Tag Archives: Jam Making

Greenhouse in a Jar

Emptied and cleaned out the greenhouse this week since nothing much else is going to happen in there with the colder weather approaching.  Hummmn I asked myself….did we grow enough chillies????…. I now have a bag full in the freezer, a long strand in the airing cupboard and 5 pots of sweet chilli jam.

The sweet chilli jam recipe is perfect as the main ingredients are chillies, peppers and tomatoes….as you can see, I had plenty of these…..so it’s a real potted triumph of this years greenhouse successes.


Chilli Fiesta

Sweet Peppers

Lovely tomatoes

More chillies...on the way to the airing cupboard for drying

Sweet chilli jam....a true greenhouse triumph.




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Filed under Food For Free

Sloe Gin

Turned into Squirrel Nutkin…or Old Mother Hubbard (only my cupboard is certainly not bare).  Only since moving to the sticks have the seasonal changes in the hedgerows become so apparent and lure of foraging for food for free is too appealing.

I have never paid much interest to these little blighters….Sloes, the fruit of the Blackthorn tree.  Unpalatable direct from the tree, they are intensely bitter.  I hear some sugar and a litre of gin sorts that out though, so we are giving Sloe Gin a whirl.  Add it to the growing collection of Blackberry Vodka, Rhubarb Schnapps and Apple and Cinnamon Schnapps, and I think we will be fine if we get snowed in again this winter!

It is suggested that the best time to pick sloes is after the first frost, as this reduces the bitterness, but who know when this will be and whether other eager hunter gatherers will have got their first (doubt it!),  so we’ve picked them already and stuck them in the freezer overnight instead.

As usual, far too many sloes were picked, about 4, so we also now have Sloe and Apple jam, and the rest were given away to other experimental gin makers…..

The recipe is as follows, you need to shake it every couple of days for the first month, then leave it for 3 months (in time for Christmas) to a year to mature.

450g Sloes

70cl Cheap Gin (I used Tesco value)

100g Granulated sugar

2-3 drops almond essence (optional)


Filed under Food For Free

Blackberry Bonanza

Picked nearly 3kg of blackberries on Sunday.  Poor Flo thought she was going for a walk, but instead stood bemused as we kept stopping to delve into the thorny undergrowth to retrieve juicy berries.  A successful walk if measured on fullness of bucket, but not if scoring on miles travelled.  She doesn’t seem to like blackberries either, so not much to interest her at all.

What delectations can be produced with such a mass of free fruit…..well stand aside Paul Hollywood from the Great British Bake Off, who said blackberries are not ideal in cakes.  This blackberry and apple cake……oh yes…with crumble topping would give you a run for your money.   With the rest we have a bounty of blackberry jam and in time for Christmas, a little tipple of blackberry vodka….. and there was still some left to put in the freezer for a blackberry and apple pie treat sometime soon.

It is apparently a bumper year for Autumn fruits due to the late Spring and early heat wave.  We’ve certainly been making the most of the harvest.  Julian was also relishing in the prospect of ‘puffball on toast’ for Sunday lunch, having foraged a few from the common on the way home…….luckily he thought he would check first in the fungus book before smothering them in butter and garlic and was disappointed to find out that what he collected were in fact the far less palatable and indeed poisonous Earthballs.  Identifiable by their black insides.  He had to plump for a ham and cheese toasty instead, but at least he was rewarded with blackberry cake for afternoon tea…..

Colander No. 1

Jam Making

Quickest and easiest jam ever. 30 mins - all done.

Blackberry and Apple Cake.......one to lock the door and eat in private!

Blackberry Vodka


Filed under Baking, Cooking