Monday, 30 September 2013

If you don't like where you are

That says it all really - its really down to us and our own motivation!

Harvesting the Herbs

I checked on the herbs yesterday and they have been very prolific.  I did take a photo of a Big bowl of herbs on my phone but for some unknown reason the photo has failed and by the time I had realised I had emptied the bowl.  Have since found it!

The majority herb this year seems to be the mint not the normal  garden mint but Peppermint.  This batch is going up for drying to make peppermint tea (I have IBS and I thought it would make a nice soothing tisane).  There is still a lot left so I am going to put up some keeping mint sauce as well.  

Yesterday I harvested Mint, Sage, Fennel, Parsley, more Oregano, Thyme, Bay leaves and there is still plenty more left to make herb jellies as well and maybe a dabble with some soap making.  I have also been on another raid on the Rosemary on the waste land near my home.

I  sat for a little while stringing the herbs into bunches to hang off the dresser.   I normally make little collars of brown paper to pop on them  (dust collars) but this time round as the herbs will only be strung for about a week or so before being rubbed and decanted into jars so I have opted not to put the collars on.  One day I hope to have a very large ceiling dryer in order to dry the herbs which will make the room smell fabulous and give me more drying space for dried flowers as well as herbs.  For the time being however I have strung them off my drying rope on the dresser.  Now all they have to do is dry.

I also have some herbal oils and vinegars to make.

It all adds a little something extra  to the household.  I have bought a lot of Rosemary plants this year and popped them in the garden.  They are doing well but are not really big enough to harvest this year but they hold promise for years to come.

I intend to have a purge on lavender plants (if I can get them in the next few weeks proper English Lavender) or in the alternative next year as I want to make some lavender bundles and my own lavender sachets and pot pourris. I aim to do something new each year.  Each time I buy a plant and learn about its growing habits and its uses I am expanding my own knowledge bank.  I would ideally love a proper big herb garden rather than just the small herb garden I presently have, but we have to be grateful for small miracles as I am grateful to have the  growing space I have.   

I have a Lemon Verbena bush in the garden as well; I am going to be making some Lemon Verbena jelly but ideally I would like more plants as I would like to experiment with pot-pourri as well.

On the list for next year are at least four Angelica Plants as I wish to make my own Angelica for cake decorating.  I have made this before and it is extremely aromatic and far nicer than the shop bought version.

I need Chives, a couple of Eucalyptus plants as well as Wormwood and Santolina as these are extremely useful ingredients in making moth repellant sachets.

I am happiest and content when I am making and preserving things it gives me a lot of pleasure as well as creating useful practical things.  So I have made a start today harvesting the herbs I still have a way to go.

Take care



Sunday, 29 September 2013

I am playing Catchup

I have been poorly for most of the week with the most horrible of colds - something I have picked up from work!  It has been a horror and I have been in my bed for a lot of the time just sleeping and keeping warm.  It is still not clear and I am now left with the proverbial runny nose but I am a lot more comfortable than I have been  - I can breathe properly.

As a result I am well behind with my planned preparations, but hopefully I shall be able to get caught up soon.  These things are sent to try us.

I did however yesterday pick up some Victoria Plums 3kg and some Greengage plums 5kg.  Some cucumbers, which have been prepared for pickling together with, some more red cabbage, some shallots, (these are all being brined at the moment).  I have also harvested a load of herbs for drying (this batch) next batch will be for herb jellies and oils) and I have been on another foraging trip gathering more Rosemary which is now drying on the dresser.  I also have some shallots soaking in boiling water to remove their skins and stop me crying whilst peeling them.  They will then be brined left overnight and then washed and put into spiced vinegar tomorrow night.  I therefore have quite a lot to do tomorrow evening when I get home from work.

We have had a small piece of lamb for tea this evening served with roasted potatoes, roast parsnip, mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, chopped greens from the cauliflower, peas, and broccoli  with lashings of mint gravy and very tasty it was too.  I was hungry and decided that I needed a warm comforting simple roast for tea.  The meat came from Morrisons yesterday and was not a big piece but enough for two to three. The roasties were prepared in the fat/pork dripping left over from a piece of roast pork which were extremely tasty.

