Sunday, 17 January 2016


Just got to start with Marmalade - this years lot done to R's mother's recipe. (See below)

R has been making borscht with beetroot from L and G - they had a few tiddlers left in the garden like this one. (Pen for scale!)
Now I am looking to make some pickled same hence the malt vinegar - you can have special pickling vinegar but the old malt (not the only nice malt) (Horlicks) and some spices good too.

The biggest one weighed 2.5 pounds (1.134kg). 
The best beets are the small sweet ones but in January who's complaining. All my seedlings snuffed it.

We still have the odd rose in the garden (as well as the one in the house)(not odd of course)(go on dig yourself deeper).

I have been down by the pond using a fork to tine the wet patches to improve drainage and it does seem to have worked - for now.

The miscanthus is holding up well, at least where it has't fallen over. It will need cutting back soon before it gets growing again.

It is Wednesday and this morning winter has come with hail and ice, roads slippery and though raining by midday it is cold. R making more borscht soup.
I have been outside the kitchen door with numb fingers planting up the pots - I Know! I should have done it months ago - so one with a box to clip as a ball in the centre and ranunculi around it, others full of tulips two layers deep. These are Sarah Raven's scented collection of Orange Favourite, Ballerina and Brown Sugar and then Antraclet, Burgundy and Tambour Maitre. Other pots were topped up with a layer of fresh potting compost. 

We still have a few Brussels sprouts and they will be all the better for the frost we had in the night. The forecast is bitter for the weekend.
The beetroot are done but now L and G are threatening us with giant parsnips - scary!! We got them Thursday. (Pen for scale). Lotsa soup coming up.

I have tidied the woodshed ready to move in some of the new log pile and dug out the drain from the back field - it was overflowing and making some of the areas soggy that I wished to be dry.

Friday - there is snow on the Coniston mountains, deep snow but here just frost and a sharpness in the air we have not had yet this year. The light in the garden is magical.

So the recipe - 9 Seville (bitter) oranges, one sweet one and a couple of lemons, squeeze out juice, put pips etc into muslin bag, put peel and pith through a mincer. Shove the lot into a big jam pan with bag of bits hanging in it. Leave 24 hours.
Bring to boil and simmer till ring soft - say a couple of hours.
Add 8 pounds sugar (I warm it in the bottom range oven first) and stir over low heat till all sugar dissolved, Boil hard for 10 minutes and begin testing by taking off heat and putting a small spoonful on plate chilled in fridge. Push with finger and when ripples - done. You may need to repeat this a few times if not yet ready, boiling for a minute or two and then testing again.
You may need to do it in 2 batches depending on pan size. 
Put into hot jars and seal, label and eat.

Sunday morning and SNOW! About 3 inches (7 cm) here - more next blog.

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