Just Now I Am......


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Picking a few of my quinces. I shall bake them this weekend with lots of sugar and serve them with thick cream.

Getting used to cooking for four again now that George is back at university.

Enjoying the rugby world cup, The Pickwick Papers, and the lovely sunny weather we have been having lately.

Knitting a green shawl.

Having fun making a photo sampler for September. Regretting not making them from March to August.

Very glad to be blogging again. Hoping my enthusiasm doesn't wane.

Down By the Riverside


Sunday, 27 September 2015

We have had some lovely sunny September weather in the last few days. Friday morning was particularly glorious and I took myself for a walk along the River Severn in Worcester. It's a lovely walk although the close proximity of Worcester sewage works makes part of it very pongy. These pictures were all taken with my phone.

Worcester Bridge

Swan flying too fast to photograph well with a phone

Diglis Bridge

Worcester Cathedral from Chapter Meadows

Bi-coloured tree in Chapter Meadows

Houses with a beautiful view

Worcester Cathedral

Apple and Spice


Thursday, 24 September 2015

A few weeks ago I decided I'd had enough of the little bags, packets and jars that were my collection of spices. Those jars especially were becoming very irksome. Why are spices sold in jars which are too narrow to get a teaspoon in? Why? What is needed are short and wide containers not tall and thin ones. Containers modelled on myself in fact.



I bought these little metal tins. They are just right for storing spices. You can easily spoon out your spices, the lids unscrew smoothly and they can be stacked in towers that don't fall over every time you move them.

I spent a very pleasant hour labelling and filling my spice pots.

This morning I opened up my pots of cinnamon and ground cloves to make a spiced apple cake. When I looked up the recipe I discovered I posted it on the day I was waiting for Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries Volume ii to be delivered. Well, here I am three years later making it again and waiting for Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries Vol iii to be delivered.

Here's the recipe, I call it Apple-Clove cake but today I used cinnamon as well as cloves and substituted wholemeal flour for half the plain flour. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a traybake tin  9'' by 13''.
It's the perfect September cake, lovely with a cup of tea and a new Nigel Slater book.

All the Books


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

You might remember my reading challenge from this post back in January. It's no great surprise to me that many remain unread. I am very bad at sticking to challenges of any kind. That said I still intend to read those books some day. The thing is though, my To Be Read list is even longer now. Just lately the urge to read the classics has come over me and I find myself daily adding to my Amazon wishlist and planning where I can squeeze another bookshelf.

I read a fair few classics when I was doing my A levels and my degree but there are great gaps in my reading which I'd like to fill. Recent reads have been Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell and Wuthering Heights. All completely unlike each other and all very enjoyable. But there are so many more wonderful classics waiting for me and thanks to publishers like Vintage and imprints like Penguin English Library and Penguin Modern Classics there are beautiful, stylish paperback editions of classic literature perfect for someone like me who judges a book by its cover and who has never seen the attraction of an e-reader.

I especially like these Vintage editions of Dickens and have begun to work my way through him beginning with his first novel The Pickwick Papers which I am finding hilarious.

Summer Preserved


Friday, 18 September 2015

What a warm welcome back. Thank you so much. It is very good to be back.

Damsons and tattered sweet peas from the farm shop

While I wasn't blogging I was still doing all the things I blog about. One of those things is preserving.
I have to make damson gin and damson chutney every year. Have to. 

Damson gin in progress
Damson gin recipe here.  Damson chutney recipe here.

This year I also made some tomato and red pepper chutney which has turned out very well. The recipe is from my trusty Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Preserving with some tweaks of my own. Excellent in a cheese sandwich.

Tomato and Red Pepper Chutney

Makes about 4lb (1.8kg) - you could easily make half this amount.

4 lb (1.8kg) tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1lb (450g) onions, chopped
2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 red peppers, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 pint (570ml) vinegar I used cider vinegar
8oz (225g) demerara sugar I doubt using white sugar will make much difference

2 tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli powder

Put everything in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or preserving pan.
Heat gently to dissolve the sugar then simmer for about 1½ hours or until it is thick and chutney-like. The usual test is to see if you can scrape a clear channel across the bottom of the pan, a parting of the chutney waves. This is quite a runny chutney though, because of the juiciness of the tomatoes.

When ready pot into warm sterilised jars. We made a start on ours almost immediately but all chutneys benefit from a few weeks maturing.

For an all-purpose chutney formula to make use of whatever you have try Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's glutney. I made a quince and pumpkin version of this a few years ago which was good but not very popular with my household, besides tomatoes and peppers are a lot easier to chop than quinces and pumpkins.

This year's currant harvest was much better than last year's. I had a good amount of black, red and white currants. I put them all in the freezer while I decided what to do with them and after much consulting of fancy dessert recipes I made the whole lot into jam. Mixed currant jam.

 I reckon we have enough jam to last until next summer .

Apologies for the reuse of some of my instagram photos I like to keep instagram pictures and blog pictures different but I haven't been using my proper camera while I've been away, something I must get back into the habit of doing.

Six Months Later


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Goodness this is harder than I thought it would be. It feels a bit like I have an essay to write for homework. I know what I want to say but how to begin? I seem to have forgotten how to do blogging. Maybe a cup of coffee will help.

That's better. So, are you still there? How have you been?
I've been fine, pottering around my kitchen, reading, knitting, instagramming and spending far too much time online. I've also been thinking a lot about this blog. I wondered if it had come to the end of its life and if it had did I mind? I wondered whether it needed a change of direction or a new look. Mostly I thought about the kind comments people left on my last post saying that they would miss The Quince Tree and I found myself missing The Quince Tree too. So, as the quinces ripen in my garden here I am ready to blog again, no new direction, no new look just more of the same.

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