Saturday, 17 September 2011

August 2011



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Most of August was taken up by food processing although I did squeeze a trip to the prune museum at Grange sur Lot with my children.  Those that were interested in the museum had already visited previously, (I’ve been round quite a few times as I find it charming), so this trip we limited ourselves to the gift shop.  They do the most wonderful prune sweets although you do have to be careful as to just how many you eat!


The museum is situated on the river Lot and above is a view of the river from the landing stage along the river.


DSCF0254 tinyMy pear trees are not old enough to be producing much fruit yet, so it as nice to be given a box full of ripe pears which I decided to bottle in a wine syrup.  I’m really looking forward to tasting these.



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While a lot of the vegetables plants grown this year either didn’t make it into the garden or shrivelled within an hour or so of being planted a few things did survive.  The pepper plans were a gift from a friend and were planted in the polytunnel where once the watering system was up and running they did really well.

I learnt from last year and only planted a couple or courgette and patty pan plants and have also made an effort to pick every other day if not every day.  Even so I’m getting at least one patty pan and one round courgette each day.

The green beans took over 6 weeks to germinate but once they started they have provided a large handful of beans every day.  These again are the purple variety but as I've blanched them ready for the freezer they’ve turned green.

And last but not least, in the basket is the first of the okra which this year I’ve decided to grow in the polytunnel.  I grew it outside last year and the plants ended up about 30cm high.  In the tunnel they are (at the beginning of September) nearly as tall as me, around 5ft or 155cm.


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A quick resume of some of the preserving, mainly using the nectarines.  Starting from the right, is some nectarine jam.  Then it’s some fruit chutney using up whatever fruit I had to hand, then it’s the pears in wine.  The last row is a nectarine chutney, based on a mango chutney substituting nectarines for mangos and prunes for dates. It has a bit of a bite due to the chilli and is a nice change from the usual fruit chutney.  The large jar on the left is some dried nectarines which I’ll hopefully remember to use in a fruit compote over winter.

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This is one of my recycle/re-use projects.  While I try to grow a lot of my own food, I still buy some and when it is in net bags I save the bags.  The large ones I use to store my harvested onions or to store bulbs.  The smaller ones I build up into a ball forming a scrubbing pad which I use outside to clean the alpaca and chicken water containers.  They last about a year before they breakdown in the sunlight but it does give them a second use before hitting landfill.


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Once the nectarines finished the peaches kicked in.  For some reason they started to fall off the tree before they fully ripened.  At least it was before the hornets started eating them.  They also suffered from the drought but I managed to get a tray full that ripened enough to be eaten fresh.  The rest I peeled and poached with some vanilla sugar and I now have some lovely stewed peaches to brighten up the winter.

I used a couple of portions of the stewed peaches to make some peach ice-cream – very rich and very tasty.  I going to try and remember, and those who know me know just how bad my memory is these days – I say it’s because of the amount I have to remember, my children say it’s just my age – to make peach sorbet.

As an aside, in the background is my vanilla sugar; a cheap and easy way to impart real vanilla into sweet dishes which my mother used.  No infusing or chopping up and removing the seeds etc., I just pack an airtight jar with sugar and a vanilla pod in the centre.  Shake it whenever you open the cupboard and when you make something that calls for both sugar and vanilla it’s there.  The pods can be re-used many times until they no longer smell of vanilla.  I keep 2 pots on the go so one is infusing while I’m using the other.


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And even more from the garden!  Peaches, quince, ‘green’ beans, tomatoes, peppers, okra, cape gooseberries, hazelnuts, almonds, dried haricots, patty pan squash and courgette plus my feet on the chair taking the photo Smile

1 comment:

The Squirrel Family said...

What a wonderful haul, the prune sweets sound just my sort of thing !

You certainly seem to have laid away a load of stuff for winter, sometimes after spending all day in the garden picking it its difficult to get motivated in processing it all .....well done you !