Saturday my veg shop people were back so I did a big stock-up yesterday buying sweet potatoes, cauliflower, leeks, carrots, parsnip, onions, celery, cabbage, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, apricots, lemons, garlic, a melon, pineapples, to name but a few of the ingredients. With this colder weather I am keen that we both get plenty to eat - good solid home made food that will do you good in the long run. The tomatoes I am going to make into pasta sauce and bottle. The apples are also going to be bottled for puddings etc. I might put some of each into the freezer as well. The tomatoes are primarily as a base for a soup as I have acquired some soup/stock bags from the pound shop. I also intend to bottle some more plums. I have been looking for some damsons and also some purple bullace but so far no luck. Damsons make a lovely jam.
I also managed to get a load of my stored bottles sterilised in the dishwasher ready for use in the coming weeks ahead. They will have to be done again but where they were being stored they had a lot of dust and insects in them, but they have scrubbed up well so next time round it will be a shorter programme to deal with them.
We have roast chicken for tea for tomorrow night, so I should be able to get a chicken stew and a stock out of what is left over, primarily for making soups, but also for use in gravies etc. I bought some fennel, thyme, lemon grass on Friday from the town market. I dry the thyme for use during the winter months and I have a cordial recipe for the lemon grass. that I wish to try out but I need some more bottles so hopefully will be able to order those come pay day. The fennel is going to be turned into a pickle - have not tried this before but it is supposed to be good with fish and being as I like fennel and aniseed flavours I thought that this would be something different to tempt the palate with during the winter months.
The moon was full last night and to start with I din't think we were going to see her in all her glory, because of cloud, but that soon passed and she was hanging there blazing brilliantly down through midnight bluy black skies. There is always something magical about a full moon. I couldn't find my camera (which is in a safe place) so was not able to take any photos. But when the cloud was round the moon there was this yellowy golden outer circle, which I was always taught is indicative of colder weather/frosts and it sure has been cold here the past couple of days or so. We had the sun yesterday although the wind was brusque and had a very sharp edge to it.
Today we have woken to miserly hissy spitty rain and grey drab skies enough to dampen the best of spirits, a day for staying close to home and the warmth. [ Its on days like this that I desperately crave a proper fire for burning logs and fir cones on. A fire always cheers up a dismal day so much and of course it keeps the damp at bay and warms your inner core] and of course there is the hitting and spitting and loud cracks that logs give off as it burns] .
But today I had things to do. OH took me to get my crab apples today, well the first batch at least. I have red crab apples and yellowy green ones, both make a lovely jelly, but its nice to ring the changes with the colour of the jellies as it adds a little more interest. We also found a load of eating apples, which are crisp and delicious so some of those have come home too. I am going to put some up for store in the cold stone shed, wrapped in tissue in some blue trays that the veg shop people have given to me in the past, so hopefully will have some nice eaters for use at Christmas the rest will get either frozen down for use in puddings for both the freezer and the bottle store.
The crabs will get used up in jellies, pastes, cheeses, wines, syrups, making pectin for use in the early jams and jellies for next year rather than buying certo. I also intend to make chilli jelly and chilli jam both of which are delcious with cheese and meats and also some sweet chilli sauce. [I am quite partial to a plate full of home made chips covered with sweet chilli sauce or those chicken dippers that Birds Eye do]
Needless to say when we got in we were both very cold and had a steaming mug of milky coffee each. OH finished off the remains of a Cottage pie that we had for tea last night which was very tasty. I had a bit of bread and butter with a lump of cheese, an apple and some pickled onions, but then again I am relatively easy pleased.
I was also given a load of red grapes the other day so I am going to look for a recipe to use these up in as well. They are tiny grapes, but so full of flavour and sweet so principally am looking at a grape jelly for starters.
I am pleased to report that my neighbour has told me that I can have the japonica quince which is growing in his garden. He has told me that I can have this on a regular basis. He did not know what they were he thought they were a form of apple. So I am well chuffed. They are still in his garden but I will go and collect them later in the week once I have managed to deal with everything else.
Next weekend I am hoping to do a couple of batches of home made pesto and also the souper mix vegetable paste ala the River Cottage Preserves book. I made this last year and am coming to the end of the supply I made then. I use it whenever I do a cooked meal as a basis for a gravy or an addition to a vegetable based gravy. I also quite like a couple of teaspoons of this in a mug filled up with boiling water as a warming drink on a cold day.
I also intend to do my picallili then - yet again the recipe from the River Cottage Preserves book. Its the best recipe I have come across for Picallili everyone who has had a jar usually comes back for more.
I also start my maths class tomorrow night, so tomorrow evening is out of the equation or the best part its a two hour class from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
I have also volunteered to give my friend Eve a refresher course on how to crotchet, so will pop into see her one evening in the week to get her started.
It will soon be Masawati coffee season.
Have a lot to do and so little time to do it as per usual.
Catch you all soon
Take care wherever you are