Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Chutney and cluster flies (fortunately not in the same room . . .)

I managed to get some better photos of the reverse of this lovely quilt, which as Sharon (Morning's Minion) suggested is probably a Postage Stamp quilt.  As you can see, the materials are all satins and similar, even the little tiny checks.

The writing certainly looks Victorian period - ink written letters and other bits from magazines (e.g. W Brown, Nelson ).

I wish I knew a bit more about its history - but we were trotting smartly round Malvern, so my mind was already on the next stall.

Back to more domestic things, I bought a box of pears from Chris Thomas at Abergwili for £1 and they needed using quickly so I turned them into Spiced Pear Chutney.  The recipe called for firm pears, and these were getting softer so made too much juice and it wasn't as syrupy as I'd have liked it, but smelt wonderful.  My friend Dawn, from Doing It For Ourselves blog gave me lots of red chillis  and some of those were included in the chutney.

The thing which looks like a large dead spider in the middle of the chutney is a Star Anise . . .

A nice colour in the jar, and they will be presents for friends at Christmas.  I am being held to ransom by apples now - we must have a couple of hundredweight on the trees (I jest not).  I am going to make some Bengal and Indian Chutneys later on today to soak up a few of them but I am low on jars so can't go too mad.  Also I still have pickled onions to deal with . . . oh, and the autumn tidy up in the garden.

And speaking of spiders, there are cluster flies in the attic again.  I must have collected an inch thick layer of dead ones when I vacuumed up there this week, plus letting out some live ones.  There were also a hatching of (fortunately dead) wasp-imitators.  I don't think they were wasps as they were too small and their stripes too close together.

Today is a catch up day.  I have a live auction proceeding in the background here, as we have an item in it and also plan to bid on stuff later.  Gosh, he's going fast today - we had to leave late afternoon yesterday and put bids on things as the auction looked set to go on until around 7 p.m.!  It took us 4 hours to get there (Gloucestershire) as we got held up in a 2 mile traffic jam when we crossed the old bridge - all traffic waiting to join the M5 . . .  That'll teach us to try and avoid the motorway in the dark.  I had 3 minutes to view, so needless to say I didn't get far before they ushered folk out, although I did ask to see something later.  You can't bid sight unseen.  Anyway, we have viewed today's furniture and marked a few things off and will go tomorrow to collect anything we have bought and bring back an item we had in yesterday's sale which didn't sale.  (NOT jewellery, hah, as some of that went sky high!)  We need to buy at least one piece of furniture to cover our fuel costs.

I am still doing well with the Fitbit and am losing about a pound each week, weightwise.  I would like it to be faster but there is flab going too, so I mustn't complain.  Would you believe I clocked up a mile or so just around the kitchen the other morning when I was baking?!  I was dashing around a fair bit.

Nearly forgot, here is a new-to-me Preserving book I got for just £2 recently.  Lots of nice recipes in it, all divided up into monthly suggestions.

This sounds like a cheap chutney to make at this time of year and what lovely colours it has in it.

One last photo - one of the Shoot's white pheasants came calling with a couple of normal-coloured friends this week.  Here she is sneaking round the back of the Bay Tree . . .


  1. The chutney looks delicious :) Lovely to see the quilt - have just read a book "The House of Silence" by Linda Gillard - a new author for me - which featured a postage stamp quilt and fragments of letters that were used as backing paper!

  2. Oh blimey - what a coincidence. I shall have to look out for that one! This is a piece of history, for sure.

  3. White pheasant! That's a wonderful sight.

    Cluster flies, however, sound rather less wonderful.

  4. I hate cluster flies Simon, but when you live near a dairy farm, they are a fact of life. The white pheasant was a pretty sight.

  5. That quilt is exquisite BB - I can't help wondering who was making it and why they never finished it.
    As to that pear chutney - sounds delicious.

  6. I like seeing the back of the quilt--still wondering about the checks and plaids--they must be tightly woven silk--I want to stroke the pieces.
    The chutney is a scrumptious color!

  7. The back of the quilt is fascinating. I love seeing all the work which has gone into creating it, the snippets of long ago letters, the tacking and neat stitching, black threads, white ones, larger squares and some with tiny borders, which make me wonder whether they were cut by different hands or perhaps some fabrics were in shorter supply and they were trying to make them stretch as far as possible, or maybe they simply frayed away more! A delightful find, thank you for letting us see it.
    The white pheasant is beautiful, though she wouldn't last long around here, alas!

  8. Pat - quilt tops often get "laid aside" and end up being unfinished. I have two or three here at the moment that I've bought at Malvern. There's a hexagon one from the 70s I am attempting to finish (given time - ahem, several years at the rate I'm going!!)

    Sharon - glad you like the colour of the chutney. I made some Indian Chutney yesterday which is a deep brown. Not nearly so pretty. The very small checks could be taffeta? I'm not good on materials, but it is quite . . . stiff.

    Elaine - you have it exactly, all the work that has gone into it. quite possibly more than one person sewing it. The back tells a story all of its own. The white pheasant will probably not be shot, but go on for breeding next year. It's so that the shoot next door doesn't "dog in" birds from this farm. There are a couple of colourful cock pheasants too with a lot more white around the neck.

  9. Fascinating history that quilt, think in a few years Laura Ashley material will have that magic of vintage ;).

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  11. Thelma - Hah - it does to Tam - she was horrified to hear I cut up an old (and not a very pretty print) dress - Ishould have saved it for posterity!!

  12. What a beautiful quilt. Will you finish it ?
    Your chutney and all the preserving you have done and are doing is amazing.

    cheers, parsnip

  13. No parsnip, I shall leave it unfinished and sell it like that.

    The chutney is actually really simple to make!