Monday 31 August 2015

A Fruity Day

We had a lovely sun shiny day today, grandchildren had a bonfire and toasted marshmallows, 
I did them some baked bananas filled with white and dark chocolate

 to have, after a lunch of pitta bead humus and salad, they had the baked bananas  with ice cream.

This afternoon they went Blackberry picking
 First of the season
 Between them they made a crumble
It also has some of the dried apple flakes in and has been sprinkled with Date Sugar and Orange zest,
They are still full from a dinner of roast pork so it will be supper served with cream.
Tomorrow they are off home, then it will be just me and Sol again, 
Its been lovely having them and it will be nice to get back to a normal routine :-)

Sunday 30 August 2015

Fun Day

Today has been spent having fun with grand kids and Sol 
 Grandson has has a great time learning to use grandads tools
 He has spent the week end sawing drilling and hammering
 making boxes
 this one is my alpaca harnesses
 Sol has enjoyed having new playmates
 today we took him out for a new coat
 a hi-vis of his own so he can be seen in the dark

 we went down to New Quay this afternoon Sol loves the sea
 the kids were hunting for shells
 Granddaughter practised some ballet moves
 and so did grandad
 grandson was busy snapping photos of his sister
 as she did the splits on the sea wall
 Martin and Sol were playing by the waters edge
 It was lovely to see Sol go into the sea
 He found his sea legs in no time and was happy swimming out retrieving  plastic spade
 after fish and chips it was time for selfies
as they watched the sun go down on Cardigan Bay

Saturday 29 August 2015

A Red Day

A bit of a red letter day as well but that is for my craft blog,
 red day is Tomato Ketchup making day 
 All the ingredients laid out read to use, 11lb of tomatoes washed and chopped, 2 onions chopped, 5 cloves of garlic minced, 1 pint of cider vinegar, 4tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1tsp cayenne pepper, 8oz sugar,
 My granddaughter was there to learn and got stuck into helping with the preparations

 there is always something new for helpers to learn, she put together a bouquet garni of bay leaves cloves and pepper corns
 all tied up ready to go into the pan
 All the ingredients together in the pan needed stirring
 brought to the boil and simmered for 30 mins
 I am using the Kilner twist top bottles for the ketchup
 once it had simmered it was time to put it through the Moulin or pressed through a sieve to get rid of the skins and pips
 back into the saucepan brought back to the boil and simmered to reduce down and thicken, I reduced it down to 5 pints it took about 30 mins, the bottle lids were popped into a jug of boiling water and the bottles into the bottom of the oven to sterilise
Stand the hot bottles on a tea towel and fill with the sauce, pop on the lids, the sauce thickens as it cools, they were then popped into a hot water bath for 20 mins sorry didn't get a photo of that bit as the battery went on the camera.
Being processed means they will keep for 2 years unopened, if you don't process 6 months in the fridge, if you are not going to process reduce the quantity you are making unless you use a lot of ketchup. My granddaughter enjoyed making the ketchup and 11 bottles for about £2 is very cost effective, she is taking a bottle home.
They had the apple fruit leathers after lunch and really enjoyed them that much granddaughter now wants a dehydrator for Christmas to make her own, she has just turned 16 and is learning valuable lessons, she shops for her own food and prepares her own meals at home with the support of her parents in a couple of weeks she is off to collage in London. Its great knowing she can look after herself and is growing up with skills that will set her in good stead for the future.
Grandson has been doing his bit as well will post on that tomorrow :-)

