Sunday, July 31, 2016

PotFest In The Park 2016

Rob, Brock and I had a fun day out at Potfest at Hutton-in-the-Forest, near Penrith on Friday.

We had our usual tour of the grounds and walled garden first, before a drink at one of the cafes.

Then it was on to the competition area: the theme this year being "Bird Bath - Flight of Fancy". Here were my favourites:-

 Bath Time - Christine Hester Smith

 Bird Bath - Chiu-I Wu

Sea Bird Bath - Julian Jardine

We bought two more dinner plates to add to our collection of Sigi & Charlotte Boehmer's work:-

Afterwards, it was off to the nearby UpFront Gallery for a delicious lunch of ploughman's for me; homity pie for Rob; cakes and drinks. Brock was allowed to sit with us at an outside table. The coffee shop was extremely busy, with many reserved tables, so we were glad we got there early.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fruit From The Garden

One thing that always grows well here in our garden in Southern Scotland, is blackcurrants. We planted two bushes when we moved in 17 years ago, and now we have half a dozen or more, taken from cuttings, or self seeded (with help from the resident blackbird community, who eat at least half of the crop!).

I used a very simple recipe from my Vitamix 'Recipes To Inspire' book, which is basically to:-
  • Liquidize 240g of fruit with 320 ml of water
  • Pour it into a large jug and make it up to 600 ml
  • Pour the mixture into a saucepan, bring to the boil
  • Add 400g of jam sugar (granulated sugar with pectin added), stir until the sugar is dissolved
  • Then keep it at a rolling boil for a few minutes until it is ready*. 
*Check for this by putting a little of the mixture on a cold plate, letting the jam cool, then running your finger through it to see if it wrinkles (or use a jam thermometer).

The book says it will be ready in 1 minute, however, mine took more like 10 minutes at boiling point. Either way, its a quick method and you end up with an opaque jelly that contains the whole fruit, without the need for straining the pulp.

It is lovely on toast, porridge or pancakes, or stirred through plain yoghurt or vanilla ice cream.

The rest of the crop is washed and frozen for use in smoothies, or more jam, or dessert-making throughout the year.

Next job is to make some gooseberry chutney...

We only have one bush of gooseberries, so this is the whole crop.


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