31 Oct 2015


Love Halloween and this year our son wanted a Marvel theme since becoming a teenager and totally getting into Super Hero's, he wanted his favourite hero Captain America carved into his pumpkin.

One pumpkin, google images and a pumpkin carving kit and a fabulous teenager and Ta Daa here is our sons marvel super hero Captain America carved pumpkin..

28 Oct 2015


Simple, fresh and sumptuous oysters, with the very best oysters you really don't need any other ingredient, but I do sometimes like to add a tease of other flavours to enhance the taste and smell of the ocean, I am always drawn to the orient and the land of the rising sun with their great simply light ingredients and dressings, these are perfect for oysters.

Prep Time 30 minutes / Equipment Oyster Knife

(serves 2)

1 serving bowl full of crushed ice
12 fresh oysters shucked, juices kept
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 red chilli finely sliced
2 chives finely chopped
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp mirin
2 drops of sesame oil

To shuck your oysters, place the oyster in a tea towel in your hand and using a oyster knife place the tip in the pointed end of the oyster, just ease the knife in and then twist the knife up this will lever the shell open, then slide the oyster knife along the opened gap all the way round, when you get to the other side you may need to twist the knife again just to life the lid completely off.  

Try not to lose any of the precious juices, using your knife, slide it under the oyster and gently prize the oyster off its foot that attaches it to the bottom of the shell, place on your bowl of ice in a decorative pattern.

Mix the soy, rice wine vinegar, mirin and sesame oil and drizzle a little over each oyster, finish by sprinkling each oyster with a little of the spring onion, chives and red chilli.  Eat immediately.

27 Oct 2015


Childhood Memories from a Mouthful 
Our beautiful and gorgeous outdoor field reared rootled and romped Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs who have given us the greatest pleasure on a daily basis are now giving us their bounty.  These traditional gorgeous punchy faggots updated with a good glass of brandy and hint of juniper bring them up a notch to a more superior dinner, the first mouth full of our own raised pork faggots took me straight back to my childhood, this is what I love about food most, memories in a mouthful.

Always a emotional moment when a pig leaves the farm but my husband reminds me that we have given them a longer life full of freedom in a grass field to do what they do naturally and we have loved spoiling them daily with seasonal foraged some scrumped! apples and pears, home grown carrots and root vegetables and foraged acorns from the woods, along with daily brushing, rubbing and dry shavings baths, this always helps balance those emotions of them leaving and the excitement of the meat coming back.

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 20 minutes / Equipment Mincer

(makes 12 faggots, serves 4-6)

750g Natural or Organic pig liver trim out ventricles and dice
1 pigs heart trim out ventricles and dice
2 pork kidneys trim out ventricles and dice
750g pork belly diced
500g pork shoulder diced
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
250g fresh breadcrumbs
2 small glasses of brandy
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
6 garlic cloves grated
6 juniper berries ground
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil for frying

Serving Suggestion

Buttery Mashed Potatoes
1kg King Edwards peeled
100g butter
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain and mash add a generous amount of butter, more than your think you should, a dash of white wine vinegar and good pinch of sea salt and white pepper.

Onion Gravy
1 onion finely sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sugar
500ml water or port
2 tsp cornflour
In a frying pan melt the oil and butter, pan fry the onions for 15 minutes, add the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes, then add the water and bring to a simmer, mix the cornflour with a tsp of water to form a paste, add to the onions and stir in well, this will thicken the gravy, season the onion gravy with salt and pepper and maybe another knob of butter to add a glossy shine and richness,

The Faggots

In a large bowl combine the liver, heart, kidneys, pork belly, shoulder, onion, breadcrumbs, sea salt and black pepper, thyme and parsley, turn over a few times by hand to roughly mix and then pass through a mincer, I use a 8mm die plate a little more robust but the 6mm will give you a slightly finer and more smoother texture.

To your mince add the the rest of the ingredients, stir through and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. 

Divide the chilled mixture into ball, each around the size of of a larger golf ball, place in the fridge to chill until ready to cook, preferably the same day.

Heat a heavy based frying pan over a medium high heat, add the oil and wait one minute before adding the faggots, sear both sides for one minute only then turn the heat down to a low medium heat, gently cook for a further 20-23 minutes, I like to add a egg cup of water 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time then crank up the heat to medium high and pop a lid on the frying pan, so that the faggots get a quick steam bath, after 2-3 minutes immediately take off the heat and leave un-touched while you plate up the mashed potato, place the faggots on top and drizzle over the onion gravy, this is a dish that will not disappoint.

