Hairdresser-turned-shepherdess, Zoë Colville farms nearly 100 acres of land near Maidstone with her partner, Chris Woodhead. With prime focus on their animals’ wellbeing, together they rear cows, sheep, goats and pigs, eventually selling their meat through The Little Farm Fridge. This month, Zoe makes sure everyone’s included in the festive celebrations
What does Christmas mean to you? Gingerbread scented candles, panicking over how we to fit everyone round the dinner table, setting the tea towel on fire while cooking the turkey and eating chocolate for breakfast? But the biggest for me is a month of saying “sod it it’s Christmas” – whether that be about eating a third French fancy on the trot or buying the goats sprout trees every day because it’s comical to watch them eat them.
As with many professions, just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a break. Instead of grieving days gone by when you finish up on the 23rd and stay in your pyjamas until the New Year, not knowing what day or time it is, we started new traditions. The lead up to the big day is spent changing electric fence batteries to make sure lambs don’t end up on the road and making sure everyone’s got full bellies. Not forgetting lots of late shifts wrapping chipolatas in bacon ready for the millions of Little Farm Fridge orders for pigs in blankets. I came close to ‘death by pigs in blankets’ last year as I completed a six hour stint, resulting in an upsetting dislike for Mariah Carey and meaning my plate on the 25th was very much lacking on the little-sausages-wrapped-in-bacon front! We are hoping this year, since we’ve been running plenty of sausage making workshops on Zoom, that a few people will be making their own and lightening my load.
Another thing we do on Christmas Day is we (I) make anyone on the farm a selection of treats, sprouts, carrots, parsnips etc. I prepare this on Christmas Eve whilst listening to Chris Rea rather loudly. Why? Not too sure, but it brings me joy seeing them tuck in, so why not. Sipping away on a hot chocolate with a shot of Baileys or Kahlua keeps us warm while doing the rounds and, before we know it, it’s time to make the human lunch, featuring meat we’ve reared that year, a true reward.
The snacks don’t end there! For a few weeks after the big day we collect old (natural) Christmas trees from friends, family and neighbours for the goats to eat. They are like locusts and the trees’ needles have beneficial qualities for their health so it’s win-win. We hope you all have a month of beautiful festivities and remember the motto “sod it it’s Christmas,” see you a few pounds heavier in the New Year!
The Little Farm Fridge Recipe of the month
How to cook it… Zoe’s sausage plait
- 500g Little Farm Fridge sausagemeat
- puff pastry
- 3 red onions
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 egg, for brushing
1. Slice and fry your onions in a little oil for around 20/30 mins until they are very soft. Add the sugar and vinegar and continue on a medium heat (don’t let them stick) until caramelised and the sugar has dissolved. Sometimes I’ll add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg at this stage.
2. Lay your pastry out and place your sausagemeat down the centre. With a knife cut diagonally down either side so you have slices of pastry to wrap over to make the plait effect (may need to Google for a diagram!)
3. Spoon your caramelised onions onto the top of your sausagemeat roll and plait your pastry on top, bringing one strip from each side over, taking it in turns.
4. Brush the top with a beaten egg and pop in the oven 180˚C for 40-45 minutes. I like to eat it with baked beans.
Follow Zoe on Instagram @thechiefshepherdess
and @thelittlefarmfridge. You can order
meat online at thelittlefarmfridge.co.uk
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