I have moved house again and finally gotten my garden back together.
I suppose I should begin this blog with an apology, I have been away a long time and my garden has taken a bit of a back seat with one thing and another.
However, to focus on the positive, I finally have a piece of garden that is only mine. I have a hedge! I was less excited when I had to trim the hedge with the shears I borrowed but it is definitely satisfying to hack at disobedient foliage for a couple of hours.
So the garden definitely isn’t what I would have made it. It was clearly designed for low maintenance and is basically comprised of many different types of mulch (slate, bark and gravel, all of which seems determined to amalgamate into some sort of agricultural Bombay mix). It also has a pit. The pit is so the basement can have a window and therefore conform to fire regulations. It is absolutely not permitted to turn the pit into a water feature/hot tub. Believe me, I asked.
The encouraging thing is, even with all my other commitments, my garden has hung in there. I still have tomatoes (they seem to be what I am best at for some reason) and lots of herbs.
Today I planted my winter salad (purslane, land cress, rocket, corn salad and lettuces) along with some Chard and some extra herbs.
I am hopeful. Since I have much more space now I won’t have to squash my plants in so much and perhaps they will grow better.
Mum and Dad bought me a bucket (not an exaggeration) of plumbs so I am busy destoning, freezing, stewing and giving them away as fast as I can. You’ll hear from me again soon.
I don’t know why I don’t see this combination more often since it really is delicious. In my experience, a pound of fruit makes roughly 2 jars of jelly at the end of the process.
1 pound of Blackcurrants
1 pound of Raspberries
2 pounds of white sugar
You will also need clean jars
- Pick over and wash the blackcurrants and raspberries making sure they are clean and bug free then place them in a large heavy based pan. A jam pan is ideal but if not just a nice big saucepan will do.
- Add a tablespoon of water to the pan and simmer the berries gently until they are tender and beginning to burst.
- Add the sugar stirring continuously until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Place your clean jars and their lids into a 100 degree oven to sterilise.
- While your jam is cooking it may produce a foamy scum which will rise to the top. Skim this off with a large metal spoon.
- Simmer until setting point is reached. My preferred method of determining this is to drop a small amount of jam on a plate and push it with a fingernail. If it has reached setting point the surface will wrinkle.
- When setting point is reached, use a ladle your jam into your clean hot jars. Place the lids on and screw them on tightly using a tea towel to avoid burning your fingers.
- Leave your jam to cool at room temperature; if you’re using jars with “safety buttons” you should notice that when the jelly is cool the buttons will have been pulled down by the vacuum you have formed by putting the lids on the hot jars. Your jam should last at least 6 months but will probably last much longer.
Such an easy recipe and so much better than frozen oven chips. Serve as a side or with chorizo and crisp leaves for a hearty healthy salad. Serves 4.
4 baking potatoes
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper
- Slice the potatoes into wedges and place in a bowl.
- Add the oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and toss to ensure each wedge is evenly coated.
- Lay on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 190 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and soft inside turning half way through the cooking time.