Tuesday, 27 January 2015

EVERY FAMILY SHOULD HAVE A MARMALADE MAKING DAY!


Over Christmas we went to the cinema to see the film Paddington. I was a little hesitant as I can remember the TV series from years ago and the new version of Paddington didn't look quite right! I was however, quite wrong as the film had us captivated and we really enjoyed it, especially little Stanley who is now eager to visit a guard outside Buckingham Palace to share marmalade sandwiches with (they keep them in their busby hats didn't you know?)


So in preparation for our London visit we have been making marmalade as Paddington says "every family should have a marmalade making day." We have used a simple recipe adapted from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook.


1lb Seville oranges
2 x lemons
2lb demerara sugar
2.5 litres of water

(to make 6-7 jars)

Method

1. Cut the fruit in half and juice the oranges, putting the juice into a preserving pan
2. Remove the pips and pith and put into a muslin and tie
3. Thinly slice the peel and add to the pan with the 2.5 litres of water, dangle the muslin bag in and leave overnight
4. The following day bring to the boil then simmer slowly until the juice has reduced by about one-third
5. Add the sugar and lemon juice, stirring until it's dissolved
6. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached (I use a jam thermometer for this) it will take about 20-25 minutes
7. Leave to cool a little and then pour into sterilised jars (I use a jam funnel for this)
8. Enjoy lavishly spread on toast or with bears who like it in sandwiches!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

WINTER WALKS



This weekend we climbed a hill to walk in the snow, it was cold and the boys ran and slid on the icy paths, ambushing us from behind bushed with icy snowballs!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

WASSAIL


We've been wassailing again, such a fun local tradition. We lit torches and walked to a local orchard to bless the trees and banged saucepan lids and blew horns to scare off evil spirits. We hung bread on the branches of the king tree (the biggest in the orchard) this is for the robin, the guardian of the orchard and also where the tradition of toasting to ones health comes from too! The sprinkled cider on it, the encourage a good harvest for the year ahead. Years ago villagers that would take part in this tradition would blacken their faces so the village squire wouldn't recognise them as it was quite a bawdy affair.

So a Waes Hail to you and yours, here's to good health for the year ahead.

Monday, 19 January 2015

LOAF



It looked good, it smelled delicious, it tasted...

AWFUL!

I put too much salt in, such a frustrating mistake! Onwards and upwards.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

SNOWDROPS

snowdrops

We had a light sprinkling of snow this weekend, but unfortunately not enough to go sledging - boooo! But my snowdrops have flowered so I've brought them into the house to cheer the place up a bit! Soon they'll be flowering in the roadside verges around where I live. There are two spectacular gardens that have blankets of snowdrops in the Cotswolds; The Rococo Garden in Painswick and Colesbourne Park  near Cheltenham. I recommend a visit as the garden are beautiful and the snowdrops only flower for a short time from now.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

BAKING BREAD


Our bread baking challenge fell by the wayside last year in the hum-drum of family life, but I am determined to get back on track and bake a loaf each week in 2015. To me baking bread is somehow symbolic of that simple, wholesome family life I crave and am trying to carve for our family. To embed the ritual of baking then sharing around the table each week is one that I will once again try this year. We've started this morning making some white rolls to accompany some homemade pea and ham soup for lunch. Here's to a new year of bread baking adventures!

FYI: If you fancy joining in too, on Instagram there is a big community of beginner bread bakers sharing their journey using #52loavesproject

Friday, 2 January 2015

SIMPLIFY


"to make something less complicated and therefore easier to do or understand"



Many people set resolutions at this time of year or choose a word to inspire the year ahead. I had been struggling to think of a word to fit and I don't like setting resolutions, then this morning I took these two pics of a fairly clean corner of my home and with the sun streaming in, I was yearning to declutter and make my whole home as tidy. Then I realised it wasn't just my home that I want to declutter, it's my head too, I am tired of chasing my tail, rushing from here to there, trying to be a career girl and super mum at the same time, I yearn for a simple life. So this year my word to live by is quite simply, SIMPLIFY!

Inspired by Susannah Conway's Find your Word 2015
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