Apple and Blackbery Cordial

I’m thinking of other things to do with our many blackberries besides jam, pies and freezing them.

Thanks to Fiona at The cottage small holder. She has a fab recipe for making apple and blackberry cordial. I might just have to give it a try  😉

 

Damson Jam

Jam again! Sorry if it’s boring you a bit now.

We have been away in the caravan for a few days to refresh ourselves before the school re-opens. Whilst we were there we came across lots of damson trees. Well actually I think they were damseens. Never the less, I wasn’t going to let the chance pass by and asked the site manager if we could bring a few home with us.

 

I think they look like big juicy grapes hanging in bunches!

Some of the fruit was so ripe it was falling from the branch as we picked them. I picked a couple of bags full but it’s such a shame if the rest get wasted.

On to making it;

3lb damsons/damseens

3 lb sugar

1/4 pint water

2 tbl sp lemon juice

blob of butter

Usual thing. Pick over the fruit, remove any that are bad, take off the stalks then wash them. Put them in your largest pan with the water. Stew until soft. Mush them down a bit then add the sugar.

When the sugar has dissolved add lemon juice and butter then you can slowly bring it up to boil. Pick the stones out now, the heat makes them float so it is easier to see them. You don’t have to remove them if you don’t want to. I usually take about half out though.

Boil it up, mine took somewhere between 8-10 mins. Test on a cold saucer for wrinkling or flake test on your wooden spoon. Pot into hot sterilised jars. Enjoy!

Just for the record, my little man says this is the best jam I ever made!

 

To leave you with happy thoughts here is a picture of Bala Lake where we had our picnic.

Seedless Blackberry Jam

I have been making jam again. Seedless blackberry this time. Here is my recipe;

A load of blackberries, washed and drained as much as possible then stewed and mashed with a potato masher.

I don’t weigh my blackberries because I sieve them. I measure the juice and for every pint (ok i’m old fashioned and haven’t moved on yet!) I add one pound of sugar. (So if you have one and a half pints of juice then you need one and a half pounds of sugar).

So with the measured juice and sugar in the pan, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a knife full of butter (the butter is to prevent the jam foaming too much, you only need a little or you will have a greasy slime on the top of your potted jam).

 (stewing the blackberries)

When dissolved bring it up to boiling. Boil for at least 3 mins then test as usual for setting. Then pot into jars.

In my pan I had;

 2 1/2 pints of juice

2 1/2 pounds of sugar

about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (hubby started talking and I forgot how many I was up to, to be honest!)

and a blob of butter (I didn’t weigh that but I don’t think it was even 1/2 oz)

I timed it as the jam boiled and it took 7 mins for mine to get from boiling to setting. Your times maybe different depending on how hot you have your hob.

 (after boiling)

The jam has now changed colour and texture and is ready.

Pour it into clean, preheated jars as you normally would. Put on the lids and leave to cool.

Ta da! 9 jars of jam to be given as gifts, shared with friends or eaten with toast and butter! Mmmm

Fruit picking

We have been gathering fruit over the past week. Most has been made into seedless blackberry jam (or cheese as some people call it). Some has been sent to the freezer for the winter stash, later to be pulled out and sprinkled into apple pies, made into ice cream syrup and such like.

Just for your amusement I will tell you that I lost my footing whilst picking and ended up almost head first in a bunch of nettles. I rubbed the stings on my arms with a dock leaf and it did help, however, still with stinging arms i’m off for a bath! You guessed it-no photo of my mishap!  ;-D

Gotta do this!

For all of you who have t-shirts in the drawer but wonder how you can make them more feminine and less box shaped, this is for you…

Obsessively Stitching 

Here is my first one! I desparately loved the pattern on this t-shirt but it was a little tight across the shoulders. I held onto it for ages wondering how to make it more wearable. It has hardly been off my back since the make over!

Excuse the fuzzy picture, taken by little man 😀

Sewing Pj’s

Over the past few days I have been making Pj’s for little man. He chose some zoo fabric a while ago.

I found two patterns at the market, neither of which were what I had in mind but alterations made to both and we now have a pair of shortie pj’s.

I didn’t put pockets on the shorts and the top was too short, which I discovered after cutting out the pieces. I shake my head, muttering that I should have measured in the first place!

Anyhow, here is a pic of the finished pj’s. I think they look a bit like hospital scrubs to be honest but so what, little man is over the moon. Even more so about a scrap that I made into a bed for Maddie, the beloved soft dog toy. Now they match! So simple but incredibly pleasing to little people!

Sewing again, at last!

For two whole weeks I have not touched a needle and thread and it has been driving me around the bend!

I did however mend poor dingle bear (dingle bear is the bear, if you know what I mean!) His back is all worn from too much cuddling in bed so the little fella and I used an old t-shirt. We laid him out and traced the shape of his back onto the fabric.

Little man cut it out then watched me sew it on.  I had to pretend to be a nurse doing an operation, as I do everytime I mend him. Thankfully I didn’t have to sit with a white tissue on my head this time!

I made these cushions to throw in the caravan, just before we went away. Just a touch of homely-ness!

The little fella has mentioned more than once that he would like me to make him some short pyjamas so they are next on the list. I have a small piece of cotton fabric although i’m not sure it will be enough for shorts and a top yet. I am looking for a boys top pattern but nothing has shown itself to me on the net so I think I might just wing it with a basic shape and a slit type neck. Well more of that to follow…