Croquet is a fascinating game and to be recommended as it can be played by all age groups together and doesn't involve running - always a plus as far as I am concerned. It is very tactical with lots of ways to play almost every shot.
After a very pleasant afternoon, Nick Hamilton presented the cup to members of Stamford Tourist Information Centre who had romped away to a conclusive win.
Giardiniere Pickles or Italian Garden Pickles
Firstly, this is a recipe I found in DeliaOnline so I lay no claims to having created it. I wanted to find a recipe that would incorporate an overflow from the veg box that we had delivered that week. We had aubergine, fennel bulb, courgette and cherry tomatoes. So I just had to find a few more ingredients to start the process. So, I will give the ingredients first and then take you through the process with the photographs I took along the way.
225g/8oz red onions, peeled
250g/8oz trimmed fennel bulb
2 medium red peppers or 1 red, 1 yellow
110g/4oz button mushrooms ( I didn't have any so they are not in the pictures! )
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
110g/4oz cherry tomatoes
7 tablespoons olive oil
725-850ml/11/4 to 11/2 pints white wine vinegar
8 fresh bay leaves
8 small sprigs each fresh rosemary and thyme
16 black peppercorns
175g/6oz sea salt
All of these vegetables, but not the garlic and tomatoes , should be layered in a large non-metallic bowl, sprinkling the salt generously as you build up the layers. Pour over 1.75 litres/3 pints of water then place a plate on top to keep the vegetables under the brine. Leave for 24 hours in a cool place.
Next day, sterilise the jars - remove the rubber seals and place in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water and leave until needed. Wash the glass in warm soapy water, rinse and place in a warm oven 50-100 deg C, to dry and sterilise.
Drain the vegetables in a large colander and rinse thoroughly with cold, running water. Drain in the colander, then in a clean tea towel and finally spread onto another clean tea towel for about 3 hours to dry thoroughly.
Put all of these vegetables back into the large bowl, stir in the garlic add the tomatoes and pour over the olive oil. Mix thoroughly but gently.
Take the jars from the oven and put onto a heatproof surface. Pour in a small layer of vinegar into each jar, add a bay leaf, and sprig of rosemary and thyme then start packing in the vegetables. Add the herbs and the peppercorns as you go and add more vinegar as needed. The air should be released by twisting the jar around and pressing the vegetables down making sure they are under the vinegar.
Replace the rubber seal (use tongs to lift from the hot water) and seal the jars.
Let me know if you get to make them and what you think.