• 22Aug

    Blackberries

    Me and my children gathered these blackberries on our way back from the library, I had meant to bring tubs but had forgotten and was sad about this as we passed a rather abundant patch of briars when my 7 yr old had an idea – we drank the water out of her water bottle and the babies beaker and then filled them with black berries. When we got back I rinsed them and froze them reasoning there wasn’t enough there to do much with.

    A quick tip is if you find they have lots of grubs or maggots in them then just give them a little soak in a weak solution of water and table salt, this extracts the bugs!

    So having assessed the local forage a bit better this year than I managed last year, I have decided that I want to attempt black berry wine for which I need a lot of black berries – looks like we are going to be out picking most days!

    Jean has requested crumbles and Mary cakes – I like to make ‘blood’ pies for halloween as well which I freeze. I think my main limit is going to be freezer space. We also spotted elderberries, rose hips, sloes, damsons, crab apples and haws so all I need for hedgerow jam is some rowan berries! People have been asking me if I am going to make it again and having already received a lovely jar of black current jam from one friend I feel I should get cracking!

    I am still sadly awaiting an allotment but some of the best forage I found last year was along the pathway next to them last year.

    I am still sorely missing the Perri Pear tree though that I used to get the pears from at the old house but I have just discovered that there are such things as community orchards so I am hoping we can get involved in same way with these things.

    My favourite book for forage is still Food For Free by Richard Mabey – I have a very old copy but there are upto date ones with photographs and stuff.

    The recipe I use for hedge row jam comes from a Womens Institute book.

  • 25Oct

    A spooky table spread

    Last year for Halloween we put our red Christmas table cloth on the table with a spider web black table cover we picked up in the Pound Shop. I then laid out the merangues me and my four year old had made – they were supposed to be ghouls, ghosts and witches in green, white and purple but where generally splodges with more icing splotches on them!

    We also had biscuits with spider webs and bats on that she had decorated as well.

    We had two different punches, one in a skull bowl and one in a hollowed out pumpkin!

    We also had a pumpkin pasty and a pumpkin pie to add to the party!

  • 18Oct

    Pumpkin Jelly

    The jelly molds didn’t work which was a shame as I had wanted some nice orange pumpkin shaped jellies for our Halloween things :(

    Not sure if this is a me issue or the mold :/

  • 11Oct

    A hot non-alcoholic drink for Halloween!

    Ingredients:

    1 liter of mixed berry juice or ribena
    1 liter of water
    1/2 liter of orange juice
    2 table spoons of muscovado sugar
    1 cinnamon stick
    10 cloves
    2 cm of crushed ginger root
    1 cup of chopped pumpkin
    1/2 lemon sliced
    1/2 apple sliced
    1/2 orange sliced
    2 cups of berries like blackberries and elderberries

    Put the orange juice and water into a suacepan and put on a moderate heat. Add the cinnamon, gloves and sugar, stir to stop sugar burning to the bottom of pan before it disolves. Add the fruits and bring to a rolling boil careful not to boil over and turn off heat. Serve in mugs of heat proof glass, fruit garnish for cups is optional.

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  • 04Oct

    Ingredients:

    1 liter of orange juice
    1/2 liter of water
    1/4 liter of brandy
    2 table spoons of muscovado sugar
    1 cinnamon stick
    10 cloves
    1 cup of chopped pumpkin
    1/2 lemon sliced
    1/2 apple sliced
    1/2 orange sliced

    Put the orange juice and water into a suacepan and put on a moderate heat. Add the cinnamon, gloves and sugar, stir to stop sugar burning to the bottom of pan before it disolves. Add the fruits and bring to a rolling boil careful not to boil over and turn off heat. Serve in mugs of heat proof glass, fruit garnish for cups is optional.

  • 27Sep

    It our little valley we are in a frost pocket so are already suffering from bad frosts!

    And what better to warm you than a hot mulled type drink! We love our mulled wine and cider at Christmas but wanted something different to take us through the autumn! It also needs to be non-alcoholic due to pregnancy.

    This is Harvest Hotty

    Ingredients:

    1 liter of orange juice
    1/2 liter of water
    2 table spoons of muscovado sugar
    1 cinnamon stick
    10 cloves
    1 cup of chopped pumpkin
    1/2 lemon sliced
    1/2 apple sliced
    1/2 orange sliced

    Put the orange juice and water into a suacepan and put on a moderate heat. Add the cinnamon, gloves and sugar, stir to stop sugar burning to the bottom of pan before it disolves. Add the fruits and bring to a rolling boil careful not to boil over and turn off heat. Serve in mugs of heat proof glass, fruit garnish for cups is optional.

