I did a Radio Interview in the USA! (about rationing of course!)

YES! Really!

Despite my ongoing imposter syndrome, forgetful nature and several hours of nerves hoping I’d become violently unwell so I could get out of doing it, I just appeared on the John Budris Show in Boston, Massachusetts at WRKO-AM 680 talking about rationing…
It was of course pre-recorded, I think I may have ended up in an ambulance if it had been live. Nevertheless it was challenging as what I meant to say simply didn’t quite come out of my mouth correctly.

I need at this stage to THANK Rob Townsend who interviewed me over Skype, was very patient, calming, and encouraging, a great host! Rob is a talented guy. He used to work at Angell Sound studios in London and now creates professional voice-overs, as well as audio editing and creation and radio work for projects around the world. Check out his video showreel HERE!

If you’d like to hear the show in its entirety it airs again on Saturday 30th May at 10:00 am and the rationing segments start at around 10:37 am. The radio stream you need to listen too will be HERE

The two segments are also below if you’d like to listen to them too!

Rationing Interview with Rob Townsend on WRKO-AM 680 CLICK HERE!

C xxxxx

WIN a beautiful stone cottage in North Wales

I have this little dream… A sympathetically renovated, little stone cottage in the countryside, with a garden for relaxing and growing cottage garden plants and vegetables in.

I’ve not given up on my dream BUT I am a realist too and it’s likely to remain renting somewhere convenient for the rest of my life, however as long as the dream is always there it keeps you going.

Today I saw this bonafide competition to win a perfect little dream cottage and I, of course, bought my golden ticket (I felt like Charlie with his Wonka bar). £5 for a chance of a dream is worth it to me….

I thought I’d share my link if you’d like to take a look and perhaps enter.

>>>CLICK HERE TO ENTER<<<

Good luck, C xxxxx

Make Do and Mend – Kitchen Knife Repair

Over the coming months, I’m going to shout-out to people “Making Do and Mending” things to promote moving away from our modern disposable outlook on life and instead appreciating what we have and making do with what we’ve got wherever possible. Infact, it may become more of a way of life for many of us who are currently unemployed due to the pandemic.

Troy on Twitter who I follow, recently has started a series of videos on mending knives. I am loving them. Thought I’d share them below. It’s very satisfying to see people with skills and passions and for the longevity of useful implements. Great job Troy and thanks for letting me share your clip.

His home page is here https://twitter.com/Ragnargrimzen

C xxx

VE Day 75

I really hope everyone is enjoying a day of commemoration and celebration today.

A quiet day here. I’ve sat in the back garden for carrot and date scones with whipped cream, rhubarb jam, and strawberries and I have 1 bottle of beer in the fridge for when I get back from my walk. Joined in the 2 minutes silence, watched Churchill’s speech and will sing inside the house later, I fear I would burst into tears in the company of others even if we are all at a distance.

I must apologise for this very brief post as some of you may know my laptop needs replacing. I get 10 minutes from it before the screen gives out. I hope to get this sorted out next week.

Take care, have a lovely evening.

C xxxx

Rhubarb & Apple Jam – Recipe No. 193

My friend Jacquie (who I hadn’t seen in person for over 30 years) recently dropped off a big bag of rhubarb at my door. It was absolutely lovely to see her again at a distance and to receive the gift of rhubarb. Infact, I’m doing quite well because Olly, her husband (who I also hadn’t seen for over 30 years) dropped off 3 raspberry canes for my garden last month too. Needless to say, when it is safe to visit in a month or two (or three) it will be great to catch up with them properly and bring reciprocal goodies in return!

The very next day I set to work on making a rhubarb and apple jam (with a cup full of frozen berries thrown in for good measure). Using a standard recipe from the Ministry of Foods ‘Jams and Jellies’ leaflet I substituted one of the main ingredients (in this case elderberries for rhubarb) and that was pretty much that.

Maincrop Rhubarb often has stringy bits in it, you’ll see what I mean when you cut the end. Simply lift the strings and pull down the stalk to remove them. I removed some of mine not all. Everything was fine..

As always, jam with rhubarb is delicious. To me, it is synonymous with an English wartime kitchen garden. As I enjoyed some fresh homemade bread slathered with the jam after taking the main photos today, it somehow fit perfectly into a warm sunny afternoon. Despite being in the town centre, my garden backs onto ‘Queens Park’ in Swindon (where I now live) and I am lucky to have robins, blue tits, wrens, magpies, squirrels, bees and butterflies visiting daily and several curiously watched and hovered as I sat back quietly enjoying the simplicity and taste of bread and jam.

