Before we acquired our little flock of laying hens, we thought we'd done all the research and groundwork on back garden poultry keeping we could possibly do. Hen-house, Layers Pellets, Grit, Mites, Dust Baths, Wattles, Combs, Beaks, the lot. We've had our ups and downs since then, and learned quite a bit about Hen Health and Welfare, but one thing we've never managed to get on top of is the regular delivery of up to 21 eggs a week...
Lay Ladies Lay
Tip of the Egg-berg
Now we like eggs well enough, and there's always the giving away to family and friends option, but even so, the Middleton Egg Mountain continues to grow apace. Those hens just won't give it a rest. Pickled Eggs seem an obvious solution, particularly if my plans to convert a small batch of our perry into Perry Vinegar comes to fruition. The trouble is... Pickled Eggs!... Eggs, Pickled! Well we've tried it, and I can safely say that rubbery vinegar is definitely not our thing. So cake it is then, an excellent way of using up surplus eggs, and a traditional Sunday pastime in this household.
Almond Bars with Cider Glaze
This recipe is pinched from 'A Taste of Cider' by Shirley Harrison, a book which has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for some years now. The cider used for the glaze was a bottle of Moorland Farm Medium/Sweet Cyder.This is quite a sweet cider, but with a fair bit of acidity to balance it, and in common with the draught version I tried at Newark Beer Festival this year, has a lovely soft 'peachy' flavour which goes very well in a glaze.
Cream 225g of Butter with 100g Caster Sugar until fluffy. Stir in 50g of Ground Almonds, 175g Self Raising Flour, 50g of Sultanas, and a few drops of Almond Essence. Spread onto a lined baking tray, and scatter with 50g of Flaked Almonds. Bake at 160C for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile bring 150ml of Sweet Cider and 50g of Caster Sugar to the boil, and reduce by boiling rapidly to a couple of tablespoons of syrup, When the cake is cooked, drizzle the glaze over the surface and leave to cool before cutting into bars.
You'll probably have noticed there are no eggs in this cake. Damn!