Saturday, 23 July 2011

Chocolate pecan brownies

This is my adaptation of a recipe I found in a Morrisons magazine, the one that comes free with your shopping at the checkout. Very, very nice..............

12oz good butter (don't skimp and use anything else, makes all the difference),  melted
4 oz good quality  Fair Trade cocoa
scant 1 lb granulated sugar
4 medium sized free range eggs
8 oz self raising flour
4 oz pecan nuts, chopped

When butter is melted, add rest of ingredients and beat well; turn into buttered and floured tin, bake in a hot oven until well risen and firm to touch. Turn out on to cooling rack, then cut into small squares. Keeps well in an airtight tin (if you can).
Can be iced with eg fudgey icing, but it's rich enough as is, without this.
Endlessly adaptable.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Graveyard jam

On the way home from work the other day, coming down the hill past the graveyard, I spotted a huge amount of tiny yellow fruits on the grass in the graveyard, tiny wee wild yellow plums; Looking up, there was still quite a lot on the tree. I got Bean and bf to go up last night and forage them for me, they came back with 3lbs 12oz of them! Lovely, sweet and juicy and a beautiful colour.

Mind you, gone are the days when the reward offered for foraging and picking fruit was a piece of cake or an ice lolly - seems to be a large gin and tonic is the going rate these days lol
I sat and stoned them all, took about 47 minutes , I timed it; well worthd oing, as it makes the jam easier to eat.
Equal amounts of sugar and fruit, plus just over a pint of water, into the pot and on to a very hot Rayburn.
Bring to a really rolling boil until setting point is reached, then into hot sterilised jars (I just do mine in the oven) and leave to go cold before labelling and sealing.
It is the most beautiful colour, and has a sharp edge to it, which I like; colour and texture is reminiscent of apricot jam, so if there's any left, I can use it on the Christmas cake. Well worth the sacrifice of my gin lol

Thursday, 21 July 2011

You can't beat simple

What's happening today ?

 .Today is nice enough outside, although it has clouded over a bit now, but dry and fresh out there. I spent a nice ten minutes at the usptairs window watching the butterflies on all the buddleias in the front garden - that was a lovely way to start the day. Main task for today is to catch up on the laundry. The tin above is full of Bean's finds; she does a lot of field walking, just around the village, and has amassed a really interesting collection of bits and pieces. Sherborne museum has a 'finds day' today, so she's going into town to get them to look at them for her. Her haul includes a beautiful, perfect flint arrowhead and a knapping flint, lots of bits of clay pipe, several unidentified things too, and some very nice pieces of stoneware/pottery she hope to have dated for her.
 The evening primroses are well out now; I love these plants, and have them all over the garden. I started my colony with a tray of 6 wee seedlings about 12 years ago now, acquired from a LETS meeting, and they do well for me. The tiny blck dots on it are thunderbugs (corn thrips) which appear at this time of year, and spend their days on these, the dog daisies and the rudbeckias. I really should make more use of them, found this: Will do some mroe research; I believe the roots can be candied. It's interesting to read hear that eating the flowers, leaves and roots should impart the same benefits as commercially produced oil - will investigate that one further!
This is this morning's harvest of sweet woodruff,  awaiting spreading out for drying; I dry a lot of things just over a simple rack (acquired from the tip seeral years ago - one of those folding shevs for mkaing more room in the larder, but ideal for this use), on top of the gentle heat from the Rayburn. One of those lovely things to do that can't be rushed. When dried, I'll use it in scented bags for linens and bedding - as well as imparting the scent of new mown hay, it is said to be a moth repellent.
Honestly, why do so many people buy  mand-made chemical products when all this is available? Beats me!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Field Full of Butterflies

It's not often I buy a new book, but this one really took my fancy yesterday, so I did!  Looking forward to reading it immensely. Has anyone else read it?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Thought for every day, not just a Monday..........

"Don't confuse having less with being less,

having more with being more,

or what you have with who you are."

Noah benShea

Shamelessly borrowed from Leanne - thanks m'dear, I love that one. Lots of people would do well to take not of that one, wouldn't they?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mango chutney recipe

I made this on Friday; definitely a good one to make, it tasstes much less astringent than the shop-bought ones; mangoes can quite often be bought reduced as they hear ripening  - that's the time to stock up with them and get a few jars made. As well as going well with all curries, try some stirred into mayonnaise as a dip. The recipe is adaptable - add as much garlic as you like, add sultanas or raisins, more or less ginger or none at all,  grated fresh ginger, chilli flakes or powder, chopped chilli...........

3 - 4lbs ripe mangoes
3 cups of vinegar - any kind
1lb demarara sugar
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp powdered ginger
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

Peel the mangoes and remove flesh from around the big blade in the middle; chop, but not too finely. Put the flesh and juice into a wide pan with everything else, and leave to cook, just under a simmer for 2 - 3 hours, until it's a thick consistency, but some of the mango still retains its shape. Remove from heat, pot and seal immediately, Store in a cool, dark place, and leave about 4 -5 weeks before trying. Makes approx 1 x 2lb Kilner jarful.