I am back to work tomorrow, so I have the slow cooker on with a slow cooker chicken stew made from a reduced whole chicken which should give us a tasty hot meal within half an hour or so of getting in tomorrow night.  Served with some mashed potato and some of the roasties left over from tonight's tea its a way of getting a substantial meal and using up bits and bobs of veggies.  I usually put plenty of stock in as well as after the bulk of the chicken has been used the remains can be blended down and used as a tasty soup.  I use the slow cooker a lot as it gives you nice comfort food within a very short period of getting in and does not use excess amounts of power.  I might even go so far as to make a steamed  treacle pudding with custard which is comfort food of the highest order especially with lots of custard.

Take care wherever you are.

Love and Light to everyone



Greengages and Plums


Yesterday I managed to get a 5kg box of greengage plums in order to process for the pantry.  I love greengage plums; I have done ever since I was a child. My mum used to get hold of fruit where she could and bottle fruit as did my Nan.  So I grew up with two important family members utilising this skill as a matter of course.  So I think the seeds for me were sown back then.

I have found that a lot of our food staples revolve around tomatoes, plums, pears (other fruits although more seasonal) and apples.   The backbone of the pantry store as they are quite frequently used with other ingredients and preserved to give a slightly different product.

Plums paid a big part in my growing up and in the run up to the fruit ripening my Nan would have us filling old jam jars up with a splodge of old jam with some water on top and then these jars used to be hung from the branches as traps for the wasps encouraging them to the jar rather than to attack the fruit.  So there was always a method in the madness.

When I think about things in passing I realise that I have been very lucky as our family always involved the children in everyday jobs and we learnt things without realising we were being taught. We were made to feel involved and secure and there was always plenty of encouragement in a safe and loving environment.  Food was a serious business for my family as the more that was preserved the better the family would survive the winter months and the garden and smallholding made a real difference when wages were limited

I was taught how to harvest the fruit by my grandfather and father from a very early age on the Victoria Plum Trees. My grandfather lifting me up on his shoulders; showing me how and then encouraging me to pick the precious fruit and then pass it down to him for placing in the basket.  Always being careful not to go for fruit that had holes in or were mouldy because of them being potential wasp traps.  However these damaged fruit needed to come off the branch as otherwise the stem would not bear fruit the following year.  My granddad or dad used to get these pieces of fruit off the tree.I was taught how each piece of fruit needed careful handling in order that it would store through the winter months (more so apples in this respect) although the plums were given great consideration and care as they were more fragile.  The fruits of our labours were always bottled, made into jam, chutney and Nan's home made plum wine). 

My Grandparents had about five Victoria Plum trees  which were a great favourite although there was a variety called Black Diamond (of which they had three trees).  The Black Diamond variety is a beautiful jet black plum with the most beautiful golden flesh and is so delicious.  Its an old variety but it does periodically pop up in some plants man's lists. They were my grandfather's favourite plum.  One day when I have the land I hope to get a couple of these as well as some Victorias so that I can harvest my own fruit.

There was however an oddity in the Plum and Pear Orchards a plum tree that my grandfather had bought my Nan by way of an apology and that was the Greengage.  She had the tree a long time we believe somewhere between 35 and 40 years (a lot of the trees were over 60 years old in the orchards and still fruited prolifically even though my grandparents only ever spraying if they had to not as a matter of course). They practised natural methods of growing fruit with one veg plot being dug and left fallow to allow the soil to be rested one year and using the alternative plot the following year.  Now these processes are called organic. 

The Greengage never fruited; well it did just once before my Nan passed and that was in the last summer of her life; it was if the tree knew she was getting frail and wanted to give her some pleasure and there was plenty of fruit to go round the family and gave my Nan a lot of joy.  That fruit was gorgeous.  

I therefore try whenever I can to get hold of plums and Greengages and then to put these down for the winter months as it makes a very nice jam and helps make the difference on the pantry shelf.  Normally I just make jam ready to pop into pastry tarts or slather on thick chunky toast for breakfast in the morning or to fill a Victoria Sponge or Swiss Roll, but this year I am also going to bottle a few in syrup like I did with the Victoria plums which came out very successfully. It also makes a very quick pudding on a cold winters night with some custard  or as an accompaniment to a home made rice pudding or semolina pudding.  All good winter "stuffers" to keep the internal combustion engine functioning properly; all good honest food that I know the provenance of and where it came from in other word no "nasties".

