Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Fig and Apple Jam

Today we picked our apple harvest. 106 pounds (48kg) worth of apples. So we decided to use some of them to make fig and apple jam to add to my parents jam menu at their Bed and Breakfast. So here is the recipe I used for the fig and apple jam, which I found on google.

  • 1lb of figs, diced.
  • 2 cooking apples (approx 1/2 a lb), peel, cored, diced.
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 cups (500ml) of white sugar
What to do:
  1. Place the chopped apples and figs in a large heavy base pan. Add the lemon juice and rind and cook gently over a medium heat.
  2. When the figs are very soft and the apple is mushy add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Bring to the boil and boil until the jam has reached its setting point (check this by the saucer test or using a thermometer until it reaches 105 degrees).
  4. Ladle into clean jars.

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Saw this on British Pathe today...

Just saw this video of boxing kangaroo's and thought I should share it... as it made me laugh. I really need to explore more of British Pathe's archive, but for now I shall laugh at this!

Friday, 23 September 2011

I love Autumn

I really love Autumn, the cool sunny days, the wind rushing through the trees, the television programs suddenly get better and the best thing about autumn is the fashion! I have never really been one for the flip flops and swim wear of summer, I prefer my boots, a chunky scarf and my lovely 20's style cloche hat.

Anyway, even though I have no money, I still love to buy the fashion magazines and it turns out that this autumn 1940's (typical when I have no money) and Fair Isle knits are in fashion. It seems that I am either ahead of the trend (or far behind it) as for the last two years I have knitted two Fair Isle jumpers. So here are the pictures of my first jumper, if you want the pattern to make your own, I found it here.I shall put the pictures of my other Fair Isle knit up another day as I don't want to bore you...

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This weeks top craft picks from other websites:

  1. With Halloween a month away, crafty blogs and websites all over the world are now putting up their home-made costume ideas and this one is brilliant. It combines two of my loves, Lego and Indiana Jones! Find it here at Instructables.
  2. Keeping on the Halloween theme here is a nifty Halloween food idea... A chocolate spider-web cake. Have a look at the how-to guide at i am baker.
  3. I am also loving these pumpkins from one of my new favorite blogs, Glorious Treats.
  4. And finally a non-Halloween idea from the brilliant website Ikea Hackers. This is an inventive way of creating a table...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Online Diary's

I love learning anything about the 1930's and 40's, I don't know why but I really find it fascinating. Recently I stumbled across two blogs which diary's which were kept during the second world war. I love reading them as they show a real perspective of what life was like in WW2. One is so popular that it has now been turned into a book and would be a great Christmas present (*hint* *hint*).

So I thought I would share them with you:

Blitz Diary follows a 19 year old Eileen Kelly who lives and works in London. She only kept one line a day but it is easy to become addicted...

The second blog has recently been released as a book in America, and as a result they don't post blogs everyday or you wouldn't buy the book. Yet it is still fascinating and easy to get hookes. World War Two London Blitz Diary (1939-1945) follows Ruby Side Thompson who lived in Romford in London in the middle of the blitz. At the age of 57 she divulges her life to her diary and talks of her unhappy marriage, the bombs falling and her seven sons!

If your interested in America in the 1960's then I recommend Her Five Year Diary, which looks at life for a woman 50 years ago today. Usually there is only one sentence per day but it is uploaded daily.

I am still looking for others but they are fascinating reads...

Friday, 16 September 2011

This weeks top craft picks from other websites:

So here are this weeks top picks:
  1. Crafts which use toilet rolls - very strange but it actually looks really good! Love it. Have a look at The Handmade Circus.
  2. I saw this and think I might try it - easy way of carving a pumpkin (without haveing any artistic tallent - like me!). Have a look at the cheats way to carve pumpkins.
  3. And finally, a great card from Martha Stewarts website. Good old Martha Stewart and her brilliant craft ideas!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Rosehip and Apple Jelly

So here is my second recipe from my foraging fruit (and the apples which came from the garden).
Rosehip and Apple Jelly:

