Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Easter Basket of goodies

Somerhill Ilse and her triplets.  2 rams, and the ewe in the center. 
They were cleaned, fed, dried and sleeping in the sun.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rabbit and Brie Frittata

How about this recipe for Easter morning?

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 shallots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
10 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked rabbit meat.
6 oz. Brie cheese, cut into 1/2-inch dice
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In the deep half of a frittata pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes, adding 1 to 2 Tbs. water if the pan becomes too dry. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the eggs, thyme, the 3 Tbs. parsley, the rabbit and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
In the deep pan over medium heat, warm 2 tsp. of the oil. Add the egg mixture and cook, using a rubber spatula to lift the cooked edges and allow the uncooked eggs to flow underneath, until the eggs are just beginning to set, 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the shallow pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tsp. oil. Place the shallow pan upside down on top of the deep pan and flip the frittata into the shallow pan. Cook, covered, until the eggs are set, 8 to 9 minutes.
Carefully slide the frittata onto a plate. Sprinkle with the 1 tsp. parsley

Monday, March 25, 2013

Yearly reprise of my breeding goals

Its seems that with the start of lambing here just days away, revisiting my breeding goals would be a good idea.  Other than changing the number of years that have passed since the first BFL lambs were born at Somerhill, I'm pretty satisfied with continuing with these goals in mind.

When we first got our Bluefaced Leicesters (BFL) my first goal was to establish different bloodlines, since they were so rare in the US. Now, 15 years later, there are quite a few breeders, and enough new genetics have been imported from the UK that inbreeding is no longer an issue.

So now - I am selecting for productivity traits. I have a flock that can lamb unassisted, and have nicely shaped udders and well placed teats so that I don't have to supplimental feed the lambs, or help them learn to nurse.

I want ewes with nice, long, strong backs that can carry triplets without becoming broken down and sway-backed. I also select for stock that is up on their pasterns, since my flock is expected to graze year-round. Also, I want heavily pregnant ewes that don't have weak pasterns, and rams that can support their weight on their back legs for breeding.

Like most Leicesters, due to their roman noses BFLs can have bad bites. So I am careful to select for lower teeth that meet the upper dental pad. I also have to watch for good fleece coverage, since BFL are prone to "peeling" along the belly, chest, and around the leg and tail area.

Of course, since I am raising registered stock, I also need to select for proper breed type.  Besides good general conformation, I also want good blue skin color, good lock structure in the fleece, a big roman nose, and ears that are properly set.

Its fun, but hard work, and maybe someday I will have "perfect" sheep

Friday, March 22, 2013

Algerian Lamb Shanks

4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
Salt, to taste, plus 1 Tbs. salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 lb. yellow onions, diced
1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
2 cardamom seeds, skins removed
Pinch of saffron
1 tsp. chili flakes
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 Tbs. curry powder
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cans (10 oz. each) diced plum tomatoes
1 bottle white wine
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 lb. carrots, peeled and coarsely diced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely diced

Preheat an oven to 350°F.
Generously season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof deep sauté pan or Dutch oven over high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Working in batches, brown the shanks, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.
Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring, until the onions are tender and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger, cardamom, saffron, chili flakes, cloves, caraway, fennel seeds, cinnamon, curry, the 1 Tbs. salt, almonds and raisins. Sauté, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, wine, orange zest and orange juice and stir to mix well. Submerge the shanks in the liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the meat nearly falls off the bone, about 2 hours.
Stir the carrots and fennel bulb into the stew, cover and bake until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more. Drizzle each serving with olive oil.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

FOR SALE - Somerhill Justimere

Pictured at 6 months old, Justimere is in the front, left, facing the camera.    She is sired by Somerhill Xcel, an AI son of Llwygy X1, out of Somerhill Adagio, an F2 Jamie/Laird ewe.
Justimere's dam is Somerhill Bijoux, who is a blend of Titus, Loyalty, and Jamie.   $400.00

The barn cat

"JJ"  - stands for Jack JR, since he
looks a lot like a stray who stayed with
with us for a while.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coming yearling ewes

Enjoying the tiny green shoots coming up in the hayfield.  2 year old ram,
Xcite, is 2nd from the right, and that is Fairlie, the yearling for sale, in the center.

New yarn

I blame this on Dave.  I sat all last Saturday morning, looking at the cotton candy
in the booth across from me at the farmers market, wondering if I could spin it.
These are two of the colors. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Conejo al Salmorejo

1 rabbit, cut into pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
4 cloves garlic
1 medium-hot pepper, such as Anaheim
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp Spanish sweet paprika
1 cup (8 oz) white wine
3 Tbsp vinegar

Salt rabbit and place into a shallow baking dish.
Peel the garlic cloves. Cut pepper into several pieces, removing seeds and veins. Put thyme, rosemary, paprika, white wine, vinegar and pepper into the food processor and whirl. Pour mixture over the rabbit. Cover dish and allow rabbit to marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, pour the olive oil into a heavy-bottom frying pan and heat on medium. Take rabbit pieces out of baking dish and fry in pan, making sure to brown on all sides, (about 15 minutes). Add more oil if necessary. When cooked, remove from the pan and place on a plate.
Pour marinade into the same frying pan and heat to a simmer. Return rabbit pieces to the pan and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Liquid should be reduced.

Serve rabbit with salmorejo sauce over top and accompany with fried or roasted potatoes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

For sale - registered, natural colored BFL yearling ewe

Somerhill Fairlie:  Dam is Somerhill China, an AI daughter of Carryhouse R1 out of Somerhill Pegasus, one of my foundation ewes.  Sire is Somerhill Xcel, an AI son of Llwygy X1, out of Somerhill Allegra, an F2 Gwystedd Jamie/Rossibank Laird daughter.   $400.00
Spring 2012 - newborn, still wet baby.  Born a twin, but sadly,
her white sister was stillborn.
Fairlie at a month of age.  her mother, China, is behind her.
2.5 months old, just before weaning.
5 months old.

Friday, March 8, 2013


1 pound of ground lamb
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cans of chopped or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of water
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta (or other small pasta)
4 cups of boiling chicken broth or stock
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Grated kefalograviera (or parmesan if not available)

Over medium heat, brown the lamb and chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Stir in tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, celery, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. When it reaches a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your preference.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400.
Remove bay leaf, and transfer the meat mixture to a greased baking or oven-safe casserole dish. Add boiling stock or broth, and stir in the pasta.
Cook uncovered in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the pasta is done and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir once or twice during cooking.
Top with fresh parsley and grated cheese.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Montour's Blue Skies

8 month old blue French Angora buck.
Shown with just 1.5" of new wool growth.
Mostly Spang breeding, has 1 BOS leg.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Simple Baked Rabbit

4 rabbits quarters
3 cups tomato sauce
2 medium diced onions
½ cup flour
1 diced garlic clove
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Canola oil
Brown onion in oil in a frying pan. Meanwhile mix tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and salt in a saucepan. Add browned onion and simmer. Lightly cover rabbit pieces with flour, salt and pepper. Brown rabbit on both sides, place in baking dish. Pour sauce over rabbit and bake for 1 hours at 325ºF.

Oh great - some new hosta eaters have arrived

The new fawns are starting to arrive.    We have a love/hate relationship going.  The deer love to eat our flowers, and we hate it.  L...