Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feeling fruity

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!!!

xxxxxx

27 comments:

Kitty said...

Oooh, you've gone all Fanny Craddock! Lots of lovely stuff going on in your kitchen there - it all looks fabulous.

Of course MM is the undisputed queen of the raspberry and white chocolate muffin. I think we should haul her back from her sabbatical, don't you? :-D

x

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

Your house must have smelled fantastic this afternoon - and what a lovely way to feel closer to your wonderful mum. I know how close I felt to my granny last year when I made blackberry and apple crumble from her apple tree and blackberries from the allotment - her blackberry and apple jam was always my favourite.

Can't wait to meet the "girls" when they arrive - their home sounds like a palace!!!

Locket xxx

P.S. I really loved the green fabric tops for the goosgog jam and the strawberry fabric for the strawberry jam!

Ali said...

It's like a Bonne Maman factory at your place! Only with pimped jars. Gorgeous. And I didn't know gooseberries would be ready yet. Must hatch a plan for picking some.

Delish!

Kaz said...

Yum scrum in all your tums!! That dinner/jam/fruit all looks scrummy (apart from the goosgogs, they're not for me). Well done on the domesticity, I am in awe.

Michaela said...

It all looks wonderful! Don't you just love making jam? Have you ever tried mixing redcurrants with gooseberries? That's my favouritist jam in the whole wide world!

Julie said...

Looks like you had a busy and rewarding day :) The jars look very professional with their labels an' all! Well done to Moogsdad too. I love the sound of the Chicken Ritz.

Lina said...

Yum yum, my mouth is watering. Gooseberries, my absolute favourite fruit ever - I'm not sure I've ever seen them here! I think its lovely to carry on your mum's domestic traditions and such lovely ones too.

est said...

wow! these were great!! nothing beats homemade jams! :)i wish i stay near you so that i can snatch a jar!lol and frankly i never taste a gooseberry before!

dottycookie said...

Gosh, you're being all inspirational! I love home made jam but my lot don't eat it fast enough so I now just make the odd jar here and there. I have three words for you - strawberry ice cream!!!

And now I think I shall havea gooseberry moment ...

Working Mom Knits said...

Don't know what gooseberry jam tasts like - you're sharing, right?

ps: we did the farm thing this weekend too - I've attempted a fresh cherry pie; will post the results later tonight once the tast-test has been completed and results tallied : )

silverpebble said...

Wow. That picture of your punnets of berries is stunning! How gorgeous. I love this time of year. Very envious of your gooseberry jam- one of my faves, and look at your dinner! - like something out of a really lovely recipe book.

Think the broad beans are a tricky one for smalls. I've been picking them whilst tiny and calling them 'special peas' but still a bit hit and miss.

Gina said...

Mmmm... "Feeling Fruity" and "Moogsdad on a mission" - I did wonder where this post was leading! You have been very industrious and wonderful to feel you are carrying on with a tradition.

trashalou said...

Oooo!!! Jam!! Mmmmm STRAWBERRY Jam! I've nearly finished the pot that mysteriously arrived in the post last week..... I'm just saying is all.......

Thimbleanna said...

My goodness, you have been one VERY busy mum! The little bag and purses you've made are adorable. And that jam all looks so good, I could lick my screen! I can't wait to see your new peeps!

quiltdude said...

What a lovely post, it brought back fond memories of my gran and the afternoons we used to spend in her kitchen making jams and pickles on her Aga from all the things grandad brought back from the allotment. Think I'll dig out some of my old recipes and have a go myself.
Thanks for sharing your day with us. looking forward to seeing the chooks.

artisbliss said...

Nothing better for kiddos than a day out in the fresh air doing agricultural type things. Good for you. Enjoy all the fruits of your labor (no pun intended).

wonderwoman said...

wow what fantastic looking fruit - its making my mouth water - the jam looks great - have not made any for ages so feel the need to get going especially as we have a pick your own up the road!

am also looking to get some chooks soon - but feel it might be a while - getting hubby motivated to get a house might take a some time - we have been offered a hen house by a friend but with a catch - have to have the old cockerel that comes with it!

Charlie P said...

Those strawbs look FAN-TASTIC. I like your 'Price's Preserves' labels too!

Mr.Pigeon would like to know if Moogsdad is available to make an en-suite pigeon loft with jacuzzi and room for a pony.

Dyan said...

The strawberries look so sweet and juicy. You know I've been hankering to make some jam these last few weeks - maybe I'll do guava. I think it's great how you all did it together,as you said these traditions are important and I'm sure your children will appreciate it later on.
Dy

Rachael Rabbit said...

I think scones and strawberry jam must be a favorite of mine - you can't find a good scone in the US ... they are more like rock cakes!

Rachelmp said...

Wow, you have made me hungry, but the only thing here at work is biscuits and chocolate... does this mean you have finished Harry Potter?

Jane said...

Oooo delicious, i haven't made jam in ages. Must find some time to make some with Em. Thank you for the reminder Jane x

Jennie said...

ooh look at all that wonderfulness!

Anonymous said...

Where is that lovely farm shop...they don't give ANY clue on their site...I'm going on a road tour, I'd love to visit it if I'm near, and I haven't a clue where it might be, or how to find out.....Fran

the vicious chicken said...

Wow, all your hard work in the kitchen looks like it was worth it with all that brilliant home-made foody stuff you ended up with - it looks just fab! You are a true domestic goddess :o)

And Chicken Ritz looks sooooo exciting! Can't wait to see the tenants settling in once they arrive :o)
VCxx

LOUISE said...

Lesley, you are a lady of many talents. You should join the WI with that jam, I especially love the gooseberry, even the covers are fabulous. When I was a kid my mum made jam in a big preserving pan, although I haven't ever got around to making any. I can see you very much take after your mum in the jam making front. x

Bethany Hissong said...

Yum, yum, yum! I love this time of year! And I have to tell you... my husband has suddenly decided that he wants chickens too! I told him that this must be a guy thing lately because your guy was busy making a coop. So Craig stayed up late when we got back from vacation, googling chicken coops online! I'm going to have to follow your adventure more closely!