Friday, May 26, 2006

Indoor pastimes today - baking

I didn’t get to do all the things that I had planned, but have achieved quite a lot today.

My Mr Muscles helped me move the chicken run over so the girls now have lush grass again – three days is all it takes to eat a run full!

Some photos of the damage done to the ‘top end’ as they call it here of my plot.

Well there would have been some photos here if it would load them - which it won't so you will have to wait until tomorrow - sorry.

I have made four more jars of Rhubarb and Ginger jam, and as one jar wasn’t quite full I had some and it tastes as good as the last – which was delish. This time I used freshly picked rhubarb but as the stems were quite green, but tender, I decided to get some out of the freezer. So I used half fresh and half frozen but followed the recipe otherwise. The frozen rhubarb had 100grms (4oz) of very dark sugar added at the time the raw stems were frozen, so I used that as well and kept my fingers crossed that it would set.

In fact it was the quickest jam that I have ever made, and it came to setting point in 10 – 15 minutes. It is a darker colour because of the dark sugar, which also gives it a slightly different taste – but it is great. So my preserved present box is filling up nicely. I will be running out of jam jars this year I should think as we haven’t even got to the summer berries season yet, which is when I make most of my jams. They look they are going to give me a bumper crop too.

As the rain totally wiped out any work outside, I have had a baking day. My kitchen smells wonderfully of not only the jam, but bread, and cakes. I made two x 2lb loaf tin sized cakes. Pear, apple and my dried grapes sponge cake, and banana and dried grapes cake. I had not used my dried fruit before in a cake and was a bit wary, as I did not dry them out to the really hard dried stage, but they were wrinkled. I need not have worried though as there were so juicy and the cakes were so yellow from KoKKo, Adelaide and Gingers’ eggs. The cakes I will slice up and seal two slices to bag and freeze some – otherwise we will just ‘pig out’ on them. It is handy having them in the freezer like that as they can be taken out and they thaw very quickly. Great if you get unexpected visitors, or fancy some cake, or they can be used as a quick pudding.

I still have quite a few eggs left so I am waiting for a flash of inspiration – which I daresay will occur when I am supposed to be sleeping!

I had a lovely surprise on my door mat outside this morning. A box of tomato plants sent from my friend and delivered by her daughter. A couple of them are in flower, but as they are not as tall as they are supposed to get, I might take the flowers off.

If the weather is kind tomorrow I will definitely be planting them out up the allotment.

We took a ride out in the pouring rain to get some layers mash for the chickens – with the Bank Holiday this weekend I was not sure that their food would last. They have been eating pellets which were given to me when I adopted the bantams. The bantams are not keen on them at all. Ginger, Adelaide and KoKKo will eat anything, but they did not seem all that enthusiastic about them, so I decided to go back to layers mash.

On the way back we popped into the village shop to thank my friend for delivering the tomato plants and to stock up on fresh fruit – roll on summer. Whilst there, I got an animal box of ripe pears, a couple of ripe peaches, a cauliflower (which will get composted together with the three parsnips) and there was a bag of cabbage leaves and two apples!

The bantams soon polished off one of the ripe pears and the three big girls will be positively jumping up and down with glee when they see the peaches too. Fresh fruit salad will make a nice change from their winter diet.

Off to package up the cakes and then to put my feet up just before the bowler returns home tonight!


  1. this week end is memorial day here , soppose to remember our dead, some people call it decraction day.i never go to the grave yard any more . daddy said before he died no one is there so don't go.any way the working people get a day off with pay to enjoy them selves.when you make jam do you use petrin to make your fruit set? or do you just boil it till it sets?

  2. The recipe always calls for 'jam sugar' or years ago you could get 'pectin', but after years of trial and error, I now always use just white granulated sugar and a couple of small lemons to the fruit that I use, which provides enough acidity to do the job.

    I boil the ingredients until it reaches 'setting point' the pour it into sterilised jars.


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