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How have you been doing with your soft fruit this year?  Ours seem to have all come in a bit of a rush…. here for a few days and then gone.

We had so few strawberries this year (again).  We had a great crop of raspberries as always but battled with the birds to have them.  Both our gooseberry bushes were stripped overnight of fruit by the birds, 3 of our 4 blackcurrant bushes were also stripped bare!  So I guess I was lucky to get my 2 lbs of fruit to make our homemade ribena.

I’m not a big fan of blackcurrant jam – although I do make a mixed berry jam with a mix of red and black currants which is nice.  So over the past few years I’ve tended to use the bulk of our blackcurrants to make this cordial.  This also makes me ‘the best aunty in the world’ as my nieces love this when they come to visit :)

Blackcurrant Cordial

Blackcurrant Cordial

The original recipe I used for this is from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course with a little adaptation, as per usual I didn’t have all the ‘right’ ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs blackcurrants
  • 2 lbs sugar
  • 6 pints water
  • 6 fl. oz. red wine vinegar (white wine vinegar was in the original recipe)

Method:

And this is the best part of the whole thing…. you don’t have to top and tail the fruit!  Is there anyone in the world who likes topping and tailing blackcurrants?  It has to be the most fiddly job of all.

Just put your blackcurrants into a large pot, add the water – bring to the boil, and allow to boil for 15 minutes.

Strain your liquid into a clean saucepan and add the sugar and wine vinegar.  Boil for another 3 minutes.

Pour into sterilised bottles and seal.

This amount makes 4 to 5 litres, and we usually lasts us until next year’s harvest.

Serve diluted in iced water or sparkling water.

There are still a few blackcurrants left on the bush…. I think I might try a cassis with those.  What do you do with your soft fruits?

Friday Photo

Broken lens on camera :(  So back into the archives for this week’s photo…. this is from years back and a visit to Salvador Dali’s house

The view from Dali's house

The view from Dali’s house

Best wishes

to Tom and Heather at Caravantasia…. it’s a wonderful new caravan site with a difference that has started up in Crohan nr. Killenaule outside Thurles.  You’ll just love the quirky vintage caravans that have been lovingly restored and each has its own beautifully colour co-ordinated deck area.

Yellow Vintage Caravan

Yellow Vintage Caravan

 

Red Vintage Caravan

Red Vintage Caravan

We spent a lovely few hours at Caravantasia yesterday… and the weather JUST managed to hold off for most of the day.

We enjoyed sessions with Wesley on how to make your own organic charcoal…. real easy when you know how :)

Charcoal making

Charcoal making

The afternoon was spent with Gary learning how to build a clay oven, so hopefully our own will soon start to take shape!  The plinth for it has been ready for quite a while. :)

Loved the wooden-framed bicycles from Woodelo and the chainsaw wood-sculpting was pretty amazing too.

Woodelo wooden bike frames

Woodelo wooden bike frames

 

Wood Carving

Wood Carving

I was so busy chatting and catching up with folks from Tipperary Green Business Network that I didn’t really get to take many photos – besides the fact that I let my camera fall and have damaged the lens, which I am praying frantically can be fixed.  However, lets not dwell on that today.  It was really great to catch up Brian (Biofinch), Sean (Cloncannon Biofarm) and Kate (TGBN).

Our best wishes to Tom and Heather on their new venture.

Friday Photo

The original best friend – Buddy

The original best friend

The original best friend

RIP 18th July 2010

I’ve been berating myself lately that I haven’t written any posts in a while…. I’ve just about managed to keep on top of the Friday photo challenge.

This afternoon I spent some time in the polytunnel weeding, and there is nothing like pulling weeds to give you a bit of perspective :)

I realised this afternoon that I have about two dozen blog posts half written on here, half written in my head, or lined up on one of the endless lists.  So the bottom line is that it’s not my blogging mojo I’ve lost…. it’s my time management mojo that’s gone missing.  And again that’s not true when I reflect upon what’s been happening here in just the past week, it’s no wonder I’ve not been on the computer much.

Oldfarm piglets settling into their new home in Galway

Oldfarm piglets settling into their new home in Galway

Friday last:   deliver 3 pigs to Moycullen (Galway) and 2 chooks to their new home in Galway.

Saturday:      Clean and tidy house in preparation for the arrival of some AirBnB guests – oh, and cook dinner for them too.

Sunday:         See guests off after yummy breakfast.  Start the washing and cleaning routine.

Monday:       Routine day of feeding animals, fencing, menu planning for next guests.

Tuesday:       Welcome AirBnB guests who are staying for 3 nights and prepare dinner for them.

Wednesday:  Morning spent with TV crew here (big secret which will be revealed in time). Managed a bit of time for some computer work/website updating, etc.

Thursday:     Said good-bye to guests and caught up on some indoor and outside chores again.

And in between times emails are answered, fruit harvested, jams made, meals prepared, pigs fed, fencing changed, ducks and hens looked after, orders taken and shipped out, courses planned – the list goes on.

My advice…. take time out to smell the roses, or even do some weeding… it gives you time to think.  And there is the added bounty of the harvest.

home grown french beans

home grown french beans

Really we are not as lazy as we think we are :)

So how has your week been?

 

 

Friday Photo

Warm from the oven and the pot :)  Delicious

Fresh scone with homemade raspberry jam

Fresh scone with homemade raspberry jam

This is one from my photo workshop with Zwartbles back in May.

Garden Tools

Garden Tools