Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wine Making Weekend

The grapes were ready and it was a go to make wine.  It takes 18 lbs of grapes to make one gallon of wine.  True wine is made with just grapes and no sugar added.  We picked 12 lbs of grapes, so to make it up to a gallon we added 1 lb of sugar.

I was able to go to a fairly local wine and beer supply store to get what I needed;  which was great because they have everything.  I have always wanted a container for the first mash and fermentation, and guess what it was not made in China, but Canada. Probably better for their tighter regulations on plastic containers, especially where food is concerned.  

It was a family effort, with Rob and I picking the grapes, and all three of us, stemming the grapes and mashing the grapes.  All told it took four hours, for all of us working, so it's pretty intensive.  I always find standing at the sink in one position tiring.

It felt good to get the first stage done.  But to be quite honest, two years ago I made grape jelly that must be done all in one go and that was even more intensive and I think harder to do than making wine.  So wine it is with the grapes and I think it's better return on outlay.

Now we have to wait a year.  I'm going to have a go at making more wines.  Actually we only used the red grapes, the white grapes are not ready yet.


"What the German Lady Said!"

I was in Trader Joe's doing a little shopping on the way home from work.  They always have a food sample you can try, water to taste and fresh coffee.  I had just poured a little paper cup of coffee and then poured the milk in when somehow it spilled all over.  So I took few napkins or as we say in Brit, serviettes, and was mopping up.  Some had spilled on the floor and I was bending down there mopping that up.  Yes I know you could call the assistant to do it; which I did to finish it off, but just didn't want to leave it like that.  It must be the house-keeper in me.

In any case as I got up and turned around this older German woman said to me in a very Strong accent.  "You have very nice hair for a woman your age!"  I just said thank-you, that's all that was needed.

My hair was braided and I think I had just coloured it; which I do myself so I must be doing a pretty good job.

I said to my hubby, well I will take that as a compliment, because I know my age and I don't get too many compliments now.  It makes me smile to think about it.  


Friday, July 30, 2010

Banana Cream Pie with Dark Chocolate Mouse

I think you might just see some finger impressions from Rob taking a little sample. Banana cream pie, with dark chocolate mouse topping from a packet Bo came across at the back of the cupboard.  He's been routing round for goodies.


Are We Becoming Vegetarians?

It almost seems like we are becoming vegetarians.  We're eating a lot of stir fried veg and rice or q?.  Sometimes I do it with sausage which is good.  I guess on this frugal living we don't buy a lot of meat.  Oh well!  It's probably better for us.

This is onions, squash, green leaf veg, peppers we usually add tomatoes at the end.  Just add some curry powder and we could be Indian.  I wouldn't mind but that wouldn't suit Bo, Rob might be OK with it.

You see the large jar to the right, that houses Sawyer, a Sciamese fighting fish.  I say he'd probably be alright in the tank with the other fish, but Rob says no.  He keeps getting put on one of the burners when we run out of room and one day we will have boiled Sawyer, poor guy.


My Home Grown Lilly from my June Garden

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Two Patios, Simla and Pond

This is my garden now in July full of blooms, although not quite as green. The ferns and hosta are past their best but I'm loving the Cleome and Astors.  The honeysuckle took on a second life and the roses manage to produce a few stragglers.

Bo added a tiny circle patio in my archway, with some of the left over stone, it looks lovely and now is just not plain dirt.  Well I did have a couple of those artsy stepping stones, but they were way past their best.


P.S.  I'm still working out this new Blogger update.  Patience is the word.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Here is little Cotton-tail eating his evening repast. But then he wondered was it really safe to be out in the middle of the green, so decided a get away was needed.

But on second thoughts if he didn't eat his evening supper, he would go to bed hungry, so maybe he should stay and eat a little more, but nearer the burrow.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tupp in Window

More Tupp photos in her favourite place. sleeping, with a cool breeze.

Leather and Mink Oil

Bo last week started on cleaning our leather 3 piece suite, in the bedsit room.

