I'll have more to say later but for now here's a brilliant Rosie Loves a Bargain! Budget jars on offer until midnight tonight, all ready for the fruit season . . .go see!
or jam pans, anyway! I have had a glorious day making jams for our local gardens gift shop and tea room - Barnsdale Gardens - the one that used to be on Gardener's World with Geoff Hamilton. His son Nick runs it now and it is a most beautiful place to visit. Exquisite gardens within a garden, many of them still recognisable from Geoff's era. I hear their cream teas - and especially the jams - are delicious as well! I'll be doing some special events there in the Summer, making jams in a marquee in the gardens which will be great fun.They have a lovely gardeners' gift shop ( where you can buy pots of delicious jam!) and a nursery full of plants to buy and take home. It's all on the level as well, which makes it ideal to take a leisurely stroll, pausing on one of the well-placed benches to take in the sights and smells.It is a photographer's - and jam lover's - paradise. Then, as you are in the area, you could come and see me!
Some of the beautiful sights at Barnsdale Gardens
Ha Ha! I had a picture of me drawn by the very talented Marek Jagucki - soooooo talented to have drawn my waist that small! I wish. Anyway, the pearls are accurate! The point being, that wherever you see Rosie on lovejars.co.uk I will either being giving you some advice, information - or news of a bargain! So look out for me wherever I pop up - I might just be giving away a prize!
Well, we're home safe and sound - and what a brilliant couple of days we had at Grand Designs - Live! It was lovely to meet so many of you, swap stories and make new friends. Please keep in touch, let me know how you get on.
I would especially like to thank Sarah and Maureen from Medie-10 who were so welcoming and helpful, and Dan and his team from the Kent Cookery School. It was fun to work alongside you and great that everything was so positive. Hope we can do this again!
The show is still on until Sunday and more than worth a visit - even though we're not there now! Go if you can
We're all packed and ready, all the press packs, and giveaways for the demonstrations are done, car is packed - just don't forget the raspberries Rosie! I am using frozen fruit so I'll collect them from The Smithy freezer in the morning. I have prepared the breakfast bags of yoghurty spaghetti & mixed veg peelings - their favourite - for The Chix's sitter ( son Rob) to give them, their substitute dandelions ( lettuce ) are in the fridge That's it!
I'll see if I can get some pictures of anything interesting while I am there but I won't be doing too much walking around - I'll save my energy for the demos, two tomorrow, three on Thursday. See ya when we get back!
What a lovely weekend it has been - I had to drag myself away from the sunshine and gardening to get the packs, well - packed, for my workshops this week at Grand Designs Live. I'll be there on Wednesday and Thursday demonstrating so I hope some of you will come and say 'Hi'.
It takes hours to put all of the info into the packs so if you do come, and you do take one please don't just put it in the bin! Not so I can see anyway! We'll have a show offer for lovejars.co.uk and you can pass it on to friends as well by collecting the pack and tweeting the code. Don't forget the 2 for 1 ticket offer valid til 10th May - scroll down my blog as I posted the details a couple of days ago.
See you there!
The gifts of yesterday were well received and Trev and I have enjoyed some Lemon Curd today as well ( always make extra!) We had hot toast with Lemon Curd and tea as a tasty break from gardening. Its been such a beautiful day and The Chix have been sunbathing to build up their Vitamin D. They've all had a dust bath and enjoyed all of the dandelions I dug up from the flower borders. So they've had their perfect day. I often wonder if they can remember their time of captivity - they are such intelligent creatures but after nearly a year of tender loving care they still don't like me to touch them, much less pick them up. So any observations for health etc have to be done as they cluster around, but handsfree.
One thing we were told was great for rescue hens was to give them plain yoghurt. I think you were only supposed to do it until they had acclimatised - but ours still enjoy it every morning. I make it for them as it means we don't have to keep going and buying cartons of it.
It is so easy to make - you just need one of those wide necked flasks, mine holds 900ml. Heat the amount of milk that will fit your flask until just before it reaches boiling point. Once I see those tiny bubbles forming, but before they break, I take it off the heat. Leave it to cool until you can put your finger in it - still hot, but bearable. Stir in 2 tablespoons dried milk powder. Put a small carton bought plain yoghurt into a jug, mix in a little of the hot milk and mix well. Add the mixture to the rest of the milk and stir to combine. Pour into the vacuum flask, seal it up and leave overnight. In the morning you will have lovely thick, plain yoghurt, which, if you are not a chicken, you can flavour or not, as you choose. Soft fruit, rhubarb - whatever takes your fancy. Empty into a jug or bowl, cover, and keep in the fridge.
When you want to make some more, just save a small amount ( about the size of the small carton) to start off the next batch. The measurement is not critical.
It's Bank Holiday Saturday here in UK and Trev and I went off on our monthly trip to stock up with meat from Harker's Farm Shop - it just happens to be a Bank Holiday which, of course, made everything busier. It didn't matter really, as we had no deadlines so we joined the very long queue to be served, happy just to chat and observe the things on sale.
Now, although I say this is a farm shop there are no 'gifts' - farm related or otherwise, no 'traditional' biscuits on sale, no toys, books, greetings cards, cane or wicker items - in fact, do you know - no, I'll tell you. They only have meat that they rear themselves, which goes to a local abbattoir, and then comes back onto the farm to be butchered. They have local cheeses, eggs, bread, cakes and preserves. They don't have a cafe - or tea room but if you are desperate you can make a drink from the machine in the corner - bur I don't as there aren't any toilets.
