It looks like we are in for some cold weather. Not really suprising as it is November. However, after last years' warm winter it has made me think my winter thoughts! I went into the "occasional" linen drawer to find the heavy curtains that I put at the two unglazed outer doors and realised that I didn't get them out last winter, that's how warm it was.
We have plenty pallet wood and logs in for this winter and one of the Shared Lives guys has been happily chopping sticks and filling animal feed bags to the brim. He sits in the workshop, warmed by the old field kitchen which is fuelled by pallets of course, with a big chopping block in front of him , lengths of wood, cut on the bandsaw by David, on one side of him and an ever growing pile of kindling on the other. Radio Derby is playing and the kettle is continually boiling for the endless cups of tea or oxo. Our other shared lives guy is a very tidy person and loves to sweep up any sawdust or shavings which he puts in bags and takes into the barn ready for muckng out chickens or rabbits. It would be good to take a photo to go with this little cameo, but their privacy is paramount.
I was wondering if any old people in the village might need some help or support this winter, perhaps with a bit of shopping or offering to share a warm meal or just popping in to see if they were okay. I was then reminded that we ARE the old people of the village....really?!.. when did that happen?!
I'm gradually putting produce into store. It has been a pretty good year in the garden, with the exception of the beetroot and peas which have been very poor. I'm still picking tomatoes, which is unusual for November. The marrows have been exceptional, with many huge marrows from one plant. There are only so many marrows a family can eat so I collected a few together to put into store for a while until I can face them again. I piled them against barn wall one day and the next day this is what I found. Vermin came to mind obviously and I cursed myself for being so lackadaisical and leaving food out for them.
Last week I had a whole morning when I didn't expect to see anyone or go anywhere so I set to to process some more stuff. The previous evening I cut up two red grapefruit, four sweet oranges, four lemons and a couple of pounds of cooking apples. I just cut the citrus fruits into six and then thinly slice these segments. I peeled and chopped the apples and then put the fruit into a clean bucket and covered with seven pints of water, covered the bucket and left overnight.
Here is the contents of the bucket poured into a large jam kettle. This I cooked slowly to reduce. behind the pan is some bread rising (no point if wasting the slow low heat. To the side is a bowl of cookers.
So, sans bolognaise sauce and starting from 9 o'clock is marmalade and a paltry boiling of beetroot, strewed apples and dripping, a loaf and some cheesy breads and tomato puree.
That's more than enough for now ("too true" you say)
PS It's a long time since I did a cooking-type of post, I hope you weren't bored with it.