All posts by lucy

preserving: redcurrant jelly with rosemary

redcurrants ready for making redcurrant jelly

A post from 2010, updated for 2020, partly because we’ve been making the recipe again. Redcurrants are also great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.

What a bumper year it’s been for the currants, both red and black. We’re having berried up green smoothies daily; there are lots in freezer which will extend the berry smoothie season and it’s looking to be a very abundant bramble year too. Last year we gathered quite a lot of those for the freezer as well as smoothie-ing them fresh. At least I thought we’d gathered a lot until I met a man in the woods with 3 huge bucket loads of brambles. He must have spent all day picking. Maybe for jam? I really want to try preserving in different ways this year so we can eat the home grown stuff in winter too. So we made strawberry jam as mentioned, and then moved onto redcurrant and rosemary jelly for savoury things.

Here’s the basic method for the Redcurrant and Rosemary Jelly. It makes a cloudy jelly. If you want a sparkling clear one, other, more time consuming, recipes will come up on a Google search. This pairing of flavours is amazing; the rosemary gives the jelly a slightly savoury edge, making it perfectly suited as an accompaniment to roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich!

We picked 1.5 lbs/0.75kg of redcurrants and put them in a pan, stalks and all, with a few sprigs of rosemary. Then we added 1lb/500g of sugar, half a cup of water and the juice of half a lemon.

Method: bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for half an hour, stirring quite frequently. Allow the mixture to cool a little, though not until the jelly sets, and squash it through a sieve into a bowl. This is the hard work phase of the recipe! Press and rub it with a spoon until you’re left with mainly stalks and seeds in the sieve. Pour into jars of your choice. Cool completely before sealing/adding lids. Yum. This amount filled two medium jam jars, and should keep in the cupboard for months (if not years).

redcurrant and rosemary jelly

Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples gathered on a bike ride, heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions too 🙂 Adapted recipe on the sauces page.

A French Fancy and a Watering Can

vegan cakes

Those are gorgeous vegan cakes and biscuits from local business Veg Oot. Do check them out if you’re in the UK, they’re amazing!

We hope you’re managing to spend some time in the sun, soaking up that Vitamin D, and doing/eating other wonderful things to boost your immune system.

lavendar watering can

 Here, we’re reading Terry Tyler’s Wasteland and highly recommend it.

wasterland

Look after yourselves. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay informed. Eat the odd cake 🙂

Veg Oot cakes

Lucy’s novel, written under her pen name of Ailish Sinclair is now free on Kindle Unlimited! Amazon do offer a free trial of KU. Also available in paperback.

Amazon UK

Universal Amazon link 

Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, the book features the Aberdeen witchcraft panic of 1597 and a love story.

the mermaid and the bear

hummus, sunrise, and a book in between

homemade hummus

Homemade hummus in the early morning sun. Little bit of parsley in it. Basic recipe here.

The Mermaid and the Bear

The book in between is THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. Out now.

Universal links:

Kindle

Paperback

Sunrise from our garden…

sunset

Nut Roast, a Book on Abuse, and Some Cake…

Marrow stuffed with Nut Roast

Autumn is well and truly underway. High winds. Flooding. Beautiful trees. Log fires. And lovely roast dinners. Above is a quarter marrow (peeled, deseeded) stuffed with the simplest of nut roasts made by blending/processing walnuts, almonds, sweet potato, celery, parsley, sage and some Vecon stock. Roast for about 45 minutes at 200c/400F. YUM.

Holly Bourne’s new YA novel, The Places I’ve Cried in Public is too important a title for us not to mention. It’s a book about abuse. It could help prevent abuse and even lessen the lasting negative impact on the targets of abusive behaviour.

We follow Amelie as she revisits the places she cried during her relationship with Reese, a relationship that she thought was loving. Through this story the author deftly points out many of the red flags that are hallmarks of abuse and which are often ignored or not noticed by young people (or people of any age). This can be because when you’ve grown up in an atmosphere of abuse and control, these behaviours seem normal, but it can also be because they are new and unknown, or because they are perpetuated as acceptable, as in one conversation we were party to recently where an abusive individual was described as merely having a ‘strong personality’. No. A world of big bad no.

Two of the strongest early indicators of whether you’re dealing with an abusive or narcissistic personality, in any relationship type, are that person’s reactions to both your failures and your successes. A toxic person will revel in your failures, your heartbreaks and, in fact, anything that goes wrong for you at all. They will patronise rather than empathise, and sometimes try to convince you that an event that was simply unfortunate was actually your failure.

And success? Well, you’re not allowed to have any. They will chip away at it, pointing out others who’ve had more success, or are ‘better than you’. You may actually learn never to speak of your own achievements, understanding that it makes this person feel bad. They will attempt, and quite possibly manage, to sabotage you too.

No. Walk away. Read this book!

Amazon UK link

Universal Amazon link

That was all rather more serious than we usually do here now… so do have some cake. Morrison’s chocolate vegan cupcakes and Aldi’s Raspberry Tarts.

Cupcakes and Tarts

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A Simple Vegan Stir-fry

vegan stir-fry

Sometimes that’s all you need. Vegetables in a stir-fry. Broad beans from the garden. A good book.

And some sea and sand…

sea and sand

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#vegan toad in the hole

toad in the hole, vegan

Our vegan Toad in the Hole turned out soft and light and delicious and filling and tasty. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did 😀

Partly cook sausages in oven at 200C for about 10 minutes:toad1

Batter made thus: mix 5 tablespoons of self raising flour with 3 tablespoons of gram (chick pea) flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of bicarb. Beat in enough soya milk to make a creamy pouring batter. This quantity was to cover 12 sausages, adjust as needed. It would be far less ‘spongy’ if you used plain flour, but we like it like this 🙂

Pour over hot sausages:
toad2

Then it’s back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until nice and solid:
vegan toad in the hole

Serve with gravy, roast potatoes and veg. Yum, yum, yum.

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Chunky Cauliflower Oumph Vegan Curry

vegan cauliflower oompth curry

Ingredients (serves four)

  • A little sunflower oil
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • a red pepper, diced
  • an apple, peeled and cored, diced
  • 1 heaped teaspoon each of these spices: cumin, fenugreek, turmeric
  • 1 cauliflower, chunked
  • a tin of coconut milk
  • 1 bag of Oumph, the chunk
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish

Fry the leek, pepper and apple in the oil for a few minutes until softened, and then add the spices and mix well. Add the cauliflower and the coconut milk and bring to a simmer for a few minutes before adding the Oumph. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until everything is soft and well done, then salt to taste. Dish up and garnish. Best vegan curry ever 🙂

See more main meal recipes here.

ghost, a novel by Helen Grant

Some summer garden camping, with a good book:

summer garden camping

A Little Frog Time in the Pond

A little frog among the common bistort in the pond.

Three little speckled frogs… summer has come to the garden 🙂

Two little frogs hide under algae in the pond

All the Vegan Food!

scrambled tofu

Big breakfast from  the 100% vegan Bonobo Café in Aberdeen.

Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll

The famous/infamous Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll above… Easter goodies below:

Sanisbury's Pink Vegan Egg
vegan creme eggs


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Enjoying…

the near witch

We are enjoying the gentle magic and mystery of The Near Witch. And hot chocolate. And the spring sunshine.

woodland bowl of pizza

Then there’s beautiful bowls and easy meals. Goodfella’s have a new vegan pizza:

spicy vegan pizza

But, our best place to be? Or one of them 🙂 The wild and wonderful woods…