Just Now I Am......

15

Thursday, 31 October 2013





~ Wondering if the leaves on my cherry tree are ever going to fall (that isn't it above). Some time in October the leaves of my ornamental cherry tree  turn from green to orange. They stay like that for maybe two days and then they drop all at once. This year they will still be green as we enter November.

~ Thinking that my phone takes pictures (the three above) every bit as good as my DSLR.

~ Feeling even more than usually disinclined to do Halloween. Luckily I don't have to. Katie has organised her own fun with a friend and I have put a 'Sorry, no trick or treaters' poster on my front door (thank you West Mercia Police). I know, I'm a mean old bat.

~ Anticipating making this cake with the remains of Katie's jack o' lantern.

~ Waiting for more yarn to arrive. I ran out of yarn with fourteen rows to go. Wailing and gnashing of teeth.

~ Pondering the similarities between a knitting project and reading a good book. Not wanting it to end but desperate to see how it turns out.


Knitting For Sanity

29

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A friend at my pilates class remarked that she felt so much calmer when she made time for meditation and I said I felt the same when I knitted, 'after all' I said 'knitting is the same as meditating'.

Nancy has written such a good post about knitting and mental health. I'm not going to repeat what she has so eloquently said except to say how much I agree with her.



I have been knitting non-stop for the past three days, at least it seems that way, I have managed to produce meals, bake bread and wash clothes so I must have put the needles down at some point. Nevertheless I have been knitting a lot and therefore feel at the peak of mental fitness.



I am knitting this. It's very easy to knit and the changing patterns provide plenty of interest, if you can knit and purl then you can knit this. It's worked from a chart which is easier to follow than I feared. The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted and the colour is Pearl Ten, or mud as I am calling it. Mud is good though, I am so over bright happy colours, I crave quiet, muted, grown up colour.



But what to do when the knitting is finished? Well there's always cake, and cake is good for one's mental health too, if not for one's physical health.



What about you? What do you do to keep sane?

~

By the way, thank you to the anonymous commenter who suggested I Freecycle my surplus quinces. I did just that and they have gone to some grateful pigs......quince-fed pork, yum.



October Octet

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Monday, 21 October 2013




1 ~ October Roses
There are still roses to be picked. In fact there are more roses in October than there were throughout summer.

2 ~ Katies' Baked Apples (no photo, sorry).
 I asked Katie to  make baked apples for pudding last week. She loves using the apple corer but she took ages to core them and shrieked when the cores shot across the kitchen, and I kept thinking 'I could have had them finished and in the oven by now'. They were delicious though. Here's how she made them (without all the messing around);

Core one Bramley apple per person. Score it horizontally around the middle to stop it bursting.
Place in an oven-proof dish.
Fill the cavity of each apple with a mixture of raisins, sultanas and flaked almonds.
Drizzle a tablespoon of golden syrup over each apple allowing most of it the go into the fruit-filled middle.
Put a lump of butter ( a heaped teaspoon size) on top of each apple.
Pour a little water into the dish -to a depth of about half a centimetre.
Bake for 40 minutes at 180°c (160°c fan oven) until the apples are soft and collapsing.
Enjoy hot or cold, with or without cream.

Fillings can be varied -use brown sugar mixed with the fruit instead of syrup, use honey, maple syrup or a fruit jelly (quince jelly springs to mind) instead of golden syrup, use other dried fruit, other nuts, no nuts, chunks of marzipan, mincemeat, add calvados, brandy, rum....you get the idea.

3 ~ Autumn Fool (second picture)
I cooked blackberries, quince and apples together with a very little water until soft. I rubbed everything through a sieve, added sugar. I folded the purée into whipped cream.

4 ~ Apple Pie Spice
I made a jar of  this substituting the ground cardamom for ground cloves. I had no cardamom and I love cloves with apples. Next time Katie makes baked apples I shall suggest she adds a pinch to each apple.