  • 22Jun

    An easter food spread

    My little girl had an easter egg hunt for her friends and so we decided to put out a spread of food as well – I don’t have any specific easter table cloths so had to go with the brown and orange stripped one which has mostly been used to dress her daddy up as Joseph in a play (don’t ask). I put out the four little easter egg candles I had, these have pictures of butterflies and flowers on them embossed in white on the blue, green, pink and yellow of the candles.

    I put these around the minature red rose I was given as a thankyou for hosting another party!

    I then made a plater of cheese sandwitches – cut into triangles – the right size for small children – I grate the cheese as it goes furthur!

    I also had platters of Easter egg biscuits, easter bunny biscuits and nutty choc cornflake nests that my little girl had helped creat!

    We had bowls of grapes, carrot sticks, crisps and vegitable crisps – I’m afraid I cheated and just bought a bag of pre-chopped carrots!

    Then i put out a plater of really bad colouring full marshmellow animals – all blue rabbits, yellow chicks in their eggs etc… and little minni chocolate swiss roll catipillars with white chocolate faces. The colouring full easter pals came from the Pound shop and the catipillars where bought by a friend at Marks & Sparks I think.

    Easter treats

    For the actual hunt there were egg shaped lollys as well as chocolate eggs! Oh and plastic toy eggs to try and reduce the number of sick children at the end off it all! We ended up rationing the amount of found chocolate the kids could eat. Sorry about the wonk on the photo!

    Some of Jean’s easter decorations are on the table too – she made the invites for the events as well (ok with lots of help!).

    The perants seemed to enjoy themselves as well as the kids :) The easter bunny even appeared!

  • 08Jun

    Bunny Bunny!

    As well as Easter Egg shaped ginger biscuits it turns out that Morrisons Bakery where producing large tubs of ginger rabbits with features impressed into them! These were supposed to just be eaten but along with the Eggs I gave them to my little girl and dad to decorate with the selection of cake decorating things we had lerking in the house.

    Dad made some really good rabbits with rice crispies for ears and little sugar hearts for noses etc… They went down really well at her Easter egg hunt!

    buscuits with ferfer

    Filed under: Easter, Sweet
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  • 01Jun

    FISH.–carp, crayfish, herrings, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, pike, prawns, salmon, soles, tench, trout, turbot.

    Pike are apparently known as jackfish in Canada – I have assumed here that Mrs Beeton ment the English definition of Pike! Tench is also known as the Docter Fish.

    MEAT.–Beef, lamb, mutton, veal, buck venison.

    Having trouble finding out what buck venison is but am assuming that it is young male deer – if anyone knows differently – please let me know!

    POULTRY.–Chickens, ducklings, fowls, green geese, leverets, plovers, pullets, rabbits, turkey poults, wheatears.

    Turkey poults turn out to be turkey chicks. Leverets are hares that are less than 1 yr old incase you were wondering.

    VEGETABLES.–Artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, lettuces, onions, parsnips, pease, potatoes, radishes, small salads, sea-kale, spinach,–various herbs.

    Ok I don’t know which type of artichoke she means here – I am assuming its not Chinese Artichoke and from looking at things in my garden I would say its more likely to be globe artichoke than jeruselum.

    FRUIT.–Apricots, cherries, currants, gooseberries, melons, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapples, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries.

    Ok I am assuming that pineapples have to be grown in glass houses/green houses/aurbatariums in this country not sure about some of the other fruit here!

    Filed under: Seasonal
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  • 18May

    The 18th-24th of May marks a time to enjoy and ponder all things Vegetarian!

    I live with a veggi so most of the time we eat veggie, and some of the best food I’ve ever tasted is veggie – some of its even vegan and with recent trends more and more specifically vegetarian resturants are opening up. When we have the time and the money we try and sample their food but that doesn’t happen much at the moment :(

    The event is organised by the Vegetarian Society which is apparently the oldest vegetarian society globally and physically based in Chesire. Unfortunatly the page about Veggie Week appears to have been sabatarged probably by some millitent carnivores! This is a shame as today is the first day of Veggie Week and I wanted to see if anything local was going on that I could take my little girl to see but never mind there is always next year and instead I will just be making this week veggie for the entire household which will upset the older generation but hey its healthier for them than what they normally eat!

    Filed under: Seasonal
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