Friday 28 August 2015

A Blue Day

I wish I could say it was all blue skies, it has been intermittent blue skies and showers.
My blue day is Blueberries I have harvested about 3lb of them so far and is there is still more to come, as they have been harvested I have been freezing them, I thought about doing something a bit different with them this time.
after a bit of search on the internet I came across a easy kid friendly Blueberry Cordial recipe,
perfect with grandchildren coming for the week end, Martin is bringing them back with him.
The recipe is 3 cups of blueberries, 4 cups of boiling water, 4 cups of sugar, 4tsp of citric acid or 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.
 throw it all into a saucepan and heat it up stirring to dissolve the sugar, once dissolved mash the blueberries with a potato masher to release those juices, then leave to cool overnight to bring out as much flavour.
Next day sterilise a couple of bottles, strain the juice and fill your bottles
 dilute 1 part juice to 4-5 parts water its lovely with a couple of crushed chocolate mint leaves.
Because this hasn't been processed it should be kept in the fridge and it will keep for 6 months the citric acid/lemon juice helps as a preservative.
you could also freeze in ice cube trays then pop into bags,  couple of the cubes would be about 1 part just add the water.
 It is also suppose to be lovely made up with boiling water as a warming winter drink.
Now don't throw away the mush from straining
 You could add this to some other fruit and make a crumble or serve it with ice cream, pop it in the freezer until you need it.
 My mush I have spread on a tray and its being dehydrated, I will then break it all up and use it dried added to granola.
I made up some of the cordial and set some ice lollies
I switch over to a lolly mould I could remove the lollies from when made, I keep them in a tub in the freezer, these are some lemon lollies I made when I made some lemonade, the other moulds I found annoying as you had to wait until the lollies were eaten before you could make any more. This way I can have lots of flavours made up.

Apple sauce left over from yesterdays sauce making 
 It was spread on to dehydrator trays
 this is it a dehydrated fruit leather
rolled up
And cut into snack size pieces, These have been popped into an air tight tub for the kids this week end, the others have been vacuum packed for future use.
Just waiting for my visitors to arrive and need to get some bread on, Bovey Belle from blogland popped in this morning for a rag rugging lesson bringing with her a lovely strawberry sponge whats left the kids and Martin will enjoy, also some collected seeds for me to grow on next year.  We chatted the morning away browsed books and a little crafting, BB also visited all the livestock and our new additions were photographed.

Everyone I have met through blogging have been really lovely people :-)

Thursday 27 August 2015

Time To Get Saucy

As we have been using sauces in stock I am looking at making my own rather than buying in, today was Apple Sauce day, its not something I like or eat but Martin loves Apple Sauce with his pork, I worked out we roughly go through 3-4 jars a year.
The apple trees that I planted last autumn I removed the young fruit from to give them the chance to become established, there is an old apple tree in the garden it hasn't produced a lot it is bad need of a decent prune.
I bought a tray of apples from the wholesaler's £1 to go with them
First wash your apples, then sterilise your jars, I am using the Kilner clip jars, 
The rubbers taken off are put into boiling water
 then the jars are popped into the oven
My oven is on and hot all the time in the Rayburn
Next I chopped up the apples skin core and pips 
 Added them to a large pan which has 1/2 inch of water at the bottom to stop them catching
 cook them down stirring until they are soft

 Then put them through the moulin to separate the skin and pips, if you haven't got one push the mixture through a coarse sieve
 return to the mixture to the pan add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and sugar to taste, put back on heat and simmer until thickened about 10 mins
 the skin and bits that are left over will go to the chickens later
once simmered take the jars out of the oven put the rubber rings on
fill with apple sauce tap the jars on the work top to dispel any air
 close up the jars, they now need to be processed to dispel any bacteria, I was doing hot water bath method with these, place folded t-towel in the bottom of a pan
 place your jars on top make sure they are not touching
 fill with water the water must cover the jars by a couple of inches
Bring to boil and boil for 20 mins
 lift out the jars and leave to cool
Once cool check the seal, undo the spring and lift the jar by the glass lid
If a good seal has formed the lid should stay on if the lid is loose on any keep in the fridge and use it first. With a good seal and after processing store in a place away from direct light and it will keep for a couple of years.
If you don't want to process the sauce then once thickened leave to cool, pour into ice cube trays once frozen tip into a freezer bag or container then you can defrost small amounts as needed.
I have some sauce left over and that is going into the dehydrator as fruit leathers, I didnt use all the apples whats left will be dehydrated as apple flakes, will show you on my next post along with the tomato ketchup I will be doing next. :-)