It’s good times on the farm at the moment. We have green grass in the paddocks! What a beautiful sight. It’s almost as if our eyes are adjusting, you become so used to the look of the dry after a period of time and then when all this green surrounds you it’s like a long distant memory has come back to life again and you realise what a difference it is to live in times like these. The cycle of life! What a blessing : )
And of course green grass is not only lovely to look at, it also means plenty of food for our cattle and plenty of milk for the calves. My milking cow Maudrey had her calf on the first day of Spring, our son has named him Henry : ) And I have been loving getting back into my routine of milking in the early hours of the morning.
The dogs and I walk up the road to the cattle yards and then we walk back with a full milking can. I have always milked in our crush, with her leg tied back with a rope. There is no way I want to take any chances with my bucket getting knocked over! I seperate the calf the night before, then take my share of the milk and put them back together once I’m done. Everyone has worked out the routine now, Maudrey practically runs up the race to the crush, because she knows I have her grain waiting for her, and she loves it! She’s even so clever to shuffle around while I’m milking when she’s run out so I will give her more ; ) The rope is not something they like at first, it would feel very odd, there is a lot of kicking so you have to be careful, but now she understands and it doesn’t worry her in the slightest. You also have to watch all of the body language while you milk, tail raised, shifting position, incase they decide to empty themselves, in which case you need to be quick to grab your bucket and get well back! Maudrey would have to be the best milking cow I have ever owned, she gives all her milk to me (I have had some that hold it back, very frustrating!) And she does not empty herself whilst I’m milking. The first 3 times she would wee and I would growl at her and give her a smack, after that she would raise her tail to get me worried and let a little trickle out, I tell you, some cows are clever, especially Jersey’s! But now she knows and behaves.
You can see the layer of cream, so beautiful. All strained through a stocking and bottled in clean glass bottles. You just give the bottle a good shake and you have full cream milk, skim the cream off and you have skim milk! I only have to milk a few times a week, now that there is only the three off us. It feels so good to start the day this way and know we are getting so much goodness from fresh, raw milk! Thank you Maudrey! Oh and Henry for sharing : )
I absolutely love this custard tart, so simple and so delicious. Might even be one you might like to add for Christmas. I use a pre brought puff pastry base, and bake blind, place a layer of baking paper and beans or I use rice that I keep for this purpose, and cook for 5-10 mins at 180 degrees celsius, remove the rice and just brown it a bit more for 3-4mins. After this stage it goes in the fridge no more oven cooking so just cook it until you are happy with how it looks and to eat.
Then while all this is going on or after, whichever you prefer, make your custard filling. This is similar to a creme patissiere, sounds fancy pastry cream then, so easy!
Grab a saucepan and a jug or small bowl. In the jug/small bowl put 2/3 cup of milk, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, whisk together, set aside. Then in the saucepan add 3 tablespoons of butter, place over a low heat, melt, now stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, add 2 Tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup castor/fine sugar. Pour in the milk mixture, keep stirring all the time. When the sauce thickens (this will happen quickly) turn of the heat and beat with a wooden spoon or whisk until smooth. Put back over a low heat and cook stirring for a couple of minutes. Spoon this deliciousness into your pastry shell and chill for half an hour.
Now for the topping you can use whatever fresh berries or frozen you like and a glaze of maple syrup or warmed up jam, the options are many. I have used mulberries with a mulberry jam glaze. A combination of fresh berries and frozen with a jam glaze, frozen berries and a maple syrup glaze, it’s all wonderful! The picture doesn’t really do it justice, I forgot to take a photo of it on the day I made it, I think this is a couple of days old, and I dusted a bit of Icing sugar on to try and pretty it up : )) I hope you try it xx
It’s original name from my River Cottage Family Cook Book is Summer Fruit Tart. I have adapted the recipe slightly over the years from the original.
Frank and I last Sunday sitting under a shady tree enjoying the view. The simple things in life! To live and to be content with little or with much. See you soon xx