I also intend to pop some purple plums down as well as they make a fantastic oriental style plum sauce which is lovely slathered over a rack of ribs or on roast duck or belly pork. Plums of any variety make for a lovely jam but you can always make the fruit go further and by giving a slight different flavour by adding apples as well. 

 Where the Purple Plums are concerned however I must confess that  I also have an ulterior motive to bottle some purple plums in syrup and then turn them into Sugar Plums for the Christmas Festivities. Old fashioned sweetmeats for the Christmas table.  Now that will be something different, sugar coated or dipped in chocolate.  Yum.

The site has not been updated for a long time but has been left for information purposes.  It is worth having a look at the other Christmas projects too as there are some lovely ideas there especially if you want to get back to a more traditional  family Christmas.

So now I have to play but the end results will be worth it as there is nothing more satisfying than seeing bottles of preserved fruit and pasta sauce, chutney, jams, curds, mincemeat  and pickles stacked on the shelves. 

However there is one serious drawback - the more bottling I do the more I need to do and the more recipes I find and I just have to try them out.

So I am off to process the Greengages and the second batch of Victoria Plums I have a feeling I am going to be missing for a little while.

Catch you later on.



Saturday, 28 September 2013

Scrumping..... For Rosemary

Shssh don't tell near to where I live are some very large Rosemary bushes and the land on which they sit is currently derelict and going to be re-built on.  In the interim the Rosemary is growing tall and strong and has put on a lot of growth.  Once tended by a host of gardeners it is now left to its own devices and so in the spirit of waste not want not I have been doing small harvests for specific items.  

The fist batch has been tied into little bundles and is currently hanging off my herb string on one of my dressers to dry naturally and then be popped up for use in cooking with roast lamb and with rosemary vinegar, rosemary oil for roast potatoes and salad dressings or massaging into lamb, rosemary jelly, rosemary sugar, Rosemary Focaccia some Christmas star decorations made from twigs some of which will make their way into Christmas parcels.  It is also used in the classic Four thieves vinegar.  The vinegar is reputed to have been used in the 17th Century to protect looters from the plague!  I think vinegars of this nature which in effect were our first simple antiseptics are greatly undervalued and perhaps we should be using them in our homes a lot more to prevent infections. For recipes for the Four Thieves vinegar and other herbal useage treat yourself to the book Gifts from the Garden by Debora Robertson.  It is a little gem. There are lots of lovely ideas in this book and lots of other useful ideas too.

I love the aromatic clean smell of Rosemary fresh or dried.  In fact if the land still has not been developed by the time that Christmas is upon us I may well go and do a raid and tie some of the fresh rosemary onto my Christmas garlands and wreaths and arrangements throughout the house and for some ice bowls.  It would also make a nice little posie for tying to the Christmas knapkins. I am also keen to have a go at making some home made soap and I think it would be quite a nice addition to the soap mix.

Its at this time of year when everything is coming up to its final fling and harvest that I miss being in the countryside having an open fire and using the garden to produce what you need and to forage from the countryside on your doorstep.  You can use dried rosemary together with cuttings of Bay, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Mint Rosemary, Sage and Thyme together with fir comes and stripg so dried orange, grapefruit, lemon and line peel and cinnamon sticks to form little bundles leave them in a well ventilated place to dry and store somewhere nice and dry and you have little aromatic bundles of kindling. It would also be nice to make a friend with a fire a little selection of the these bundles to help start their winter fires.

 I am practicing doing bits and pieces at the moment with the little bit that I do do, but one day I hope to be able to pull everything that I have learned together in the house of my dreams and establish a more peaceful way of life one that resolves around the seasons and the land.

