Compassion in World Farming

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

I have a practical side too!

My recent blogs seem to have been charged with emotion so I thought I'd show my practical side this time around by posting some pictures of my recent experiments in the kitchen. When I lived at home our kitchen was always filled with the most delicious smells at this time of year as Mum & Dad used to make all kinds of chutneys, jams, jellies & syrups. Dad passed on some of his recipes to me & last year I dabbled a bit by making a passable Green Tomato Chutney. Of course, Dad had to go one better & show the young pretender just how it's done by turning one of my home grown pumpkins into scrummy Pumpkin Chutney! This year my lovely neighbour has been sharing her homegrown veg with me, after mine was shredded by the various ducklings & recuperating hens that passed through my garden. However, several HUGE courgette/marrows later we were overflowing with her kind offerings & I was in need a way to make use of our courgette mountain! Luckily, via Twitter, I came across a lovely lady with a new blog Herne Gardens who posted a recipe for Courgette Chutney. Hurrah! It took an awful long time to cook (I finally potted it up at 2am after starting at 4pm!!) but it was worth the wait:

Bolstered by this success I rifled through Dad's recipes & found one for Blackberry Jam. On Sunday youngest son & I gathered blackberries from the lane & after some seriously sticky moments when I was trying to gauge the setting point without the aid of a jam thermometer, several pots of varying sizes were full to the brim with sweet blackberry goodness:

Now the results weren't perfect & I'm certainly no Domestic Goddess, but it really is worth having a go yourself if you haven't already. You'll find the Blackberry Jam recipe down the side of my blog under September's Favourite Recipe of the Month. If you do go hedgerow picking please do remember to leave plenty behind for the birds, mammals & insects that rely on Nature's bounty at this time of year.

Are you impressed with my jars of homemade booty? A jar of jam is a jar of jam - right? Thought so.....

I am absolutely thrilled to say that Ibbity, one of the rescued Mallard ducklings, is now flying very well but has chosen to stay with us for the time being. He flies across & around our little field & delighted me by skimming the top of my head when he landed the other day! It is truly magnificent to see him now in his full flight feathers & incredibly humbling that what is still in essence a wild creature is choosing to remain in our human company. I have a happy feeling that he(?) & his 3 sisters(?) will now stay with us for the Autumn / Winter, but may be fly off come Spring time. Watching them develop has bought the most incredible joy & I will forever treasure this experience.

Ooohhh! Now that feels better :-D


  1. Oh yum! I do so love courgettes - courgette chutney sounds glorious!

  2. DOn't you just love having the chance to put up preserves and chutneys and jams?
    I love your duckling stories, hope they stay a long time, or bide a wee as my Granny would say...lovely post!

  3. Do you think blackberry jam would survive the royal mail treatment? (hint hint) lol

  4. I love making jams and chutneys my tip is to start your chutney off in the morning then its got all day if it needs it. Don't bother with a jam themom-ibob stick a plate in the fridge and drop a blob on it when the jam starts too thicken leave it for a minute then push it with your finger if it wrinkles its about done.
    So glad the mallards are sticking around.


  5. Nothing - absolutely nothing - compares with home made jam,..anyone who says otherwise has never made jam.

  6. Bro - most letters don't survive Royal Mail treatment when posting to Scotland! Don't think I'll risk the jam!!

    Jess - did the saucer thingy but still managed to get it slightly wrong! Doh! Tastes heavenly though :-)

    Weaver - couldn't agree more! I'm hooked now! Have you got any fab recipes you could share with me?

    Raph - the chutney is delicious (even with a novice like me making it!), well worth a go yourself!

    Sandi - I'm loving trying out my dad's recipes! Nature provides us with such wonderful bounty :-D I'll keep you up to date with duckling's story right here. Thank you so much for reading!

  7. Save some for the next time we come and visit then lol

  8. I have this theory about Mallards that they all look female until they're big enough not to be attacked by other males....
    Watch the tails... the males seem to get a curly feather in the rear before their plumage alters.
    Good god, I've spent too much time with the village ducks! ;)

  9. Flibbertigibbert - Hi ya!Surely one can never spend too much time in the company of ducks? ;-)

  10. Drooling over your chutneys! :)

  11. Jam and Chutney sound absolutely delicious!!
    How those gorgeous mallards have grown! I do hope they stay until spring!
    With Love, Jane xxx

  12. You just cant beat homemade jams and chutneys :-)

    Glad the ducklings are doing well and that they decide to stay with you for a wee while longer, had a wee laugh when you mentioned about getting your head skiffed when one was coming in to land :-)