bunn: (Berries)
A day as grey as granite today, but at least it stopped raining for a while.

windyhillside1.jpg

Read more... )In other news, I finally got around to jellifying the rowan berries and crabapples I picked well over a month ago.  I had too many crabapples and not quite enough rowan berries for the first recipe I selected randomly from the internet, and also I could not quite get all the rowan berries into the only pot available, so the jelly may be a bit more crabapply and less rowany than planned, but oh well.

The rowan berries that would not go into the pot, I've tried crystallising in honey. They do have quite a strong flavour, but it's quite pleasant.  I think will be nice to have a few with cheese. 
bunn: (Berries)
On Saturday, I chopped an unfeasible quantity of ginger, and made four large pots of ginger and crabapple jam.

I still had a remarkable amount of chopped ginger and crabapple juice left on Sunday, but no jam sugar, so I bought lemons and sugar at the shop.  Then I found the fig tree had put forth a sudden late-summer-sun inspired profusion of figs, so I chopped them and flung them in as well.

This - or perhaps the lack of jam sugar, or not enough lemons - may have been a mistake.  It took about two hours of bubbling before the jam would consent to set.  But in the end it did, in a rather grumpy caramelised sort of way, so now I have... umpty tum assorted jars of  rather caramelly ginger, fig and crabapple jam.

And with the aid of Pp, I finally took down the awful broken old outside light and finally put up the new one that has been sitting in the porch for ages.   And I also fixed the side gate latch that Brythen broke!    Then I went blackberrying with my mother and the dogs.
bunn: (Berries)
I have picked a big bag of crab apples, and a smaller bag of rowan berries, and am making rowan jelly.  There are still a lot of crab apples left, so I think I may pick some blackberries (it's such a good blackberry year!) and make some blackberry jelly too.  I wonder if you can embalm whole figs in jelly?  I have got so many ripe figs, I am running out of things to do with them!  The heatwave may be over, but the skies are still blue enough and the sun warm enough to ripen figs on a south-facing wall.

It's the time of year when I find myself constantly stopping to snack on blackberries and hazelnuts from the hedges.  There are so many nuts that there are enough for the squirrels and plenty to spare for me.

Which reminds me of a book I read recently: "Witch Light" by Susan Fletcher.

Read more... )

I meant to pick the nuts in the garden today, and then cut back the nuttrees, but instead I have cut back the big sycamore near the window, which was leaning out perilously over the lane and (I suspect) annoying the neighbours who have to get past it.
bunn: (Berries)
I took some elderberries, and in my usual half-arsed kind of way that I cook things, I wined them.

By which I mean I added boiling water and sugar, let them cool, and stuck some yeast in (oddly it was champagne yeast, because for some reason that was what the shop I went to had). Then when it had bubbled for a few days, I thought I should probably do something with it, so I took the elderberries out and stuck the liquid in a demijohn. There wasn't enough to fill it properly, so not having any applejuice to hand, I topped it up with elderflower squash, reasoning that this is basically flavoured sugar-water, so should ferment as well as anything. It remains to be seen what will happen.

Read more... )
bunn: (Berries)
This weekend, I have made four jars of blackberry jelly, and am in the process of making rowan jelly too.   I have also made some blackberry whiskey.

The fig tree continues to be wildly productive, and had two more ripe fruit today, although I think the rate of ripening is slackening off now that the weather is getting a little cooler.

The apple trees have not done well this year.  I think I'm going to prune them fairly heavily this autumn, in the hope of bringing them back to productive life. 

Foraging

Aug. 21st, 2013 10:50 pm
bunn: (Berries)
I saw a random tweet from @NFUCountryside, asking about foraging, and which wild foods people collected.  I think this is worth more than a tweet, so here is a post.
Read more... )

BERRIES!

Aug. 20th, 2012 11:12 pm
bunn: (Berries)
I picked some rowan berries last week, which are now in the freezer, becoming milder and more edible in flavour before undergoing transformation into rowan jelly.  There seems to be a bit of a shortage of crabapples this year - most of my favorite crab trees are completely fruitless.   I think this must be down to the dampness of the spring, though it may have something to do with the lack of summer sun, too.    But I did find one tree that had clearly managed to seize exactly the right moment to flower, so I have enough crabs to make jelly.

