Just when you turned your back!

| 17th September 2010

Since you’ve been gone….

I do apologise that we’ve been very slack on the blogging recently. So we’ve got a lot to catch up with…

A couple of weeks was due to us being away on holiday in Norfolk (very nice actually!), and then we’ve come back to a very over grown kitchen garden… It has needed serious tidying to find the fruit and veggies and then ensure that all of the new green tomatoes are able to get enough sunshine to turn them rosy red. We trimmed off two huge sacks of unnecessary foliage (and that was just from two of the beds), but it’s working and we can see the fruits ripening day by day.

We’ve harvested the rouge potatoes from last year and planted some new potatoes for Christmas, in a rubble sack this time!

We’ve also been very busy preserving…

Fortunately, we’re getting a bit of a reputation for gathering in the gluts and transforming them into treats. The Dixon’s plum jam was amazing and Mrs Ward Sr seems to have access to all kinds of harvests and hedgerows. Thanks everyone, we’ll remember you at Christmas!

We’ve also got an Apple Amnesty going on. It’s Cider Sunday at Hen Corner this weekend and we’re hoping to squeeze out a good few liters of the stuff…

Corking Courgettes!

We’ve been picking the giant courgettes and have made pickles, chutneys and even the ‘Best Chocolate Courgette Cake’ I reckon it lived up to its name – and that’s without the icing!

Another Chicken Course

We first served the cake to our guests on our recent Chicken Keeping Course. We had six lovely people come to Hen Corner for A summer’s evening in the kitchen garden, again we enjoyed hosting the course, slightly over ran with the questions & answers session and have appreciated the lovely reviews that we’ve received:

Very Good!

A really fantastic evening, Sara and Andy are excellent hosts. Having gone a long to the course, only “considering keeping chickens”, I have now decided to commit and get them. If you are merely thinking about keeping chickens, then attend this course.

We haven’t got any more courses booked in at the moment, and it’s getting too dark for evening sessions, but we are thinking about running some on Saturdays. Do let us know if you are interested, we’d love to have you!

Out and About
If people can’t find me in the kitchen or garden at Hen Corner, I must confess that I’ve been out scrumping…. spotting all that free food that we can forage about for locally. I’ve bought a fantastic new toy: A Telescopic Fruit Picker that extends to 3 meters! It has made its money back in its first use…. We’ve got a fantastic pear tree locally, that produces loads of perfect fruit, but the problem is that most is too high to pick by hand and 95% smashes as it drops to the ground below. I can assure you that I’ve got written permission from the lovely people at the London Borough of Hounslow to help myself to this harvest, and I promise that I’ll share the bounty!
I’ve got my eye on some elderberries (probably to pop in with an apple jelly) and I just discovered that a good friend of mine has rosehips growing in her front garden (last years Rosehip Sherry was fab!). I’m also in touch with a lovely lady down the road who has loads of grapes up for grabs…  good job we’ve just bought some new demijohns!

Poached and then Poached
This afternoon, I set about preserving my scrumped pears by peeling, halving, coring then poaching them in a syrup spiced with cinnamon sticks and star anise… They can now be stored in the larder (or garden shed) and only need refrigerating after opening. A top treat to squirrel away for darker days!
We’ve also been making Crab Apple and Blackberry Jelly, Piccalilli (my Mum’s favourite!) and quite a few jars of Courgette and Cumin Chutney. We’ll post up the recipes in due course, but as they say ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ you really need to crack on with preserving before the harvest goes past its peak condition.
Jobs for next week:
  • Collecting in all of the apples
  • Making cider!!!!!!
  • Making more Apple & Chilli Jelly with the apple pulp

That will keep us busy. Have a good week yourself!

Corners are not just for squares!

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