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Please help a novice...


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Definitely custard.  Don't bother with all that eggs and milk stuff

either:  Bird's Eye is fine if you can get it and it's got to be served

hot for authenticity.

Not so sure about Birds Eye, don't they sell frozen peas?[6]

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[quote user="Clair"]
Sweet, it has to be cold custard for me! Dare I suggest you try the Crème Anglaise sold near the cakes mixes...?

No, Clair, not that "foreign muck"  surely![:P]

Too thin, too sweet; just won't do!

Got to be too thick, too yellow and full of E numbers; otherwise, it won't taste right!

Anyway, it's St George's Day today (patron saint of England) so the custard has to be gooey and suitably stodgey, otherwise it won't be English, will it?[I] 

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[quote user="Pierre ZFP"]

Yes and that Elizabethan favourite

Crispy Codpieces [+o(]



Pierre, do you mean Elizabethan as in QE1 or our dear present QE2?

If the former, where can you get these nice bits of battered fish cooked from frozen nowadays?

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  • 1 year later...
[quote user="Clair"]I am in the process of buying a small plot of land, part of which will become a small veg patch measuring approximately 8m x 5m.

The plot used to be a veggie patch, but has been neglected over the last 2 or 3 years and it will probably be another 2 or 3 months before I can call it my own and start clearing the weeds.

It is south-west facing and the soil is rich, more sandy than clay.




I looked back for this thread, wondering how long ago it was posted...

It has taken all this time to get all six of the grown-up (by age, if not behaviour!) children who inherited to agree to the sale of the small plots on the side of our house.

One of the children has a legal guardian, whose agreement had to be sought, and another was made bankrupt at the end of last year and lost control of his financial affairs to a faceless bureaucrat, thereby adding yet another person whose approval had to be sought.

Even though the sale had been agreed in principle at the time I posted here, it was only at the end of last month that I finally handed over the cheque and signed in the numerous boxes...

As we have bookings until September, there will be no chance to do any gardening or preparation work until the autumn... [:(]

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  • 11 months later...
Back in April 09, I posted this picture of our future veggie plot:


This is what it looks like today:


This morning, I picked 800g (1 lb 11oz [:)]) of blueberries from the three bushes we planted earlier this year.

I get a couple of courgettes every day ( and an occasional sort-of marrow). The tomatoes are flourishing on their oak frame and I am looking forward to some butternut squashes and celeriac this autumn.

Roasted beetroot taste even nicer when they're picked that morning and I had a hard time convincing the garden centre people that yes, you could eat yellow and red chard!

I'm not quite sure that I'll grow artichoke again, but it is easy to grow, even if it is BIG!

I have battled and vanquished the caterpillars on the broccoli  [:D] but I was very cross to lose over 50% of the onions to some unknown, sneaky underground voracious beastie [6].

So far , a pretty good crop for a first try! [:)]

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Thank you Sue [:)]

Mr Clair did all the ground work (steps, digging & levelling, wall repairs, beds), whilst I concentrated on the planning and planting... But that's what teamwork is about, right? [Www]

There will be more flowers next year, although most of those I planted this year have yet to flower. I'll get more organised and plan it so we can have colour throughout the seasons.

We have loads and loads and loads of plums again this year, even more than last year... [blink]

I still have about 10kg in the freezer. Does anyone know how I can make jam with them when the stones are still inside? [8-)]

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Clair, that's looking really good!

Re plum jam, I've never done it, but I understand that the stones rise to the top and you then skim them off with a slotted spoon. Frozen  plum stones may start to give an almond flavour to the plums! This year we have none, nor mirabelles.  Last year we had too many. But that's gardening for you!

An organic tomato grower told us always to plant french marigolds between tomato plants. I dont know what it does, but the results are good and the plot looks pretty.

Dont forget to rotate crops in your lovely raised beds and dont plant root crops in beds you manured the previous autumn!


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 Apparently, you weigh the fruit complete with stones and boil until the stones loosen and rise to the surface.  You then fish out all the stones and weigh them so that you know how much weight to subtract in order to work out how much sugar to put in the jam.

Simple, huh?  And such a nice non-sticky, clean job that won't involve lots of pans, spoons and skimming implement...

As you will have gathered, I haven't actually tried doing this straightforward task![:D]

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[quote user="suein56"][quote user="sweet 17"] As you will have gathered, I haven't actually tried doing this straightforward task![:D][/quote]

Yeah but, at least you know what to do, which is more than I did !



... and more than I did [:D]

Thanks for the tips confused and Sweet.

I will give it a try and report [:)].

I am the only one thinking it strange that stones would float? [8-)] [blink]

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They DO float, in real lilfe. Well, they did float for me when I stewed plums, and I couldn't be bothered to take the stones out. It was much easier to remove them then, than it would be when the fruit is raw.

In fact, that is also what happened when I made plum jam last year. I didn't know that it is what you are supposed to be doing. I think that leaving the stones in, is supposed to help the jam to set, as they release pectin?

By the way Clair, I am green with envy when I see your garden. It's great, well done!

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You probably know this already, Clair.  Plum stones apparently have something (pectin, perhaps?) in them which makes the jam set very readily.

Therefore, I wouldn't use the special jam sugar in case the jam ends up too thick.

As for stones...this is one occasion when the French have more words than the English; noyaux and not cailloux [:D]  I am told that these stones come to the surface quite readily.

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[quote user="5-element"]I am green with envy when I see your garden. It's great, well done![/quote]

Thanks 5-e (and thanks to WoolyB, too for his post earlier).

It is still quite untidy at the front and side, where we need to replace the rotten chestnut posts and the wire-fence.

This was all done in a bit of a rush and the front wall is not solid enough in its current state to support the extra soil and stones needed to level the area before the fencing is replaced.

A neighbour donated a load of manure and I'll have more next year, as I have spent a lot of time helping his wife to help her with her first-ever computer and getting online for the first time... Fair swap of resources! [:D]

I shall get on with jamming this week...

I have read about variations to the basic recipe, with cloves or cardamom. I have more than enough fruit in the freezer to try those, and even more to come to try more combinations...

When I last made apricot jam, I poured some pear alcohol (eau de vie de poire) on top of the fruit in the jar before sealing it.

Any suggestions?

Rosemary? Basil? Mint?

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