My apple trees - well, they have *some* apples on them. But not many, and they are rather small crabby efforts: I fear we will not get many eating apples this year.  I think I have to put it down to a bad year.   It's been a bad year for figs too - just not enough sun to ripen them. I've only had three ripe figs all year, and none of them were really dark and sweet.

Blackberries, however, are everywhere, and I filled half a tub with them on this evening's dogwalk before Yogi plastered herself in mud and we had to go and find the pond.   A lot of the blackberries are flyblown already - all this rain definitely favours the flies - but a walk down the west side of the hill into the sunset found enough worth the picking.  Going back up the hill, the sun had fallen below the level of the mounded clouds overhead, so a golden radience flooded in over the shoulder of Bodmin moor, illuminating a goodly number of berries that I had failed to notice on the way down.

I wonder about the flies that lay their maggots in blackberries, are they a special sort of blackberry-fly, or are they generic flies just taking advantage?
bunn: (Default)
If you can't be bothered to read about my weekend, I have handily summarised it for you in the subject.  The rest is detail.  Oh, and a painting.  Well, two paintings, one by Bruegel, one by me.  

Read more... )
bunn: (Default)
In which I am Baffled by 4th Century Iron Things.  )

Skipping back a couple of centuries, I am intrigued by Hadrian's Frumentarii secret service, but wish to put a cherry on the top.  Would it be ridiculous to invent a Senatorial secret service working in parallel and sometimes at cross purposes with the Imperial one? 

In other news, I am unconvinced by rhubarb jam. It doesn't seem to be very... jammy. It is more like a pie filling in a pot.
bunn: (Bungles)
1) Apparently in our house the answer to the eternal question: 'there's a rat in the kitchen what amma gonna do?' is 'catch it using the two-wellie-boot technique, escort it, enbooted, up the lane through the stygian darkness until the torch begins to  die, then turf it out'.  The Deliverer of Rats was Yama Bungle.  I hope he's not going to make it a habit.
2, 3, 4 : The Unsuccessful Preserves )
5) It was Mollydog's twelfth birthday on Friday. Everydog had Birthday Bones to celebrate. She celebrated by haring about like a mad loon, but it was pouring with rain so I did not manage to photograph her.  Here she is today instead, practicing her levitating. 
Read more... )
6) Although I am still very in love with my ancient manual focus lenses, I put the autofocus lens back on the Nex3, and experimented with using different types of autofocus now that I am generally more used to the camera.  The spot focus mode seems to deliver the best results for the kind of photos I want to take.  Here is Flash Whuppet running like a little deer:

Read more... )

Apples

Jul. 20th, 2011 08:50 pm
bunn: (Berries)
Today I had the first apple off the early apple tree.  Oddly, the top of the tree has not really set fruit but the bottom of the tree is weighed down with it. It's a good week or more before they are usually ripe, too.

I have also managed to find some more sheltered rowan trees that managed to set fruit this year - was it a particularly windy spring, I wonder?  The ones in exposed positions seem to have very little fruit.  But the little crab apple trees are covered: I have filled my bag with crabapples and not made a dent!  Jelly here we come!
Wittering about the photo )Random pony )
 
bunn: (Berries)
Read more... )
 
Sadly, it seems to be a terrible year for rowans: I know it's too early for them to be ripe, but none of the blossoms on the trees where I normally pick rowan berries seem to have set this year. Perhaps it was the dry spring?

Jelly

Sep. 10th, 2010 09:31 am
bunn: (Berries)
This year I have made two and a bit pots of rowan jelly ; turned out very caramelly.  And two and a half pots of bramble and apple jelly, which turned out rather too sweet.  I think perhaps because I used apples from my own trees rather than scrumping crabapples off the hill. 

I plan to make apple chutney next, as we have a major glut of apples!   Possibly also some more mint jelly, always handy with lamb.  Rosehips?  Maybe...

I can't make any more geranium and apple jelly as my geraniums all died in the Terrible Winter (greenhouse protection generally enough, but not this year!)  and I've not bought any more.
bunn: (Default)
I finished reading 'Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss.  I enjoyed it.  You could tell it was a first novel - the writing occasionally seemed a little clumsy, and the central idea that the story was being told by one of the central protagonists when older didn't quite work at times, the feel was slightly wrong.  But on the whole, great story, well told, will definitely read the next one when it comes out. 