  • 1kg of windfall apples
  • 1lb of rosehips
  • 800g (approx) of sugar

So here is what to do:
  1. Peel, quarter and core the apples. To prevent the apples from browning sprinkle with lemon juice if necessary. Put the apples in a preserving pan (a heavy base metal pan) and add enough water to cover them and half a pint extra.
  2. Cook the apples until they soften and turn to a pulp. Whilst this is happening, take the spikey bits off the rosehips and chop into half.
  3. Once the apples are in a pulp, add the rosehips to the mixture and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Sterilize a jelly bag by putting it in boiling water, let this cool before you touch it and then pour the apple-rosehip mixture into it.
  5. Suspend the jelly bag over a non-metallic bowl and allow it to drip overnight.
  6. Measure the juice which has dripped in the bowl (I got 2 pints) and then bring this to boil in a preserving pan. For every pint of juice stir in 400gs of warmed sugar and keep stirring until it is dissolved.
  7. Boil the juice to a setting point of 105 degrees. You can tell this by a jam thermometer or completing the saucer test.
  8. Once it is at setting point, pour it into sterilized jars and seal immediately.

Store in a cool, dry place.

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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Blackberry and Sloe Port Jelly.

So here is my recipe for Blackberry and Sloe Port Jelly.

  • 1lb of Sloes
  • 1 pint cold water
  • 4lb of Blackberries
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 and a half lbs of white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of Port

So here is what to do:
  1. Wash the Sloes and prick them with a fine skewer. Put them in a large heavy pan and add the pint of water then bring it to the boil.
  2. Rinse the Blackberries in cold water then add them into the pan, at this point juice the lemon and add it to the pan.
  3. Bring the fruit to the boil again and simmer stirring occasionally to make sure the stones don't get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  4. After 20 minutes or when the Sloes and Blackberries are soft, sterilize a jelly bag (by putting it in boiling water).
  5. Pour the fruit and juices into the jelly bag. Put the jelly bag on a hook and suspend it over a non-metallic bowl for at least four hours or overnight.
  6. Measure the juices which have drained from the bag, I got approx a pint and a half of juice and pour into a preserving pan. For every pint of juice add 1lb of sugar.
  7. Stir the sugar in over a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 10-20 minutes or until the jelly reaches a setting point.
  8. You can check this by the saucer test. This is where you put a saucer of the jelly in the fridge and leave it for two or three minutes, if it is set it will wrinkle when you run your finger through the center of the jelly.
  9. As soon as it is set skim the scum off the surface of the the pan and then add the Port. Add 3 tablespoons of Port to the jelly and stir in.
  10. Pour the jelly into jam jars using a funnel, as soon as you have poured the jelly into the jars, put the lids on as this will allow the jars to seal.

Store in a cool, dry place and once open refrigerate.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! It is a cheap jelly to make as all I had to pay for was the lemon, sugar and a little bit of Port.

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This weeks top craft picks from other websites:

This weeks top craft picks are:
  1. A quick and easy record clock which looks great on any wall. To find out how to make it look at Polish The Stars Blogspot.
  2. I love love love all of these cakes but especially the Singer cake. I really should make more cakes and have a go at making interesting shape ones... Have a look at Cake Wrecks to view some of their others. You have to love any website which has a Singer sewing machine cake on it!
  3. A lovely Mod Podge suitcase. Such a cute decoupage idea. Look at Skunk Boy Creatures for a how-to.
  4. A frame with 52 weeks worth of Polaroid pictures in it to document the year, a lovely idea from a lovely blog: One Sheepish Girl.
  5. The final pick for today is another frame idea, a very similar idea, but can be used on smaller frames. A great idea from Sweet Peach.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

On a sunny autumn day I went foraging...

On Thursday I went for a bike ride in the September sunshine to forage for Autumn fruit. We didn't get very far out of the village as we were on the hunt for blackberries, rosehips and sloes. We didn't have a plan of what we would actually make with them but as the hedgerows are ladened with them and my parents want to create a jam menu for their B&B, me and my dad hopped on our bikes and went searching.

So here is what I have learnt when foraging for blackberries, rosehips and sloes:
  1. Rosehips are evil, they have thorns which make the rosehips seem like they don't want to be picked - take gardening gloves!
  2. The same goes for Sloes.
  3. Backberries live in bushes where stinging nettles, rosehips and holly live - again, take gardening gloves!
  4. It takes a long time to get a small amount of fruit.
  5. Cycling in a pencil skirt is very difficult.

To come: Port, Sloe and Blackberry Jelly, and Apple and Rosehip Jelly recipes.

Pictures: (left to right) Sloes, Rosehips, and my fruit-stained hands.