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Archive for August, 2012

How Remiss!

Courgette Chutney Recipe

Blimey – two posts in one day!  I thought I’d posted a recipe for courgette chutney here before, but I’ve searched and can’t find it so here it is as requested by Rev’d Peter, but for all of you if you’d like it:

4lb courgettes (peeled if they’re enormous like mine otherwise the skin is like tree bark 🙂 and cut into small pieces)

2lb 8oz onions (again, peeled and chopped)

2lb 8oz brown sugar

2 pints vinegar

2lb 8oz tomatoes (I use whatever fruit I have in excess – apple works well, but I’ve also tried rhubarb and pear)

salt, spices to taste (ginger, paprika, cayenne, garlic (whatever you fancy))

I also add a kilo of sultanas purely because I like them and it makes it sweeter.

This makes a LOT so have jars ready and waiting.  Sorry it’s all imperial (except for the sultanas cos that’s how they’re sold) but I have an old recipe book and simply improvise from it.  Since I also have an Aga I usually cook it til it’s gooey and dark brown – the recipe says two hours, but I think you have to use your discretion when you’re not cooking on a standard heat.

Good luck!

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Finished!

Wednesday 8 August 2012

As usual once silage-making is complete we fall into a post-work-frenzy slump until the next thing comes along.  The weather hasn’t helped of course, making it difficult to do much although Daniel and Jacob (our work-experience lad who obviously likes hard work as he is coming every day since he broke up from school) have been dung-spreading over the cut fields.

Despite the daily showers we were able to get the majority of the grass in although there was a field that remains half-cut due to a series of unfortunate events!  Gordon started cutting it on Thursday morning when it was dry and it is one of my least favourite fields due to the fact that it’s very old grass, which means it’s never been ploughed.  It’s also looked down on from the motorway so we always feel a bit on show.  As soon as we got there we realised the ground was still extremely wet but thought that once we got started it would be fine.  Gordon mowed for about an hour before the drizzle started and that soon developed into heavy rain.  The self-imposed ‘rule’ is that once the grass is cut it should be picked up so when he left the field mid-afternoon, I carried on with the forager.  About five o’clock the forager dropped into a gutter which literally buried the front half in what was quickly becoming bog!  The wheels spun when I tried to go forward so I tried it in reverse which moved me about an inch before they started spinning again.  I sent Daniel a text and he told me not to try any more as that would make it worse.  Then he came down with the Matbro.  At that stage the heavy rain had eased to a drizzle, but the minute we stepped outside the machines to review the situation the heavens opened and we were quickly drenched.  Why does that always happen?  Our tractor driver for the day was our friend Paul who’s very used to working with large machines so following a discussion the trailer was dropped and towed away from the back of the forager before a chain was put around the rear hitch.  The wheels on his tractor were spinning too as he slowly pulled me backwards with me in reverse gear to help pull the forager out of the rut.

Another discussion followed – I wanted to finish there, but Daniel said everything would be fine now and we had to pick up the cut grass.  I reluctantly picked up the trailer and drove to the other end of the field in order to avoid the boggy middle bit.  It was boggy at that end too and within a minute I was stuck again.  We repeated the whole rescue process before deciding there was no way the forager could work in that particular field, so we all drove back to the farm in convoy with both the machines and us covered in mud!  Gordon said it was the dirtiest he’d ever seen it, which is pretty bad considering we cut our maize with the same machine in October!

We flushed this trio out of the grass.  The real advantage of cutting silage this late in the year is that the young deer will run rather than hide by crouching lower in the long grass, something which rarely has a happy ending despite our best efforts.  You can see in this photo how uneven the field is.

Yesterday I decided it was time to resume normal life (for a while) and made chutney – courgette of course.  The courgettes have merrily grown in this wet weather and are now the size of marrows so I only needed two to make seventeen jars of the stuff!  The labels are very fancy and were picked up from a site called Jam Labelizer.  You can enter your own details and choose the colour/style of your labels (some free, some you have to pay for) before printing them on to either paper or labels.  I used labels that were A4 size which printed nine to a sheet then cut them to size.  My friend Beris (a regular lurker who never comments :)), told me about this site a while ago and I’ve kept the address until I needed it.

Beris also made me aware of a trip offered by the West Somerset Railway called the Chapel Cleeve Ghost Express so we’re off to try that on Sunday.  Both the girls and their partners will be home so we’ll give it a go.  As usual, Gordon will be working so Terri is coming too.  No doubt there will be photos!

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