Preserving – Strawberry and Kiwi Jam

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It’s been a hideously long time since I updated my blog – life has a habit of doing this I find.  You just get in to something nice to do with your spare time and then it throws hecticness in your face. However, 2 months have passed and I am now the proud owner of my professional qualification and a new job.  time to catch up on allotmenting and jams!

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If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I was incredibly excited to receive my copy of Preserving by the Pint from amazon.  Marissa McClellan has some fantastic recipes for preserves of all types which don’t leave you with a million jars or so of jam to shift.

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So, having devoured her book and covered it with little “to do” post it notes from cover to cover – in hindsight it may hav ebeen easier to just tag the recipes I didn’t fancy making – I moved on to her blog www.foodinjars.com and started going through the same process on there.  And then I came across this wonderful recipe for strawberry and kiwi jam.

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I often buy kiwis because they look yummy and I think I’ll enjoy eating them – and I do – I can just never finish a whole pack of them.  So I got some strawberries and gave it a go.  The day I made it was beautiful.  It was a lovely sunny Saturday morning, the other half was still in bed snoozing, we were off to a bbq that afternoon – seemed like the perfect time to make jam!

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I was a little apprehensive about how this jam would turn out because kiwis are pretty fibrous in the middle but the jam is great!  It comes out really smooth and a fantastic colour.  I gave a jar to my parents – they too were a little apprehensive at first but from memory the jar was empty within the week – I guess they liked it too!!

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Check out my incredibly fashion sense in the bottom of that picture ^^^^ Clearly floral leggings and pink fluffy boot slippers are the way to go if you’re cooking jam…. I love that picture though – molten jam is one of my favourite things.

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You can find the recipe here: Strawberry and Kiwi Fruit Jam by Marissa McClellan

Sunday 5th April 2015 – Garden

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I have had a complete bee in my bonnet this afternoon and decided that I would give the the beds in the garden a bit of an overhaul.  This has been quite an accomplishment as the only tools I have at home are a hand trowel and a pair of Poundland secateurs….  As you can imagine the secateurs aren’t particularly great but they cut thin stuff well enough so I was able to successfully massacre my scrawny bay tree.

All the beds are now weed and dog poop free which means that they need plants! YAY! However plants for my garden continue to pretty tricky to choose.  My neighbours have a massive holly tree growing just on their side of the fence and it creates a rain shadow over almost half of the main bed – not to mention the year round cascade of ridiculously spikey leaves.
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The roots make the bed really tricky too, obviously a tree has a lot of roots so hacking through them to get a plant in is quite hard work, and any water that does get to the bed gets quickly whisked away.

My curry plant is doing well though, and they look pretty so I think I’ll get myself a few more of those and maybe some more grasses.  I have some iris in the bed that I was given last summer so I am hoping for some flowers on those this year too.

In the plastic green house department I have some pretty happy seedlings and a couple of really awkward seeds who are still refusing to germinate.  The cold nights aren’t helping with that but hopefully they’ll start to warm up soon.
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Enough of my ramblings for today.

Happy gardening.

A x

Preserving – Rhubarb and Rosemary Jelly

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As there aren’t going to be many opportunities to use it this week I decided to use it to make a recipe out of my new Preserving by the Pint (by Marisa McClellan) book.

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The rhubarb and rosemary jelly looked yummy so I thought I’d give it a go.

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The recipe was really easy. You just had to stew the rhubarb until it was falling apart and then strain off the juice.

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Then it was time to boil the rhubarb and rosemary with the sugar until it was syrupy.

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And then finally I boiled it in the jars and now I have one and a half jars of yummy jelly. Admittedly the recipe had said it would make 3 of these jars but I’m happy with these as they’re clear and yummy!

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The book is definitely worth a look after your after small scale preserving.

Saturday 4th April 2015 – Allotment

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It was really quiet down the allotment this morning, in fact there was only me and one other chap there.

Bug was thoroughly enjoying being outdoors but in the end decided to become official shed watcher when what little sunshine we had disappeared.
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The day before I had been to Simpson’s Nursery near Newmarket with my parents and Grandpa and having looked at all the plants there (but wisely had left my purse at home!) I decided to go and buy some peas and strawberry plants on the way down.

I did some digging over and a lot of weeding and then popped my strawberry plants in near my currant bushes.  I’ve put cloches on them to provide a little bit of protection – it’s still chilly at night and I don’t want them to die.  It’s probably a little early for them to be out at all but I’m pretty impatient.
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Peas have gone in to the fruit cage, and then I’ve taken my chances with 2 more tepees without mouse/bird protection. Fingers crossed they’ll be ok.  I’m hoping the ones in the raised planter will be a little bit sheltered by the tulips and daffodils for the time being.
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That’s all for Easter Saturday – Have a lovely day 🙂

A xx

Pineapples

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Have any of you grown pineapples before? Using the tops?

I saw a pin on Pinterest and it showed you what to do and it looked really simple… so I tried… it didn’t work.  Now I’m like a woman possessed and I am desperate to crack this pineapple growing malarky! So tonight I am trying again.  And I have done more research.

The first key part was establishing what pineapple root buds look like – I guess these are essential because no root buds = no roots are going to grow.  I found this picture from this website – Rick’s Woodshop Creations – which also has some really useful information on how to grow a pineapple.

Pineapple Root Nodes – from Rick’s Woodshop Creations

So I’ve pulled a load of leaves off my pineapple stalk and I found some roots and some root buds:

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The pineapple stalk is now in a jar of water on sunniest windowsill in the house (the one where I germinate my chilli seeds… that’s another post) and within 2 weeks I should start to see some roots appearing.  Hopefully.

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Has anyone else successfully done this?

If so how did you do it?  Any help would be gratefully received!!!!!

Thanks 🙂 xx

Allotment 31st March 2015

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Mental weather here at the moment!  Went to the allotment today but was only able to stay for a little while before the weather just became too much.  This is the back end of my allotment and there used to be a 6′ high wooden fence here, it’s a little bit flatter now!  There is also now officially no felt left on the old shed i inherited.  Definitely a job that is going to require doing this summer.
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Happily though I have a rather handsome row of French Breakfast Radishes coming through.  This made me a happy bunny.  The other radishes in rows on either side are emerging too but these are definitely the current leaders.  I planted the seeds on 7th March so I’m pretty pleased considering the weather then took a turn for the cooler and is only just warming up again.

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Unfortunately our strimmer broke today.  Strimming is the job my other half does at the allotment so it left him at a little bit of a loose end. However he dismantled it and has located the problem, now to track down a new part.  On the plus side the engine still works and he was carrying it round “vroom vroom”ing at me.  At least it made us smile through the rain!

Will try again on Friday – hopefully it’ll be a little less windy and a bit more productive!

Happy allotmenting. xx

Potatoes

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This is the first time I’ve grown potatoes and they’re going pretty well. Won’t be long until we’re at the top of the bags. I’m topping them up with compost about once a week at the moment.

Oh, and that’s Bug. She helps out sometimes :)🐶

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