21 Oct 2015


Can't wait to crack in to these sweet and spicy pickle slices, looking forward to Christmas where these will be accompanying cold cuts of Christmas left overs elevating them to a higher level. 

(makes 3 jars)

9 courgettes or dill pickles sliced
1 onion slices
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
5 cups white wine vinegar 5%
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp dried crushed chilli

Sprinkle the salt over the sliced courgettes and leave to one side.  In a saucepan bring the vinegar up to a gently simmer, add the onions, sugar, mustard and celery seeds, turmeric and chilli, gently simmer for a few minutes, meanwhile in your warm sterilised jars cram in as much sliced courgette as possible, pour over the hot pickling liquid covering the courgettes and leaving a one inch head space at the top of the jar.  Secure the lids, not to tightly.  Bring a large saucepan of water or you canning bath up to a simmer, above 83 degrees and place the jars in the water, process for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool.  Once cool remove the jar bands and check that the lids have sealed, place the bands back on and store in your larder until needed, if you can wait that long.


One of my favourite salads, full of super green goodness and loaded with flavour and a tiny hint of naughtiness with a dollop of sweet chill, these style salads are what has helped me to lose 114 lb so far, paleo inspired.  What's more it is super quick to make helping to avoid the temptation for snacking while waiting for your dinner.

Prep Time 5 minutes / Cooking Time 5 minutes

(Serves 1) 

1 tbsp coconut oil
100g chicken thigh meat chopped
2 spears asparagus diced
1 head broccoli diced
1 handful kale torn
4 beetroot chard leaves torn
1 handful watercress
1 beetroot grated
1 carrot grated
1/2 avocado diced
1 spring onion chopped
1 green chilli sliced
1 tbsp coriander torn
1 small tom diced
1/2 pomegranate seeds
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
Sea salt & pepper

Heat a wok or frying pan medium hot, melt the coconut oil and stir fry the chicken, when almost cooked add the asparagus and broccoli, stir fry for a minute or so, meanwhile place the torn kale, chard and watercress leaves on your plate, sprinkle over half of the beetroot, carrot, spring onion, chilli and pomegranate, in a bowl mix the avocado with the remaining spring onion, chilli, coriander and tomato, season, add the sweet chilli sauce to the chicken and season to taste if needed, serve the chicken on your salad with all the juices from the pan and top with the remaining beetroot and carrot, and avocado mix.

18 Oct 2015


Late November 2014
Let the dreams begin, the hard work start and the excitement of the future take hold, after 10 years of searching for a plot of earth to extend our small holding from our home garden, after we first watched River Cottage and were so inspired by Hugh F Whittingstall, we finally succeeded in purchasing our little plot of paradise, well a muddy terribly overgrown and dumped on by many builders plot of land, we are going call, after our son, Oscar's Acres just down the road from our home and in the middle of the country side where we grew up, perfick! Now there's a hint!  

In true Riches family style we set out with the mindset not to rush into all the dreamed up fantasy plans we had on copious note books stacked in our book case, for when we finally found our plot, 10yrs worth of fantasy on paper !, we said the first year is for letting the land talk to us while we clear the rubble and make good and mend.!!!

Who We Kidding, this is us we are talking about!

We are just coming up to our first year anniversary, and we have eight Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, a small flock of Dorset Downs sheep and are now rare breed Old Spot sausage makers and suppliers, from our gate to your plate!  Almost all rubble removed and new fencing for the whole small holding along with two new post and rail paddocks, extensive bramble clearance about an acres worth and a drive way put in! 

Index... A long blog...
Start of rubble and wood removal
Profile the land back to a usable field
Putting in a drive way
Building the first temporay pig runs
First stage clearing the stream
Removing brambles 8yrs worth from field
First stage of clearing the stream
Post and rail fencing the sheep paddock
Arrival of Dorset Downs Flock
New pig field
Vegetable garden summer and winter growing
Preserved vegetables
Old Spot Sausages

The start to something special Day One.

Silly excited as a family overloaded with ideas, we all knew we had our work cut out for us, but this is a life long journey so no rush, just need to contain the excitement of our projected dreams.  For the last six winter months we have been nothing but rubble and mud farmers, the first third of the land has been genuinally used as a builders and tree surgeons storage/dumping ground, with multi bonfire sites and general building waste we manually set to work removing bricks, concret, stone slabs and large logs, what we did not expect was to find two more foot of this rubble burried in the ground!

