I’m Taking a Break

Good Day dear readers!

Now I know I’ve been AWOL again, but I have been SO busy over the past couple of weeks that I’ve barely had time to check any emails, let alone do any blogging.

And why, do you ask, have I been so busy??

Well let me tell you…you see, this weekend, Sunday to be precise, I’ll be at a rather big event going on in Margate at the Winter Gardens.  It’s World Food Day, presented by Thanet Fairtrade Initiative.

I’ve been so busy making chutney and preserves, that I seriously had to take a break today.  I did make pickled onions this morning and made up some jar labels, but I’m just really tired and decided to take today off as I’ve been in the kitchen practically non-stop for the past week or two.  I’ve been making 2-3 batches of different things each day, including brownies and bread dip mix.  I still have to make some whoopie pies and a loaf of bread to use for the samples of the bread dip mix.  Yes, I make the bread for that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but everyone needs a little time off every now and then.  I figure if I take it easy today, then I’ll be fresh and raring to go tomorrow!

Unfortunately, because I’ve been busy with cooking, my housework has been a bit neglected and I’ve just kept up with the things that really need to be done such as cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry.  Gotta have clean clothes to wear and I hate a dirty bathroom!

This past weekend, we did manage to get out on Sunday and head down to town for the Broadstairs Food Festival.  I didn’t bring the camera this time, but you can see and read all about it here from last year.  I had said that I would have liked to have been one of the stall holders here, but with next week’s event, I just couldn’t.  I don’t know if I’ll ever do the Broadstairs festival; you have to set up for all three days that it runs and it’s not that cheap to set up.  It also seemed a bit disappointing this year as there didn’t seem to be as many stall holders as last year.  We did buy some things; almost the same as last year…some venison sausages, the same blue cheese (it was really good!) and a bag of jasmine blossom tea.  We also picked up some Italian cookies for my mother-in-law.

So that’s about all for the foodie things.  If you live in the area and you’re coming to the World Food Day next weekend, mention you read my blog here and I’ll give you a 10% discount on your purchase!

See you there!

♥  Terri  ♥

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Cherry Brandy Preserves

Oh my poor neglected readers….how I have abandoned you.  I have no excuse.

You may all condemn me to the pits of hell for lack of blogging.

What’s even worse is that I’ve been nominated for another award (which I will talk about in another post) and I feel I don’t even deserve it!  Why should I be given an award for something I do when I haven’t even been doing it!?

Or we can just pretend that I’ve been posting all along and it’s just a figment of your imagination. 🙂

So today’s post is for those of you who might want to dabble a bit in doing your own preserving.  As you know, I do a good bit of that myself, so thought I’d share today’s culinary adventure with you.

Yesterday I made Damson Vanilla Cheese which is just a concentrated puree and it comes out so thick that you can actually cut it.  It goes well with sharp cheese and meats such as lamb, duck or other game meats.  In case you don’t know, damsons are very small plums, about the size of olives.

Today I started making Cherry Brandy Preserves.  I say started as it’s a two-step process I like to do sometimes.  In fact, with the method I’m using, it should really be called a ‘Conserve’ and not a ‘Preserve.’

With preserves, the cleaned and prepared fruit is added to the pan and cooked a bit to break it down and then the sugar is added and continued to cook.  A conserve is made differently, although it can have the same ingredients.

With a conserve, the fruit is put into a bowl with the sugar and allowed to sit for several hours or overnight which lets the juices flow from the fruit.  This allows the fruit to stay whole or in the same shape as they were cut.  By tomorrow morning I’ll have a bowl of cherries sitting in a thick, sugary syrup of its own juices.

I like to use a ratio of 65% to 75% sugar to fruit to be on the safe side to ensure that it will keep well.  My jars are sealed properly but once they’re open and in the fridge, there’s still that chance of it going off if there isn’t enough sugar in the mix.  A lower amount of sugar can be risky and as I sell to the public, I can’t take that chance.

I’ll give you the rest of the procedure in my next post.  Until then….

Eat Well!

♥  Terri  

Artsy Fartsy Tourists on Parade

(The title of my post is a line from a song called ‘Into a Mall’ by Don Henry)

Hello Campers!

