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


  1. Ooh, I love all of your pictures - such yumminess in those jars! - but especially the socks! It looks like the sock bug has well and truly got you now - and you're going to be absolutely spoilt for choice at Yarndale! xx


  2. My goodness Tracy you have been busy and it all looks wonderful. I wish you had shared the gorgeous bars recipe they look delicious. I finished my gorgeous socks today and am onto my next pair! A lovely homely post thank you for sharing xx lots of love Joy xx

  3. You've certainly been a busy bee, all those lovely scrummy jars of jam, mincemeat etc. glad to hear the school holidays are going so well for you all - so well deserved. You certainly put a lot into your days. Your socks look lovely, I've just bought Christine's book from Amazon for my son who is coming on well with his knitting. Liz x

  4. Wow you have been busy. I always have a ready supply of homemade jam curtesy of my mum but I'd never thought of or considered making peanut butter. What recipe do you use and how long does it keep? I am very intrigued as no sugar peanut butter is one of my top ten foods. I just adore it.

  5. So much wonderful making and doing!!! All that lovely produce!!! xx

  6. You've been enjoying your downtime! The jam looks scrummy and well done with the socks.
    Happy days!
    Jacqui x

  7. Hell yeah to unscheduled summer days! We have the same thing here. Nothin' but an old-fashioned summer that's full of heart-pumping exercise. Your jams look so yummy. The bright purple striped socks are great. I think coloring is ageless.

  8. Love the socks----especially the pink and purple striped ones. Someday I will gather up my courage and take a sock knitting class. Turning the heel is mostly what puts me off the most and getting them to fit. I have a very small foot and a very high instep both of which I have read make for some adjustments when knitting them. I can follow directions pretty well but adjusting as I go along is something that I really don't feel comfortable doing. The directions just really scare me.

  9. Lovely post I really enjoyed reading. I am just making mincemeat myself for Xmas. Your jars looked lovely a real homemaker. Really inspiring post.