Peaches, cats and more

If I were to say it’s been busy here, then that’s nothing new. This week has been a bit beyond the norm even for this place however. We’ve been fruit picking – red currants, Morellos (though these were picked for us), jostaberries, blackberries and delicious yellow peaches.

Usually I make a bucketload of apricot chutney but as you might remember, the apricots I purchased were a great disappointment. Thankfully the peaches will fill the gap, and now two huge jam pans are bubbling on the stove with peach chutney in the making.

IMG_1392The red currants were frozen immediately when we arrived home (the trip in the car in the heat did them no favours). I just plop them out in a solid block from freezer container to pan. If the specified amount of water is boiled and poured over them, they soon melt down into the pot.

IMG_1395Strawberries too have come our way, and have been made into strawberry chilli sauce. Usually I use this primarily with fish. However, I’m told it is also excellent with chicken.
There’s been a Berry Bliss class also in and around all the preserving – amongst other things gooseberry pies were made, what a treat. I am so lucky to have at least ten kilos of them in the freezer.

Swedish pancakes were filled with a lightly sweetened labna and topped with mixed berry coulis, a raspberry cream cheesecake slice, mixed berry jam, raspberry/blackcurrant syrup, and elderflower, and lots more berry things were made. We are so lucky to have such an abundance of produce in the region.

IMG_1390IMG_1391Robert has faithfully peeled the onions for the chutney thank goodness, and now has moved on to his familiar place at the sink – this time washing bottles as his latest brewing experiment is about ready.

IMG_1397Now, on the matter of animals – can anyone tell me if there is a way to stop one naughty MIss Rosie cat beating up little Truffles? Mind you, I think Truffles knows how to work the system. As soon as Rosie appears on the scene she starts to howl like a cat-banshee, which brings me running to scold the offender, and makes Poppy chase Rosie away.

Would it be good to adopt another kitten I wonder? Another female for instance? I don’t really understand cat psychology so I should be careful. Maybe Truffles would in time have two seeking her out for harassment. Tom just watches them with indulgence and sometimes annoyance, hissing in their direction every now and then as a warning not to disturb his sleep.

Truffles herself has not a nasty bone in her body. The worst she does by way of catching birds is to find a feather on the ground from, for instance, a parrot that has been moulting. She rolls over and over it, purring at the top of her little lungs. What a sweetie.
Anyway, any advice appreciated. I am always happy to add to the menagerie here, especially cats of course.

And as for the photos – apologies if there’s a certain sameness about them – pots boiling on the stove etc, but that’s what we do here, what we love – working with the best of fresh, local produce, capturing the essence of the seasons in jars and bottles.

This final photo is one of butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth, Miss Rosie. Don’t be deceived by the sweet look and show of affection, she’s a little tartar, but we can’t help but admire her spirit. She is devoted to Robert and I think that’s where the problem lies – jealousy, in case anything else should threaten to share his affection.

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