Take care



Christmas Hoarding Part 4

Christmas Hoarding covers a multitude of sins for me as I am ever on the look out for bits and bobs for presenting food on; and this morning on a foray to the charity shop I came up with a narrow white thin mirror edged in white with some gold decoration and a lovely cobalt blue cake stand that reminded me slightly of icicles and some Christmas baubles.  And there you are thinking she really has lost the plot this is about Christmas Hoarding putting food up  and making food up so that you have a wider scope of ingredients to work from and then thus have a bigger choice of recipes to actually make.  Well for me its a bit about everything - the word "hoarding" means literally putting by so anything that is put by for the Christmas season for me comes under the category of "hoarding" or purely in respect of food items that I have made "The Put Down".

I spotted the cake stand first; cake stands of any description are a serious weakness with me and I have several. They can be used individually or stacked together and filled with food or with tea lights to create a lovely display on your Christmas table. I was quite taken with the cake stand from the first and I thought it would be the ideal cake stand to actually show off a cake/dessert which tin I purchased last year from Lakeland in the shape of a star and which you can use in the oven or the freezer or alternatively the star cake tin that I also purchased last year.  So there is a method in my madness somewhere.

Now what does she want with the mirror;  Well this is required as a centre piece for my large pine table.  I intend to centre it on the table and then either dress up with greenery  and have a candleabra either side and then little bits and bobs of interest as with the candlelight it will create more light on the table via reflection and make the table look bigger than it is, especially when the table is dressed with a nice cloth and good quality Crystal as well as coloured glass.  Well that is the plan.  I thought I might get some of this years teasels and paint them gold as well as some cones and scatter them over the mirror as well.  If we go for a walk over the weekend I will probably collect some then.

I have also found a few odd Christmas baubles which are glass and also some beaded items which can be hung from some of my faux garlands which I usually have around the house.

So for a few pounds (£17.50 in all - the cake stand was £9.50 the baubles 50 pence each and the mirror £4) I have bought some items which will do very nicely in the greater scheme of making things look nice and make things look as though you have really rolled the ball out and spent an arm and a leg in the process.  A few simple touches here and there make all the difference.I love making things look nice and I love entertaining.  I also take great pleasure in bringing out the "treasures" those decorations and items of use that have memories or that I have had for years well wrapped in tissue and stored safely.

I have also bought a couple of things for the Food Store this week:

  • A Tin of Celebrations
  • A Tin of Heroes. (the two tins were £6 each or buy two together for £10)
  • 2 Boxes of After Eight Mints. (£2 a box at the moment - the bigger box)
 I have also dried 6 Faggots of Rosemary, some Sage, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme and Bay as well as making some Apricot Jam (needed for the Christmas cake), some plum chutney and cordial as well as some more bottled plums for the sugar plums I intend to do for Christmas. So I have my work cut out in between doing everything else and there is still plenty of other things on the list that need to be done.  I have my eye on some grapefruit curd and also cordial as well as passionfruit gin and curd.

There is always loads to do at this time of year.

Catch you soon



Sunday, 22 September 2013

Days End

After my earlier post we went out for a long walk with Missy in tow and went down towards the river. I was searching the hedge rows looking for elderberries but also for sea buckthorn.  I located both although not many bushes of sea buckthorn with fruit on.  However I have come home with half a large bag of elderberries. We had roast chicken for dinner.

 This evening I have been sat down with a fork removing the berries from  the stems under the auspices of the boss (Molly who seems to like elderberries); whilst watching Downtown.  I have about three pounds or so of berries which is destined for some cordial and may be a little jelly.  This will do for starters; although if I get chance of some more I shall take the opportunity with both hands as ideally I would like to put down some wine and some more Pontack Sauce.  They are in the fridge waiting for processing.

My cold has got worse with a terrible foggy head and a raging sore throat I feel very unwell.  Am off to bed.

Take care



Christmas Hoarding Part 3

This week I have bought a few little extras to ostensibly add to the Christmas Hoard but which in practice will go into the general pantry too. There is not a lot but what I could afford to do this week, but it is probably more than someone else has been able to do.  I know I am very lucky compared to some, and I just do what I can do, paying for it a little at a time  going without other things in an effort to have the ingredients available when I come to bake instead of having to run around ragged come Christmas trying to find ingredients in the melee of the Christmas rush.  I have done that been there and worn the sweatshirt these days I want more balance in my life so I try and do a bit at a time.   As I have indicated before I tend to actually make the bulk of stuff myself so therefore somewhere along the line you do have to have the basics already in or to just top up those items that you would normally readily have to hand.  