What a busy weekend we had!  Not only was it a Bank Holiday weekend but we had the usual Cliftonville market on Sunday and the big market for the Ramsgate Arts Summer Squall on Monday.  Chef P took off on Tuesday and it’s a good thing because we both needed a day to recuperate as we were both completely exhausted!

I had been so busy over the past 2-3 weeks getting things made and prepared for the two markets that I barely had time to do any posting as you may have noticed. (hint, hint, nudge, nudge)  I was also very worried on Friday as I checked the weather and it showed that we were going to have a rainy weekend but luckily, the weather held out and everything was fine.

Sunday’s market started out not so good…it was quite windy and I debated on whether to even set up.  I hate when it’s windy because the table cloths blow around and it’s difficult to have signage as they blow away.  Because it was so cloudy and windy, not very many people turned out but the weather brightened up and the sun came out which brought the people out, but it was towards the end of the market time…too little, too late as they say…sigh.

Monday morning was another early start…up at 5:00 to be at Ramsgate at 8:00 to set up before everything started at 10:00.  I don’t like to rush and I have too much to do in the morning before we head out.  We did repack the car the night before, but I don’t usually do that part anyway; no, I get out of bed and come down and get the first pot of coffee going (decaf…or ‘unleaded’ as my dad prefers to call it) so that I can fill a thermos for myself.  Then I have to clean out the coffee filter and put in regular coffee (leaded) for Chef P’s thermos.  I also get some of my breakfast prepped (usually a hearty bowl of my posh porridge) then head up to shower and dress.  Once I get back downstairs, I get the kitties bowls cleaned out as they have to be fed before we leave and clean out the litter boxes.  I still have to make a sandwich or two and pack up the cooler.  Once Chef P comes down to get his coffee, I can fill up his thermos and clean up the coffee machine.  Oh yeah, I need to cook my breakfast so I can eat.  By this time I’m running around with the bowl of porridge in my hand as I head upstairs to make the bed and do something with my hair, get my jewelry on and head back down to clean up the dishes.  By now it’s about 7:45 and time to head out.  No wonder I’m exhausted…and the day has just begun! 🙂

The weather started out really nice.  The Ramsgate festival is well organized and quite a professionally run gig.  We all had these great tables with skirts around them and little canopies on top.  I booked two tables as I have so much.  All the stalls were set up down on the harbor parade and I was set up right in front where everyone walked by…woo hoo!

As it was a Bank Holiday weekend, there were lots of people, locals and tourists.  Where we were set up, everyone was walking by, heading down to the beach.  Many of them stopped on the way down but said they’d be by when they headed back from the beach later on as they didn’t want to carry the stuff down with them…can’t really blame them.  Along the walkway area, they have these rather large (think LARGE beach ball size) cement balls that are spaced about 5-6 feet apart, you really can’t miss them (you can see them in the picture below).  I wish I had a dollar for everyone that walked into one of them as they went by!  One lady who walked into one apparently must have done so before…she was wearing sandals and one of her feet was wrapped up in a bandage!

I had lots of props for my jars to give height which also saved room on the table.  I had an old wine box that I used for my packs of bread dip mix along with a bowl of olive oil and the mix as a sample with chunks of my homemade bread to dip into it.  I also have a few samples of the jams and chutneys for people to try with some small crackers.

I also had lots of brownies, with and without nuts and a whole lot of whoopie pies.  I lost count as to how many times I was asked what a whoopie pie was!  I think for next time, I’m going to make up a little sign explaining what they are.

 

We had a brief sprinkling of rain in the early afternoon, but nothing to get excited about.  It wasn’t like we had to duck for cover, thank goodness!

There were lots of stalls selling various things: cupcakes, homemade wines, tea, soaps and incense, magic props, handmade toys, jewelry, bakery goods, olives and Italian cookies and of course a few food stalls selling venison burgers, grilled chicken and beef and bacon sandwiches.  I had the smell of bacon wafting through my nose all day!

 

 

So all in all, it was a great day, had lots of fun, met some people and made some money.  We were both exhausted by the time we got home which was nearly 6:00 that evening.  Luckily Chef P made dinner but I was so tired I could barely eat.  I was in bed by 9:00 and Chef P followed shortly.

