Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The environmental bit!

Regular readers of this blog may remember that back in October I posted about going Eco in Abruzzo. Part of our plan when moving to a house in the Italian countryside was to become both more self sufficient and more eco-friendly.

So far, our major achievement has been the fitting of the solar hot water (which is an absolute triumph!) and it has provided us with huge amounts of sun powered hot water since it was installed! We have our five chickens laying their organic free range eggs, we had a successful organic veg patch last year and are still eating the fruits of our labour from the jars of fruit and jam plus the veggies in the garden.
Mmm - Borlotti!
Pumpkins & squash

We are making our own compost, our central heating is run on 100% ecological wood pellets and we have fitted the 89% efficient wood burner in the lounge for that bit of extra comfort(again wood burners are much more environmentally friendly than most standard forms of energy, being one of the few carbon neutral fuels-ok, environmental science lesson over!). Up until the end of November we took the boys to school and picked them up on the bikes almost every day. I am still cycling to work on average 3 times a week. All of these things help to reduce our carbon footprint.

We will continue to look at ways of improving our green credentials, although Dougie has drawn the line at a compost toilet! Any suggestions welcome!

Monday, 21 January 2013

A worthwhile New Years resolution!

Belated Happy New Year to everybody. After a spending a lovely Christmas and New Year with my family in the UK we are back in Vallecorvo, Abruzzo planning our adventures for 2013. 

So where to start? I guess with my New Year's resolution. Normally it would be something like get fit again, lose that extra baby weight that I have held on to for nearing four years now. But this year my New Year's resolution is almost the antithesis to both of these things:

 This year I am going to make a lot more cakes and puddings. Now if you ask me, that is the kind of resolution worth keeping and so far I am doing ok! We got back here on January 5th and I have made 
  • one chocolate cake, 
  • chocolate chip cookies, 
  • a treacle sponge with real Tate & Lyle golden syrup (which is a precious commodity in this house, saved only for real indulgence as I haven't found anywhere I can buy it here in Italy yet)
  • a victoria sponge using our home made peach jam
  • ginger bread men
...and for good measure I've also included a picture of the coffee and walnut cake I made my mum for her birthday, because I was very proud of it!!