I made rather caramelly rowan jelly.  I made it on Friday, actually, but found that the apples that I'd used obviously weren't pectinny enough - even boiling for ages produced something that was closer to a syrup than a jelly.  So I picked a big bag of crabapples on a dogwalk, and boiled them down, then added the juice.  Result still rather caramelly from all the previous boiling, but full of flavour! 

I made a venison pie (with last year's rowan jelly) and some more blackberry liqueur

I walked hounds and ate a lot of blackberries and hazelnuts.

We went to a book fair and I bought a Rosemary Sutcliff and a John Buchan (with a remarkably, ehem, 'period attitude' first paragraph). 

Duke's cat training is coming along quite well, but he's not reliable enough to be allowed off lead in the house yet.   He also needs more work on being left: he tends to cry and make puppy noises when he can't see me, the gormless big doofus.   I've contacted a local trainer about taking him to classes, but there are no spaces for the next class so we are on our own for a while.  He has definitely put on some weight and I am hoping to get him neutered probably next week. 

I wanted to do some gardening, finish a painting,  and put up new blinds in the bathroom, but haven't.  Eh. 

Rowan Jelly

Aug. 2nd, 2009 08:48 pm
bunn: (Berries)
This morning I picked 5 1/2 pounds of rowan berries.  Rowan berries are much easier to pick than other berries. No prickles, you don't have to bend down and they are pleasantly firm and don't squish.  No maggots either (there was the odd earwig, but they are easy to spot, and I don't mind earwigs).   I was aiming for 3 pounds, but  I am bad at estimating weights. 

Then philmophlegm and I boiled them with some windfall apples and sugar, and now we have 5 lovely pots of rowan jelly.  YAY!  Rowan jelly that you buy in shops is pale and sort of yellowish, but mine is bright red.  Odd.  Will be interesting to see if it fades with time.   At the moment it's still hot so fingers crossed that it sets!   I think it will, because the dribble left in the pan set beautifully: that will be the apples. It's nice to find a good use for windfalls. 

 Well, that was 3 and a half pounds of them, anyway, as that was all that would fit into the biggest pan. I still have 2 pounds left.  I'm not sure what to do with them.  More jelly?  I'd be tempted by this recipe for Rowan Wine only I don't have any demijons so it would cost money. 

The Internet says that you should leave rowan berries till the first frost, but obviously I didn't do that.  I suspect that this advice comes from colder climates, but If there are any left by the first frost (which in Cornwall will be pretty late) I might try getting some more and contrasting the flavour. 

I could do Rowan Schnapps, I'd only need to buy vodka for that. Or this jam sounds interesting. 


Edit: found a suggestion that freezing them can improve flavour anyway, it's the cold that makes the difference rather than staying on the trees.  Therefore, I should freeze the remainder and contrast! 

In a second culinary experiment, we made cauliflower cheese with a purple cauliflower.  The whole thing came out a brilliant purple, which was very odd. 
bunn: (Default)
Yesterday we had lamb chops, and lacking anything interesting to dress them with, I made a lemon and mint jelly.

I took two lemons, zested and squeezed them, added some water and some sugar and boiled for a bit. Then I tasted and it seemed a bit tart so I put some more sugar in. Finally I added piles of chopped mint and boiled a bit more.  At that point it set if I dripped it onto a cold plate, so I strained out the mint and zest and stuck it in the fridge to congeal.  It was good.

Thing is though, I have no idea if I could have made a larger quantity of less acidic jelly if I'd put more water in, or if it would then just have been a syrup.  Or if I could have got away with one lemon.  I have a vague feeling that this has something to do with the pectin content of the lemons, but how one estimates that, I do not know.

Does anyone know about the theory behind jam and jelly recipes?   I'm OK with making stuff from a recipe, or even improvising based on a recipe -  but would like to know more about how the gelling bit works so I can be more freeform about my jellies in future!  Google is not being helpful today: it gives me recipes, not an understanding of the principles behind them.

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