If anyone is interested in giving me a Friday Foodie Word for tomorrow, just give me a page number (1-632) and a word number (1-25) and I’ll give your blog a mention…

♥  Terri  ♥

 

Busy, busy, busy!

Hello Campers!

Again, I know, I’ve been quite slack in posting anything except music these past few weeks.  I’ve just been quite busy, that’s why!

Wow, can you believe we’re in the middle of August already?  Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas! 😉

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I’d like to set up at a venue at the end of the month and when asked, I don’t normally turn it down as it’s a nice change from just setting up at the normal Cliftonville Farmers Market each month.

The new venue is an annual festival that takes place in the next town over, in Ramsgate at the Royal Harbor.  It’s called the Ramsgate Arts Summer Squall and it runs for three days over the bank holiday weekend.  This is their third year for it and Janice, the lady who is organising it said that it gets lots of people, especially since it is a bank holiday weekend.  There will also be another event going on during the same weekend called the Harbor Steam which will attract even more people!  I’m just hoping that the weather is nice!

Ramsgate Royal Harbour

A bit of trivia:  The Ramsgate Harbor is the only harbor in all of the UK with the designation of ‘Royal’.

I’ll be set up at Cliftonville on Sunday the 26th and then at Ramsgate on Monday the 27th.  I’ve been trying to make enough stock to cover me for both days, along with some new items that I will be taking to Ramsgate only, including whoopie pies, brownies, bread dip mix and some new jam flavors like Apricot, Passion Fruit & Brandy Jam, which I just made today.

I still have plums, raspberries and cherries to work with yet and I’m thinking about making some other baked goodie to go along with the whoopie pies and brownies.

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Looking forward to watching TV tonight as the new series of the Great British Bake Off starts.  I love watching the contestants making things that don’t always turn out…nobody is perfect! (actually, I really like watching it because of Paul Hollywood and those gorgeous blue eyes of his! ~ I’m a sucker for blue eyes, which is why I fell for Chef P!)

Sorry this is a short post, but I didn’t want you all to think I’ve abandoned you!

It’s now time to head back into the kitchen and get dinner prep going on…salmon fillets, broccoli and noodles.  Easy prep, but it still has to be done.  Have a good afternoon and evening all!

♥  Terri  ♥

 

 

So What’s Been Going On?

Good Day, Dear Reader!

Now I realise I haven’t been around for a few days, (with the exception of the Sunday Song posts) but I’ve been a bit busy having things taken care of around the house here.

I get lots of light coming in from the windows and sky light

First off, all last week I spent giving the kitchen a THOROUGH cleaning.  I have a fairly large kitchen, so it can take a while to get through it all.  On Monday, after cleaning the bathroom in the morning, I started in the kitchen with the upper portion, armed with my stepladder and a wet rag, wiping down the molding that goes all the way around where the wall meets the ceiling, along with the top of the fridge and the top of any cabinets I could reach.  I also got a bit of a workout as I had to keep getting up and down off the stepladder to keep rinsing the rag out. (burn, calories, burn!)

The next day, I tackled the mid section, working on the cabinets, walls and windows and sill and removed everything from the counters (a bit at a time) and wiped everything down…whew!

On Wednesday, I worked on the lower half, did a good vacuuming and sweeping and then a mopping of the floor.  After doing all of that, I didn’t want to mess up my kitchen by having to cook, but alas, I did…

Thursday was taken up by vacuuming the rest of the house and finally getting a bit of a rest afterwards!

Remember me mentioning that the fan oven on my range had broken?  Well the guy was finally here this past Friday to fix it and, yay, it’s fixed!  My only gripe was that he called and said he would be here between 11:00 and 2:00 and didn’t show up until after 2:30!   I can now bake my bread properly again.  It just didn’t seem to be coming out the way it should in the other oven; it wasn’t rising correctly and it wasn’t cooking all the way through…yuck.

Are you still with me, because I’m probably boring the hell out of you!  I’m very sorry, but I don’t have much else to mention right now as I haven’t really baked or cooked anything of great interest lately.  Besides, this blog is about anything and everything that goes on in my kitchen, so why not just talk about cleaning it and posting some pictures of it?

