Monday, 3 August 2015

after the rain comes a rainbow or two !

Well hello folks how are we all diddling ?
 I'm feeling good and have flung myself into the wonderful homey hanging out with the kids time that is the school summer holidays ( I may not quite have this happy tone....... erm in about 3 weeks as the end of the school hols are in sight and the boys have had enough of one another and me !! ) 
But at present  we are in a happy chilled out place and long may it last.
There is so much I am really enjoying about the summer hols but one particular thing is not doing the daily dashing about , this inevitably goes with having school age children . However at this time of year we can indulge in not having to watch the clock and take our time in whatever we fancy doing .
 We do seem to be  having quite a lot of rainy indoor days but that's fine with us as we all find things to occupy our time with . I am inparticular  making the most of these indoor rainy days by making the most of what the season has to offer us in the kitchen .  I am still on my quest to make as much good quality produce for the family to enjoy and  as cheaply as possible . I am taking advantage of all the cheap abundant soft fruit that is available in our rural town at the moment . We so love to eat the sweet juicy soft fruits that our English summer has to offer and I want to capture  this for eating over the winter when these fruits are not available . 

So I've been Jam making , first I made Strawberry Jam , which worked out at 90p a Jar and I made 7 jars all packed with big chunks of strawberrys in the jam. 

Then because I had made Strawberry jam Mr P requested Raspberry jam , his favourite . Well how could I refuse , I was a little concerned at first it was going to be expensive to make but I bought 2 frozen trays of raspberrys from Aldi and 2 big  fresh  punnets of raspberrys from our local market @£1.49 each which meant I ended up with 1200g of fruit & because frozen fruit is often lower in pectin than fresh I used a scahet of pectin with my sugar to make sure it set well . I ended up with 8  jars and they worked out at about 87p a jar , very good value I think .

Well I was on a roll then next was marmalade bubbling away in the pan !!
  I was also nearly out of my homemade peanut butter so I made another couple of jars of that too .
 The peanut butter came in handy yesturday when I made the family these honey and peanut butter boost bars from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday recipe book .

Well I have been on a roll so I thought in for a penny in for a pound on the preparation front , I decided to make my own Christmas mincemeat this year , last year it was quite expensive to buy and I do get through quite a lot as I do volunteering and baking to raise money at Christmas and Mince pies are offered up at events , as well as baking mince pies for family and friends . So I had a search about on the Internet and found Mary Berrys Christmas Mincemeat recipe on pintrest , this recipe uses butter rather than beef suet which means its good for vegetarians . Well I've made 6 jars so far and still have lots of base ingredients left so a few more batches will be made over the coming weeks . I'm glad I've got around to doing somethings that will benefit us later in the year , in particular the build up to Christmas as I know from previous experience things get a little crazy for me from September onwards . I'm sure in the  months of  November & December I will be grateful of my endeavours in the kitchen now , I'm sure my purse will be a lot happier too !!
I have also brought a little bit of sweet homemade goodness to a couple of friends with my jams and marmalade as well , its always make me happy to share what I make .
 I have also been making sure that while my garden herbs are abundant that I am regularly harvesting and drying them for winter , I started late in the growing season last year and I ran out of a few of my dried herbs in mid winter and had to buy shop bought ones . Which slightly niffed me off as my garden ones are free . So hopefully this year I should be ok over winter if I keep on like this .

 In fact Autumn and winter have been on my mind recently and I don't know if its to do with the lack of summer heat and sunshine and the quite cool temperatures were having but I have  really been getting into my newly learnt skills of sock knitting . Thanks to Christine @ and her fabulously inspiring sockalong I have now vanquished my arch nemesis 'sock knitting ' . I have nearly finished my second pair and have the wool in my basket for the next two pairs , I have decided  I am going to make sure all the family has a least one pair of lovingly hand  knitted pair of socks to keep their tootsies warm in the colder months . I am now quite addicted to it and I cannot wait until September and Yarndale when I will be making a couple of purchases in the sock yarn department , ooooo I can't wait !!

I've also been enjoying lots of family time , the other morming me and my youngest laid on our living room floor in our P.j's colouring was sheer bliss !

So here is to more blissful days !!
I hope you can find moments of bliss in your days too ,

Thanks for popping by and ta ta for now .
Tracy xx