Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Whilst David is busy making his garden paths and alternating this task with re-varnishing the windows and doors which have become a bit tatty, I am busy in the kitchen. If we have a glut of anything I try to make something from it before it goes to waste.
Apricot jam and Plum jam - yummy!

In honesty some things turn out rather better than others! I made some cherry jam earlier in the year which tastes delicious but set like concrete and is more like toffee. I pickled some beetroot and in the absence of some of the pickling spices made my own concoction and I must admit it tastes disgusting. But practise makes perfect as they say, so I soldiered on with my efforts and at last I am turning out some very edible jars of  jams, marmalades and chutneys. This week I made some plum jam, apricot jam and a spicy green tomato chutney.

Yesterday we visited a friend's house and I noticed his orange trees were heaving with fruit, so I came away with a carrier bag full and today I'm making marmalade. I did make some marmalade earlier in the year and it turned out rather well, so lets hope this does too.

First try at olives - home grown
Two years ago we planted a very small olive tree in the garden and this year we actually had our first olives. OK only a small amount but enough to make one jar of olives. Obviously this is the first time we have done this, so I read up on the Internet, watched videos on You Tube and finally decided on the way I was going to prepare them. We only recently discovered that you can't eat olives straight from the tree! I know - I can hear you all groaning at our ignorance and stupidity. But this is all quite a learning curve for us. I have always worked full time so haven't had the time for anything other than essential day to day cooking, and I am loving this new experience. We can't wait until the olives are ready to taste. I decided to put a slice of lemon in the bottom of the jar and have put some garlic cloves and one of our 'little red devil' peppers in too. So time will tell if that combination worked!

We have just planted some broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce in the garden and we are still getting tomatoes and peppers from the plants we put in the garden in the spring which is amazing. We are going to put in some kind of irrigation system in during the winter because watering with a hose in the height of summer is time-consuming and wasteful, so hopefully next year the garden won't be quite such hard work. We are looking forward to that!

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