What they do have, is friendly, knowledgeable service by around 8-10 butchers, every kind of cut of meat you could want and quite a lot that you didn't know anything about. They add the purchases up by hand written into an old-fashioned invoice book, but do give a nod to the modern world by accepting cards. Oh, and they are on Twitter - and have a website. Please, please don't go and search out Blackberry Farm, Nr Nottingham or the queue will get even longer!
This evening, we are off to have supper with our very dear friends, Nick & Susan. They have recently been off on a six week road trip around USA so we are very keen to hear how they got on.
I am going to practice what I preach at my workshops - I am taking a small basket of home-made goodies, knowing that they will appreciate that more than a bottle of wine and flowers from the supermarket. I have made some Lemon Curd this afternoon and put it in a pretty glass dish that I bought at our local charity shop. I collect these for this purpose - so much nicer than a jar and the recipient gets to keep the dish as well! There is a bottle of my home-made, legendary Limoncello, some flowers from the garden and six new-laid eggs from The Chix in our new 'Cluckingham Palace' boxes - which I know Susan will love. Just a little effort and not much cost makes a truly special gift.
P.S I forgot to say - Trevor did cut the lawn!
You have probably seen Kevin McCloud all over the media this week advetising the very splendid Grand Designs Live - opening today.
I will be demonstrating at Grand Designs Live next Wednesday 7th May and Thursday 8th May in the Market Lane area - making jam. Come along and say Hi!
I can help you with a special 2for1 deal on entrance tickets if you want to come along - the show opens on Saturday 3rd and goes right through to Sunday 11 May so still plenty of time.
The inspiration starts here…with a visit to Grand Designs Live
ExCeL London 3 – 11 May 2014
Grand Designs Live, the UKs top contemporary home show, returns to London’s ExCeL from 3 – 11 May 2014. Presented by design guru Kevin McCloud, and based on the hugely popular Channel 4 series, the show offers visitors a unique opportunity to see all the latest trends for the home.
You'll find areas dedicated to interiors, technology, kitchens, bathrooms, build and gardens, there’s something for every room in your home. And with over 500 exhibitors, you can shop from a great selection of brands with 100’s of items not available on the high street.
PLUS, Don't miss our cooking demo taking place on the Market Lane feature situated in the Grand Food and Housewares section of the show. Make sure you come along on [insert date and time] to see us!
Take advantage of this exclusive offer and save up to £19*
We've teamed up with the show organisers to offer you a 2 for 1 discount on standard admission tickets. Visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the book tickets link, and enter the code GDL241OFFER to claim discount.
Alternatively, call 0844 854 1348 – Offer ends 10/5/14
*T&C’s- Transaction fee of £1.70 applies per order. Tickets must be booked in advance. Offer ends 10/5/14. Offer valid on standard admission tickets only. Saving based on the door rate.
I was looking around the garden the other evening and was amazed at how fast everything is growing ( note to Trev: Lawn! ) Lawns, what's the point of them? They waste so much precious time. Anyway, from about now until the middle of Summer the herbs will be at their best. If you don't have a garden then have a few pots of herbs by your door or on a windowsill. The value that you get from them in terms of flavour and versatility will more than repay you for any outlay.
You can start harvesting them anytime now, just taking what you need, and take the opportunity to make a batch of lovely Lemon Vinegar - add a small handful of lemon balm or lemon thyme to the lemon zest. Herb Jellies - either mixed flavours or single variety will be invaluable during the winter months for flavouring casseroles and roasts. Jar into small jars and make a variety to be most versatile.
My most favourite way to preserve the scent and flavour of fresh herbs is to make Herb Salt. Again, very useful - the most useful ingredient - in the kitchen. I keep a jar beside the hob and use it everyday. You will need:-
Around 100-150g/4-6oz mixed herbs of choice, picked over and stalks removed
500g/1lb rock salt
Don't wash the herbs unless they are very dusty. Roughly chop with scissors and then mix with the salt. Process in a food processor or liquidiser goblet in small batches until thoroughly combined.
Spread out onto silicon baking paper or greaseproof paper on tea trays or baking sheets and leave to air dry overnight. This just allows any excess moisture to evaporate.
Next day, jar the salt in convenient amounts. The salt will keep indefinitely as it will preserve both the taste and colour of the herbs. You can have great fun mixing other flavours such as garlic or lemon zest, try making single flavour varieties for specific uses - Lemon Balm with lemon zest for fish for example. Makes a great gift as well!
STOP PRESS! Since my post we have received our new gift boxes for carrying eggs to friends. Check out 'Cluckingham Palace' on lovejars.co.uk
Another Bank Holiday looms and by all accounts the weather in the UK is set fair for a few days. So, it will be out with the barbie, off to the beach or forest for a picnic, or maybe a staycation in the back garden (saves all the traffic hoo-ha). Whatever you are doing you are going to need refreshment and what better than a nice home made cordial.
I can't be fussed with all that I hear you cry. Well, listen up. Grate the zest from seven lemons, or two large oranges, or seven limes, or two grapefruit - or some of each - squeeze the juice, add to a pan with 1 litre of cold water, and 1.5kgs white sugar. Leave over-night, strain and bottle. If you are making for a party, or just to use over the weekend you don't even need to bottle it - just keep covered in the fridge in a jug. The taste is incomparable to even the top of the range cordials, it's fresh, with a huge citrus burst. You can use it, obviously, just diluted, you can make ice-lollies, pour neat over ice-cream or make grown-up 'lemonade' by diluting with Prosecco or some other fizz of choice. Try it - you won't be disappointed. To extend the shelf life to one year follow the method for processing in a water bath or use a purpose built canner. For Lemon Cordial here's the detail
A delicious, easy drink for all the family. I bottled mine in 250ml milk style bottles, Bevanto, from www.lovejars.co.uk