Filling the store cupboards

IMGP3868

plenty to choose from

I was planning to spend this weekend doing crafty things, but Friday morning dawned bright and sunny and I decided that it was an ideal time to take a trip to Newcastle Emlyn to buy cheap fruit and vegetables. I’ve written previously about the stall that appears early every Friday morning, and the bargains to be had. I visited a few weeks ago, but I wanted to take advantage of the summer produce once again… especially now I have those new cupboards to fill. So, I bought boxes of tomatoes, mushrooms, nectarines and pineapples as well as a small sack of onions; I added a couple of bunches of carrots, a cauliflower and some garlic to my haul and this is what the back of my car looked like for the trip home:

IMGP3867

no chance of those tomatoes and nectarines escaping!

That was Friday morning and since then I have spent most of my time in the kitchen chopping and peeling, roasting and milling, boiling and bottling. I’ve used most of my purchases, as well as veg from the garden and limery.

And now I have bottles and bottles of passata, pineapple and nectarines, a big pot of vegetable Bolognese sauce and another (almost – it’s actually still cooking as I write this) of courgette and carrot soup. I’m going to freeze the latter two in portions as I need to keep the rest of my bottles for apples later in the season.

And now I need a good long sit down. Have you had a busy weekend too?

Relishing a fruity bargain

Every summer I make a trip or two to buy some exotic fruit and hunt for edible bargains. Early on Friday mornings, throughout the year, a fruit and veg supplier sets up his stall in Newcastle Emlyn and, amongst the standard green grocer’s fare, there are many bargains to be had. You can’t guarantee what he will be selling off cheaply and the best bargains need to be cooked or eaten quickly, but it’s always worth a visit. In the past I’ve bought very cheap nectarines, tomatoes, mushrooms, mangoes… and I’ve brought them home for bottling.

So yesterday, rather than my early morning swim, I had an early morning shopping trip. The best bargain I found was organic pineapples – two for £1. The tops were looking somewhat worse for wear, but the fruits themselves seemed generally sound, and I bought four. I also managed to get some peaches, although they didn’t have any big boxes and I will be returning in the hope of finding some more later in the summer.

Earlier in the year we were served pineapple and chilli relish at a restaurant and I had managed to recreate this at home with tinned pineapple (which, until then, I hadn’t bought for years). The fresh ones, along with the current abundance of home-grown chillies meant that it was the perfect time to make a larger batch of this relish. I simply chopped the pineapple, added a little sugar (to help with the preservation) and water, and cooked it up with chillies. First I added a Hungarian black, then a Romanian yellow and finally two lemon drops before I reached the desired heat. The addition of three chopped red chillies that have no heat (a disappointment from 2015 and stored in the freezer) added a little colour and also a visual signal of the contents (lest we should accidentally mistake it for something to eat for dessert). Into hot 0.25l Kilner jars and twenty minutes in a hot water bath, and the relish was ready for storage. Very easy.

This morning I bottled some of the peaches. The flesh is pale, but the syrup is a beautiful pink colour:

IMGP3706

bottled peaches

And finally I’ve making a few jars of peach, lime and red currant jam. We are not big jam-eaters, but it is nice in a Victoria sponge. We’ve got loads of red currants this year and still haven’t used up all last year’s crop, plus I found some lime halves in the freezer with their zests removed (having been used in a lime drizzle cake a while ago),  so I thought I’d do something creative. Peach jam does not set without the addition of pectin, so I am hoping that the currants and lime will be sufficient.

IMGP3707

peach, red currant and lime jam

I love food preservation – opening one of these jars in winter will be like bringing summer into the house.

Three Things Thursday: 29 December 2016

As usual I’m joining with Emily of Ms Emily’s Home for Full-Grown Nerds (and others) for Three Things Thursday. As she says…

*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*

First, although we don’t ‘do’ presents at Christmas, I was very grateful for the wonderful box of fruit given to us by our neighbours. Over recent months we’ve acted as a parcel drop-off point for them on many occasions and, although this causes us no problems, they just wanted thank us. This lovely gift meant we could have, amongst other things, fresh strawberries and pineapple for breakfast on Christmas morning.

imgp1386

Yum!

Which leads me on to my second thing… I’ve been able to plant the pineapple top and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will root and be happy in the limery.

Pineapple futures

Pineapple futures

Third, I’m really enjoying working on a completely new knitting project. Ages ago I bought myself a kit from Sheepfold – it has everything required to make a work bag. This week I decided to set aside crocheting blankets for charity and immerse myself in this project. The yarn is British, the pattern is easy and the colours are really making me smile… when finished it will be felted and have bells on too!

Jester work bag pieces

Jester work bag pieces

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

%d bloggers like this: