Saturday, 12 November 2011

Meddling with medlars

The rest of the fruit is now harvested and safe in the kitchen. I've made medlar cheese before, but want to do something different. At first thought, you might imagine there's not a lot you can do with such an eccentric little fruit, but read on , dear readers.............
A quick jaunt around the ever dependable Google throws up the following:

Medlar cheese
Medlar jam
Medlar jelly
Medlar fudge
Pickled medlars
Medlar pudding
Tart of medlars (1660 recipe)
Medlar liqueur

So, spoilt for choice; lucky to have a good enough crop to try several of these I think, so will report back.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Another good crop from my wee tree, picked the first of them this morning; some have already bletted; not decided what I'll do with them yet, apart from look at them - I think they're beautiful even if they do look like a dog's a*** (the literal translation of the French name for them)

Don't panic.................

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Full moon tonight

Full Moon and Little Frieda

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -

And you listening.

A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.

A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror

To tempt a first star to a tremor.

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm

wreaths of breath -

A dark river of blood, many boulders,

Balancing unspilled milk.

'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work

That points at him amazed.

Ted Hughes

Image By *L*u*z*A*

Not just for Christmas............

.......... decorations, that is, not just dogs!
I bought these two at Castle Gardens last week from their Christmas display - beautiful glass hearts with silver coloured trim. I'm going to  attach them to silver ear wires (I have packs of these in stock all the time), and make myself a very beautiful pair of new earrings. See- just a sideways look at things can open up all sorts of possibilities :)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Scott's View

Surely got to be one of the greatest views on this beautiful planet of ours

Sir Walter Scott regularly passed this way with his horse and carriage, and stopped at this point to look out over the view in the Borders. It's said when the horses drove past on their way to the graveyard with his body after his death they stopped here unbidden, to give him one last look at the view he loved so much. I've been there myself, and if you ever get the chance, make it the one view in Scotland you get to see.

(photo  from, with thanks )


I have made this for the first time, this year; my quince tree gave enough fruit for jelly, quince brandy and this, so I am very pleased with my crop,  which has been processed to last through the winter for me.
Membrillo is a Spanish quince paste, traditionally served with Manchego cheese, or you can coat it in sugar and eat as sweets, which is what I have done. The recipe is very easy, and you can used up dmaged fruits by cutting out any bad bits and using the good ones.
Peel core and cut up your quinces, place in a pan with ther ind of one lemon, slices and cover with water; simmer until fruit is soft; drain, and puree the fruit, including the lemon peel. Add lemon juice (I use about 2 tbsp for 2lbs fruit) and stir well.

Weight the puree, then tip back into the rinsed pan, add the same weight of sugar. Put on a  lowish heat to dissolve, then elave to simmer gently until very thick, and a dark pinky orange colour. Very lightly butter a baking tin, pour in the puree and spread level. Leave to dry 24 hours; I left mine overnight, then placed it in a very low oven for a couple of hours - you want a stiffish jelly-like consistency. You can slice and store at this point, or cut into pieces and coat with sugar as I did. Mine is now on the foil over a cooling rack, and I will leave it on top of the rayburn to dry out a wee bit more, before storing it in an airtight tin. I believe it will store for quite a while, but not sure how long it will last in this house lol

Monday, 7 November 2011


I love painting and decorating, but have ben sidelind over the years, being told I am not good enough or/and not neat enough. Now, however, I'm going for it if the house is to become mine. I've started in the wee bedroom, where I am now, and which will house Bean when she comes home too. I've chosen duck egg blue for the walls and made a start this afternoon, one wall done, but looks like the whole room will need two coats to cover up the darker blue that EJ chose when he was in there. Pleased with the colour so far, though, it's very pretty and exactly right. I have the fabric for the curtains, and new bedding too, will make/find/buy a new lampshade, and rugs too. It will become my interim haven until things run their course here, my own space for now.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Enchant your heart..................

I don't buy a lot of new things, but sometimes I just *have* to have something! I stand there and try and think will I get home and regret not buying it - for it's never still there when you go back for it, is it? We were at the  wonderful Sherborne Castle Gardens garden centre on Friday (I'd been there the day before with my firend Jill, raiding the 50p herb plants reductions), where they have the most glorious, spectacular Christmas display you can imagine. I can't begin to describe it, try and get there if you possibly can. It's won many awards over the years, and deservedly so.
Just found this, take a look to get the flavour of the occasion, from 2008 - have to say this year's display though is the best so far in all the years I've been going...........

There is a good selection of nostalgic gifts this year, and this is what I just couldn't resist:

I 've changed a lot over the last two or three years; I've gone through my practical and 'must be useful' phase; I'm lucky now to have amassed a wonderful store of good quality equipment and belongings that will last me forever, and I've come back round to the pretty, beautiful and just plain lovely, often pink too, I never used to be a pink person, but pink is the colour now :)

To quote the wonderful and inspiring William Morris:

''Have  nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful''

I would add 'or enchants your heart' to that..............................................