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

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Back to jam-making ..... and blogging

 I recently realised I'd let this blog run down rather, though to be honest I haven't been doing much in the way of crafty or culinary things - well, not interesting things. Last week though I was somewhat forced into them after clearing one of the garden apple trees of fruit. Most of it was damaged in some way - wasps or birds nibbling mainly - and, as I can never bear to let things go to waste, it had to be used straight away.

 You can see the pecked at bits, or marks where insects have burrowed inside, but though it doesn't look like very attractive fruit most of it was only partly damaged and most of each apple save-able.
 Anyway, I peeled and chopped and had about 2 1/2lbs which I boiled up, then added the same weight of blackberries from the freezer (some of which were last years!) to make a lovely dark jam.

 Having made a start, maybe I'll be back in the swing of things - and back blogging about it!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Bread and butter pickle - with courgettes

 Last year I tried making bread and butter pickle for the first time - the proper way with cucumber. Now though I'm faced with a glut of courgettes. I don't really like to freeze them as no matter what I do with them afterwards they turn out soggy and tasteless, so.... thinking they're not very different to cucumbers I'm trying to pickle them in the same way.

Basically, slice them and an onion.

Sprinkle with salt and leave for an hour

Pour over the hot vinegar with sugar and turmeric added ......and wait a few days before tasting.

Now just crossing my fingers and hoping the experiment's worked!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Jam time

5 lbs of rhubarb from the allotment means it's time to get out the jam pan and jars, and make marmalade. As always I had plenty of leftover bits of lemons in the freezer, so I went for a batch of rhubarb and lemon marmalade - which is also lovely with greek yogurt

Monday, 30 March 2015

Using things up in the kitchen ....

 It's been a busy week of trying to use old veg that's been hanging round the kitchen and in the freezer since autumn.
 Last year's pumpkins are no longer keeping well, but starting to rot. Last week I made pumpkin marmalade, this week some chutney.

 Then I moved on to using some rather soft apples up and clearing some of the blackberries out of the freezer - seven jars of lovely 'black' jam.

Then, having picked some lovely early salad leaves from the garden, I decided I really should use up the stored blue radish.

This is a lot larger than little round red radish from the shop, but tastes more or less the same - a little hotter yet, having been stored since December, not as crisp. It's lovely to be able to start and put together a 'free lunch' again though :)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Panic stations!

 I was shocked at the weekend to discover most of the pumpkins and squashes stored from last year were starting to rot - some just a little, some past hope of salvaging!

I then decided I ought to use up some of the remaining good bits - quickly!
So, time for some marmalade making.

 It's possibly simpler than traditional marmalade - cube the pumpkin/squash, add some chopped up lemons (all from the freezer where I keep the bits leftover after squeezing for juice or grating the rind) simmer till cooked and squashy. Add sugar and stand over night. Then boil till set.

Lovely orange-coloured, lemon-flavoured marmalade.

Monday, 9 February 2015

New lease of life

Just after Christmas I set out to alter an old jumper that I no longer wore. I wanted to shorten the arms, lengthen the body and remove the ribbing from the neck. So here it is all finished. no more throttling neck-line, no more sleeves getting in the way, and no more gaping bits between jumper and trousers! And all a lot quicker than starting from scratch - the hardest part was unpicking the old seams, after that everything went easily.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Tea cosy - but it could be a hat

I posted a pic of my Christmas present scarf on my FB page and a friend asked if I could make a tea cosy. Well, I've never tried one but it's basically a hat, right? Just with gaps at the sides.
To be sure I didn't completely mess things up I borrowed a knitted tea cosy, counted the stitches and rows,then sorted out lots of bits of odds and ends of wool and got knitting. 

I didn't like the first attempt - the colours were too dull - so I added some brighter ones to zing it up a bit and I'm really happy with it.
 I'd even wear it as a hat!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Free Lunch - over Christmas

apple, carrot, beetroot, pickled onion, radish
I just realised I hadn't updated this since December 7th - so over a month! Oops. To be honest the 'free lunch' idea of only eating home-produce for lunch as dropped a bit, or a lot, over the Christmas holidays. It's not so easy to keep it up with other folk around and wanting different things to eat.
same old but no beetroot this time
Anyway, till about New Year I still had small home-grown tomatoes and onions to add to salads and sandwiches, but these have reached an end, though I've still a few small onions to pickle.  I still have stored beetroot, parsnips, tiny green peppers, turnips, squash/pumpkin and winter radish, carrots and apples that were given to us, occasional spinach, cabbage and salad leaves from the garden, and of course a freezer full of tomatoes, courgettes, runner beans and such. Lots of these go in 'mixed' evening meals or lunch time soups with other bought veg, but I want to change my thinking and make them the focus of lunch - not an addition.

So I'm back to veg-based soups - curried parsnip, which is nothing but parsnips boiled and mashed and flavoured with curry, and chillied pumpkin, with tomatoes, tiny green home-grown peppers and chillies - making sure I always have beetroot ready-cooked in case it's wanted.

last of the tomatoes and 'normal' radish
curried parsnip

chilli pumpkin

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Scarf finished - and a change of plan

 Here's my first knitting project of the year finished already! One of my daughters bought me some fluffy sequined yarn for Christmas, and, with so much time over the holiday spent watching TV, it's already knitted and ready to wear!

So back to what I intended to knit next - or not. I'd sorted out a heap of blue/green/brown wool to knit into a short-sleeved jumper but, while thinking about stripes and patterns, I remembered this old long-sleeved jumper that I rarely wear any more, and I'm going to 're-do' that. I'll pull a thread or two and cut the sleeves just above the elbow, take the neck ribbing off (it's a bit high) and with unravelled yarn from the sleeves extend the rib at the bottom (it's a bit short for with jeans/trousers). It sounds a lot of fuss but will be quicker than knitting from scratch and I should have a finished garment while the weather's still cold.