Thursday, 15 August 2013

Three unrelated pieces of information.

First of all, there has been an interesting happening in our garden.  We have a group of Scot's pine trees which have been up for almost a hundred years.   They are planted next to the farmhouse in order to protect it in Winter from the prevailing winds.   It is under these trees that we site all our bird feeders and it is on the trunks of these trees that we put our various bird boxes.   Greater spotted woodpeckers have commandeered one of the boxes!   They have pecked the entrance hole bigger (the box was originally put up to house nesting tits) and as I write this I can see a young woodpecker popping in and out of the hole.   I don't know whether or not they actually had their nest there, but I have to say that the parents and the two young seem to spend most of the day chipping the bark off the trees or hanging on to the peanut feeders - they certainly think of it as home now.

Now to two recipes I have made up over the last week and which have been so successful that I thought I would share them with you.

We have an enormous crop of blackcurrants - the best in years.   The trouble with them is that they take so much going over before being made into jam.   I intended to let the blackbirds have the lot and then I had an idea.   The farmer picked a pan full each day for almost a week.   I washed them but didn't bother to top and tail or pick them over, I just added the minimum of water and cooked them down very gently.   I then put them in a sieve over a bowl overnight.   I added the smallest amount of sugar and poured the thick liquid into used, washed-out yoghourt pots and froze them.
Yesterday we have relations to tea.   I thawed out several of the pots and we had the syrup poured over vanilla ice cream - absolutely delicious.

I needed a quick sauce for pasta for lunch.   I chopped and cooked two red onions in a drop of olive oil until the onion was transparent, then added a tin of plum tomatoes and a small tin of tomato paste, breaking it all down with a wooden spoon until I had a thick 'mush'.
I put this into my very slow small oven for about an hour, then added a handful of finely chopped basil.    At lunch time I reheated it and stirred in a handful of grated parmesan at the last minute.   It was delicious (I ate far too much of it).

Yesterday was a lovely day - friend S for coffee in the morning and the farmer's niece and her family in the afternoon.   No need to cook today as there is plenty left from yesterday's tea to eat up, so I shall have a leisurely morning before my weekly hair appointment.
Another busy day tomorrow.   Where do the days go?


Cro Magnon said...

The more 'simple' a pasta sauce, the better they are. I once had an Italian girlfriend who made a wonderful sauce with olive oil, garlic, and half a chicken stock cube. She said it was how everyone in Rome ate their pasta (this was in the late 60's)!

Heather said...

Your simple recipes sound delicious - what good ideas for saving time and effort but not losing any flavour.
How exciting to have woodpecker neighbours - such a treat.

angryparsnip said...

I love the Gila Woodpeckers that we have in Tucson. So different from yours.
Oh to have an enormous crop of blackcurrents. I like your sauce idea. It sounds perfect.
I too like the simple sauces.

cheers, parsnip

Hildred said...

Love your new header and your sauce recipes, Pat. I eat very simply these days and they sound like just the ticket to make my humble dishes more sophisticated, in a simple manner.

Hildred said...

Cro Magnon's suggestion appeals to me too!

MorningAJ said...

You can never eat too much Italian tomato sauce. Trust me. Sounds heavenly.

MarmaladeRose said...

Wow! You're making my mouth water!

rochefleuriegarden said...

Thank you for the suggestion on how to use black currants. We too, here in Ontario, had the biggest black currant crop I can remember. I made a lot of jam and now I am in the process of trying to make "Creme de cassis", black currant liqueur.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for calling. I shall definitely try Cro's idea,

thousandflower said...

I wash my black currants put them in a pan with a little water, cook them until soft and put through a Foley food mill (any sieve or food mill would do. Then I use the slurry for jam or strain through a jelly bag to can as juice. We dilute the juice, a pint of juice in a half gallon jar of water with about 1/4 cup sugar for a great drink.