Hello!

It's another beautiful day but if you're still fuming from England's football failure we have a suggestion to help you take out your frustration: boil an egg, put it in an England Footballer Egg Cup, draw a Wayne Rooney face on it and...well, we'll leave that to your imagination! Or another option - just read our latest newsletter to forget all about it...


Competition Results

England might have been knocked out of the World Cup but we still have something to celebrate because we can finally reveal the results of the omelette competition. Before all the football fever kicked off we asked you to send us your ideas for an omelette to represent one of the teams. We had some weird and wonderful ideas sent in – some more unusual than others and we shortlisted some to cook up and put to the taste test. The results were not as eggspected...


In third place was Sarah's Greek omelette, with red onion, tomatoes, olives, feta and oregano. This classic combo tasted great as an omelette!


Coming in a close second was Michelle's Spanish omelette, with olives, capers, anchovies, chorizo, manchego and tabasco. A fun recipe that was full of flavour and a perfect footie snack.


But pipping it to the number one spot was Emma's American omelette...Now, the thought of eating eggs, bacon, bananas and maple syrup may make your stomach turn but this omelette was surprisingly scrumptious. Eggspectionally moreish – the plate was clean in seconds and we urge you to try it!


Click here to see the three omelettes being cooked. Prizes are on their way to the winners but a big thankyou to everyone that entered.


 

An Eglu in Paris

The Eglu is becoming more popular by the day, popping up in gardens everywhere and making chicken keeping a trendy hobby. It's not just family gardens you'll see them in though, we often get orders from schools and even the occasional restaurant, and if you're lucky enough to be dining in Paris House anytime soon you might just spot a green Eglu Cube while you're there.


Paris House isn't a house in Paris but a top restaurant in Woburn, with eggsquisite food and a beautiful setting. There's even a famous chef – Alan Murchison, star of the Great British Menu tv series. But despite all of this head chef Phil Fanning thought something was missing outside. He wanted chickens, and he needed a coop just as stylish as the building itself. Of course, he opted for the Eglu Cube, which he says has proved to be “a big hit with our chefs and guests”. He told us “We love our chickens they are great fun. The Omlet coop is brilliant, it makes the rubbish job of clearning them quite bearable.”


You can read what they have said about the Eglu by visiting their website, or why not treat yourself to dinner there to see it for yourself!?

 

Competition Reminder

It's two weeks since we launched our latest competition to win an Eglu Go and you have sent you entries by the bucketload. Hundreds of you have emailed in to tell us why you want to win this amazing price and we have been slowly but surely trawling through them. There have been some eggcellent entries so far and we've still got over a week left of the competition – crikey! So if you missed it the first time round because you were too busy watching the football or enjoying the sunshine we will give you one more chance (because we're just nice like that)!


If you want to win a fabulous Eglu Go, complete with two meter run, feeder and drinker, summer shade and 10 egg boxes just send us an email telling us why you want, or deserve, to win one. Simple! Send your entry to stephanie@omlet.co.uk by Sunday 11th July. Good luck!


In the Press

Our products have been hitting the press again this month, with loads of brilliant comments and some rave reviews.


The Eglu has been discovered by the Trendspotter for The Financial Times Online. The article focused on the increasing popularity of keeping chickens during these difficult economic times. “...frugality is no longer a question of life or death, but there are important aesthetic considerations: any self-respecting bantam demands a stylish coop if it is expected to deliver the goods.”

 

In The Sunday Telegraph Martin Gurdon, author of Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance, has been writing a regular column on keeping chickens. He also has a video blog called Chicken TV on the website “Think of it as a riposte to chick lit and Big Brother, but with more interesting characters, and you won't be far wrong.”

 

Sainsbury's Magazine has an article about the mix of city living and country life. Apparantly “a taste of rural life offers a chance to get away from it all” so there are more and more urbanites taking up hobbies like keeping chickens. Anneliese Rigby lives in South London with her husband, 5 cats and 2 hens. She first saw the Eglu when having dinner at a friends house and after tasting their eggs she decided to buy one herself. She says that watching her hens Margo and Barbara is “like a scene from a slapstick comedy”.


The Eglu also made appears in this month's Which? Gardening magazine. Principal researcher Steve was asked to keep chickens for a year and record the progress for a feature. He had never thought of keeping chickens before so he chose an Eglu for ease. (Good choice.) It was an easier eggsperience than he had eggspected. Steve has calculated that over 40 weeks he has had around £150 worth of eggs, and his verdict was “I've enjoyed having hens in the garden and I'd definitely recommend them...They don't take much work considering the reward of at least one tasty, fresh egg a day.”