Wow! I didn't realize it was that dirty. Can you see the difference?

This week he's working on mink oiling it to keep it supple and seal it.

I've seen other peoples sets, especially in this light colour and they're all dried out and cracked and I don't want that to happen to ours. It's about seven years old, but we're not hard on our furniture, but we do use it.

When we chose it, our first ever brand new seating set, the choice was black, brown or this colour. I would have chosen the brown, but it was not a nice shade and I didn't want the room to look too dark with the black, so went for the light colour.

Plum Jam

Last Sunday I made 14 jars of plum jam. I added one apple and lemon juice to help it set, as I did not have any pectin. It is a little runny but not too bad and can definitely be spread on bread. But I bet it would make nice jam tarts.

Maria gave me the plums from her in-laws orchard. I have already scouted out an apple tree at a friends house for apple picking in August, to make some more chutney. I know they just go to waste.

I have a small apple tree; which has not produced apples yet, but then I read on-line they have to be about five years old and you need another tree near-by to cross pollinate. A neighbour two doors down does have a tree, so that will probably work. So I'm still hoping for apples.

My grapes are coming on nicely, but must be prepared to pick when ready and make into wine. I am determined this year that I will make wine. I have some old wine, I made at least twelve years ago. I made it too dry, so not so good for drinking, but makes a great Sangria.

I still have not used my rubber baking mat I bought. You need one of these when trying to make savoury crackers; which I want to have a go at. They're quite expensive to buy and in all truth what's in them, doesn't cost but a few pennies. Plus I have fresh herbs in the garden. So must do that. But when the house is soo hot, almost 100 f today, one doesn't think of rolling pastry.

Even the fish died a couple of weeks ago, well four died, it just got too hot in their tank. Survival of the fittest there, they didn't all die. It was a shame.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Came home from work today absolutely exhausted. By Thursday I always seem pretty tired and then we have a meeting in the evening so one has to rally. A cup of tea and a french chocolate biscuit help.

Plus Bo made me a BLT a sure American standby, bacon, lettuce, and tomato with mayonnaise, fresh tomatoes from the garden and very young lettuce leaves on brown bread, very tasty. My dad used to love a bacon sandwich, only the bread would be buttered and there would be 'daddy's brown sauce' added. I guess tomatoes were always expensive when I was a child as they were either imported or grown in a greenhouse. Over here with the hot weather, they are so plentiful when they come on.

I had waiting for me a pretty flowered package and a letter from Candyce. She's so in tune with what I like book wise and this is what she sent me. By the writers of the Mass Observation Project, of which Nella Last's Diaries are part of. Have you seen the TV series? So I started reading a few passages out of there.

Also in the package was a modern stylish fountain pen, see through, in purple and rather fun. I've got out of the habit of using a fountain pen so this will be great.

Well have to dash.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tantastic Lemon Curd from Nigella's website


zest of 3 large lemons and the juice (250-300ml is ideal)
4 large eggs
100g butter
200g caster sugar
Serving Size : 2 medium and 1 small jar or 2 larger jars, or 3 small jars, you get the idea!


1.Melt the butter over a low heat.
2.Pour in juice, zest and sugar and stir to warm and dissolve in a gentle stream and whisking well pour in egg.
3.Change to wooden spoon and stir for 7-10 mins til back of spoon can be coated and a channel pushed through with your finger.
4.Strain if you wish. I do because I hate the zest in it and it made.
5.Pour into warm sterilised jars.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Garden Last Month

Honeysuckle by the back door.

One of my Astor's.


Hot yellow banana pepper, they're hot but not too hot.

Beetroots which are so good in a cheese sandwich.

Tomatoes that are on their way.

The burial mound garden. Hubby doesn't like to call it that, but that's what it looks like. I started off with planting hosta there, but added tomatoes as I ran out of space to plant them.

Me pottering in the garden with a cup of tea in my hand.


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