Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas Countdown: Fat balls

Although it's not as cold here at it was a couple of weeks ago, food is still tricky to find if you're a bird. To make their lives a little easier I thought I'd make them a treat: the delightfully named 'fat balls'.

There are 101 ways to make them, but generally they need 1 part fat to 2 parts bird food. The food can be bird seed, nuts (only in Winter, as baby birds can choke on them), little scraps of bacon rind or any combination.

I used 250g lard and kept adding seed until it looked right (around 3 cups).

Here's how:

Gather some containers - plastic yoghurt or hummus pots are good. I've use
d some little metal pudding basins for mine.

Get a length of string, make a loop and tie a very large knot in the end. The larger the better as this will keep the fat ball attached. The loop will need to be long enough to reach all the way to the bottom of the mould and to have a good length to hand the fat ball from.

Melt the lard in a pan and take off the heat then stir in the seeds/nuts.

Pour into moulds, making sure the string is pushed to the bottom and is roughly central then allow to cool

Put the moulds into hot water for a few seconds to loosen the lard. Remove the fat ball and either hang outside or store by wrapping in cling film and leaving in the fridge until needed.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy way to let the birds share in the feasting this season.

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