Sunday, 18 August 2019

Summer Rain

The middle of summer on the sunny south coast of England, and the rain is falling heavily enough to keep us indoors again. We were hoping to do some concreting in the back garden today so hopefully it does perk up.

My big black cat has just come in from the rain and looks so wet that he could be a river creature. He is purring like crazy as he washes himself dry so i guess he either loves the rain or loves no longer being out in it.

I bought Fahed a bottle of cola when i did the shopping last week. He used to have 8 bottles a week but I have been weening him off. When i went to put it in the boot of his car i found the last two weeks still in there. This is since ibought some of the 2l reusable water bottles. He fills them after use and puts them in the fridge. They are big enough to stay cold right through his swimming sessions if he wraps them in a towel. I am very pleased with him, Better for him, better for the environment and better for my shopping budget.

I made 5 jars of jam. Its not a lot but it took a bucket of plums, less the overripe and bug infested ones. I dont think I realised how little jam you can get from a bucket of fruit. So much for my idea to bottle Chinese plum sauce. The tree still has a little fruit but its really all to overripe. My jamming facebook group tells me that jam etc from them wont set.  Dad cant pick the plums as his tree is on uneven ground but he got a couple of younger neighbours (i.e. one in her 80's and one in her 60's) to come in and help themselves to those which we failed to pick and use. But we ate loads. However very few were wasted so thats good. I roasted the plums for about half an hour, then made jam as usual but also inludes about 30g of fresh ginger. Its really there in the finished jam. Very lovely.

And look. I made labels! Well i used an online thing to make them and printed them at work so y'know, i sort of made them.

Talking about facebook groups. I have joined one for jams and stuff, one for fermenting and one for cheesemaking. Added to that I have unfollow nearly everyone I know plus all news sites, suddenly the world is a much happier place.

Have a lovely week everyone out there and dont get bogged down in the nasty stuff.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

A very windy Saturday

BBC news this morning says a million people were without power during the night. We seem to have been quite lucky here. Very wet on and off and very windy but we appear to have survived unscathed.

Today I am off out with my dad to the garden centre, and then fr lunch We don't need anything but we need something to do which isn't too taxing but he finds interesting.

If there are any plums left on his tree then i am going to collect a bucketful. I am planning plum and ginger jam and a Chinese plum sauce. I do enjoy making preserves, even if they arent good for me to eat.

The lady who made my sofa covers came to fit them mid week. Sadly they didn't fit so she took them away again and will be back in a month. I have the seat cushions and back cushions in a lovely new hard wearing blue fabric. The rest is still the cream fabric of the sofa but its a start!

Hope the weather improves tomorrow as we are mixing concrete for garden work there is a ton each of sand and gravel and 200kg of cement I guess we are doing quite a lot!

These are the recipes I have been given:
Chinese Plum Sauce Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 40 mins Total Time 50 mins   Chinese plum sauce is the perfect recipe to preserve summer plums into a lightly sweet, lightly tart, and lightly spiced condiment that has many uses.  Yield: roughly 1 cup of sauce* Course: Condiment Cuisine: Asian, Chinese Keyword: jam, plums, preserving Servings: 8 (2 Tbsp) servings Author: Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere Ingredients 1 lb plums, pitted and chopped ¼ c apple cider vinegar ½ c brown sugar 1 Tbsp soy sauce 1 ½ Tbsp fresh ginger, minced 1 clove garlic, minced ½ star anise 1/8 tsp dried chile flakes Instructions Combine pitted and chopped plums with the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the plum skins are very soft, 20 min. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the half star anise. Puree the mixture with a stick blender until smooth. (Or, let the mixture cool slightly and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth). Return the mixture to the heat and bring it to a hard simmer over medium high heat, stirring often to prevent sticking. Cooking until the sauce is thick and jammy, roughly 20 minutes.* Remove from heat and let cool if refrigerating for up to 3 weeks. If canning your sauce, can while the sauce is hot using the boiling water canning method.  Recipe Notes *Actual cook time and yield will vary depending on the juiciness of your plums and your desired thickness for your sauce.

Read more at Curious Cuisiniere: Chinese Plum Sauce

and this one. Which is plum chutney even thought i thought we decided on plum and ginger jam. Never mind

Plum chutney
This is Pam Corbin's (or "Pam the Jam" as we call her around these parts) recipe for plum chutney, and the perfect way to preserve some of the summer glut into the winter. It's delicious with cold meats. Makes 10-11 340g jars.

1kg plums, quartered and stoned
1.5kg apples or pears or a mixture, peeled, cored and diced
500g shallots
250g stoned prunes, roughly chopped
500g soft light brown sugar
600ml cider vinegar or white-wine vinegar
2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
For the spice bag
50g fresh root ginger, bruised
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns

Make your spice bag by tying up the spices in a 20cm square of muslin. Put this into a preserving pan with all the other ingredients and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. This will take a while, but don't hurry it.

Let the mixture simmer, uncovered, for 2½-3 hours. Keep an eye on it and stir regularly to ensure it doesn't burn. It's ready when it's thick and glossy, rich in colour and well reduced, but still with chunks of fruit discernible. It is thick enough if, when you draw a wooden spoon through, the chutney parts to reveal the pan's base for a few seconds.

Pot the chutney while warm in warm, sterilised jars. Pack down with the back of a spoon to remove any air pockets. Seal with vinegar-proof lids. Store in a cool, dark place and leave for a couple of months to mature before using. Use within two years.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Whats new??

I lost 4kg :) (only another cazillion to lose but lets not dwell on that)

We booked our autumn trip to the Crete house. Jamal will be here at home to take care of the house and animals except for a short break for him when my lovely next door neighbour will come in.

We had a revelation abut how Fahed's working all day Saturday and then being s tired that dinner is followed swiftly by bed time is just not fun. He loves his job though so we don't want to stop the service to the kids. So clever Lizzie realised that Tuesday night could be an option. He couldnt use the pool on Tuesday night previously but now he can so we are moving everyone over, assuming they wish to go. That means short days Monday, Friday and 1/2day Saturday. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday home about 9 or 10pm. Plenty of hours work but still some time to do other things. Lets see how that works out.

I have ordered new fence panels and concrete gravel board to be delivered next week for the fence of hours which is currently falling to pieces. I went to 4 different places to price it up (gives me and dad something to do on a Saturday) and also checked online. The ones we have gone with are not the cheapest but they are the best quality for the money. They are all pre treated (pressure treated with preservative) and have 25 year guarantee. Oh and free delivery because of the amount spent.

Next weekend is our weekend of concrete, assuming it doesnt rain. Fahed has to order the delivery of ton of sand and another of pea shingle on Monday or we wont be making concrete.

Wednesday the lady who is making my sofa cover (I tried to do it myself, i really did) is coming to fit it. Very excited.

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Blogger problems

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