the machine noises I then slowly raise the rifle and ease it around until I have the rabbit in the sight.

At first I suspect the usual outcome after squeezing the trigger but then I realise that the rabbit has not completely disappeared. It has moved but not far. The next second it collapses and dies.

I am in shock. I am used to taking pigs to the abbatoir and preparing them afterwards but the act of killing changes the dynamic and I am confused about how I feel about what I have done.

My heart thumping I walk to the rabbit and bring it into the kitchen. Once I gutted and skinned a hare that someone else had shot but this will be the first time that I have prepared a kill of my own.

After consulting Seymour and Fearnley-Whittingstall I set about my task. Although very nervous at first I become more relaxed as the rabbit is tranformed from creature into meat. I am slow but in about 20 minutes I have a skinned and cleaned rabbit on the counter with its heart, liver and kidneys in a bowl nearby.

Looking forward to dinner.


Keeping chocolate perfectly.

The system was perfect. A cool cellar kept our distinctive home-produced chocolates in fine condition.

Then, new technology for one of our wind turbines was installed in the cellar and it generated heat. Too much heat for the chocolates!

Our chocolates are one of the most popular elements of days spent at Green Directions for our clients. We make them with fresh cream and no preservatives to maximise the quality of the taste. Ingredients such as beer, liqueurs, fresh fruit, chilli and fresh herbs create delicious and unusual flavours.

The solution to the storage problem was to invest in a wine cooler. Fantastic. I can set it to the optimum temperature to ensure that our chocolates are always in perfect condition




Green Wedding

A few weeks ago we hosted the wedding of Sally and Andrew.

What a great event! Throughout the day the atmosphere was relaxed. Guests arrived with their tents and set up at the far end of the field. Andrew and a team of family and friends busily put the final touches to the preparations while The Milestone (www.the-milestone.co.uk) set up the bar and prepared to cook. Hannah Millard (www.hannahmillardphotography.co.uk) was a subtle presence during the afternoon and her images have captured the essence of the day very effectively. Sunshine and a gentle breeze enabled our solar panels and wind turbines to produce all the electricity that was needed while the Tipi tent (www.papakata.co.uk) looked magnificent both inside and out. In the evening the fire pit was a dramatic focal point and kept everyone warm into the early hours.

The next day guests cooked breakfast in the field and caught up with each other’s news while their children played football and ran around the farm.

What can we do to tackle food availability issues?

In my parents’ lifetime – they are still alive aged 83 – the world population has risen from about 2 billion to 7 billion and it continues to rise. Malnutrition existed in 1928, tackling it is therefore an even greater challenge now.

Although instinctively anti GM, I am even more anti starvation and therefore think that projects to assess the potential of GM should be supported.

I feel most strongly that the dislocation of a high proportion of people from their food supply in ‘developed’ countries is a key problem.

It results in:

  • A lack of respect for the sources and value of food
  • Waste
  • Obesity

In my view, if more people produced some food for themselves many of these issues would be addressed and we would also increase food supplies considerably.