This week I have purchased:
  • 2 Packets of Hovis Digestive Biscuits.
  • 1 jar of Chinese Stem Ginger in Syrup.(plan to get some more)
  • 1 jar of Beef Dripping.
  • 2 packets of blanched hazlenuts. (plan to get some more).
  • 1 packet x 15 leaves sets up to two pints of liquid of leaf gelatine (plan to get some more).
  • 1 Packet of pretty muffin cases.
  • 2 Bottles of light olive oil.

The Hovis Digestive biscuits we use as a cracker for cheese and pickle.  They are shaped like little mini Hovis loaves and they are delicious.

Stem Ginger in syrup I use this for puddings and baking as well as in Stir fries.  Wherever you would use ginger and you can use the syrup too.

The beef dripping will come in useful for chips and crisps, and making pastry for pasties and meat pies..

Blanched Hazlenuts for baking, cookies, making praline adding to chocolate or home made sweets and ice cream, making your own chocolate and hazlenut spread. I love nuts of all descriptions.

I usually try and keep leaf gelatine in as it comes in so handy for making your own jellies, panacottas which come Christmas are simple to prepare but which look simple and stunning on the table when entertaining; when you have a lot to do 

Pretty Muffin cases to use when making

Two bottles of light olive oil for use in salads and general cooking.

I have also been eyeing up the dried fruit as I want this not only for baking and the Christmas Cake and the Christmas pudding  but also for making my own breakfast cereal combinations like muesli and granola as well as the ever old faithful home made porridge.  They are simple to make and you get a lot more for you money than the store bought versions and they charge a lot for them in the shops, but equally it can make a nice pressie for a friend for Christmas especially if you package it with a nice breakfast tea and a marmalade.

Right I have to get on I have a bag of elderberries to prepare.

Catch up again soon.



Saturday/Sunday Catchup


Yesterday was a very busy day. Prior to going to my  mum's yesterday I went shopping for her starting at Wilkinsons where I could be found round the preserving jar section and where I broke into conversation with a lady called Pat who was looking for bottles in which to process some plums as she had recently been to a pick your own farm and was intent on putting some plums up for the winter months.  They had not got many jars available yesterday and so I asked her if she had tried Dunhelm or indeed Lakeland for jars.  From there we got into a very easy conversation and I passed on a couple of tips that I have come across along the way.  It is good to come across people of a like mind who are interested in food and want to do a little bit here and there to make their Pantry shelf that little bit different.  

I then went on to Waitrose to gather together some other bits and bobs that mum was after and to pick up some fresh fish.  Once I had done the shopping I then headed for the bus station.  

I went to my mum's on the bus as usual and OH was going to pick me up.  However the best laid plans of mice and men completely went out the window as it transpired the car had a problem with the brakes and on closer inspection it turns out that one of the brakes has locked on.  It is booked into our local gent to have a look at it during the week but as a result of this it meant for safety's sake I would have to come back on the bus.  Where mum lives the last bus from the village is 4.56 pm - and as I normally stay a lot longer with her it was a bit of a curtailed visit.  However I did get done everything that she wanted doing; although mum was having a bad day from the pain caused by her Osteoporosis.

However I did have a lovely day with my mum having collected some fresh haddock from Waitrose on the outward bound trip.  I love fish and yes it is a little pricy but prices are relevant when you consider the bigger picture.  I am not keen on frozen fish as I think it affects the flavour quite a bit and certainly the haddock we had yesterday was cooked simply in a seasoned flour and then fried in a little butter in the pan and was served with home made chips.  It was all very tasty and the fish was sweet and delicious.  Out of the one fillet which I bought we had three ladies savings although it would only have done for two man sized portions but it was very delicious and made me more intent on buying fresh fish where I can.

