Friday, 27 January 2012

Meet Felicity and Xanthe

I’ve wanted chucks for as long as can remember.   I love them so when we moved into our forever house in the summer the very first thing we did was build a chicken run.  They are so funny, and engaging each with their own personality -  they all lay different coloured eggs and they go a long way in keeping my household on budget. 

Fenella lays a blue egg and is a Fenton Blue  .. she is the lightest one and really rather snooty.  As you can see she from the picture on the bottom left she really wouldn’t pose for me this morning.  Ditta is a Bluebell and lays a light brown egg, along with my rescue from the battery farm Babette, they are both really cheerful.  Victoria, Camilla, and Calpernia are Mabel Pearmans Burford Browns and they lay the most beautiful conker brown eggs  (Camilla is the one posing in all the photo’s.)

They get fed all the household scraps and I give then the green scraps from my local green grocers too. The chickens are all named after people (both real and fictitious) who I admire. 

In the film Babettes feast Babettes warmth and the wry humour brings out the life in the village as she spent all her money on the most amazing meal. It’s my favorite film. .. that and Flash Gordon ! Queen Victoria no need to explain that one!  Ditta von Tease is a sublimely sexy woman, and Calpernia is my favorite character in the literary world.. she is the house keeper in To Kill a Mockingbird  ..  her love of the children as they seems utterly oblivious makes me think of my own children.  I am just as bossy and they can be just as unaware of the love behind such boring instructions such as wear a vest and eat your greens! Camilla is the second royal in my flock as she manages grace and charm in such a way I can’t help but admire her.

So my two final additions to my small flock are 17 week old point of lay light Sussex ( the white ones at  the top of the photo) and they will be the last that I will buy for some time. They are a gift for my husband for his birthday and they lay pure white eggs.  Al can never remember the names of my ladies so I did  briefly consider renaming them after his ex girlfriends ..  but there were so many to choose from  and none I admired ! * she says with a smile*

So here is the best bit choosing names ..  thought I’d call my two new girls after two of my favorite food writers. 

First is Xanthe Clay who is a food writer for the Telegraph.  I first read one of her books It's Raining Plums when I was expecting with William and so wanted to have a vegetable garden! I love her literary style; Xanthe writes to her audience on a level and her wonderful narrative weaves facts between vivid descriptions.  The pictures she paints with her words are so alive and whenever I read her pieces I am simply transported.  Second is Felicity Cloake writer, Guardian 'How to Make the Perfect' columnist, winner of the Guild of Food Writers' Food Journalist of the Year and New Media awards 2011, and author of Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes for Every Cook's Repertoire that was published by Fig Tree in August 2011 this year.  I love the detail and passion she writes with.  I find her style easy and for some reason I digest the facts easily

So to Xanthe and Felicity if you are reading this I know you that you will appreciate how truly delicious fresh free range eggs are and I hope you will consider this a small honour to be part of my efforts to produce more of my own food. You are in good company with royalty, a burlesque legend , two film characters and a housekeeper all who lay the most beautiful eggs!


  1. I've always quite liked the idea of keeping chickens but am worried about the foxes - we get one who travels through our garden every night, I hear him jumping the fence and then watch him as he wanders around the garden before jumping the next fence into my neighbour's garden. Perhaps a post about how easy/difficult they are to keep?

    Love the names - very original.

  2. There are things you can do to keep the foxes away. I play radio 4 loudly if I know I am not going to be home in time to lock them up .. foxes don;t like human voices.

  3. Vanessa, how I envy you, it's just not possible with my lifestyle to keep chickens, but I would love to.
    I love the names, both inspirational, I'm just sitting waiting for the Ginger Cake that was in the Guardian (Felicity's recipe) to finish in the oven.
    Do keep us uptodate with your lovely chicks, and of course, I know you'll have some super uses for all the eggs. Jude x

  4. AH yes, the post of a real chicken mother! I recognise the tone Vanessa! I am also a chicken mother to the Coronation Chickens, Rita, Deirdre and Mavis.....with some more on their way in the Spring. WONDERFUL post and we are so alike when I read through it too....beautiful photos and I LOVE your Hens too!

  5. What pretty coloured eggs - at first I thought they had been dyed! Always like the idea of chickens as I love fresh eggs but always having dogs have found it a little impracticable (always managed to have excitable "bird chasing" dogs)! It is so lovely when I get fresh eggs from my niece - they really taste rich.
    Liking the new layout and the photos.

  6. Your hens are beautiful, love the colours of their eggs. Our garden is too small for hens although we were thinking of getting quails. Such lovely names too.


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.