Saturday, 27 July 2013

Fermanagh Blackcurrants.

I was given  6 + 1/2 lbs of blackcurrants.
What to do with them all. Make a beaded brooch?  
That's what I thought they looked like in the colander!

It's a tedious job - picking off the stalks.

Worse when you tip the whole lot on to the floor!

My recipe used 1lb blackcurrants, 1 pint of water, 1+1/2lbs sugar.
Bring the blackcurrants + water to the the boil then simmer for 45 minutes to soften the fruit.
Add the sugar and keep it on a rolling boil for 10 - 15 minutes. To know when it's set I use a sugar thermometer but you can test if your jam's set by putting it on a cold saucer and pushing it with your finger. If a crinkly skin has formed, hopefully your jam has set.

I add a knob of butter to remove the scum - then it's time to pot it up!  Ready for breakfast tomorrow.

So this morning I've taste-tested my jam and it tastes good and it's set is just right.  I find it's easier to make in smaller quantities so now I know it's good I'll make some more.
First I'm going to try making some blackcurrant chutney from this recipe I found on a blog while researching blackcurrants!  Life there seems idyllic.
However, blackcurrants and chutney? The two don't seem to go together and I'm curious to see.
It's worth a try.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Rose Week at Lady Dixon Park.

Lady Dixon Park have just held their annual Rose Week and this year the weather was perfect for the roses, it was the best I've ever seen it.

There were lots of activities for the children including face painters, a fun fair, balloons, bubbles, music and drama.

These bonsai were in the marquee where the judging was held.

The Japanese Garden.

There were some very pretty plants for sale.

         Competitions for the best roses, sweet peas, bonsai, flower arrangements and the best cactus....

...and a harpist entertaining the visitors.'

So although Rose Week may be over and the petals are falling it won't be long before we're back. There's always something new to see in these gardens all year round.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

No escape.

Seems like there's no escape from the red white and blue. 
I've been away for a couple of weeks to look after my mum and I also visited my bro- in law's mum. 
This is Ashbourne in Derbyshire. The bunting was out for a festival in the town.

It was like taking a step back into the 70's and I loved it! Her house is immaculate. Remember the tea trolley and the patterned carpets?

I loved this vase of flowers against the textured wallpaper...

... and this little hunting scene.

On another day out I went to Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire, created nearly 150 years ago.
I'd like to go back for another look sometime, it was so interesting.

The garden was amazing - but even more amazing was the day Andy Murray won Wimbledon.
 I've been watching and waiting for that for a while now!