We went a-foraging

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Autumn is my favourite season. I know I’ve said that before, and I’ve said it about other seasons. But autumn is absolutely my favourite. It’s the time when you can see nature at work around you, busy with the last push of productivity before winter sets in. It’s a great time to get out and nick gather or forage the wonderful goodies that nature puts out there for us. It seems that, for most people, foraging doesn’t really go beyond picking a few blackberries out of the hedges by the footpaths. But if you spent most of your childhood Octobers being dragged around the hedges looking for sloes and crab apples, you’ll be aware of how much more is out there. And I’m sure I only know a fraction of what’s available for the hard-core forager. Continue reading “We went a-foraging”

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Respect your Elders: Two Ideas for How.

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It’s just about the middle of the elderflower season here. Since any blossom is only out for a short time, the differences in timing across the country is quite stark. For example at the weekend we took a wander up the hill (these are Swiss hills, you understand, not little English mounds,) to a village that is 530 ft higher than the city, and their lilac was still in full bloom, whereas ours was more than a month ago. And my boyfriend’s parents had the peak of their elderflower season a good few weeks ago, and their village is a good 700 or so feet closer to sea level than I am.

But I digress. Every year, I see the flowers on the elder trees and bushes and I think “oh I must make some elderflower cordial / champagne / gin / vodka.” I love foraging, the idea of making scrumptious things from natural ingredients Continue reading “Respect your Elders: Two Ideas for How.”

Plums, the third.

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So, the feeling of spring is in the air. I remember writing that 6 months ago about the feeling of autumn, but unfortunately I haven’t really been able to write it about winter. Winter has been AWOL across the most of Europe this year: at my neck of the woods autumn has skipped straight over winter and into spring, following a pattern of seasons something like that suggested by the Pythons: Continue reading “Plums, the third.”

Plums, the second.

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So, 4lb 12 oz mirabelle plums down, 7lb 12oz  *insert species here* plums to go. (I’m not good on my plum species classification. We didn’t cover that at school…) They were that beautiful, well, plum, purple, flesh somewhere between yellow and green. But I’d had enough of jam-making for one week, so I had to find another option.

One of the things that I associate with autumn (albeit later autumn than this, normally straight after the first frost,) is Sloe Gin. Continue reading “Plums, the second.”

Plums, the first.

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There’s nothing like the smell of cooking plums to get that lovely warm autumnal feeling going. Even if the weather is giving me doubts about the season (it’s not) I’d be pretty sure where I was just from that smell. The taste and smell of plums completely absolutely encapsulates the feeling of my favourite season.
So I was extremely happy when I spent the night after the latest (and last) wedding of the year at the house of some friends who live considerably more rurally than I do, and discovered that they have both a plum tree and a mirabelle plum tree producing more fruit than they could use. (Well, what could I do, it was only my duty…) Continue reading “Plums, the first.”