Thursday 29 September 2011

Welcome Sunshine

Its my day off and the sun is shining, brilliant not something that happens very often on my day off, so its out in the garden working away getting all hot and bothered, so i have come in for a bit of a cool down, first thing this morning I got started with some crab apple and chilli jam, hubby cooked the apples on Sundayand left them to drain through the jelly bag, suppose to be for 24hrs, then he was struck down with the dreaded MAN FLU, I spent last week battling a cold that knocked me for six, but battled on going to work, cooking cleaning all the usual, he starts with it and cant even finish his crab apple jelly, so this morning I got it done out of the way, it looks a lovely colour, added some of the chillis we have been growing, it has set great and is now ready to be consumed. As we have had a glut of tomatoes and not wanting them to go to waste, I also set about making some Tomato Ketchup, a fairly simple recipe

2lb tomatoes 8oz shallots 3/4in root ginger

1/4 pint cider vinegar 11/4 oz sugar 1tsp paprika

1tsp salt 2 garlic cloves

roughly chop up the tomatoes, shallots ginger and garlic, throw into a large saucepan and slowely bring to the boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for about 20mins, until the shallots are tender, blitz the mixture with a blender or food processer, push the mixture through a sive into a clean saucepan, bring the puree to the boil then simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, add the vinigar sugar, paprika salt to the pan stir and simmer until well reduced and thickened, it will thicken more as it cools. pour into bottles or jars, store in the fridge when cool makes about a pint.
mine was made with a mixture of red and yellow tomatoes, tastes very yummy and has a kick to it. While pottering about the garden and house I am waiting for a very important delivery, Ambrosia Fondant for the bees, even though they seem to have plenty of food to see them through the winter, I am not taking any chances this year, as we have lost bees through the last two winters, I am going to feed them up and make sure they have more than enough stores.

Now as you can see from the photo there is a well established colony of bees, let me tell you about them, last Tuesday I get a phonecall from my son in law who works for pest control, about a swarm of bees, SWARM IN SEPTEMBER, I dont think so, he said its just a small one about 50 bees, (me thinks he cant count) so UI went and had a look, the photo shows what I found, so we suited up, cut the wax comb dropped it in abox and I took it home, we are trying to keep them settled in the nuculus box and hope soon to move them into the spare hive, but they have very little winter stores so they will need feeding, another reason for getting the feed, so please hurry mr delivery man, as I need to go out.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Goosey Goosey Gander

Whats for dinner tonight? How about Goose, Martin came across dinner on his way to work at the side of the road, not unusual in this household to have road kill, but this time we struck lucky, it wasnt road kill, it had been shot and come down in the road, Our freezer is usually stocked with the usual road kill, venison, rabbit, pheasant even the odd hare, the occasional squirrel pidgeon and duck but we have not had a goose off the road before, so we are looking forward to this one.

Things have been really busy here again harvesting fruit and veg, the chickens have gone into overdrive pushing out eggs like there is no tomorrow, and we have had a real glut of tomatoes that Martin has been making into Salsa and taking it with him on drill night to share with the boys, he has at last managed to get some pizza trays that will fit into the brick oven so he is going to hold that pizza party he has been promising for the lads very soon, but at the moment we have a very full calender.

Honey and bees are very much on the agenda at the moment, our first swarm we got has been doing fantastic and we have managed to take some honey off, unfortunatly, the second swarm that was only small have flown the hive, you cant keep bees locked in so you cannot stop them from leaving if they decide to go they go. We are having a visit from the bee inspector later on today, so we are hoping she will give our bees a clean bill of health, we are very much novice beekeepers, just bumbling along on our own, so it will be nice to know if we are doing it right or are we making a complete hash of it all, will let you know.

The sun is trying to break through a murky sky as I write so I am going to take advantage of a day off and decent weather and get some work done in the garden, also must get some baking done, and there is veg waiting to go into the freezer and honey waiting to be put into jars, so there is another full day ahead so I better get started on it.