Saturday, 29 September 2012

Happy Michaelmas!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a happy Michaelmas day and to show some photos of the garden on this beautiful autumn day.

Japanese Anemone

If you look closely, there are lots of spiders!
Michaelmas daisies gracing our dining table

Thursday, 27 September 2012

As memories fade of a summer that only occasionally was...

As memories fade of a summer that only occasionally was...our thoughts turn to preserving and pickling everything in sight!  After the second lot of chutney was made, we mulled 1.5kg of pears and made 5 jars of blackberry and apple jam.  We still have lots of apples and blackberries which is good as I don't think this jam will last very long.  The recipe is quite simple, but adds a little cinnamon and nutmeg, which is just lovely, so I wanted to share it:-

Blackberry and Apple Jam

  • 1kg of blackberries
  • 750g green apples (cooking, about 6 peeled & cored)
  • 1.5kg caster sugar
  • 125ml water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Equipment
  • biggest saucepan you've got (30cm across)
  • 10-12 jars
Preparation method

It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam.
G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Full circle - Hazel Cottage one year on...

Today marks a year since we first posted on our blog.  I can't believe its been a year since we started sharing our experiments with growing vegetables and taming the garden, making nice homemade things and buying old bits and pieces.  This time last year I posted all about our adventures with hazels, courgettes and damson jam.  We had a glut of courgettes and apples last autumn, and a wonderful bag full of damsons from someone at work which I made into jam.

This year we've less hazelnuts, our courgettes did nothing and the person who donated the damsons has not been forthcoming.  Luckily we've been given courgettes and apples from family and friends, and so the chutney season has begun, with one batch made a couple of weeks ago and more being made this coming weekend.  We also experimented and after collecting half a kilo of hawthorn berries last weekend, we made Saucy Haw Ketchup (a River Cottage recipe).  I will report back on what it tastes like!

Haw berries
We've picked lots of blackberries and been given some as well, which are waiting for me to make into jam or jelly.  I'm looking at recipes and hoping to make it soon.

These aren't the ones we picked!
During our recent holiday we went to Cotehele House in Cornwall, they had wonderful orchards we were a little jealous of...

Now we are back from a week away, we are planning for the Autumn and Winter - what preserves to make, when to make the Christmas pudding, and what to plant for the year ahead.  I hope to have some time during the dark winter nights to start some craft projects, including starting a hexy patchwork quilt.

The seasons roll on and are constantly changing but the beginning of Autumn is a special time to me.  Just reading the wonderful posting about September that Sophie made on Fading Grace and the posting Maria made on Rosy Tinted Spectacles about kicking leaves made me excited about the Autumn to come!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

George Eliot