Category Archives: woods

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.

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

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

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…

Truffles and Trees

vegan truffles

These are from a Tesco Finest Free From Salted Caramel Easter Egg, which is a bit of a mouthful, but a delicious one! A bit of a jump too,  from what was available in supermarkets last year, with those white chocolate truffles.

Despite what the blog might suggest, we haven’t just been living on Easter chocolate and trying to claim it as ‘seasonal eating’. Soup is such a staple just now as we come to the end of winter. See our page of soups here.

vegan cream of tomato soup (no soya)

Winter is ending. We are convinced of it. Sunsets are later, and sunrises, like the one through the trees below, are earlier and earlier!

woodland sunrise


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Christmas Donut, Winter Trees

From the Co-op 🙂

We’re eating lots of carrot soup and reading The Telling.

And enjoying the beautiful low winter sun as it lights the trees…



Summer?

It’s summer! Well, summery… sometimes. Along with the start of barefoot beach walks this means The Last Bus Canteen (totally vegan cafĂ© near New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire) is open again at weekends:

Also of interest to local people: The Davron Hotel in Rosehearty has a new extensive vegan menu which boasts starters, mains and various puddings.

Book-wise we’ve been enjoying:

Philippa Gregory’s The Taming of the Queen and Deliciously Ella with Friends, a plant based cook book with lots of full colour photos.

And rainbows, we’ve been enjoying rainbows…

frozen day, frozen pizza

Goodfella's Vegan Pizza

Yes. Frozen vegan pizza from GoodFella’s. It’ll be on supermarket shelves in April, retailing at ÂŁ2.50, Vegan Society trademarked, and we can verify that it is delicious!

It was perfect on a day like this, when there had been some trudging through snowdrifts.

snowdrifts

Then the courier made it through with our pizzas!

Vegan Pizza!

The crumbled falafel topping makes the pizza dense and satisfying and goes so well with the spinach, always a sturdy inclusion to Italian food. The hummus drizzle is garlic-y and cheese-y and perfect too.

pizza slices

We paired it with leek and potato soup, and with each pizza serving two, that made a big and filling meal.

This will be a great dish to have on standby in the freezer for busy (or lazy!) days.

Okay snow, we’re ready for you again!

snowy path


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ice cream and doughnuts

Three exciting new vegan ice cream flavours from Ben and Jerry’s, though not cheap at ÂŁ5.50 per tub (Tesco), so they’re being kept for Christmas!

Also new on the pudding/cake front from supermarkets are Morrison’s Salted Caramel Donuts, confirmed as suitable for vegans, and, in direct contrast to the above ice cream, only 50p per pack 🙂

Current view:



Eating, Reading, Looking

Eating: a simple trifle made of bananas in vegan jelly, topped with thick custard and this rather nice provamel cream (we were lucky enough to find a few of these cheaply on Approved Food recently). There’s a more detailed trifle recipe on the  Vegan Christmas page.

Reading: Manda Scott’s Boudica series.

Looking at: wintry sunsets.


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