Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tutorial - Syrian Pickles

We pickle chillies, cucumbers (the little ones), koss lettuce, small aubergines stuffed with garlic, small turnips with a beetroot (they go a cute pink). Chillies are our favourite but the method is the same for each.

Clean the veg, trim stalks etc. Pierce each item with a large darning needle, small kebab stick or something similar.

Pack clean jars, preferably the clamp top ones, with the vegetables. Pack in as closely as possible.

Take a litre of tap water (not filtered) and add a tablespoon (heaped)of maldon salt and five tablespoons of white vinegar. Mix thoroughly and ensure the salt is fully dissolved. Mix up additional liquid in the same ratio as required.

Top the jar up with the liquid and leave for a few hours to allow all the air to come to the surface. When you are sure the air is all out then put a half lemon upside down in the top of the jar (for flavour and to ensure the veg is fully submerged). Clamp the lid into place.

Leave for one month. Thoroughly enjoy!

We made 6 litres of cucumber and chilli. Last month we made 2 litres of hot chillies and another 2 litres of ridiculously hot chillies. The normal chillies were gone within a week of being ready but the ridiculously hot chillies are still half full as there is a limit to how many you can eat at any time.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Tutorial - Grape Jelly (my style!)

Take one carrier back of small, sharp grapes with pips (so not very desirable in the raw).

Wash the grapes and remove stalks, bad grapes and any other undesirables (especially those with legs).

Add cold water to a depth of 1cm and cook gently to release juice from grapes.

Allow to cool slightly and blitz with a stick blender.

Strain through muslin overnight. In the morning squeeze out the last of the juice.

Finely chop a red chilli!

Add 1 kg sugar and pectin. Bring to the boil.

If unable to find the sugar thermometer then test periodically on a cold saucer until the jam 'wrinkles up' when pushed with a little finger.

Strain through a fine sieve into a large measuring jug.

Bottle up in clean jars and be sure to seal whilst still around boiling temperature.

Once a jar is open store in the fridge.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Trouble sleeping

I am having awful trouble sleeping at the moment. I just seem to sleep for couple of hours a night, or maybe I just dream I am still awake, either way I am exhausted. Any ideas gratefully received. At the moment my plan is too spend the weekend on slightly more physical activities that normal and see if I can tire myself right out. I am not taking up boxing or wrestling but just doing household tasks and maybe some garden work to tire myself and also prepare us for winter. I am bulk buying when prices are right as my current shopping tactic so have to sort out storage space.

My weekend list includes
Cleaning the house
(and now some fun stuff)
Pickling vegetables ( i will make sure to take the photos with a camera that I have a lead for this time)
Making yoghurt.
Boxing up old kids games for the attic.
Sorting out a couple of cupboards.
Potting up my peach tree.
Possible trip to the dump on Sunday.
Soap making ( I have all the stuff but am i brave enough to try)

Hopefully this will tire me out nicely!
Just going to have a little blog hop and then snuggle down for the night.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Honey, I'm home

We had the best holiday ever. I missed my baby but had phone or text chats with him most days but otherwise it was great. I think it was better that normal because the house finally starts to feel like home, because we had work to do at the house and this suits us as we all get a bit stressy when there is no work to do (weird but true, especially for Fahed & Ahdel. We did lots of things we enjoyed but noticed we are also started to become a part of the local community. When our neighbour couldn't start her motorbike (she still has a donkey which she rides when he daughter isn't there to give her a lift on the bike)then she came to us for help. Other neighbours asked if they could gather our carobs and other crops, next door parked their donkey under our trees for a few days, another guy arranged for our water meter to be fitted even though we accidentally stood him up the evening before (our Greek apparently needs some practice).

This week was back to normal except that i seem to be exhausted and not interested in my work. Hopefully that it just first week back problems as having energy and enjoying work are pretty fundamenal to me. To go with the new year feeling (new educational year??)I am planning a major spring clean. I am taking Laura one time advice and going for a room at a time, then beating the family into submission until they keep it nice - it's possible that might not have been included in Laura's advice but I am sure that's what she meant.

Just before hols we made a couple of jars of pickled chillies. On Sunday we opened the jar and they were so good that we have finished the lot already. I have bought a further 2 kilo of fresh chillies at the Asian supermarket today for pickling. Also bought a kilo of small cucumbers to try something pickling new. Lastly i bought a kilo of small aubergines which are stuffed with garlic and pickled for ultimate anti social but yummy accompaniment to food. Sadly the aubergines I bought we too big so I will cook them instead and try to buy some smaller ones for a pickling session next week.

Tomorrow I will have energy for housekeeping and pickling, really I will.

My life

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