And let's not forget the bees...The Sunday Telegraph has launched the Bring Back Bees campaign to raise awareness of the decline in bee population. The article explains why we need bees - mainly because they are essential for growth of one third of our crops. You can help by sponsoring a beehive or making your garden bee friendly, or if you want to try keeping bees yourself the article suggests going on one of the Omlet beekeeping courses.


The Bugs and the Bees

And talking of bees, it's no secret that bees are special little creatures; they pollinate our food, make tasty honey and they really are rather clever. But these bee-rilliant insects may just have gone one step further to impress us human beeings...it has been discovered that honey bees could help in the fight against the hospital bug MRSA. The sticky substance that bees make, propolis, has been found to stop the MRSA bacteria from growing. It has been tested on 15 strains of the bug and was effective against them all.


Although propolis has been used as a folk remedy for years this latest research could lead towards developing new antibiotics. And the reason for it being investigated was that it is already used as an antiseptic by bees to seal gaps between honeycombs and preserve their hives from contamination.


The Omlet Team

Rooney's at boiling point again but a whack on the head should sort him out.

 

This omelette sounds bananas but maple it'll catch on!

 

Phil's hens aren't so keen on the omelette but they can't get enoeuf of the escargot.

 

 

 

You could be the lucky winner of an Eglu Go!

 

 

 

Those ginger nutters have been caught on camera by Miss Pepperazzi-pot again!

 

Assembling the Eglu is a doddle when the driver does it for you!

 

 

When bees want a job doing propolis they do it themselves!

 

Cooking corner

The Village shop is always a hive of activity. Sally classes her shop as a sociable place to gather, rather than your usual village store. The kettle is on a permanent boil, cakes and pastries are eaten over a chin wag, putting the world to rights. Her shop is like someone’s front room, you have to step over Jasper, the lazy ginger tom, as you walk through the door. Shelves covered in an assortment of items like clothes pegs next to a knitting pattern for woollen frogs and a rubber belt for a 1940’s Hoover, taking pride of place in the homewares section. Credit where credit is due, if you need something, Sally is bound to have it. Somewhere.

After Barbara casually mentioned a glut of courgettes one day over coffee, Sally sparked on the idea of selling local vegetables. A sign offering ‘Carbon Neutron veggies’ was placed outside the shop front. We didn’t have the heart to correct her. Before long, villagers were queuing at the door to purchase beans, tomatoes, cabbages, tomatoes and an array of fruit. Any surplus we have are sold at a bargain price, meaning more customers for Sally and a small amount for us, to top up the chicken feed fund and Barbara’s wool collection.

Now that July is here, we are really busy in the veggie garden. The runner beans are growing faster than we can pick them and handfuls of strawberries are collected every day. The hens are all laying extremely well which is great for the ‘garden gate’ business, but I do wish they would have a day off once in a while. With the spinach and chard practically taking over the garden, then hens are happy stripping the leaves to supplement their daily pellets. Our extra eggs are sold to Sally, making sure that we have enough for the week.

Omelettes are one of those things you tend to make more of when you have a glut of eggs, and with the results of the World Cup Omelette Competition I thought it was about time I shared my own recipe with you.

 


 

The Perfect Omelette

2 large eggs
Splash of milk
Handful of grated cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
Knob of butter/oil

 

1. Heat a small frying pan with the butter and a drizzle of oil until it is bubbling.
2. Whisk the eggs with the milk and season.
3. Pour into the hot pan and cook slowly without stirring.
4. When the edges are no longer liquid, top with grated cheese and place under a hot grill.
5. The omelette will puff up and colour when done.
6. Serve with freshly picked baby leaf salad.

At 74, Sally is showing no sign of giving up her shop. The villagers wouldn’t be without it either.


 

We call this the Tomelette.

 


Vegging out

When the Omlet team asked me to write something about omelettes, I have to admit that my heart sank. I can cook most things but when it comes to omelettes and pancakes, I’m afraid that I am completely and utterly hopeless! They stick to the pan no matter how well I oil it and pre-heat it and as for turning them over, well I’m afraid that they end up in pieces! Fortunately, this is where my handy husband really comes into his own. His omelettes always do as they are told and put mine to shame and are extremely popular in our house!


Omelettes, or dishes consisting of eggs and herbs have been around for centuries. The ancient Persians and Romans enjoyed dishes made with eggs and dairy products and the word “omelette” originated in France but variations on the basic recipe can be found all over the world. The Italians make a frittata which often contains cheese and vegetables while the Spanish have tortillas which are Tom’s favourite! Indian omelettes usually have regional spices added along with chillies and onions.

