Monday, 13 February 2017

Sharing the bounty

I was given a precious gift just before my friend moved to another part of the North Island; a bag of red currants. Not only are these red jewels delicious, but they bring back so many happy memories of my childhood, heading down to the allotment with my dad, fork in my pocket, ready to strip the bushes of their jewellery.

Mum made strawberry and redcurrant jam, as well as rhubarb and redcurrant crumbles; a tart combination foiled by very sweet custard. Definitely childhood heaven in a bowl.

My friend's garden was a picture, neat and bountiful. She taught me how to grow beans (hardly a difficult task, but for me, a complete disaster in the garden, quite an achievement).

So here are half of the currants, about to head into a plum crumble. I cooked all my plums, and divided the fruit between two oven proof dishes, sprinkling with the red currants and covering with an oat and seeds crumble.

So the fruity blessing gets passed along, multiplying its juicy self. I have just posted one bowl in the neighbouring farm's mailbox. One of their boys will no doubt head down on his mountain bike and ride precariously up the hill with it. At least it is too difficult to sample en route and is likely to arrive intact!

Sunday, 5 February 2017


My husband doesn't often find things to tease me about, but he has a favourite topic - pots and ceramics. This is because I love ceramics from Scandinavian countries. Since we married I have managed to find second hand Figgjo Flint, Inge Laage, Ulla Procope, Finnish Arabia and Royal Copenhagen. I have a particular fondness for items from my childhood years of the 1960s and 1970s. Even better if they are coloured blue or brown. He even bought a piece for me himself, a Royal Copenhagen plate. These lovely plates were produced annually close to Christmas. My much loved Aunt had an entire wall displaying them - a Christmas gift each year from her family. They looked so beautiful, cobalt blue against a stark wall in her York home.

Today we welcomed some Danish guests. We had a lovely time together chatting about so many things. I was presented a gift by the wife, and really could not believe my eyes when I was given two Royal Copenhagen plates, from 1972 and 1977. She could not have given me a greater treasure. I was delighted to hear that these plates, which I have always considered decorative only, are used in every day life in kitchens and dining rooms all around the Danish Kingdom, as will mine now!

Here they are, the desert picture on the darker plate having even greater significance wafting memories back from my life in Arabia.

Friday, 3 February 2017

What the little bird didn't tell me

I was disappointed with our plums this year. I have blamed the appalling weather. However, this afternoon, en route to the paddock to pull out thistles, I wandered under one of our more far flung fruit trees. It was LADEN with plums and around a dozen blackbirds jumping from branch to branch, turning the plumbs into missiles. The cheeky birds had been gorging themselves - the hundreds of bone dry pips on the ground were evidence. This is a tree that has done nothing for 3 years and as if to spite me quietly produced enough plums to sink a boat. Sadly most of them are completely out of reach except for the birds, and they aren't planning to help me harvest them.

So, more plum puree for the freezer methinks.

The mush left over from the last plum culinary experiment was today donated to the Post Office Pig. I mixed it with some left over quince pulp from last year that I had preserved. Mr Post Office grinned when I gave it to him "That will go into his bucket for afternoon tea". As we drove away from the Post Office, I could see a large mound of flesh snoozing in the long grass of the meadow, the only evidence that it was a pig was the large hairy ear flicking away the bees. Oh to be a snoozing pig with quince for tea.