Moogsdad was on a mission today.
He wanted to work on the Moogsville Chicken Ritz.
This meant that entertaining the naughty people was down to me.
We decided that a trip to our local Farm Shop to partake in a bit of 'Pick Your Own' was in order.
Minx and Monster thoroughly enjoyed picking the gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries and broad beans and they must have had ten of their 'five a day' within half an hour of getting there!
The strawberries were amazing. Some were almost the size of an apple and incredibly sweet and juicy. It was tempting to keep picking but we bought £10 worth of strawberries as it was!!
We came away with this beautiful hoard.
The result of this harvest was an afternoon spent in the kitchen for yours truly.
A one kilo punnet of these gooseberries:
topped and tailed, brought to the boil with 500ml of water, simmered until soft and 1.5kg of sugar stirred in - then kept at a rolling boil for 10 minutes...
created 7 (various sized!) jars of gorgeous Gooseberry Jam.
Some of the strawberries were shared with my lovely next door neighbour and my equally lovely friend (who was rushed to hospital yesterday with a torn calf muscle - ouch!!).
There were plenty left for us - loads for just eating, plus more for jam.
2lbs strawberries, juice of 1 lemon and 2lbs jam sugar (thanks for the tip Michaela!) and about 10 minutes later....
.....four jars of the most fabulous Strawberry Jam - mmmmmm.
We had a little pot of each jam left over that would not quite fit in a jar, so I made a batch of scones to use it up :)
The broad beans were shelled by Monster and Minx.
Tonight's dinner was farm shop marrow, cut into rings and lightly steamed then stuffed with a tuna and vegetable filling, topped with herby cheesy breadcrumbs (made by Sausage Monster), homegrown swiss chard - wilted in a pan and finished with grated nutmeg and a knob of butter, and farm shop broad beans lightly stir fried in a little olive oil with homegrown mint and lemon juice.
The kids tried the broad beans but decided they weren't keen but they polished off everything else.
I figure they must have had their fruit and veg portions for the day so I didn't force the issue!!!!
I've run out of jam jars so the rest of the gooseberries will be frozen or made into gooseberry crumble and the rest of the strawberries will be eaten as they are, or made into smoothies or Lina's lovely ice lollies. I may have to do some research into Raspberry and White Chocolate muffins to make the most of the raspberries.
Days like today make me feel closer to my Mum. I remember her spending hours in the kitchen making jams and chutneys. She had to as we had two allotments worth of fruit and veg coming into the house at one point!
When Mum died I vowed I'd carry on some of her traditions. One of these was crochet and another was jam making. I want my children to experience the same warm domestic moments that I did and to appreciate that not all food comes in plastic from the supermarket.
I don't want them to be like someone I used to know, who told me she loved carrots so much she could eat them straight out of the tin!
Chicken news update - Moogsdad has worked very hard today and now just has the nest boxes and exit hatch to make on the chicken coop. We may get our girls next weekend - depending on their availability - eeek!!!