Saturday, 5 December 2015

A show and tell moment

A few weeks ago my good friend Pam gave me a bag of Crab Apples.  Somehow they had something put on top of them and I suddenly discovered them this week and thought oops, I'd best be doing something pronto.  Half a dozen had "gone over" so to speak, but I still had a pound of fruit.  I just washed them off, removed stalks, cut into quarters and stewed up with about a pint of water, then put in the jelly bag.

It didn't make a great deal of juice, so I sat myself down on the sofa with a box of saved cooking apples from our trees, a knife and a bowl of cold water and cut up a couple of pounds more, stewed them up and added them to the jelly bag.  Both lots of apples gave me a pint of juice, which I combined with a pound of sugar next morning and boiled up briefly.  The result is in the top photo and I was delighted with the clarity.  Two of these are show quality I think - the small one has a little bit of cloudiness right at the top where I encouraged it through my straining funnel - it was setting as I was pouring it.  Anyway, more in the way of Christmas provender is made.

I also unearthed the latest batch of cider vinegar from the depths of the airing cupboard.  It had a good mould on top, and smells the biz, but is still pretty cloudy now it's been strained, so I will have to do what I used to do with the wine and rack it next week.  It's mainly for cleaning, but it would be nice to have some as good as the first batch I made, which was a stunning colour and NOT cloudy.

We went into town first thing to take back the BT Call Guardian phone which didn't work, and got a refund.  We have bought a cheap replacement for the moment, but will do some research into a more reliable model for the future.  It was a frustrating few days though.

Now I am thinking ahead to Christmas and planning some baking.

I have Christmas magazines which I have saved down the years too, so I shall be spoilt for choice.

I like to make some bakes which are different from my normal year-round ones, and of course, some of  these are destined as gifts.

The wind is howling about the place today (as it was in the night), but we have lit the log burner and are about to be snug by the fire, watching the racing this afternoon.  I will carry on with my Mistletoe x-stitch design and perhaps some of the mini-hexi runner.


  1. I love looking at old books and Christmas magazines, I keep loads for this time of year.

  2. Thank you Simon (takes a bow!)

    Marlene - me too. I love Christmas, although when it is past I can't wait to get the decorations down and get on with the New Year.

  3. I like looking at old Christmas books & magazines too, sadly I like looking at them in January & February planning for the following Christmas too. Your jam is looking really good x

  4. The crab apples look great- what a gorgeous colour.

  5. I've got an ancient old Christmas magazine that is dropping in bits, but the double page spread by Brain Turner for his chocolate roulade is an absolute must at our house. X

  6. Thanks Jo, for the compliment. In January & February I am mostly thinking ahead to spring, I have to say, but I do love to see Christmas articles and ideas, just don't plan that far ahead!

    CT - the colour would be pinky anyway, but the Elderberries gave it an extra kick (it is almost impossible to get the juice colour out, short of putting it in the washing machine. I just wash in the bowl and then scald.

    Rachel - you'll have to photocopy that recipe before it falls apart! My roulade recipe (Christmas Day must, and Boxing Day breakfast!!) comes from an old 1980s recipe book of mine.

  7. I have a few christmas books that I will be looking through in the next week to see if anything takes my fancy,
    PS I have your pottery here all finished :-)

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  9. Sorry I deleted the above comment BB as I accidentally called you Sue!!
    I used to make crab apple jelly but it never kept long and always went mouldy, so I stopped making it although we have lots of crab apple trees on our land. Shall be interested to know how you get on with yours.

  10. Gorgeous colour to the crab apple jelly - must admit I've never made any but it looks delicious.

    Hope you do manage to find a phone that blocks those dreaded cold calls - am so fed up of them here :(

    Love the look of recipes in those books. I've kept quite a few Christmas magazines over the years and have a folder stuffed full of Christmas recipes. Always nice to make a few of the old favourite recipes and try a few new ones :)

  11. Dawn - I will pop up next week if you like (will liaise on Facebook). Many thanks.

    Pat - my jelly has never gone mouldy. Perhaps you could store it in the fridge once opened, if you make any more.

    R. Robin - we have some old favourites which the family insist on sticking to, but my girls are adventurous cooks and like to try out new recipes for main courses whilst they are in residence.

  12. Lovely pictures BB, that jelly looks amazing :D I haven't made jellies or jams for a while now, I must try

  13. Hey there! Thanks for sharing baking ideas for Christmas! Last year I bakes a chocolate cake, but it wasn't very tasty, actually (shame on me!!) I put salt instead of sugar!!! Oh, Gosh! That was a Christmas I'll never forget:) This time I'll be more careful, I promise. Thanks for the tutorial on Frances' Chocolate Cake, by the way!
    Warm hugs,
    Jane's last page -

  14. Oh, shame on me again!:) Last year I bakeD the cake!!