Sunday, 19 August 2018

Swalwell fair - video

I filmed this yesterday at the Swalwell community fair. The goats are the real stars, not me!

Fallen Oak

We are always on the outlook for leafy branches fallen from trees. They are great sources of feed for the goats. We spotted a large oak branch that had come down through the week near the bottom of Watergate Bank, a couple of km from where we live. It was too good an opportunity. There was so much that we ended up leaving half of it to collect on another day.

How to make fruits of the forest jelly

Last week I made fruits of the forest jelly - this is my recipe for using up the wild fruits that are abundant this time of year in the local woodland. Roughly speaking, it is made from cherries (which provide the liquid - though some water needs to be added as well), rosehips, rowan and apples. Boil them up and simmer until it all turns into a wet pulp, then strain. The resulting liquid should then be boiled. Add a kg of sugar for each litre of liquid. Once a dollop sets on a plate, add to hot, sterilised jars.

The 4 fruits I used are just examples. There are many others to use as well, especially blackberries, which are now ripening in abundance. However, I opted not to use them as we had plenty of ingredients. The blackberries will be appearing instead in bramble jelly, pies, fruit liqueurs, jam, crumbles, etc, etc, etc!

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Recent preserves

redcurrant jelly Aug 18

As we had the Swalwell fair today, we have spent a bit of time this week making more preserves to sell. So I thought I'd post up a few pics of what we've been making. Above, redcurrant got the jelly. We got the redcurrants from the Hop Garden in High Spen. David and Sarah, who run the garden, asked people to pick the fruit as it was ready but they were on holiday. Rather than letting it go to waste, people were encourage to pick them.

lemon curd Aug 18

Lemon curd: always a good seller at the community fairs where we sell our wares.

fruits of the forest jelly Aug 18 (2)

Fruits of the forest jelly: a combination of cherries (late this year), rosehips, rowan and apples, all growing in local woodland. I've made a video about this preserve which will be posted shortly.

Gift of a greenhouse

A lady who recently moved into our village offered us the old greenhouse that was in her back garden. The only problem was dismantling it. We managed after a struggle to take it apart and move it to the Whinnies. It will be rebuilt over the winter once we have decided on the exact location and prepared the ground. In the meantime, I must take the lady a thank you gift of some homemade jams.

Shelling beans

shelled beans Aug 18 (2)

We were given 2 bucketfuls of french beans earlier this week. They were meant for the goats. While the pods were passed it, the beans inside were fine so we shelled them, kept the beans for ourselves and fed the pods to the goats. I will be making a bean casserole shortly.

shelled beans Aug 18 (1)

Swalwell fair

Swalwell fair Aug 18

The annual community fair in Swalwell was held today and we were there with 2 goats (Perky and Coal) and lots of preserves and eggs. It seemed relatively quiet but we did a brisk trade. We sold out of eggs, most of the lemon curd went and strawberry jam was popular as well.