Hope you really enjoy this recipe.

C xxx

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs rhubarb
  • 2 lbs Bramley apples (any type will do but cooking is best)
  • 1 cup of mixed wild berries (blackberry, elderberry, blackcurrants or frozen mixed berries, whatever your favourite is!)
  • 3 lbs of sugar

 

Method

  1. Wash and peel apples and cut into chunks.
  2. Wash and string (where necessary) the rhubarb and chop into chunks, cover in all the sugar, mix and set aside for 30 minutes to bring out the juice.
  3. Put the sugar-coated rhubarb, rhubarb juice and apple chunks in a preserving pan (or similar) and simmer gently (add a little water if necessary) stirring slowly until soft (about 5-10 mins).
  4. Add the berries, bring to the boil and simmer, stirring slowly until soft (about 5-10 mins). Add a little more water if necessary as you don’t want the fruit to burn.
  5. Continue to boil rapidly for a further 10 mins stirring regularly.
  6. Take off the heat and test a large drop of jam on a chilled saucer and if it crinkles after a couple of mins it’s ready (alternatively use a jam/candy thermometer until it reaches 105C)
  7. If not boil for another 2 mins and repeat the test until ready.
  8. Remove excess scum with a slotted spoon.
  9. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilised jars having first made sure glass rims of jars are spotless. Clean with white vinegar if not.
  10. Put on hot lids and twist until finger tight. Set aside to cool undisturbed or alternatively further process in a hot water bath to ensure a good vacuum and seal.
  11. Makes several x 300 ml jars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pickled Beetroot – Recipe No. 192

Who doesn’t like that beautiful deep burgundy and earthy beauty of beetroot? It is, of course, just wonderful baked and eaten straight from the oven with just salt and pepper BUT it also takes on quite a different taste and usefulness when pickled for further use throughout the year. I particularly love my pickled beetroot preserved with juniper berries which somehow remind me of fragrant evergreen forests, certainly evocative of the wild. I like that..

It really is so simple to pickle beetroot and if you don’t want to go to the extra faff of processing the filled jars in a hot water bath at the end (so you can store them for several months in your larder) then you can always place the jars in your fridge instead and just make sure to use them up within a few weeks.

Once you bake your beetroot save the juice that is in the tin foil, once strained you can store it in the fridge for a few days and use it as a food dye for cakes.

Enjoy!

C xxxxx

Ingredients

  • Several large beetroots, 12 medium or 20+ tiny ones
  • 750 ml vinegar (white, malt or pickling)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dessert spoon black (or mixed) peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of juniper berries (my own addition just because I love them)
  • 1 dessertspoon of mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf in each jar (optional)

Method

  1. Gently wash beetroots and cut some of the stalks and tails off but leave an inch or so of the top and bottom on so they bleed less when cooking
  2. Place all in a couple of large pieces of tin foil brought together at the top or individually wrap.
  3. Cook in oven at about 180 C for an hour. Tiny ones less, large ones longer. Bake until tender.
  4. 20 minutes before the beetroot has cooked place clean washed jars into the oven to sterilise for about 20 minutes.
  5. You will also need to bring a large deep saucepan of water to a simmer as you will need to process the jars of beetroot after they have been bottled (not everyone does this but for safety I do as it ensures a good vacuum and seal)
  6. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle place in water and removed the skin and top and tail. If cooked properly the skin will easily peel away. Rinse and place on non-porous plate or tray.
  7. Cut into chunks for the medium or large beetroots, tiny ones can be pickled whole.
  8. In a saucepan place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns and juniper berries (and mustard seeds if you like those)
  9. Stir and bring to a simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  10. Remove jars from oven, fill jars with beetroot leaving 1/2 inch headroom, (add a bay leaf if you like) pour on hot liquid from saucepan.
  11. Clean jar rims with vinegar then put lids onto hot jars and liquid, finger tight.
  12. Place in hot water (covered by water) and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  13. Remove safely with jar lifter.
  14. Set aside and leave undisturbed so the jars create a vacuum and the lid depresses. Several hours later you can move the jar.
  15. Leave to mature for a week before using.
  16. Makes several small jars or 3 large ones.