The time came all too soon to leave mum's and I walked to the bus stop caught the bus and then went back into Waitrose again and picked up a few more items for the Christmas hoarding not much but a few useful things whilst I was able to get them and whilst I though about them.  I am terribly sad as I love looking along the shelves in the supermarket trying to see what they have in store and then I do my planning and plotting from there making short achievable lists which all help to build up the Christmas food store (and add to the pantry store generally).  One of the drawbacks of not having the car available meant that I then had to walk home with two heavy shopping bags in tow and I was more than slightly cream crackered when I got in last night. Needless to say I did not do very much last night although I have started crotcheting another blanket (one I can pick up and put down and purchase the wool a little bit at a time instead of having to fork out all in one go.  I love home made blankets they are so warm, snuggly and individual.  I have made a start but the lemon green and cream blanket is on the hit list for completion this week/next week.  I had merely crotcheted up the first square of the new wools to see if I like the colour combinations and I do, so now I know what I have to do with it I can work out how many squares I can get from  the combination of wool I have chosen so that I can keep an eye on the price. I have chosen navy blue, cerise pink, aquamarine green,lilac and purple colours which are quite striking and because it is worked in squares it will be easier for me to work.  I sort of forgot about time and ended up listening to a film as I was crotcheting and instead of the early night I had planned it was about 1 pm before I got to bed.

Sunday So far

So far has been an easy day as I seem to have developed a cold and as a result what was planned has gone to pot and I have been listening to the TV watching repeats of James Martin's new series and doing some more crocheting.  Molly is in a bit of a state as she has come into season again and keeps calling (she is currently fast asleep on the back of the setee but she has been hogging my company again. I am hoping to go for a walk shortly and see if I can get some elderberries.  I feel like some fresh air and I thought that the juice from some fresh elderberries made into a syrup might help me fight off this cold.  We are having roast chicken for Sunday dinner later on.

Hopefully I will catch up later.

Take care



Friday, 20 September 2013

Quick update

Thank you for all you kind thoughts and support over the kittens it really did throw me as they were such beauitful pretty kittens.  I took Molly to the vets and she was given antibiotics which seem have helped  her a lot and she is returning to her normal self apart from one thing in particular.  Prior to her pregnancy she showed no enthusiasm for sleeping on the bed like the other two but since losing her babies she has slept with me every night without fail.  The first night was upsetting as she kept calling for them.  She is not keen on my partner either (he has Missy - she is not keen on poor Missy either) and so tends to go out of the way when I am not around OH does not see her but as soon as I come home she puts in an appearance and now comes and jumps on my lap for a bit of a fuss and some comfort.

It has also been a busy week as I have bottomed out the lounge, washed the curtains (which said dry clean only but they have come up well) never mind the fact that I left the curtain hooks in when washing and lost quite a few so ended up having to buy some more.  I had thought to save time.  Will not be doing that again.  The carpet has also been cleaned.  de-cobwebbing (we always seem to have an influx of spiders come September) has taken place and I just have the polishing to do and to clean the brass and copper. Then that is the lounge bottomed out.    Probably  will do  that tomorrow evening as I am at my mum's tomorrow to sort her out.  Sunday will be making a start on my bedroom and hopefully will get that all tickety boo and sorted out and then that is the front of the house sorted.  There is then to start the back of the house.  I have a lot of craft projects that I want to get stuck into and I need space to do them ideally on the top of the dining room table but at the moment it has all sorts of stuff on it which needs a home finding for it.  I have a bedspread to finish off and a blanket to finish joining together and then three sets of rib to knit which should free up some space.  

I am also starting to collate wool for next year's blanket all in bright colours to do a multi coloured blanket this time round. I am also itching to start my denim clippie rug I have loads of pieces cut already and now need to sort the base out and start working it. I want to make a large double rug for the dining room.  I am determined to get stuck in once the house is back to some semblance of normality. I am also itching to have a go at some patchwork and also have a baking session every so often; drag my Kenwood out and get it working for me.  Slowly slowly catch a monkey Rome was not built in a day - but thats the plan.

Right am off to bed I have an early start tomorrow

Catch up soon



Thursday, 12 September 2013

Christmas Hoarding Part 2 -Home Preserving

Well not strictly speaking Christmas Hoarding but part of it will go towards the Christmas stockpile in any event.  At times of celebration it is always good to have a choice of ingredients to use.

