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Showing posts from August, 2013

Easiest and best raspberry jam

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Well let’s turn away from the deep stuff and look at what really matters: jam.  There is something altogether delightful about making and eating home made jam.  It makes you feel like someone from Little House on the Prairie when you  have a pantry or a store cupboard full of home made preserves, and better still it tastes fantastic.  I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth and lots of shop bought jams are far too sweet for me but a home made jam has a juicy tang to it that undercuts the sweetness perfectly. 
If you have never made jam before this is the easiest jam ever, doesn’t take too long and uses autumn raspberries which we find much easier to grow and tastier than summer ones.  For some reason our raspberries are massively prolific and produce great thickets of canes with runners coming up all over the place, ready to invade the cutting garden or the rhubarb patch the moment you turn your back.  For a couple of weeks we are quite excited about bringing in raspberries and eat …

The visibility question

It is a truism that women of a certain age become invisible.  You hear it again and again.  The phenomenon even spawned a response in the blogosphere where older women posted photographs of What I Wore Today, trying to reclaim the right of the older woman to be interested in clothes and style and what she looks like.  Occasionally I would stumble upon one of these posts, rarely perhaps and only because it was written by someone I read for other reasons, such as the thoughtful and erudite posts of Materfamilias.  Recently Mater posted about a certain disaffection with the idea of these posts and it got me thinking about why I had never wished to join in. I like clothes.  I am interested in the way I look.  But I also find clothes deeply boring and am far more interested in what I do than in what I wear.  What is going on here in my head?  Do I think the older woman is truly invisible and if so do I care?

When I was young I was reasonably pretty.  The world was nice to me on the whole. …

What's in my kitchen

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What is in my kitchen this week?  Well for a start there are quite a lot of flowers.


A jug of sweetpeas picked this morning and waiting to go to a friend. Every time I walk past the scent makes my head turn.


The cutting garden is producing so many dahlias that I haven't brought any cosmos inside yet.  I love these huge orange ones, Ludwig Helfert, next to Bishop of Llandaff and some Euphorbia Oblongata.  They are like a firework exploding on the table.

And the fact that the kitchen is full of flowers means that it is also full of vegetables.


Fresh peas are one of the glories of summer.  I can't pick them without shelling some and eating them right there in the garden.  I haven't been able to bring myself to do anything with these other than cook them briefly in boiling water and eat them with butter and mint.  I have a lovely recipe for pea and lettuce soup which I keep meaning to try but the peas are so young and sweet that making a soup with them seems a sacrilege.


And t…

Clubbed to death by a giant courgette

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We always grow too many courgettes.  Four plants for a family of three is ridiculous.  I thought I had persuaded Ian that two plants would be fine this year but somehow he sneaked another one in.  So three plants should be better than the four we had last year.  They should be producing enough to use and to give away but not so much that I can't get in the door for piled up produce.  But nobody told them.  The hot July sun and now the intense stormbursts of rain are making courgettes bubble up out the garden like the suds from the bucket in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.


Turn your back on them for an hour or so and they grow from this, rather beautiful and demure flower:


to this (note egg cup for size!)


So yesterday was courgette day.  All day long I cooked with courgettes.  I made courgette soup.  This is easy and really delicious.

1 onion, chopped
1 glove of garlic, chopped
1-2 cm piece of root ginger, crushed or chopped
3-4 normally sized courgettes, diced into pieces of about …