 

According to legend, while on his way to battle in the South of France, Napoleon halted for the night in a village called Bessieres and was served an omelette by a local innkeeper which was so delicious that he ordered the


village to gather enough eggs to prepare a giant version for

his troops the next day. This led to an annual Easter Omelette Festival being held in Bessieres, France and sister celebrations featuring the “Omelette of Friendship” are now also held in venues as far away as America, Argentina, Canada, New Caledonia and Belgium where giant omelettes are prepared on huge street bonfires by tall hatted omelette chefs called “chevaliers”.


One famous person to have an omelette named after him was the novelist Arnold Bennett. The chefs at the Savoy Hotel in London made an omelette which contained smoked haddock which Bennett enjoyed so much that he had it made for him wherever he went and the dish “Omelette Arnold Bennett” has been on the menu at the Savoy ever since.


When it comes to record breaking omelettes, the Guinness Book of Records state that the largest omelette ever produced was made in Brockville, Canada by The Lung Association in 2002. It weighed 2.95 tonnes and beat the previous record from Yokohama in Japan where 160,000 eggs were used to make a 128.5 square metre omelette in1994! Now, those of you who have eggs mounting up have something to aim for!


Course Host of the week

Sarah Blenkinsop


Where and with who do you live?

I live in rural Herefordshire with my husband, 9 year old daughter, 10 hens, 2 cats and a guinea pig.


Have you always been good in the garden?
Yes. I can remember gardening and composting with my parents, picking fruit for pocket money and looking after wild and tame animals from a very early age. We lived on a smallholding and I had 3 horses, chickens, cats, a dog, rabbits and guinea pigs of my own to look after. I also reared a lot of wild animals foxes, owls, magpies, various birds, rabbits, hedgehogs...you get the idea!


How long do you spend gardening each week?
It depends on the time of year, but at the moment at least 30 hours a week. Just on on the garden and veg plot? But bear in mind we do have 3/4 of an acre of garden , orchard and veg plot and grow a lot of veg and fruit which feeds us most of the year, so it is not surprising it takes so long. We also have 3 and a half acres of woodland to manage, which takes time not mentioned, here! And the hens take another hour or more a day, depending on how soon I can tear myself away from them!


What is your favourite plant?
Tomatoes. I love them! I grow about 40 plants every year in the Polytunnel and make chutney and dehydrate a load and freeze a load...mmm I love them so much!

How long have you been keeping chickens?
I kept chickens as a child and young adult but then I moved into a town and spent many years working too hard to think about chickens. Then my lovely husband bought me an Eglu and 2 Omlet hens as a present in 2007. I rapidly got some ex battery hens as well and it all sort of grew from there. I then had more hens, got more hen houses and runs until I was back to keeping chickens in a big way!

How many chickens do you have and what are their names?
I have 10 hens at the moment, their names are Attilla the Hen (a Speckledy/Marans cross, 3 years old) Sweetiepie (Marans, 3 years old) Goldie (Rhode Rock, 2 years old) Coriander and Cumin (Ex commercial Warrens, about 2 years old) Ginger (ISA Brown, 1 year old) Lavender (Bluebelle 1 year old), Treacle and Coco (Black Stars, 1 year old) and Vanilla (Cream Legbar, 9 months old).

What's your favourite thing about the Eglu?
How easy it is to clean out! The wooden house my husband made for me is the easiest wooden house I have ever cleaned with no nooks or crannies inside, BUT the Eglu is the easiest house EVER to clean. It is also so well designed and has an iconic appearence, which I like.

What do you like doing when you're not hosting courses?
I am self employed as a freelance Environmental Educator, so I do all sorts of things. I teach Environmental Education to early years practitioners, so I run courses in games, den building and all sorts of woodland/outdoor based fun both in my own woodland here and elsewhere. I also work with children and young adults as a Forest School leader, playing and learning with them in woodlands, and I teach organic gardening and run after school eco clubs. I also run craft workshops and I lecture and give practical advice on a range of environmental issues.

I also like talking to my hens, gardening, growing things, composting, green woodworking, making soaps and lotions and potions, music ( from opera to classic rock groups) reading ( always!) making wines, cider and chutney from stuff I have grown, writing my blog and catching up with friends on
various fora. I am also writing a book.

Why did you decide to run a course about composting?
I am a Master Composter, (a Community Compost advisor with my local Council and Garden Organic) and lots of people have asked me for more "in depth " help than I can give them while doing my volunteer work. They asked me if I would consider running courses in composting and, as I have the land and I teach all sorts of other sustainability issues as part of my business, I thought I would see if people wanted to come on a course.

How long have you been teaching people how to compost?
I have been keen on composting all my life! But I started as a Master Composter in 2006 and that is when my teaching about composting really took off.

