Tuesday, 18 August 2009


I was chatting with somebody earlier today who is of the opinion that I must have been born with the genes of a squirrel as I appear to have an obsession with preserving produce at the moment. However, I am not consciously thinking of the winter ahead and am not particularly concerned about 'stocking up the larder' in preparation for lean times which is how, I am sure, a squirrel's mind would work! I am simply wanting to make the most out of the fantastic produce that we have available down in these parts and to experiment with different recipes and ideas. For instance, yesterday, we picked a pound of blackberries from down our chemin. We also have some nice windfall apples that I don't want to see go to waste. I then found an interesting recipe for 'blackberry and apple leather' in the River Cottage preserves book which I just had to try. Such an easy recipe ......blackberries and apples stewed down in just a small amount of lemon juice then passed through a sieve, the resultant puree then spread out thinly on greaseproof paper on baking trays and 'cooked' at approx 80 deg C for 12-18 hours until it just peels away .... a great, tasty snack for out on the hill! I have also used up a glut of courgettes to make courgette and ginger jam which is 'interesting' and also some fresh apricots to make apricot and nut jam which is to die for!

The Gardener's Delight cherry tomatoes are now ripening rapidly and I have a selection that I am in the process of drying in the hot sun on trays on the terrasse, ready to jar with olive oil for use in dishes during the winter. We will be making passata and homemde tomato sauce with any surplus over the coming weeks. Also, I am in the process of making 'Agen prunes in Armagnac' which will be a wonderful boozy treat during the winter. The pears that we collected the other day are ripening well and I have a 'mulled pears' and also a 'pickled pears' recipe earmarked for them! Love this time of year but I need a bigger larder/store cupboard!

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