Taking Stock – August

Making: my first sourdough loaf in over a month today, it’s a baking morning

Countryfile Live at the beginning of August

Cooking: chicken something later, for dinner

Drinking: jasmine tea, it’s cooler now (high teens to 20 degrees) so the kettle’s on more

Reading: Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes. Paris for One is a lovely novella

Wanting: to make cheese scones for Someone, but no butter and only just enough cheese!

Playing: the radio, good music on a Friday morning to bake to

An evening dinner and cruise trip from Stratford Upon Avon. This was my first time going through locks. It was great fun. I can’t persuade anyone to do a short narrow boat holiday however. When we met up this month I informed Patch and Mr P that they need to buy their own sharpish!

Deciding: to buy more new / old music soon

Wishing: the heating could just be on for a sneaky hour, but it doesn’t work like that with underfloor gadgetry

Enjoying: summer fruits still, especially for breakfast

Waiting: for the next series of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Liking: this year’s nectarines and peaches

Wondering: when my Whirl yarn will change colour

Loving: that I crocheted NINE rows the other day !!!!!!

Pondering: if it was wise to continue after two, but it was so good (ouch!) My appointment is next week

West Wycombe Park, National Trust a few weeks ago

The Music Temple on the island

Green walnuts

Music on Summer Sunday’s are such a nice idea. West Wycombe brass band sounded very good

Considering: listening to another film review Wittertainment podcast

Buying: tissues ready for autumn sniffles

Watching: Mamma Mia 2 for the fourth time (yesterday.) That has to stop also!

Hoping: my adaption of a milk bread sourdough recipe works. It uses discarded starter as I’m still looking for good ways to use it, which isn’t pancakes! I tried an overnight proof too and it’s worked out ok, I think, I hope. The loaves are cooling at the moment

Marvelling: at how happy some films can make you feel (MM2)

Cringing: at French & Saunders on Netflix, they were funny back in the day….

Needing: the guy opposite (I call him ‘the plonker’) to go with flow and put his wheelie bin out the night before, not at 05:55

Questioning: matters of inequality – News stories

It’s a bit further on now but I’ll show you again when the yarn has changed colour!

Smelling: freshly baked bread

Wearing: my dressing gown

Following: food trends

Knowing: food is food is food, whatever is fashionable

Thinking: I should fold my salt into my sourdough soon

Admiring: articulate people who express their emotions beautifully

Meeting nice people for cake, pots of tea and to share some books in Birmingham. Look at the bull all decked out for summer! Chest hair too…

Sorting: birthday cards

Getting: keen to make soup

Bookmarking: inspirational articles, then forgetting to read them

Coveting: beautiful hands and nails

Disliking: mine!

Opening: mail, it’s always official and boring these days

Giggling: at 1949 Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico. It was partly filmed a mile away in Lambeth by a real WW2 bomb site. It was good rainy Sunday viewing (Free on Amazon Prime)

The 13th annual Festival of Transport at Blenheim Palace. The mod and his Vespa was my favourite, I hope he won a Best of category

Feeling: bakey! (If that’s a real word, if not I’ve invented it)

Snacking: carrots! Always carrots

Helping: buy a buddleia plant

Hearing: traffic

Mixing: my homemade curry powder blend, mayo and mango chutney for coronation chicken salads this summer, it’s been my latest fad

Worrying: at an annoying knot in my Scheepjes Whirl with a darning needle. I think I made it unravelling a row

Slicing: bread, later

Celebrating: the end of August, I’m ready for a new month and I like autumn, although September weather is looking good and sunny. Hurray!

The blackberries are over already and the horse chestnuts are losing their leaves earlier than usual

Forgetting: nothing, hopefully

Winning: £2:60 on the Euromillion draw last Friday

Pretending: tonight will be my so far elusive £22 + million win

Sneaking: cherries

Embracing: my own foibles

If you’re in the EU and would like win a ball of Scheepjes Whirl, see this post. You have until noon BST today!

Sunshine & raspberries

Yesterday we had a properly sunny day; it felt like summer with blue skies and fluffy white clouds and not a raindrop in sight. So Mum and I set off to the local pick-your-own farm (with we’ve-picked-some-for-you farm shop and cafe complete with bouncy castle) to plunder the fruit.

We picked raspberries and black-currants but gave up on the strawberries. To be honest lots were moudy or unripe from too much rain and they are sitting on soggy straw. When I got home I whipped out a couple of bags of sugar from my pantry, weighed them had just enough for a batch of jam. My first ever batch of raspberry jam. It’s incredibly quick to make and very, very easy. I’ve always made various chutneys: apple & orange, spiced apple, apple apricot & peach, apple & rhubarb, marrow chutney etc etc in the autumn because we’ve been lucky enough to have gardens with apple trees. I’ve also made jellies: chilli & apple jelly, mint jelly, rosemary jelly etc but never jam – apart from helping Mum when I was growing up – mainly because I’ve never eaten much. This seems to have changed in recent years and we get through a steady supply of Bonne Maman preserves. Now it’s going to be Bonne Rachell! *cheesy but pleased with self*

Raspberry jam

900g raspberries – wash and put in a heavy based pan, they need to gently cook in their own juice for about 10 minutes until soft

Take off the heat, stir in 900g sugar until dissolved

Add a knob of butter and bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until setting point has been reached. Tip: put a few saucers in the freezer, to test SP put a small spoonful of jam onto the saucer, if it winkles when pushed with your finger a minute or two later it’s ready.

Remove scum. Pot in sterilised jars, cover. Lick spoons/fingers. Clean up. (I also found a splash of jam on my foot last night!)

This recipe made 4 pots of jam though only 3 are shown.