Sunday, 20 October 2013


In fact today is mainly Marrow and Ginger jam (preserve really as it does not set). Recipe later.

There are still flowers in the garden. As a photographer I know we used to say that the third week in October was the best for autumn colour but that has definitely changed over the last few years. Yes the bracken has turned but the trees are a week or two off yet. I would have said we have moved two weeks later - first week in November then.

The white Japanese anemones, right, are mostly over but still giving a lift to the flower beds as are the cosmos. 
It had been difficult to get into the garden because of heavy rain which makes the lawns a no go area. The stream is burbling loudly and full.

We are 120 metres up from sea level here and you would not think that would make a big difference but down by the bay they have almost 2 weeks less of winter at each end. We seem to often be just above the winter snow line here (which is a nuisance as I have a BMW with rear wheel drive and it is USELESS in icy conditions) (I have to use R's aged Toyota Yaris which is much better).

Now R has a thing about grasses. She does not like my Miscanthus and Stipa. Especially she does not like the wild wood millet which inhabits the banking by the stream.
We had the pendulous sedge by the small bridge near the pond - BEWARE! - it is a thug and not only very difficult to get rid of (impossible to dig up) but seeds itself all over the place as long as the ground is damp.

Back in a minute - just going to check on the jam . . 

Ow! Just picked up the jam pan without gloves on! 
It is not reducing as fast as I would like - need something between the cooler plate (where it boils) and the simmering oven where it doesn't (simmer much).

Oh! And no sign of ratty so either he has found pastures new, someone else has got him or he is just too clever for mere mortals like us.

Some plants seem to love the autumn - look at this lot below, taking over the back bed. They will have to be moved though I might retain as small piece there. 

However, that will be too big by this time next year. It is suffocating a rare berberis I got from Cally Gardens a few years ago - amazing place at Gatehouse of Fleet in Scotland. He travels the world hunting down new and unusual species. If you are anywhere near it is worth a visit.

Now, I know that is a stupid comment for my Russian and Kazakhstan readers but you never know. Anyway some of the plants may have come from your countries (though I think he often goes to China and the Far East).

And there is a thought - to someone in China surely, though we in Europe might be the west, is not the USA the east? And is Europe not the East to the USA and the Far East the west?

Or is it all to do with we British imposing our stuff on everyone else - including latitude 0 deg. at Greenwich.

It is about to rain on my waterproof trousers which are hanging on the washing line so I will have to rescue them.

So to a Recipe : -

Marrow and Ginger Jam (Preserve)

4 lb Marrow (overgrown courgette (zucchini)) after peeling and coring (keep some seeds for next year - wash and dry on kitchen paper and store in a paper envelope)
3 lb sugar
2 oz root ginger
3 tablespoons lemon juice.

You will notice I have gone back to non metric measurements so -
1 lb = 4.448 kg, there are 16 oz in a lb (don't ask me why), 1 tablespoon is near enough the same as USA and 15 ml. 
I note that 1 Roman quart is 136 ml!

Back to the recipe - Peel marrow and cube, pop in jam pan and cover with the sugar. Leave over night.
Next day stir up the mixture as the sugar may have got stuck to the bottom. Bash the root ginger with a hammer and tie in muslin. Suspend in jam pan. Add lemon juice and stir. Cook slowly till reduced to equivalent of 5 lbs. (How do I know that comes the cry?) Before you start take a 1 lb jam jar and empty 5 jars full into jam pan. Take wooden spoon and stand in pan. mark with pan surface level of water. You can use this to measure depth of jam and when down to marked level and syrupy it is ready.
This is not really as "jam" so it will not set just be thick and syrupy.

But yum!

It is raining again so I leave you with a few liquid jewels on alchemilla leaves.

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