The question I get the asked most is not what I’d expect. People aren’t too terribly shocked that I’m building my own house with my own hands…or that at the same time I’m baking bread weekly for as many people as are organized enough to place orders (hint, hint), or that I’m doing all of this on a miniscule budget. Impressed, yes, but surprised, no. Instead, the question is “How do you ever have time to write your blog?”. Well, I can’t say that it’s easy, but blogging is a commitment that I made to myself when I decided to start this huge adventure, and come hell or high water I intend to keep it up! Some weeks it means sitting here wrestling with words, photos, and a terrible internet connection for several hours instead of taking a much needed nap. Other weeks it means getting up at 5 one morning to punch out a blog post before it’s light enough to work outside, then proofreading and publishing it after lunch, when it’s too hot outside to get much done on the house. Today it means taking an hour or so out of my Sunday, the day I set aside for running errands, a few social commitments, catching up on sleep, and doing those household things that tend to get overlooked all week.
A quick briefing on the Nid Tiny House progress, and then I’m going to talk about food, ok? So the Nid. The driveway is drivable – or so Mandy has demonstrated, as I’m not brave enough to gun the pickup up a steep and bumpy curve with a load of sand, gravel, or timber in the back – the foundation wall is knee-high, all ready for the posts to be set in, and the posts are about one hour of grinding away from being set upright on the wall. This week has been spent mostly on cutting and stripping the posts, using a chainsaw then a hatchet and lump hammer. A slow process, costing me a couple of chunks of skin (hatchets and chisels should not be used when overtired) and a certain amount of frustration, sawdust in the eyes, and far too much effort in hauling and lifting 100+lb over-sized posts. I’m nearly there, however, and having them standing in place will be a huge achievement.
Now for my other love: food. Place some bread orders, y’all! I do love the baking, but I also love spreading amazing, wholesome, delicious bread through the community, that is so starved of fresh, local, healthy baked goods. This week, as well as the bread (white and cooked-grain – see Produce and Products for more info on each) I made what I’m calling Tiny House Toasties: thinly sliced bread baked with olive oil and rosemary and just a hint of salt, a crunchy snack akin to (but so much better than) bagel crisps. For the household, I also roasted a chicken (with English style stuffing, of course), a to-die-for tray of wonderfully caramelized sweet potatoes and carrots, and a couple of arugula-feta quiches. The quiches are pretty yummy, perhaps I’ll be nice and share a recipe today?
Arugula Feta Quiche
For the pastry:
1 1/3 C white flour
1 t salt
1/4 C crisco (yes, really, it makes the texture just right)
1/4 C butter (frozen)
2 T cold water
Mix flour and salt, throw in crisco and cubed butter. Swiftly flake the butter into the flour with your hands, the crisco should somewhat combine with the flour during this process. Leave the lumps of butter, just try to flatten each one as you go. Add the water and gently stir/squeeze together with your hand, just enough so that no flour is left dry. Do not try to make it into a smooth dough! Cover and place in ‘fridge for an hour or two.
For the filling:
1 bunch arugula (coarsely sliced)
1/2 C milk (or water)
3/4 C Feta (crumbled roughly)
1/4 C shredded cheese (any kind, optional)
1 small onion (diced)
salt, pepper to taste
Beat the eggs in a bowl, add everything else and stir to combine.
Take pastry out of the fridge, should be very cold (freezer works well too), turn onto a heavily floured board, roll to 1/4 in thick, then fold in half and roll again to just under 1/4 in. Drape into a 9 or 10 in round pie pan, trim edges, pour in filling and bake at 400ºF for about 35min or until no longer liquid in the center. Enjoy!
In this hot, humid climate arugula is super easy to grow in the garden or in tubs in full sun, maybe you want to try? From seed it comes up in about 3 days and is ready to start picking in about 5 weeks, or you can go to the Ag center and get seedlings that are only about 2 weeks from picking for around 10c each.
I just scored some milk that was on sale, so this week I’ll be making some fresh soft cheese, a real treat! With some herbs from the garden it’ll be superb on the sourdough bread or maybe even on the toasties…the possibilities are endless. Cheese will be a tad tricky to make as I’m currently house sitting, so have to drive halfway across the island each night, but it shall be done. The drive is well worth the escape it provides from the endless tasks related to building and simply living in the jungle, plus letting Mandy have her living room back for a little while. I’m just waiting for the day when I can move into the Nid and call it my own…
Hungry now? You’re welcome.
Cheers – remember to show some love in the comments section!