Two of our Garden Making contributors have produced a new book, “Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes.” The book is written by Signe Langford, with photographs by Donna Griffith. It tells the personal story of Signe’s longtime love of raising and caring for chickens in her city garden.
Backyard hen-keepers — current or aspirational — will find lots of practical advice on caring for an urban flock in the charming book. Signe is also a food writer and professional cook, and 100 of her favourite egg recipes are included.
Keeping chickens in a garden can have its challenges, and Signe suggests ways to keep hens away from tasty, newly planted seedlings. “I suppose some hard-hearted Hannahs might lock up their ladies while they garden, but I couldn’t bear it,” she writes. “Gardening is about a million times more fun with my crew of helpers. And yes, there will be collateral damage as they gobble up benevolent earthworms, but they will also wolf down every nasty grub, slug and potato bug you uncover.”
With happy, productive hens at hand, there are always plenty of fresh eggs, and the book will help you handle this abundance of riches. Here’s Signe’s recipe for Eggnog French Toast, perfect on a cold winter morning.
Eggnog French Toast (serves 2)
2 free-run eggs
2/3 cup (160 mL) organic eggnog
2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 mL) butter for the pan, more as needed
6 slices of bread, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
In a wide bowl, whisk the eggs and eggnog until well blended. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add about 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of butter for each batch of bread you fry.
Dip the bread slices into the egg mixture, 2 at a time, and press down to submerge and soak. Pull the slices out, let the excess drip off and add to skillet. Fry on each side for about 5 minutes or until golden. The bread will puff up a bit. Transfer to a tray in a warm oven while you fry up the rest of the slices. Add more butter as needed if it gets absorbed by the bread too quickly.