Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Do I have a problem?

As mentioned in a previous post I seem to have become a little obsessive over making jam, jellies & chutnies. I'd often make jam, who can't resist a hedgerow of blackberries or a bout of jam making after an over enthusiastic session at the 'pick your own'? But I seemed to have gone up a notch, or three. I've just had a count, and I didn't look to hard, but I've got 42 jars of jam, jelly and chutney in the cupboard.  I wouldn't mind but we don't eat much jam and unlike Kalba I don't have constant guests to consume it all. I do give some away but all that achieves is a reputation as a jam maker and I get given empty jars to fill. Or worse (better?) bags of fruit. I currently have a few kilos of pears waiting to be turned into chutney.

The jam cupboard

The list includes;

  • Strawberry
  • Plum
  • Rhubarb
  • Fig
  • Cambridge gage
  • Raspberry
  • Raspberry & tayberry
  • Sweet chilli
  • Red onion marmalade
  • Hedgerow
  • Green tomato chutney

and so it goes on. But why? Do I have a mean streak and can't abide waste? The orchard where we walk Mortimer has an abundance of elderberry trees. I kept eying up the berries - such a lovely colour. Surely I could make something.....

Next thing I know

Ripe pickings

They're in the preserving pan

Boiling away

Then strained overnight

Gently dripping
And boiled again

Thank heavens for extractor fans

Honestly officer, it's only elderberries!

Apparently elderberry jelly is really good with cold meats(so great for me -  the vegetarian).

So if anyone could shed light on this obsession I'd be grateful.

Until next time


P.S. I've got it! 42 jars in the cupboard, 43 is the meaning of life - where are those pears?!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Previously at Nelson House

Our morning bathing ritual was done in here

I never really knew what shade of yellow it was

and having a bath was not a relaxing experience

Dig that brown carpet!

But as of this morning I open the bathroom door to this

I can't help smiling

and on the other side

L-shaped shower bath

The shower has a huge rain head which is just gorgeous to stand under

A Caribbean style soak!

When I've finished I can grab a soft,warm towel

Heated towel rail & extra storage

The tap gushes into the basin (we're used to a slow dribble)

Waterfall tap

The mirror is a 'statement piece' which we both love. It was what I had in mind but wasn't sure of Andrew's reaction but when we went out mirror shopping he said "that's what I was thinking of " before I had even mentioned it. No compromises needed this time.

Statement mirror

The controls are easy enough for even me to understand (and easy to clean!)

Chunky controls

And a reminder of the sea

A calm corner

So the first room upstairs is finished (mainly due to Andrew's multiple skills and hard work).

Only five more and a hall to go!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Something in the air....

It must be the autumn weather but everyone seems to be heading to the kitchen for comfort cooking. Margaret's post on pumpkins lead to a flurry of suggestions & recipes.
Ken headed for the meaty option & for Phil it's soup. Which is the direction I took.

My funghi photographs last week put me in mind of one of my favourite mushroom recipes. I love making soup, it's my cold weather equivalent of salad. A lot of mushroom soups are creamy but this is a healthier option but still rich and satisfying.

Looks like I started the wine a bit early!

Mushroom,celery & garlic soup

350g chopped mushrooms - single variety or mixed it doesn't matter
4 chopped celery sticks - don't worry about using the leaves
3 chopped garlic cloves
3 tbsps. white wine
750ml stock - I use vegetable (I'm vegetarian) but I'm sure chicken would be fine
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper

Put the mushrooms,celery and garlic in a large saucepan with the wine. Cover and cook over a low heat until everything is tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Add half the stock and puree. Return to the pan with the remainder of the stock and the nutmeg. Bring to the boil and season to taste.

Serve with a nice,crusty bread (walnut is good) and a robust red wine (optional) ( ha! ha!).