Posted in Flowers, Preserving, Self reliance, spring, wine

Dandelion Wine

Well, last time I attempted this time ran away with me and my dandelions just stewed away in the bucket and I ended up throwing them away. I decided I must try harder! But when the sun shines on the dandelions and they are fully opened to the sun , I am always tempted to go and pull their heads off and do something beautiful with them! Of course there are loads still left in the garden worshiping the sun.

Just a litre of dandelion heads is all it takes.Dandilions 3
Leave them to brew in a warm place for a couple of days with sugar orange zest and yeastDandilions 4
and then into a demi-jon to ferment away for about a month,

Dandilions 5
then it’s ready to rack off (put into bottles).

Posted in cooking, Food, gardening, Greenhouse, In the garden, Polytunnel, Preserving, vegetables

Cucumber Relish

It might be a bit late in the season to be sharing this for those of you who grow their own cucumbers, but your own chutney and relish is always better than store bought.

The skins can be tough on home grown cucumbers but the flesh is so much more juicy than shop bought. This recipe requires them to be peeled anyway.

Cucumber Relish 1 Cucumber Relish 2

Cucumber, onion and celery is laid out and sprinkled with salt to draw out the excess water.
Cucumber Relish 5

It smells great when it’s cooking.

Cucumber Relish 6

It makes less than you think it should but I’m sure it will taste great. One of these is the next to be opened!Cucumber Relish 7

Here’s the recipe for you to try. perhaps look out for reduced cucumbers etc in the shops or market. 🙂Cucumber Relish 8

Posted in Autumn, challenges, cooking, Food, In the garden, Jams & Jellys, Organic Gardening, Preserving, Self reliance

Greengage Jam

A little late but here it is!

What a great harvest of greengages this year, lots to process, but lots stored in the pantry! I must admit, sometimes I really don’t feel I have the energy (or time) to do the preserving when it has to be done. But my inner desire to do it wins over, and once I get started there’s no stopping me!

The longest part is taking the stones out.

Greengage Jam 1

Greengage Jam 2Greengage Jam 3

The bet part is eating it! 🙂
Greengage Jam 4

Here’s the recipe below.  As I’ve marked on the recipe always have a couple of  extra jars prepared as our jars in the UK are not lb jars any more.
Greengage Jam 5

Posted in Autumn, cooking, Food, Fruit, gardening, In the garden, Jams & Jellys, Organic Gardening, Preserving, Self reliance

The Joy of Harvest

We are blessed with a greengage tree in our garden and this year for the first time since we’ve lived here (9 yrs) it had a bumper crop. So this was harvesting day.Greengage 1 Greengage 2

I decided to have to baskets and sort while I picked. One for damaged fruit that needed to be processed quickly and one for undamaged fruit that would last longer and was suitable for eating. Altogether from our one tree I picked 19 lbs of fruit!Greengage 3

This is the other harvest on the same day.Greengage 4
I’ve found several different recipes for preserving, which I start today with greengage relish! Yum 🙂

Posted in cooking, Food, Fruit, gardening, Herbs, Hints & Tips, home, Jams & Jellys, Organic Gardening, Preserving, Self reliance

Gooseberry and Bay leaf Jam

I am beginning to think that I need to do something with the fruit I have in the freezer, to make room for this years potential fruit harvest. I know it seems a long way off but it’s good to be prepared.

I have quite a lot of jam recipes but I do like to have a look at the internet to see if there are any new Ideas. This is where I found gooseberry and bay leaf jam

My crop, as you may have see when I harvested them last summer are dessert gooseberries, which are purple rather than green and are a teeny bit sweeter.

Gooseberries 3
In the recipe it says to top and tail them before making the jam, which I did, but I wonder if that is really neccessary.Gooseberries 1
The sugar is added with the gooseberries and bay leaves, melted and bought to the boil.Gooseberries 2
Here’s my finished jam.

Gooseberries 3
It is honestly delicious, so I’ll be making more  🙂

Posted in bargins, challenges, home, wine

Wine Making

We’ve been trying out some Walnut Leaf wine we discovered from 2012 and it’s rather nice, especially really chilled!

Walnut leaf wine

We’ve also been to the brew shop in Norwich and got some wine kits to try.

Wine boxes
If these work out OK, the wine will cost a 1/3 of the price that’s in the shops. I’m feeling inspired! 🙂

Posted in Flowers, Hints & Tips, home, Preserving, wine


I’ve been eyeing up these dandelions for a couple of days.

Dandilions 1

Then Today Keith said he was going to mow the lawn. So that he didn’t mow them, I’ve just been out to rip there heads off!(if you do this, be careful of the pollen)……..

Dandilions 2

….this was to get a litre of them to make this years Dandelion wine.

Dandilions 3

So they are now steeping in some boiling water and there they’ll stay for a couple of days.

Dandilions 4

Posted in Autumn, cooking, Food, Fruit, Hints & Tips, Jams & Jellys, Preserving

Green Tomato Chutney

Even though our harvest was small this year, I still had enough green tomato to make some chutney.

I adapted a recipe I found, these are the ingredients I used:

750g Green tomatos, chopped
350g onions, Chopped
200g cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
300ml malt vinegar (I needed more than that)
A few mustard seeds
1 dried red chilli, finely chopped
100g raisins
1tsp salt
200g raw sugar

Prepare jars and lids by washing in hot soapy water and rinsing, then put jars only on a baking tray in a low oven while cooking the chutney.

Beautiful green tomatos

Put all the ingredients into a heavy based pan and bring to the boil.

Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. There should be no liquid left in the pan (if the ingredients are not nice and soft, add more vinegar until they are).

Put in jars prepared jars and replace the lids while still warm. Do use a cloth to handle the hot jars!

A little taster for Keith!

Posted in cooking, Food, Fruit, Jams & Jellys

Apricot Jam

A reminder of the box of apricots I bought last week.

I decided I wanted to make some jam and some chutney. So I prepared the apricots,  I quartered some because they don’t break down easily. put the ones to make chutney in the freezer and made Jam with the rest.

Here’s the recipe I use

When the apricots are bubbling away the smell is amazing!

I made nine jars all together… (I know there’s only five in the photo!)

….and I still have 2 1/2 lbs of apricots for my chutney!

I work out that each jar cost me approximately 63p (which includes the cost of the sugar) and thats for some rather yummy jam full of vitamin C!