February 2009

Hot Apple And Chilli Jelly Recipe

This is the latest one out of the world that is my head.

An adaption of this Hot Crab Apple And Chilli Jelly Recipe.

Using my new bargain of a juice extractor / steamer , reduced from £80 to £20 , i tried it out today , with some advice from Matron.

The first thing i managed to whizz up was Raspberry/Blueberry & Elderflower Cordial , it looks a most amazing colour , you get the initial hit of the blueberries and then the whoosh of the raspberries, so , I managed to make up 1 1/2 litres from the last of gatherings from last years harvest in the garden

Summer Berry Cordial

Rather than waste the residue another experiment of making fruits strips , you know the really expensive pieces of nothing that you see pushed in ‘ Health Food ‘ stores .

Let’s see how it works , my housemate does not do sweet things so I’ll have to wait on the chief taster and tester ,Fee.

Being a tad chuffed with my first batch of juiciness, I went out and located some bramley apples and again some of my Scotch bonnet chillies from last year , I am now as I type running off some Hot Apple And Chilli Jelly utilsing.

Hot Apple And Chilli Jelly Recipe


1200g of Bramleys , sliced unpeeled and ore’s thrown in , washed and chopped
35g of mixed chillies, washed and chopped with seeds in { Note i doubled the the Apple amount and halved the chilli due to the strength of the Scotch Bonnets }
1 lb of demerara sugar

Chucked half the apples into the steaming pan , half the sugar sprinkled on top , all the chillies chopped another layer of apples and the reminder of the sugar.

And waited.


Assorted Chilli

Sprinkle Over The Apples

Juice Collector Setup

Add More Apples And Sprinkle Again With Sugar

Ready For The Run Off

Creamy Baked Garlic & Onion

Seasonal soup for the Northern Hemisphere, for February.

This is an easy no nonsense soup soup , and was tested on my Good Chums Alex & Scuba Ninja in Oz last year.

Serves 4

3 Large Onions , cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 Bulb garlic , cloves separated and peeled
565 ml [ 1 pint ] veggie or chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
25g [ 1 oz ] butter
220 ml [ 8 fl.oz ] double cream
1 tablespoon fresh parsley , chopped
Freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat Oven to 180 C / Gas 4

Place onions and garlic in a roasting tin , add 425 ml [ 3/4 pint ] of the stock sprinkle with thyme , season and dot with butter.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Stirring once or twice during cooking.

The time may vary just get that caramelisation thing going and that will do, well it does for me.

Cool slightly , add remaining stock.

Blend until smooth.

Return to pan , add cream and parsley , the season to taste.

Heat gently for about 5 minutes.



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Knicky Knocky Baked Beans

I know it’s not really a soup or a cookie , but as the economy bites start using cheaper forms of protein , pulses are it , and for the veggies I’m sure this tastes great without the pork.

Just add whatever you guys like , with a smokeyness to it , I know i once happened on some liquid hickory smoke stuff , never found it again , but I reckon you could marinate some quorn etc.

Serves 4

Prep & Cooking 5 Hours

Pre Heat Oven 10 170 C/ 325 F / Gas Mk 3

450g [ 1lb ] dry haricot beans
2 Litres [ 3 1/2 pints water ]
6 slices bacon or salt pork , about 225g [ 8oz ] cut into pieces
1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
100ml [ 4 floz ] maple syrup
75ml [ 3 floz ] dark rum
570 ml [ 1 pint ] bean cooking liquor
2 tablespoons brown sugar
25g [ 1oz ] butter

Soak beans overnight if you want to drastically reduce cooking time .

Put beans in saucepan , cover bring to boil and simmer gently 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 1 hour.

Return to the boil and simmer gently, covered for 40 minutes.

Drain, reserving the cooking liquor.

place the bacon or salt pork in an ovenproof dish.

Add the beans onion , mustard , maple syrup , rum and 425ml [ 3/4 pint ] of the reserved cooking liquor.

