Sunday 7th May
The gentle steady rain has turned into a torrential downpour, but the soil and plants will love it – provided it doesn’t get any heavier and flatten them that is.
So – housebound today, and with a box containing nearly 2lbs of grapefruit, 2 oranges, and 4lbs of tangerines that needed something doing with them, I decided to look up a recipe – for marmalade – but a bit of a challenge when you have run out of lemons.
I posted on a forum asking for ideas and have just logged on and got a couple of sites with recipes – (my network went down in the interim so I couldn’t access the site for replies or the internet.)
As I couldn't get online to look, I trawled some of my books -without success.
I looked in an old book that was OH's mothers and was destined for the bin years ago.
Every page is brown and the book is falling to bits - if she were alive today she would be 101 years old. The insides of the book has childish scribbles on it (she had 5 boys). I would have loved to have met my husband's mother. She sounds like a wonderful lady and brought her sons up to be very caring men - and they help around the house too - all of them. I love looking at some of the well thumbed pages, that were obviously her favourite recipes, it is just brilliant having something that someone had used for most of her married life. You get a real feel of what the family liked and ate. They certainly were well looked after.
It is the Radiation Cookery Book for the New World Regulo Controlled Gas Cookers. It was first published 1927 and the 'latest' addition was 1936 when she would have bought her first new gas cooker - but not early in her marriage as OH can remember her getting it!
I couldn't bear to see it thrown away, and read it a lot and often do recipes out of it. It is really good if you don't have lots of 'new' ingredients, and when 'exotic' food was not for the masses. So as I was lacking in lemons it was my last resort.
So I took a look and found a recipe - will give it a go, and if it works out well I will post it.
In the meantime I have washed and weighed the fruit, grated it, and vacuum packed it. Two bags are in the freezer and one in the fridge – I will make a three fruit marmalade this week.
Here is what it looks like now with the book.
I have not been idle though. All those chickens I jointed and boned, that I did on Friday. Well the ‘leftovers’ resulted in a preserving pan full of wonderful stock. Assistant chef carefully took off all the cooked meat from the carcasses and today I have added those chunks, lots of vegetables, and cut up dried apricots, and curry powder which is slowly cooking as I type.
Steaming curry - which once cooked and cooled will get vacuum packed and frozen into one and two portion packs for us and the family.
On the go in the oven I am cooking a honey roasted gammon, which we are having with our parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli – and no we never tire of it, it tastes delicious, Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. I am sure I have missed something out – but never mind it will end up on the plate!
I have found some nice recipes for rhubarb and ginger jam which I will have a go at next week too – from Tuesday onwards though - I will post those recipes too if they work out well.
This afternoon I shall be togged up with wellies and raincoat to visit my KoKKo, Adelaide and Ginger, to have a chat, check that they are fine, collect any eggs, and if the rain eases off I will let them out for a run around, if not they will stay in their extended and dry run out of the rain.
This morning, I let Pumpkin and Freckles out and lifted Dilly out of the empty nest box. She kicks up a real fuss, but is glad of my intervention I am sure, as she still waddles around to the run and eats and drinks - and she stayed out for quite a while today.
I have a few tubs of lavender in their pen – I grew them from cuttings and this year they should have flourished and got quite tall. I say ‘should’ as I had not noticed that the London Ladies have a taste for lavender – whereas the Norfolk Lasses never liked the look of them and left them well alone.
All the lovely new shoots and most of the old leaves gone! I am really hoping they are forgiving and try again to grow.
I caught the banties in the act – so have had to retrieve the little pots – much to their disgust and annoyance as they really heckled me when I did so. I hope that they (the lavender) will recover!
I should have known that Dilly would like it with a name like that! She had just had her fill and was waddling off looking all innocent!
Here are the rescued pots, in which the lavender plants are in different stages of being eaten. They will stay outside until they have grown big enough not to worry about losing some of the bottom leaves - then the girls can have them back again. There are some plants growing in the pen that the Norfolk Lasses pecked but the London Ladies haven't touched - baffling that.
The one that survived the least amount of being eaten alive was the one that I caught them eating in the photo - and in the tallest pot! I thought of putting them all in taller pots, but having seen the girls fly up on top of their run - I think that would be a pointless exercise!