Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marmalade for Christmas.

The shortest day has now past, we can begin to look forward to the lighter evenings, but winter has just started.
A light scattering of snow.
This week we have had very high winds which brought with them a snow shower, it was strong enough to take the roof off of one of the hen houses, Simon was greeted with the sight  six hens and their cockerel all huddled together in the corner of their roofless house, once let out they were none the worse for their roofless night. The roof has now been replaced with a tin roof so hopefully that won't happen again.
Very pretty but cold.
The snow didn't last long, however the weather is chilly with frosts over night. today we have had very changeable weather, brilliant sunshine changing to hail and then snow with a bitter wind.
Snowing again.
Most people are now on their  final panic countdown for Christmas, I refuse to get into this panic mode. Shops are closed for two days, not a week, and if you haven't got it surely that means 'it' isn't that important in the first place. I try to remember if I ever got myself in this panic  years ago, if I did I have blanked the memory, I think the nearest I got was back in the eighties when on Christmas day I suddenly found that the entire village pub friends descended on me for Christmas dinner, I was the only sober one capable of cooking a complete Christmas dinner. It was great fun, and instead of cooking for six I found I had an extra twenty one people at my table. Fortunately I had a big turkey, the ham was already done and extra veg were in the garden. Those were the days. Christmas should be about sharing.
Our countdown to Christmas has been making the puddings, rather later than normal, making the cake and keeping up with the mince pies which keep disappearing, the fourth batch has just come out of the range. Tomorrow we pick up the Turkey, sausage meat and brussel sprouts, ours failed this year for some reason, all that remains is to de-bone and stuff the turkey legs* and to cook the ham. If we have forgotten something, tough, we don't need it.
Fresh baked bread to go with the Marmalade.
The first lot of next years marmalade is now done, we ended up with nine jars of various sizes from eighteen Seville oranges, I will need to make at least this amount again, jam is not quite the same for breakfast. For anyone into making their own I can recommend the Nigel Slater recipe, although it has to be done over two days it has never failed to give us a good set. I don't normally mess around with recipes but I thought I would use a few cardamon seeds in the first batch I made, it worked very well and gives a extra 'umph' to the jam.
* Neither of us are that keen on Turkey legs, so I remove them complete with the thighs, I then de-bone and de-sinew them, I make up a stuffing of sausage meat with finely chopped herbs and lay this on the filleted legs, then the meat gets rolled  and tied up or skewered through, they can then be cooked for the last hour of the turkey cooking or frozen to have as a roast at a later date.
Our two remaining Hubbard pullets are now twenty weeks old and  looking like proper hens, one of them laid her first egg today in the correct place , we are very pleased with her for that, they still follow their chosen husband Francois everywhere, complete panic if they find he has moved away from them, it's quite sweet.


  1. Well done your Hubbards! No eggs from ours yet but we have seen the rooster 'treading' them, so it can't be long! Pretty snow scenes. Have a great Christmas.

  2. Must get my act together and get some Seville oranges. They are early this year.

    1. I have never known them this early before, we bought more last week. Have started on the first pot, the mix with Cardamom in, it gives a lovely extra flavour, I will use them again. Also I'm going to experiment with root ginger added.

  3. Brrrrrrrrr, reading this post and looking at those pictures makes me feel chilly! Hopefully days are warmer and longer by now though! x