Bake in an oven for 2 1/2 hours in an uncovered pan to allow a crust to form , then add remaining liquor and bake for further 30 minutes.

Cream together the brown sugar and butter and dot on the top.

Variations to a theme , I didn’t have enough maple syrup this time out , so I used honey and golden syrup , and i also added 100 ml’s of Rum and some whole-grain mustard.

Piccies and feedback welcome.

Propagation & Procrastination

Let Building Commence

Well, my Clematis [ Clematis chiisanensis ‘Korean Beauty’ ]seeds have popped up and so have my edamame seeds so I will need to get them into their own pots soon.

Having just tried to find a link to to show you what they look like , I’m shocked to see that sell at £4.00 each when only in small pots, well , I hope my 40+ grow , i could have a little bit of a gold mine to help off set the costs of running the garden , and help pay for other projects.

Now that’s a good return

The Garlic seemed to have weathered the bad weather and the rhubarb has kicked through bringing a much need mass of colour in an otherwise gloomy garden.

Cheeky robin has well and truly established a home in the pergola, who knows maybe I’ll have some hatchlings this year in my little bird box that was used last year.

One thing I learnt from Zebra Father that , it’s essential that you clean out the bird boxes after the residents have left for the season , to increase the chances of new visitors.

It all adds to the hustle and bustle of a happy garden.

I need to do things , I’m feeling creative and i feel i need to build something today, who knows what ?

Procrastination , stealing the day away again.

I need to get some compost n stuff , but i need a huge bag so not relishing that on the Xtracycle.Not with my knee playing up anyway.

So maybe have to come to a compromise with my housemate in case he’s going that way and ask to share a lift to collect some.

1308 hrs

Noe this is a really good practical idea for wide loads on The Xtracycle

1808 hrs,

I have indeed been creative and constructed some cloche’s out of an old recycled bunk bed and some water piping.

Let Building Commence

Let Building Commence

Let Building Commence

The final step to this year’s trek completed.

Today , I managed to go out amongst people , without getting too anxious about the numbers surrounding me.

Right for those in the know , flight is booked for my annual global trek , wherever it takes me.

I leave the UK on Sunday March 8th and return to these shores on Monday April 13th

That’s all for now , I have some more stuff to post and will update this posting later after some photo work.


I wrote a song for you today while I was sitting in my room.
I jumped up on my bed today and played it on a broom.
I didn’t think that it would be a song that you would hear,
but when I played it in my head, I made you reappear.

Sue’s choc-chip cookie recipe:

Made my first set of cookies today , the wonders of Facebook have started something off.

As if I did not have enough blogging and places on the web already.

This recipe is from a mutual chum of my brother’s and I

100g butter
100g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
150g self-raising flour
50g dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 200 centigrade.

Combine butter and sugar until light & fluffy.

Mix in the golden syrup.

Sift the flour in and fold into the mixture.

Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Drop on about a dessert spoon of the mixture.

Do not flatten.

Leave at least 3 cm between the cookies as they spread and flatten.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool on baking tray before removing.

You may want to double up the quantities as you will find they’ve all gone in a matter of minutes!

How To make Plant Tea ?

Bored now, snow stopping play.

I thought that after the first lot had gone that would be it , but it’s started all over again.

Bored Now - Snow Stops Play

Bored Now - Snow Stops Play

Chop up a mix of soft hairey and leguminous [ Docks , Comfrey , Nettles & Clover ]

Put into a bucket / receptacle until 3/4’s full.

Cover leaves with a mixture of one part animal urine to two parts water [ or just water ].

Add a pinch of ash , and stir.

Cover and leave.

Stir regularly until the leaves have rotted down , which may take a few week. You’ll know because the pong will be strong. So best to store it away from public areas. Remove the leaves and add to the compost heap. I use comfrey which are great activators for breaking down compost.

Cover the liquid and leave in shade for 14 days.

Dilute the tea [ 1 part tea to 2 parts water ] and feed your garden.

Not best poured onto leaves but at the base of the plants.

Bored Now - Snow Stops Play

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