Sunday, December 20, 2015

Conceeding defeat.

A splash of Christmas colour.
We try very hard to ignore Christmas, it's just too commercialised and an excuse to over indulge for many people, however this year we have decided that if we can't beat them we might as well join them, whoever 'them' might be.
The first of many.
Lots of mince pies have been made and eaten already,
         and we have even made a Christmas cake.
 The  turkey is ordered, although we nearly had second thoughts on this as the farm where it is coming from belongs to the same people that have the Organic butchers shop and cafĂ© in Boyle, it was their Christmas fair that I did last week and nearly froze to death. At this weeks fair  they had some of their animals making an appearance, including two of the turkeys destined for dinner tables. We don't get sentimental about animals reared to feed people, but having once tried to rear our own turkeys for Christmas we have a very soft spot for them. They make the most delightful pets as we found out. Anyway, we were assured that neither of these turkeys were  earmarked for ourselves.
Any gifts that were to be given have reached their destination,
One finished Aran jumper.
and the jumper that I was knitting for the OH's Christmas present is now finished.
I made up a gift package for a friend containing home made goodies, I could only find a very ordinary  basket to put the jars in so decided that I could re-weave the chosen basket with ribbon, it took quite a lot of work but did look nice,
Zara did fit, just.
Zara, my silver Persian also thought it was a great basket and managed to fit herself very neatly in it. As if  there are not numerous baskets around the house especially made for the cats.
The label indicated that these lilies are Irish grown, I wonder?
It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it's so mild, December should be cold, not warm enough to go out without a coat, there is little difference between day and night time temperatures. Even the daffodil bulbs are well above the ground, there's even been reports of daffs. and primroses in bloom.
I have been puzzling for some time as to how supermarkets can sell jam and marmalade so cheaply, they can sell at a price less than it costs me to make and I use free fruit with the exception of oranges, so I have started looking at labels, (yes I know, sad that I have nothing better to do with my time.) Besides all the sugar and fructose that is used, there is pectin and gelling agent. Now anyone who makes their own jam knows that all you need to get a good set is fresh fruit and sugar, and possible in the case of Strawberry jam, lemons. When it comes to blackcurrant, blackberry, raspberry and marmalade they all set well without the need to add anything else. Seeing the long list of ingredients on a commercial jam it strikes me that they are missing out the main ingredient, water. It's the only explanation as to how the jam is so cheap, water which is more or less free, plus the gelling agent and pectin and you could make anything look like jam, at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
A better shot of the pattern.

  

17 comments:

  1. Homemade mince pies and christmas cake, my favourites, I also love christmas pudding, love the jumper. I know what you mean about jams and marmalades, homemade is totally different, I will always make my own, its not always about whats cheapest.x

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    1. I agree but many people don't really care as long as it's cheap. I'm pleased with the jumper, it's been over twenty years since I did any serious knitting.

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  2. Well done on the jumper, solstice greetings x

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    1. Thanks BG, Solstice greetings to you also.

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  3. There's no way I could rear my own animals for the table, I just know how I'd become attached to them. I think it's great that people do though, what's better than knowing the animal has had a good life, and death. Love the jumper, your other half is going to be toasty warm in that.

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    1. I well remember the first animal that we reared for the table, it was a goat kid and I had been there at it's birth, I really didn't know if I would be able to eat it or not, but once bagged and frozen it was just meat. Since then the only thing that has not ended up on the table that had been reared for that purpose were the two turkeys, they were just pets.
      The jumper weighs quite a lot and it's also pure wool so it will be very warm.

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  4. Re the water in jam: would it not be a legal requirement to list water as a ingredient if it were present? I think mass-produced jam is often cheap because the manufacturers buy fruit in huge quantities and often pay their suppliers very little. The private individual cannot compete with this. I had better not say "Happy Christmas", so let me say "Season's Greetings" instead!

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    1. I looked at jams today from a small cottage industry and they certainly had water listed as one of the ingredient's, yet there is no mention of it on the big commercial jams, I will try to find out somehow. I know that they would be paying very little for their fruits but my fruit comes free, they also have to pay for jars and sugar plus all the other ingredients that they use. I did taste some commercial marmalade last week and all I can say is that it was something sweet, little or no flavour of oranges.
      Seasons Greetings to you as well Mark, we are almost celebrating Christmas this year.

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  5. Most of the time I'm a consumer of organic veggies. There are other times when I listen to my body and give it a feed of meat or fish. I never feel guilty in doing so, nor can I see why you titled the blog Conceding defeat.

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    1. I titled the post 'Conceding defeat' as we are almost taking part in a Christmas celebration rather than celebrating the solstice.

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  6. Hi Anne,
    Blessings to you.
    I celebrate the solstice alone, but we have a family meal on the 25th. A fat organic goose will take centre stage, no xmass pud, we have parkin it is lighter. Some mince pies and an apple stollen. The tipples will be; Champagne, mulled wine and plenty of water.
    The jumper must have been a labour of love with your arthritis. I'm sure that Simon will appreciate it very much.

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  7. Happy belated Solstice greetings Irene. Apart from the turkey all our meal will be home produced, we both like Xmas pudding so that is desert. Neither of us drink much but we do have a good selection of real ales so that will be the tipple.
    I enjoyed doing the jumper, I might just start knitting again as the bug has bitten me again. I'm sure you will enjoy the family meal on the 25th.

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  8. Oh that jumper looks lovely. I dont actually own a jumper. A few cardigans but nothing really heavy. I seem to be on a treadmill of home, car, work, car, home, car..... all climate controlled. Oh Dear....

    I just had my first christmas pud tonight. I went to the supermarket on 27th and picked up one that was $14 for just $5. We never have room for pud on Christmas Day. I bought another for when it gets cooler as it will last over 6 months.

    No Christmas decorations at this end what so ever. Im not sure if its a considered choice all we are just too lazy to bother.



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  9. Great minds think alike. I have been thinking about James this year and have vowed to make all that I need myself. I think that the more we are in charge of our own food the better we are I am getting blackberries and raspberries this year and the strawberries I will pick at an organic farm. The sweater is beautiful. You are so right about Christmas it is so commercialized they start getting ready here before Halloween. I made mostly everything and so enjoy getting homemade items and book. Hope all is well Love that little Zara and the cake looks so good.

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  10. I saw the first Christmas lights up in a house way back in the middle of Nov, the first TV adverts appeared the end of Oct. To me it's one big turn off. Regarding food, I'm afraid now if we don't know where it's come from we don't buy it.

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  11. Yum mince pies and cake, they look great. The jumper is impressive, how long did it take to make? x

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  12. We have just about finished the cake, but we are still making mince pies now that we have fleur pastry cracked.

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