Tag Archives: Jam

Autumn in the Clwydian Hills

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Where I live Autumn has arrived! I do enjoy the different seasons and living in the Welsh countryside means I really notice how the year changes. At the moment the farmers are, well, farming! The stock is being moved, the sheep are shorn, the fields are being worked and the hay is in. Hens are laying ( eggs are always for sale at the farm gates). Vegetables are still cropping and being sold at bargain prices. The hedgerows are full of blackberries and my freezer is full of gooseberries and plums waiting to become jam.

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So for now, smile a while see you soon!

 

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Jam and Lace

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imageI have spent hours washing and starching lace doilies. I reckon that I’m the only person who uses starch these days. You do get a lovely stiff finish however.

At the last count I had ironed 47 doilies and 6 table cloths! This is for our new venture “Nanna Amy’s Vintage Tea Party” whose launch party gets ever closer!

With the party in mind I have made Blackberry jam. Imagine freshly baked scones, clotted cream and Blackberry jam. Heaven on a plate! All served on vintage place settings.

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Nanna Amys Vintage Tea Party is a hire service for very vintage China and freshly laundered (and starched) table linen. We’ve got lace, embroidery and crochet cloths to compliment beautiful mix and match vintage tea sets. It’s great fun. Perfect for a very special very vintage party. Go to nannaamysvintageteaparty on Facebook, Instagram or web page.

Wordsmith Wednesday – Blackberry vs Bramble

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imageThe blackberry is a bramble

In British English, a “bramble” is any rough (usually wild) tangled prickly shrub—specifically the blackberry bush (Rubus fruticosus)—or any hybrid of similar appearance, with thorny stems. Bramble or brambleberry may also refer to the blackberry fruit or products of its fruit (e.g., bramble jelly). The shrub grows abundantly in all parts of the British Isles and harvesting the fruits in late summer and autumn is often considered a favourite pastime. It can also become a nuisance in gardens, sending down its strong suckering roots amongst hedges and shrubs.

Elsewhere, such as in the United States, the term “bramble” also refers to other members of the Rubus genus, which may or may not have prickly stems—notably the raspberry (Rubus idaeus) or its hybrids. The word comes from Germanic bram-bezi.

Bramble bushes have a distinctive growth form. They send up long, arching canes that do not flower or set fruit until the second year of growth. Brambles usually have trifoliate or palmately-compound leaves.

Bramble fruits are aggregate fruits. Each small unit is called a drupelet. In some, such as the blackberry, the flower receptacle is elongated and part of the ripe fruit, making the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit.

Many species are grown and bred for their fruit. Ornamental species can be grown for flowers (e.g. Rubus trilobus), for their ornamental stems (e.g. Rubus cockburnianus) and some as ground cover (e.g. Rubus tricolor). Members of the Rubus genus tend to have a brittle, porous core and an oily residue along the stalk which makes them ideal to burn, even in damp climates. The thorny varieties are sometimes grown for game cover and occasionally for protection.

Most species are important for their conservation and wildlife value in their native range. The flowers attract nectar-feeding butterflies and hoverflies, and are a particular favourite of Volucella pellucens.

Brambles are important food plants for the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera—see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Rubus. The leaves of brambles are often used as a main food source for captive stick insects. Many birds, such as the common blackbird, and some mammals will feed on the nutritious fruits in autumn.

Ode to Autumn

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. (John Keats)

There is no greater Autumnal pleasure than a walk down a country lane (me!)

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This lane leads away from my cottage and up the hill. This Autumn day it was extra specially gorgeous. The blossom was blowing in the air like confetti. As I walked up the hill I found a bounty of Blackberries not yet eaten by the birds. I picked some and left some for the birds to share.

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I was scratched, nettled and happy. My fingers were a delicious shade of purple. Benji dog thought it a good idea to steal some from my box but I rescued enough to make a pot of jam or jelly.

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Ive only just learned the difference between jam and jelly! Jam you cook with the sugar until set. Jelly you cook only the berries, strain and then add sugar and cook until set. Both are delectable.

From Jam To Jar

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Ive been making Gooseberry jam this week. I must admit it is REALLY simple. Just boil equal measures of fruit to sugar and hey presto! Jam! A great gift and scrummy on scones. It’s confession time again. I have had these gooseberries in the freezer since last year, and they were perfectly fine.

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The gooseberry jam is destined to go into these vintage jam pots! Or vintage preserve dishes. (Sounds much posher doesn’t it?)

I am looking for more glass pots similar to the above for “Nanna Amy’s Vintage Tea Party” so if you know where there are any please let me know.

If I can find time this week I hope to pick some Blackberries from the hedgerows to make more jam.Yummy! The big plus is that they are free. I love FREE.

By the way, why does green Gooseberry jam turn to such a lovely shade of red?

Cheese scones and Gooseberry Jam

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Goose Gog JamimageToday I have been so busy playing at being a “good housewife”! I have made Gooseberry jam I’m really getting into jam making. It is so easy. I used gooseberries that were in my freezer which my neighbours girls were selling at their gate this summer. I looked online for the recipe and was amazed when the jam turned a yummy pink colour. The recipe did say that it would but I didn’t believe it! We used to call gooseberries “goose gogs” when I was a child. I think that one of the jars will go back to my neighbour who supplied the berries. I do love giving home made food as gifts.

Whilst the jam was cooking I made a cheese scone ring. How about that for multi tasking? This was a Mary Berry recipe, again found on line ( she’s my current heroine). This scone is destined to be given away as well. This makes it all low calorie I suppose. I’m off to daughters tomorrow, who has guests staying. I am joining them for afternoon tea and thought this scone ring would make a good contribution with some lovely butter. I’ve not tasted it yet so I hope it’s OK.

This is a real baking week as I am organising a Community Cafe in my village on Saturday in aid off Breakthrough For Breast Cancer. This cafe will be from 2pm till 5 pm and we hope to sell lots of cake/tea/coffee for this good cause. Various friends have offered to come to help and most importantly, contribute cake. I currently have Chocolate cake,Victoria sandwich, a variety of sponge buns, and Bara Brith in my freezer. I just need to bake a little more. Maybe another cheese scone ring would be good mmmmm.

I will report back next week after the cafe and let you know how much we make.

Marmalade making.

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image imageToday I have been making Marmalade! OK so I cheated a little and used tinned, ready prepared fruit. But I did cook it and sterilise the jars, and add sugar, and wipe up all the sticky mess! I’m pleased to report that it has turned out really good. I have this on good authority from Hubs who is a marmalade expert. I now feel like a good “House wife” well the bathroom wants cleaning and I hardly ever iron. You can’t win ’em all!

I also visited my Sis who has been real sick and in hospital for some time. Fortunately she now seems to be on the mend. Thank goodness for modern, Medical science. Perhaps I should take her some Marmalade.