Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I can never resist taking pictures of our lovely sunrises here at Bandouille!

A week has lapsed since I wrote last and apologies for that, but with this crazy October/November weather could not really be kept indoors infront of the computer writing for the blog…Oh the irony!  I intended starting this blog because of the winter months and the cold weather and hey presto we have had between 18-21 degrees this last week…Madness!
But we made really good use of it!

Finally got our bonfires going…that to me is always a sign of the oncoming winter and burning the leaves.  We also managed to catch this little chap unwittingly in our coypu trap…Of course we let him go and he was really camera shy!  This is the third one we have caught this way, with a bit of apple to tempt him….not the usual hedgehog diet – me thinks!  Disappeared quickly enough though!  Ahh!  And the neglected veg patch that was started and will be finished. It will, it will.....  But that digging is so hard!

With this lovely bit of late sunshine my figs are getting bigger and more ripe and I was blessed by the lovely Brian with a nice bunch of rhubarb and my brain began to whirrrrrrrrrr!  Fig, Rhubarb and Ginger jam I thought – and did! Seriously yum!

So based on this recipe http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2009/02/25/fig-and-rhubarb-jam/ but reducing the sugar by 200gr so 1kg of each of figs, rhubarb and sugar and I added a good thumb of grated fresh ginger and instead of four lemons used two and two oranges, zest and juice.

The sugar I used was a JAM SUGAR or PRESERVING SUGAR which is really useful and worth the extra pence.

That this sugar not only contains citric acid (therefore reducing the need of too many fresh lemons) but also pectin too to help thicken the jam.  Check the contents to make sure this is the case on all Jam Sugars…

Note dented lid - since replaced!
This online reciped also comes with an amazing pectin stock recipe made from the waste of peeling apples.  (Wish I had know that when making all that chutney!). Check it out on the link above!

Finally cooked and jarred up (7 jars) and set to cool and couldn’t wait to taste….properly that is!  And taste I did…but was in such a rush to get the jar opened, that I dropped it and it landed on a strange angle on my toe and judging by the pain and the colour of toe, reckon I broke it….so beware  Fig, Rhubarb and ginger jam should come with a warning label!!!!!

Oh boy it does tasted good though and I reckon this could become a new favourite with scones or even drop scones! Let me know what you think and what you eat it with!

Also this week managed to paint a couple of pictures.  Two that I have wanted to do for a while.  The first was a pic from a magazine that to me showed a lovely French scene and I love the inclusion of the French flag.  The reason why I chose this was mainly to get my head around perspective, but something clicked and I used a few techniques that I knew (but didn’t often put into practice) and hey presto….I was happy with the outcome..So more buildings are going to be practised now without a doubt.

The second is (as you can see) a portrait….I really want to do portraits of my children (grownups now of course) and one of Drew’s neice too, but felt I had to practice and followed some portrait tips and techniques first before going into family images.  I chose this picture as I liked the strong contrast in the photo but unfortunately the photo was zoomed in on and I lost facial characteristics but had what I needed to work from and I like the result.  So by measuring distances between the eyes eyes to nose, nose to mouth etc placed everything proportionally where it should be and it worked…Why am I always surprised!….Lots learnt and rules followed and now feel happier to move forward with my portrait work  too.  So watch this space.

Useful tip!♠ 
In the meantime a friend of mine (Roena from www.idrawandpaint.com) sent me this little tip via email.  So for all of you fans of corn on the cob and not enough pan space to cook them for a corn feast take note!

Cooking corn in a cool box – it works…..!!!!!

A cool box is retrieved from where it normally lives in your abode.  Is then wiped clean,  filled with the cobs of corn. Next, two kettles-full of boiling water are poured over the corn (or enough to cover) and the top closed.

Then nothing.

30 minutes later and open it, and the corn was is perfectly cooked.  I'm told that the corn will remain at the perfect level of doneness for a couple of hours.

Great tip Ro and I am sure that it will be used everywhere….what a great idea and not only space saving on the stove but also energy saving too…..

So with all this said and done…enjoy the weather (if you have weather to enjoy) and the autumn colours and pop by and see what else is in store at Bandouille.

Next time will have more information on how our Refectory is coming on to make it into a warm place to be over the winter and this will double up in the summer as a great communal area for our guests too.

See you next time!


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