On Monday, we had two of our windows fixed.  One in the bedroom; the handle broke off a while ago and then one in the kitchen; the handle didn’t break off, but it was worn and wouldn’t open.  Now, they’re both fixed and all windows can be opened again!  The kitties don’t have to fight now over who gets the window upstairs. 🙂

Yesterday I finally got back to making things for the market which is a week from Sunday.  Chef P got me some blackberries so I decided to make something different, so made Blackberry Chutney.  You really can’t taste chutney right away to see how it is as it’s one of those things that needs to mature for a bit before you eat it.  Today, I’m in the middle of making Orange Marmalade…

Chef P is taking tomorrow off and we’re heading down to Broadstairs for the Olympic Torch Relay.  It will be going right past Mummy-in-law’s flats, so we’ll be up on her balcony with a great view!  Sorry to say, I’m not that interested in actually watching the Olympics themselves, but watching the torch go by is an historic event and want to be part of it.

So that’s what’s going on right now in Terri’s Kitchen.  I figured a slightly terribly boring post was better than no post at all, right?  (Humor me.)

A Little Bit Less and the Market

Good Day Dearest Readers!

It’s time for me to start getting into gear again for the new season of Terri’s Kitchen at the Cliftonville Market, so I may not be posting as often, but I will try to keep up.  You will see ‘Song for a Sunday’ over the next couple of weeks as I’ve already scheduled those to post…and no, I’m not telling you what’s coming.  You’ll have to wait until Sunday!  The first market for me for the year is in five weeks and I’ll need to get myself reorganized and into the swing of things with making preserves and pickles.

Today I did an inventory to update my list and also re-priced nearly 50 jars at a discount due to the labels getting ruined the last time I was at the market due to the rain.  I felt it would just be too much of a hassle to redo labels and that just discounting them would be much easier.  For those of you who go to the market, the discounts will run from 10%-40% off, depending on how bad the label looks!

Keep an eye on the side bar to the right under the CLIFTONVILLE MARKET NEWS widget to see what new flavors I’ll have.  You should start to see some new items listed within the next 7-10 days.  I do know that some of the items to start off will be orange marmalade, lemon marmalade, fig chutney or jam and something with cranberries although I don’t know exactly what.  Any suggestions?  Also, if there’s something you would like to see at my stand, please let me know and I’ll see about trying to make it.

See you in five weeks!

Simple Pleasures

(Soooo…do you all like the new look??)

Welcome to Friday everyone!  The end of the workweek and the beginning of the weekend…Woo Hoo!

I’ve been very busy this week making various jams, butters and chutneys in preparation for the Christmas fair at the end of November.  I’m not only setting up there, but the regular farmer’s market is the next day!  Therefore, it’s a busy, busy time for me over the next three weeks as I’ll need to have enough inventory for both days.

Today, I decided to make more quince butter as I received such a glut of them last week.  In fact, I have more than I could possibly use…I must have gotten about 200 quince.  Unfortunately, they are starting to go bad and I’ve had to dump a good bit of them onto the compost heap in the back garden, but still can salvage many of them.

While I was peeling and cutting up the quince, the postman slipped the mail through the mail slot in the door.  (Nobody seems to have mail boxes in this country…everyone has a mail slot on their front door and the mailman rides a bike to deliver the mail…no mail truck for him!)  I washed my hands and then went to see what goodies came through the magic slot!

As I approached the door, I could see that two catalogs came through…oh goodie!  I LOVE receiving catalogs as they give me an excuse to sit down with a cuppa and peruse through them to see what I’d like to purchase.  Now that doesn’t mean I WILL purchase, but it’s nice to dream.

One of the catalogs was from House of Bath which sells household goods such as rugs, small tables, knick knacks, linens, things for the bath, etc.  I’ve purchased from them before and this is their Christmas catalog.  The other one is from Steamer Trading Cookshop which made my eyes light up and say ‘ooh!’  I adore this store…almost as much as Lakeland  Both of them have stores in Canterbury which is close by, but far enough away that I can’t get to it by walking a couple of miles.  P and I have gone by train on a few occasions and Canterbury is a great little shopping city.  Otherwise I would be spending too much money in both of them, although I do order by phone from Lakeland.

So while the quince are cooking down, I thought I’d go make myself a nice cuppa and my lunch, and have a sit down with my new catalog.

Have a great weekend everyone…and just think, only 51 more shopping days till Christmas!

T~