For six months solid our motto has been every one brick we pick is a brick gone.  Come rain or sunshine everyday we have removed at least a bucket of bricks, it has helped with our old fashioned attitude that in years gone by before machines it truly was man or girl power, but we can honestly say thank goodness that job is over, I think we found it frustrating because it was stopping us from using the land for livestock.

Getting there, the most frustrating times have been when you think you are almost cleared, then you remove some brambles and find half as much rubble again, this has happend several times!

Final piles of wood and rubble, we hope, that we have piled up and as the wood is so wet and rotten from being in and on the ground we know we can not have a bonfire as first planned, so we are going to have to remove it, another job for another day, little by little!

Now on to leveling the top part of the field that has been used as a second driveway, with tons of building hardcore driven into the ground over and over again to make a road!  After breaking three spades we conceed and are hiring a digger!  Yay finally some machanical power and this in just a day will transform the terraced field to a level useable paddock, in time!  Honeslty we did consider doing this manually just like all the rubble and wood clearing, but the need to see results side of us has decided to treat ourselves to some help.

The first spade in the ground from the digger, very cold this morning, but the ground is soft and wet, so this made it a eaiser job.

Before the levelling and after we had cleared all surface rubble.

This is the pile of mud scrapped off the terrace, it unfortunaly was un-expectedly, (whom I kidding!) full of more rubble and building debris and after spending a few moments of starting to remove the rubble from this pile of mud we have come to the conculsion we would be better off having this removed as it was very pongy stagnet clay mud and that made this desicion very easy.

After the mud was removed and the digger levelled the area it is starting to look more like a field.  Now we're going to need a serious amount of field grass seed.

The driveway was something I was not keen on putting on the farm, I love grass and mud under my feet, but we needed a hard standing that was accessable for our family and livestocks needs and if I am honest I am not slipping over in the mud all the time walking to the barn and back, I think once we get the grass and spring flowers in next year along the driveway and the field slope back to a grass field it will soften the road.

The finished road, I could not wait to get this dirty and worn in so it would blend in a little better.

Glorious spring morning we are so grateful we have our plot of paradise, we are now ready to start raising our own Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs and the whole family are excited and full of anticipation with the arrival of the pink ladies imminent.

The arrival of the Gloucestershire Old Spots, aptly named the Pink Ladies.

Meet Splodge, Pinky, Delila and Squeeler, these are our pink ladies, they are 11 weeks old and gorgeous, from the trailer we had to carry them to thier pig ark, the reason for this is that they may not have realsied that the ark is there for them to keep warm and sleep in, but by placing them directly in to the ark that will elivate the concern of baby pigs sleeping outside for the first night, instead of being snuggly in a deep bed of straw. 

This is how Squeeler got her name!  The other three were no bother at all but Squeeler boy did she hollow all the way to the ark, but the great thing about pigs is that as soon as you put them down they stop and start to investigate their new surroundings.

Getting to know each other, I find it is very useful to have jobs to do in the pigs field, as they are really curious in nature, in doing so they will keep coming over to investigatge what you are up to and this helps with the bonding and relationship, within a few weeks they will be asking for belly rubs and jowl rubs.

Pinky, it was this moment on day one that I knew Pinky was not going to be a meat pig, but a breeding sow and family pet, and she has not disappointed, a loving nature and protectiveness of the  newly introduced piglets, Pinky is a keeper.

The Pink Ladies now 7 months old.

Pinky having fun sprinting around the run because she's all excited after having her favourtie shavings bath!

This deep hole that the ladies have dug has given us hours of amusement, they all take turns to look down the hole, fasanating.

Pinky always likes to come over and say thank you for thier afternoon treats.

New arrivals, these our son named Smokey and the Bandit because they have a old fashioned robbers mask around thier eyes, these beautiful piglets are Duroc X Gloucestershire Old Spots and are 15 weeks old and will plug the gap we created by keeping back two pigs as family members.

Now to introduce the newest members to the herd, these our son has named the avengers assemble and boy these 8 week old piglets have been a bundle of trouble, especially the runt of the litter who is a cutie pie and will be joining Pinky as a keeper.  They have quickly learnt that if they roll thier rubber feed bucket down the field and nudge it up on the electric fencing then they can forage along the fence line, then under it and this afternoon they pushed themselves under the fence line and let themselves free on the the farm!  

This is what the middle part of the field looked like at the start, we had no idea of how far back the brambles went on either side, turns out around 30 foot either side.

After a lot of hard work and bush cutting all the brambles are cleared and removed, wow we have gained so much more field.  We can now walk the stream that runs down the whole left side of the field that one day will be restored to the beautiful stream it deserves to be.

