Three Things Thursday: 2 February 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday…

First, adventures in pie-making. My latest trip to the library yielded two interesting cookery books, both pie-focused; and, as you can see, I’ve already tested out one recipe (Scotch egg pie).

Library books and a rather untidy pie

Library books and a rather untidy pie

Second, a knitted fish. This arrived in the post from Nana Cathy, along with a lovely letter and three crochet squares to add to one of my charity blankets.

something fishy!

something fishy!

I love this fish so much, that I’m going to gently remove it from the card it’s on and do some freeform crochet round it so that I can incorporate it into my next friendship blanket (a long term and very slow project).

Third, my store cupboard. Last week we ran out of sweet chilli sauce – disaster since it’s the condiment of choice with lots of meals (omelette, roast veg, fishcakes, Scotch egg pie). However, it turned out, that I had all the ingredients to make a new batch in my stores, including homemade passata, my own bottled apples and frozen whole home-grown chillies. The sauce is good, and will be better in a couple of weeks… and making it was so satisfying.

hot hot hot

hot hot hot

So, those are 3 things making me smile this week – what about you?

Apple anticipation

This week I’ve got quite a bit of driving do, which will give me plenty time for planning and plotting. I have lots of projects in mind for the autumn and winter. However, the big source of anticipation today is the prospect of apples arriving from Perkin at High Bank.

Some of last year's harvest - raw and processed

This was the scene two years ago… with a guest appearance by a Boston Squash.

Mr Snail-of-happiness is, as I write, picking apples over in Herefordshire and will be bringing some back later on today. After last year’s relatively poor harvest, I’m quite excited about having a good crop this year to make use of. I will certainly be stewing some and freezing them in blocks just the right size for a pie or crumble, but unsweetened so that they can be used as an ingredient later. In addition, I will be bottling some in the form of apple puree ; this has to be sweetened otherwise it doesn’t store well. I eat it with homemade yogurt and muesli almost every day for my breakfast when I have it. I am hoping for ripe chillies soon, so that I can make apple-chilli jelly and apple and chilli jam. In addition, we will be enjoying apple cake, Eve’s pudding, pork with apple and many more dishes made with fresh apples.

I love cookery books, so I should have lots of inspiration for using this abundance. Browsing the internet for recipes is just not the same as settling down with a mug of tea and a pile of cookery books old and new. Perhaps my favourite when it comes to apples is A Harvest of Apples by Ruth Ward. This book not only has recipes, but history and folklore too, so it makes for a great read. Like many of my preferred cookery books it is not full of glossy pictures,  which I know will show end-products that I can never achieve because I don’t have a food stylist on hand to tart up my cooking, but instead has well-written recipes that actually work. Whilst we are on the subject of cookery books, I love those of Jane Grigson too – her Vegetables book is a brilliant read and there is not a food photograph in sight!

So, whilst I am at home this week, I think that my focus is going to be on apples… it may turn out to be quite a sticky week!

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