a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Post-holiday glut

I've only been away for a few days, but things carried on growing and growing for those few days so I found a surplus of tomatoes and cucumbers waiting for me.

I often deal with tomatoes by just throwing them in the freezer and hoping I find time to do something with them later, but as the freezer is full to over-flowing, I decided to plunge straight in and make my 'lazy passata'. It's lazy because I don't bother to sieve it all - just skin the tomatoes, chop them up and cook them before bottling. It takes a lot less time!

Cucumbers are trickier to deal with - no popping them in the freezer!
As I already have a stock-pile of frozen lemon pieces (left from recipes which require only juice or zest), I went for my unusual cucumber and lemon jam/marmalade. Basically the cucumbers stretch the lemons and add bulk to the preserve so it's a good way to use them.

After boiling, an over-night soak is best to soften up the lemon peel - and this time, due to other things happening, it ended up with 2 nights soaking!

The finished preserve tastes rather sharp and marmalade-like, and looks a far better colour than in this pic.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Holiday Inspiration

 I'm just back from a visit to Edinburgh where, among all the other sights of the city and the festivals, I was stunned by the costumes of these dancers.

 The detailing on head-dresses and garments was amazing, with printed patterns overlaid by embroidery, appliqué and beading.

 Obviously elaborate clothing of this kind was never intended for every-day dress but wouldn't one of those dresses be fabulous?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Courgette chutney

 I've got a surplus of courgettes and cucumbers at the moment so decided to adapt my favourite chutney recipe to make use of 3 lbs of them. 

 At first, it didn't look too appealing as the courgette didn't mash down in the way pumpkin does..

but with the addition of demerara sugar, it turned into a proper gungy brown chutney colour.
From tasting the spillages while bottling, it doesn't taste the same - the courgettes have remained chunkier and a the moment their taste is distinctive through the vinegar and spices. With time though, this should mellow. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

More Re-thinks

 So far,I seem to be spending more time unpicking and re-working this than moving forwards.
Having already 'rethought' my plans by adding an extra few inches at the front, I've now decided to remove the darts(!)

and just gather the top section onto the 'waistband'.
Despite being a lot of fuss for very little difference, I think I prefer it this way.

So far it looks like a crop-top and I need to add some length. I have the material cut and sorted for this BUT I was going to gather it up to fit and now I've changed my mind. Instead I'll cut it into four tapering pieces - to fit at the waist, then flair out.....unless I re-think it all again....

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Free Lunch - 3rd August

Six free home-grown lunches and a dinner this week; mainly based round tomatoes and cucumber. Sandwiches and salads with spinach and/or cabbage, and other bits and pieces as available - tiny turnips which taste quite like radish, basil from my windowsill pot, or apple thinnings to add to a coleslaw

cucumber slices so wide everything else is hidden

Whereas most of our evening meals contain some homegrown veg, for this one I'd picked ALL the veg - tomatoes and courgettes baked under breadcrumbs with fish, served with baby potatoes and french beans.