This is how far back the brambles went.

Furthest point at the bottom of the field facing up to the middle of the field before bramble removal.

Again all brambles removed and more field reclaimed.

This is our romantic stream, it is a really lovely sound hearing the gently running of water ambling over and around rocks, the stream is in a poor state and needs to be dug out and restored at some point.

We just love the undulating path of the stream, such charachter.

Post and rail put in and we now have a sheep paddock, next to build a sheep field shelter and then off to pick up our flock of Dorset Downs.

Meet the ewes, Agnus, Maud, Daphine and Ethel.

Getting to know our sheep, we've spent lots of lovely afternoons having summer picnics in the sheep paddock and their curious nature has them wanting to investigate us, now they all demand a cuddle and scratch daily before I can get on taking care of them.

Meet Agnes, the boss, and a very noisy sheep!  

I get to start my day in the most glorious way.

This week we have been putting in post and rail fencing and gates, to create a holding pen for livestock that are arriving or leaving and fencing a new pig run for the winter months, this is the before photo.

The new run and as we have two pigs leaving tomorrow morning the 20th Oct, this has worked brilliantly, the logistics of separating two pigs from a heard of six was a concern, so we opened up the departure lounge a few days ago and working on the balance of probabilities at some point there will be the two pigs leaving on their own in the lounge, along with placing the trailer in the lounge as their ark and feeding them in the trailer fingers crossed we are all set to go in the morning, this will remove any form of stress for our two pink ladies which is our highest priority, we don't want the ladies to know anything about it. 

Welcome to our vegetable garden, I love my vegetable beds this is my down time just pottering around the beds that keep us in year round glorious sunshine food, we grow enough to feed ourselves and when we have a glut we will preserve some and give away to family and neighbours, and all the weeds and fodder supplements our diva chickens!

Summer Growing
We grow Kale, Chard's, Cabbages red and white, Celery, Salads, Squashes, Courgettes, Parsnips, Spring onions, Chillies, Herbs, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Peppers, Aubergines, Tomatillo, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Black currents, Goosegogs, Turnips, Swedes, Beetroot, Onions, Garlic, Cauliflower, Peas, Leeks, Squashes, Broccoli., Rhubarb, Apples, Plums, Pears and Cherries.

And not a green house in site, this is something I really do need, I have a 18ft poly tunnel down the side of the house where I grow my tomatoes, aubergines and chillies, but I do get a poor yield and next year I am going to address this.

Winter Growing
Kale, Chard's, Winter cabbage white, green, Salad, Nero chard, Celery, Winter spring onions, Red and white onions, Garlic, Cauliflower, Purple broccoli and Winter peas.

Foraged and Scrumped
Apples, Pears, Plums, Sloes, Hawthorn, Elderflower, Elderberries, blackberries, Quince, Mushrooms, Wild garlic, Cob nuts, Acorns for the pigs, Dock leaves for the pigs, 

Stored In The Ground Over Winter
Carrots, Parsnips, Beetroot, Broccoli, Swedes, Brussels sprouts, Winter kale, Cabbage red and green, Spring onions, Herbs, Salad, and Leeks.

Preserved And Stored In The House
Sacks of potatoes, Stacks of squashes, Wrapped apples, Plaits of garlic and onions, Pickled beetroot, Sweet and sour pickled cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, Sweet green tomatoes, Sweet pickled turnips, Caramelised onion chutney, Garden vegetable chutney, Heirloom tomato sauce/chutney, Beetroot relish, Quince and apple sauce, Sweet chilli jelly various flavours, Rhubarb and ginger, Apples in syrup, Apples and black berries in syrup, Plums in syrup and in spiced brandy, Sloe gin and Hawthorn ketchup.

I love love love canning, there is a prepare in me somewhere, the self satisfaction of walking past our dresser filled with hundreds of jars of glorious food and chutneys just makes me feel good, knowing we are looking after our selves and do not need to run to the shops to feed our family, we just wonder down the garden and go to the larder.

I love our onions and garlic hanging in the kitchen ready to use, the Shelia Maid that they are hanging from has a real sentimental value and history, my boyfriend (now husband of 24 yrs) together we brought this original old beech wood when we were just 18 yrs of age for £18 and we never installed it, we have moved several times and still kept it and taken it with us, now 24 yrs later we are settled in our almost forever home and it has pride of place in the kitchen, every day I love looking it and using the produce that we have grown from it.

Coming Soon Old Spot Sausages !