Despite the upset and I have been terribly upset as has poor Molly (they say animals do not mourn but she has been calling for her kittens on and off all night);  it has been quite heart rending and  she has for the best part been cuddled up next to me.  Demetri and Squeak seem to have decamped downstairs for the time being. The antibiotics seem to have kicked in and her temperature is down which I am quite pleased about as that was what was concerning me most.  I would also like to thank you all for your kind comments and support during this difficult time. I am trying to keep myself busy as when I stop that is when I end up getting all upset. 

Anyway back to the the Christmas Hoarding.  It would seem that we have about 15 weeks before Christmas.  I haven't bought anything this week.  However I have managed to put away all those goodies I have already acquired in the big red box under the stairs.  I have been busy in the kitchen processing ingredients and preserving them for the winter months.  This week I have managed to get Gooseberry Jam, and Victoria Plum jam, as well as Victoria Plums preserved in syrup; blueberries in syrup,  and pickled cabbage dealt with.  I still have nectarines (in syrup and maybe some chutney), tomatoes (ketchup and passata) and shallots  and Apples (pickled shallots and maybe some brown sauce and some chutney) to process in between setting to with the housework.  I am also hoping to be able to get some blackberries picked and some more preserves made.  

The Christmas cake needs to be started as well so that it has time to be fed and mature nicely.  I want to get as much done as I can.  I also want to get some presents made and some crafty stuff dealt with and I have a lot of outings coming up and my mum to keep an eye on.  I also have plans for a sweet and sour sauce and a barbecue sauce for the pantry shelf as well as some home made plum sauce which is simply divine coating a rack of ribs and brushing on plenty of sauce leaving for so long in the oven pasting more sauce on until the whole jar is used and by golly was it delicious.  Sauces are expensive to buy, but if you make them yourself then you get more for your money in the long run.

Right I am going to get a wriggle on as I have not achieved as much as I would have liked, but then I have been otherwise preoccupied.

Thank you once again for your love and support.



Trigger Happy

I have just been in to my comments inbox and unfotunately pressed the wrong button before reading the comments  think there was about four.  Would whoever sent them please send them again so that I can post them.  So sorry. Thank you.



Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Kittens

Sadly my three little kittens (who I had mentally called Nutmeg, Ginger and Mace) are no longer with us it would appear that Molly had picked up an infection which she had passed on to the poor little mites and with them being babies their immune system was not built up.  She is currently on antibiotics. It came so quick and the last little kitten was responding well to me feeding with a syringe then took a turn for the worse very quickly whilst snuggled up to Molly.  It was all very quick.  Needless to say I am very upset  as they were three beautiful kittens and to make things worse Molly is going round every so often calling for her kits (thats in between sleeping)  Lets hope she does in time and I hope she gets over this infection.

Thank you everyone for your kind wishes and support and if you have any room for a quick prayer please send it up for Molly and hope she gets better soon.



Monday, 9 September 2013

The Kittens

I went up to bed because of the migraine but found the kittens in some distress.  The eldest one my favourite had passed and his sister was not too clever;  they were extremely cold and the little female had segretated hereself off from the others and the blankets and towels.  When I found them I popped them on a hot water bottle wrapped in a clean towel and we decided to try and wean them as the little female seemed very thirsty; sadly she has since passed.  The middle one is still with us.  To say I am gutted is an understatement.  They were just developing their own personalities and letting me handle them and disastrously I did not get my photos.  They will always have their little paws wrapped round my heart.  I feel so responsible as I had not checked on them as much today as Molly seemed to be doing extremely well with them. 



First day of my holiday and I have a Migraine

Sods law soon as I relax something happens.   First day of my holiday as well. Have made 11 jars of jam though  5 of Victoria Plum Jam and 6 Gooseberry jam; however the migraine has kicked in full force I have had medication and it does not seem to be working so it looks as though it will be a dark room and under the covers for me to try and shake this holy horror its not just the migraine it also puts my system totally out of sync. I get them periodically - I wish I didn't. 

 I am hoping to get a long list of things done this week I use the word hoping as I am urging on the side of caution.

Hopefully  I will be back tomorrow

Take care



Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)