5 ~ Job Seeking
George has applied for a job as a maintenance assistant at the cathedral 'working at height'. Sounds interesting and alarming. But if past experience is anything to go by his CV will be unacknowledged. He wishes now that he'd taken up his university place.

6 ~ Geology
This man is giving a talk to Tom's A level geology class today. I think meeting an enthusiastic expert can make all the difference to how a young person sees their future career.

7 ~ Knitting
I've downloaded this pattern and ordered some grey Malabrigo Worsted and I am itching to get started even though it means working from a chart and blocking with wires neither of which I have done before.

8 ~ Quinces
There are still lots on the tree. I continue to pick and use a few here and there but there's no way I can use all of them, and to be honest I'm all quinced out.

Baking With Quinces

27

Sunday, 13 October 2013


I have found that my family will eat quinces if I cook and purée them and then add them to pastry or cake. 
The pictures above and below are of Old- Fashioned Quince Tart from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book. It doesn't look madly exciting but I can assure you it tasted delicious.

It is basically a sweet quiche. Half a pint of cream, two eggs and some quince purée are sweetened and poured into a pastry case, in this particular case a puff pastry one. The eggs were separated and the whites beaten before being folded into the rest of the ingredients, this gives a light moussey texture to the tart and I see no reason why this couldn't be done in a savoury tart too. 

 Jane recommends it be served warm but I discovered at 11pm last night that it was actually nicer cold.


The cake below is a variation on this apple cake. I simply replaced the grated apple with 8 oz of sweetened quince purée and left out the cloves. A nice plain cake, moist and deliciously quincey.



My freezer is now full of little tubs of quince purée waiting to be turned into cakes and tarts which pleases me greatly.

October Posy

20

Tuesday, 8 October 2013





I imagined that October's posy would be one of berries, autumnal leaves and michaelmas daisies, but I did that already and besides I have roses, so a posy of roses it is on this warm October day.

I have been buying plums and corn on the cob at the farmshop. I used the corn to make fresh corn relish from this book.


I continue to pick quinces but every time I look at the tree there seem to be as many as ever on its branches. I baked the biggest quince with sugar and butter until it collapsed. I ate some of it with clotted cream but no one else wanted any. My family do not love quinces as much as I.


They like raspberry jam though. I've been picking a handful of raspberries every other day for weeks and stashing them in the freezer. Today I had enough for jam.



Quince Jelly

46

Thursday, 3 October 2013

It may be like this outside


 But inside we have pots of vermilion.


Yesterday I cut up and cooked about 10 kg of quinces. Not all at once. I did it in three batches straining the juice in between. I didn't bother leaving the juice to strain overnight because I had so much, 12 pints (7.5 US quarts) in all. I put half into plastic bags and then into the freezer. I may make more jelly at a later date or I may think of something else to do with it. The remaining 6 pints I made into jelly today. I did this in two batches and ended up with 9 1lb jars plus a little ramekin full.


I made some scones and bought some clotted cream in order to sample the jelly in style. It was then that Tom dropped his bombshell.

'I don't really like quince jelly' he said before disappearing into his bedroom.


I just wish I'd saved a bit of my Tesco Everyday Vodka to help me deal with the shock. Vodka everyday seems like a good idea sometimes but this was for making quince vodka which will be ready in time for Christmas by which time I might possibly have forgiven Tom for not liking quince jelly.


September Sampler

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Yesterday I realised I had not got around to picking hips and haws which was one of the things on my September to-do list. The council have cut our hedgerows back in such a way that most of the haws (hawthorn berries) are now out of reach. Hips seem thin on the hedge this year too. I usually have plenty in my garden but there were very slim pickings. I padded my hips and haws out with sedum and michaelmas daisies.







And now it is October. Here at The Quince Tree we are pursuing different interests among which are; One Direction, halloween costumes, sleeping, drumming, passing the driving theory test, finding a job (not sure this is really an interest), a big yellow motorbike and quinces.

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