What you got cooking?

How is this the last blog post of July already? Time really has been flying past. This morning saw some much needed rain along with a fanfare from the thunder. The rain has also brought with it some cooler temperatures which I have been taking full advantage of.

Yesterday morning was harvesting: the rest of the gooseberries got turned into the crumble shown in the post picture. It was gorgeous and there’s some left for tonight. It goes really well with vanilla soya yoghurt.

All of the blackcurrants which were washed, picked over and frozen in two bags (I didn’t remember to photograph these) and the redcurrants… Those redcurrants have been worrying me if you remember. The wood pigeons have been eating as many as they could get their beaks on and attempting to sit on the stems of the bush despite the fact that the stems were breaking under them. I was beginning to think there wouldn’t be any left for us.

However! Once I got down into the ‘underskirts’ of the redcurrant bush there was lots of fruit still there waiting to be picked. So I picked them all.

Once all the fruit was washed and picked over, the crumble made and the blackcurrants frozen I realised there wasn’t really any space in the freezer for the redcurrants. So, I stripped them all off their little ‘strings’ and got ready to make jelly.

A jam pan half filled with very ripe redcurrants.

This is a two day process as I like to leave the bag overnight. The tea-towels and clothes pegs are to keep out any curious insects!

This morning I was stiff as a board when I got up (that’s what an hour and a half in the garden mostly bent double will do for you when you’re me), but I was keen to see how much juice there was. With this recipe you don’t know how much sugar you’ll need until this stage (and so, of course, I had bought far too much), as it’s proportional to the juice volume.

The juice and sugar boiled up nicely and the jars were washed once again in the dishwasher and then sterilised in the oven. 12 jars. I realised this was too many, but needed to put the dishwasher on before I’d measured the juice.

I got 3 1/2 jars. Not a lot, but considering I had wondered whether we would get any at all, this is good. And it’s such a beautiful colour – and smells and tastes AMAZING! I’m so glad we have homemade redcurrant jelly in the house again.

3 1/2 jars of redcurrant jelly cooling on the breadboard in front of the jam pan.

But then I had 8 sterilised jars unused and the cooking apples from mum were just starting to look past their best. What to do? Naturally, I made the chutney.

Apples, onions and malt vinegar cooking in the jam pan as the chutney begins.

Following Mum’s additional notes (she adds onion which I’d forgotten about until the apples had been simmering for 30 minutes) I cooked it and stirred and jumped out of the way when it spat at me. Thank goodness my lovely wife suggested I wear my ‘hair-dyeing top’ today. I only got a few boiling hot specks on my arms (and toe). It did indeed take ‘a while’ to become the ‘required consistency’ – well over an hour once all the ingredients were finally in, but we now have 5 jars of homemade apple chutney with onion, garlic, brown sugar, sultanas, ground ginger, mixed spice, cayenne pepper and chilli flakes. It smelt glorious (and tasted good when I tried a bit that had dropped on the side).

The deep irony of the redcurrants is that we spent six hours sorting out the garage on Saturday and I discovered that I actually have some fruit netting. All of those redcurrants could have been ours!

Not all of my kitchen endeavours have been successful this week. At the weekend I made the worst loaf of my life…

A very flat sourdough loaf cooling on the rack.

The sourdough group I’m in on Facebook gave me lots of very helpful tips to avoid this happening in the future, so I’m not giving up!

And what of the knitting news I promised you?

I have been having lots of fun with the Brioche + Mystery shawl by Suzanne Sommer and will start the bobbles this evening. I do love a clear well-written pattern and this one is a delight. I’ve always been fussy about patterns, and I’m not sure whether this has increased since I started writing my own!

Into the Vortex continues apace – we are past the half-way point now with four parts being out in the world and there are three parts left to be released. Here is what Parts One-Three look like:

Parts One-Three of Into the Vortex MKAL in dark blue Nene 4-ply and pale multicoloured Chimera both by Riverknits lying on a light gold carpet.

When I showed you the very beginnings of the two I had cast on to knit in ‘real-time’ with the MKAL I didn’t tell you about the third. I’m experimenting with something with this one, using 100g of John Arbon Knit by Numbers 4-ply in one colour and 5 (or maybe 6) mini-skeins in all the shades of another. The experiment part is that this MKAL was initially designed for only 50g of each of two 4-ply yarns. I’m trying to see if I can successfully build off the MKAL to create a bigger version, using twice as much yarn. If it works out, this bigger version will be added to the pattern, so if you’ve joined the MKAL you’ll get this version as well (it might just take a little while, so don’t expect it the week after Part Seven is released!). I’m not going to show you any pics of this one yet – you’ll have to wait!

The other piece of knitting news is to do with pattern pricing. Always a fun topic. Into the Vortex and Angel of the North have both been priced at £5. My other patterns are currently £4, with a few at £3.60. My July Newsletter let my subscribers know that my whole pattern portfolio will be going up in price at the end of August. Those currently at £4 will become £5. Those at £3.60 will become £4.20. Subscribers will get an ongoing discount code to use along with a multi-purchase code. If you have your eye on any of my patterns at the moment and you’re not already a subscriber you could buy them before the end of August, or sign up to my newsletter and get the code. Or both! Why not sign up anyway?

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That’s all from me for today, have a good week and keep knitting! K x

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