This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My preserves for the year

I've not got very far off the starting blocks in terms of preserving this year. Truth to tell, we still have quite a lot of jam and pickles from last year and some from the year before but I would still like to make some so that I have things that are useful for gift baskets at Christmas. I tend to make a small amount of pickles and/or chutney each year anyway. My husband is a staunch fan of Branston and eats that only rarely and therefore doesn't eat my homemade offerings. I love them but it takes a while to get through a jar on my own and I like variety and as they keep for literally years. I make some each year so that I can have variety. I also put some in my Christmas gift baskets.

So far this summer, I have made lots of cordial. I had to give up tea and coffee a couple of years ago because they started upsetting me. It was hard to give them up but my insides have been so much happier that I am glad that I did. So I have a good lemon cordial recipe that I was given many years ago and ring the changes sometimes by replacing one of the lemons with a grapefruit or an orange. It is much more concentrated than bought squash and tastes miles better and it is definitely cheaper. It is also very easy so I'll keep making it. I have also made about a gallon of elderflower cordial and have some elderflowers in the freezer for future cordials. When I made the elderflower cordial and had sieved it to bottle it,  the lemons looked way too good to throw out in the compost. So I reused them and the elderflowers too and made a half batch of what tasted more like lemon with a hint of elderflower cordial. It was very nice.

I also made a double batch of elderflower champagne. I found it a little strong this year so I dilute it with a good dollop of sparkling water. This makes it go further so I am happy about that as it will last longer. It is really refreshing on a hot summer's day. Now if only I knew where to get one of those....
: )

I'll add to this list as I make things so that I have a list that is useful to me, come Christmas.


Raspberry allsorts


Sweet chilli sauce (present for my son)
Green tomato and banana chutney
Sweet cucumber relish (two batches, one with extra onion)


Elderflower with a hint of lemon


Bottled apple sauce


Monday, July 10, 2017

Missing in action - again

I've been most dreadfully tired recently and struggling to get through what has to be done. No energy left for frivolities like blogging. I'm not sure why I am so tired and just hope that I find a little bit of energy somewhere and preferably sooner rather than later.

Still haven't seen many pictures from my daughter's wedding. I'd rather like to see more....  We've also been to a young friend's wedding. She has been part of our music group at church since she was about 12 and is a wonderful singer and very talented on piano and flute. She is going to live a couple of hundred miles away so we shall miss her - both for herself and for her talents. Her wedding was a lovely day and full of music. I think I have seen more photos of that wedding than of my own daughter's. I shall have to enquire about this!

My husband is busy moderating coursework for the last year (thank you Mr Gove) and also marking some exam papers. The exam board that he works for, likes people who write exam papers to mark some, in order to see things from another perspective. Exam papers are always written several years ahead and it is really interesting to see how thorough exam boards are in making sure there are no mistakes published and that an exam paper is accessible to candidates of every level of ability. But this is definitely busy season with deadlines for one aspect of exams or another looming almost weekly.

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