What does the composting course include?
A tour around my various different compost bins ( 22 at my last count, 4 different sorts) and how I use the compost I make, in my garden, raised beds and polytunnel. What sort of bin / heap to use. Where to site the bin, what to put in it, how to tell when it is ready to empty. What lives in your compost? How to get the compost out, what "good" compost really looks like and what to do with it when it is ready. Solutions to common problems you might come across, troubleshooting, answers to some common FAQ's. Also lots of tea/coffee, a look around my garden, veg plot, hens and wood to see how I do things. And a chance to "pick my brains"

Why should people attend this course?
I will show you how to make really good compost, probably faster than you might have thought. Also just how easy a process it should be, but sadly is often not. I also am fairly sure I can find something you didn't think you could compost, but which you can.

Whenever you've got a garden emergency just call Sarah!

 

 

These eggscape artists have learnt how to open the door...

 

...but they haven't mastered the gate yet.

 

Welcome to Compost Kingdom.

 

There are some strange faces around Herefordshire these days.

 


Upcoming Courses:

 

Hen Party

Sunday 18th July, 10:30am @ Herefordshire

Click here to book now

 

Composting - How To Do It!

Saturday 24th July, 2:00 pm @ Herefordshire

Click here to book now

Omlet online shop

Star Products!

Products just perfect for picnics!


Egg Cup Fire Buckets - Set of 4

The kitchen can be a dangerous place if you're not careful. You might think that boiling an egg for your breakfast is a safe and simple task but if your eye isn't on the ball (or egg) you could eggperience a disaster. The water could boil over, your breakfast could explode or, worse, your toast could catch fire. Precautions need to be taken to deal with these disasters which is why we advise the use of these Egg Cup Fire Buckets.


Ok, they're not really big enough to be real fire buckets, but they make very cool egg cups and they could be just the right size for calming down an out-of-control candle flame. (You never know, you might eat your breakfast by candlelight.)

 

Buy now for £6.00

Mug Omlet I Love my Bees

What's not to love about bees? They do the waggle dance, they pollinate food and flowers and best of all...they make tasty honey for our toast. They're pretty amazzzzzing creatures don't you think, but we don't give them enough appreciation.


So here's something to celebrate the humble honey bee... An 'I Love my Bees' mug. Whether you keep bees yourself or just love what the little blighters do for us, this mug is a great way to show everyone that bees are great. Get the conversation buzzing while you enjoy your cuppa and act like queen bee.


Every beekeeper should have one!

 

Buy now for £4.95

Character Shopping Bag

Is it a mouse? Is it a rabbit? Is it a chicken? No, it's a bag! A bag so clever that it can not only be used for your shopping and stored away in a tiny space, but one that can provide hours of pointless entertainment.


Keep clipped to your belt or bag when you're out and about and when you realise you need to buy more bread and milk just unfold it into a shopping bag. After use simply tuck the bag back inside the pouch and get creative.


You can pull the bag through holes in the pouch, creating ears, legs, wings, tails or even a beak, to transform it into the character of your choice. A great distraction when stuck in a supermarket queue!


Cut down on your plastic bag usage and see just how many characters you can make out of one bag!

 

Buy now for £6.50

Onion Goggles Green

These might look like a pair of seriously sporty specs but they have a much more important purpose...in the kitchen. They are especially designed to protect eyes from the hazard of onions. We all know that chopping onions can bring tears to your eyes and men, it's not good for your image when you have to answer the door looking like you've been crying like a baby...So good news - there's no need to suffer anymore! Slip these goggles on before you tackle the dreaded onion biopsy and you won't shed a tear.


Although you've probably heard of the classic 'remedies' such as burning candles, slicing onions under water or holding a spoon in your mouth while chopping, if you've tried any of these you will know that they are all a load of cobblers. These onion goggles are the only thing that will work! The protective case they come in is just an added bonus!

 

Buy now for £13.50 Also available in pink.

Omlet world

The Eglu has been spotted in swanky swiss magazine Schweizer Garten recently. It features alongside a range of designer products for outdoor relaxing, including a deluxe playhouse for kids, a canopied bed and a jacuzzi. We're impressed that a product for pets made it into the magazine, as it goes to show that chickens deserve a stylish space to relax in too.


The magazine says that chickens are friendly pets to have and they will come over if you call them or if you're doing the gardening. (Probably to check out if you've upturned any juicy worms). Plus, there is the added bonus of the freshly laid eggs every day. The Eglu is the ideal house for chickens, especially if you take pride in your garden.


If you want to keep chickens and fancy a funky Eglu in your garden just visit the Omlet shop by clicking on your link below.

 

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Chalets are so last year!