Monday, 9 September 2013

Quiet Autumn Activity



The weekend passed in a hum of seasonal productivity. Saturday was good. After a tedious morning we decided to salvage something from the day and went bramble picking. We walked along the old railway line and were rewarded with plentiful fruit and a huge improvement in everyone's mood. Sometimes all you need is to get out of the house for an hour and do something like pick brambles.


Inspired by Sue's post about jellies I decided to have a go at making bramble jelly, rather than bramble (or blackberry) and apple jam as I usually do. I washed and weighed my fruit (not quite as much as I thought, annoyingly) then added two chopped apples and simmered it for twenty minutes. 



Then came the straining bit. I don't have a proper jelly strainer so I rigged up an old piece of fabric (I did wash it first) on the clothes airer with some pegs. The only place for it was by the kitchen door, next to the muddy trainers. I'm pretty sure Nigella does exactly the same thing. 



I left it overnight to strain, then on Sunday boiled the juice with some sugar until it was set, then poured it into my jars.


I got one and a half jars. Actually, I like it when I have half a jar as that one doesn't count and can be eaten straight away. 



It has the most beautiful deep, jewel-like colour.


Absolutely delicious. I think this will be good on top of rice pudding, which I plan to make this week. It was also very good on top of bread.


I've been working on few little crochet projects. The small flowers will eventually become a garland for a friend's birthday. 


And the squares, which are from this fantastic book, will be strung together into a sort of bunting/garland affair. Trust me, it works.


I've also been slowly making more squares (of a different pattern) which I forgot to photograph. I started this project on holiday and it will eventually become a big blanket for our bed. Probably by autumn 2014, at the rate I'm making them. 36 down, 160 to go... But that's fine. I am finally learning that it's about enjoying the process, not rushing to complete.

The weather is still cool. There is a nip in the air and blankets and throws are coming out of the cupbords and going onto beds and sofas.  We been lighting the fire in the evenings. I say lighting, when I really mean turning a switch, as we have one of those pretend coal gas fire type affairs. When we installed it we both wanted a wood burning stove but we said to ourselves no, it will look silly in our 1940's three bed semi, too "faux country", let's get something low maintenance and sensible. But every winter when my friends place their orders for wood deliveries and talk about the pleasure of lighting that first fire of the season, and I see so many cosy images of stoves and open fires on blogs and instagram...well, I wish we'd gone for the stove every time. One day we'll have a stove.










47 comments:

  1. That jelly is so jewel like. I could just eat some on toast! The crochet is lovely you clever thing! Xxx

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  2. Gorgeous crochet - very impressive, I look forward to seeing the finished blanket.
    We also collected brambles, I made a Jamie Oliver bramble cake (recipe in Mail tv supplement) which was enjoyed by all the family.
    We're getting our winter delivery of logs for the wood burning stove this weekend, I love seeing them piled up in the wood store ready for winter. I'm very lucky, we also have a coal fire in the sitting room - so cosy!

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  3. Okay.
    I'm embarrassed.
    I have no clue whatsoever as to what a Bramble is!!!!
    I have never heard that word in all of my life, but I'll tell you they look gorgeous! And delicious! You're so correct about half jars, I don't know how it even made it through the day! That stuff looks so yummy! Now you have put me in the mood for jam on toast, yum!
    I loved the strainer idea! You have to do with what you have and you did just fine I'd say!
    Much love,
    Tammy

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  4. Gosh that looks good. And I'm with Tammy on this I have never heard of a Bramble even after living in the UK for 5 years. I'm loving your "straining' device.......genius! xo

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  5. Good idea with the straining, whatever works, right? It will be a little while before we have a fire but I really wanted a gas one when we renovated our fireplace a few years ago. It would have required running a line to the main gas line which would have necessitated holes in walls and other unpleasantness so we kept the original wood fire. We mostly burn pine here (or pinon, in Spanish) and it smells so wonderful outdoors at night when people are having fires.

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  6. Those photos really are delicious, and I had a good laugh at the Nigella bit! Happy to have found your blog and look forward to reading more from you.

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  7. I love jelly-jam, like you it's for the amazing colour as much as for taste. I make a few tiny jars of redcurrant jelly every november from my one bush so i can glaze the strawberry tarts i make on my daughters every birthday and i also make arpricot jelly, as i have an autum pear tart recipe that is heavenly and requires half a jar per tart.
    I have in my head brambles as any kind of sharp bush that grows wild and bears fruit, but now i think of it bramble does mean blackberries because of my daughters 'Brambly Hedge' books which all show blackberries clear as day between the brambles!

    ps. i so agree nothing better than a forage for clearing the head and black moods x

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  8. I don't have a proper strainer either so use a metal steamer lined with muslin - there'll be a post about it eventually. I was hoping to go blackberrying this weekend but then the rain arrived. I did get a few a couple of weeks ago but have frozen them until I decide what to make. I love your colour choices for the crochet flowers. x

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  9. Ooooooh that bramble jelly looks amazing!
    I am loving all of your crochet Gillian and i totally agree ..... it is the journey and not just the destination that is so enjoyable.
    I too have would love a real fire ..... one day maybe!
    love jooles xxx

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  10. Jellytastic! Love the rigged up jelly bag which was of course how everyone used to do it. My jelly stand is very hard to put together and the red paint has started flaking off into the jelly so I've been looking at new ones but I really like Julie's muslin and steamer idea -might give that a try when it is time to make quince jelly. And yes half jars are always seen as a bonus here too!

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  11. Your bramble jelly looks wonderful! Blackberry-picking is a great mood-lifter for everyone I find! Love your growing pile of bunting components too - so nice having small projects on the go as well as a big one. Happy September days, Gillian! E x

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  12. I am hankering to make Bramble jelly. My plan is to make mini hampers for family and friends at Christmas. There is an abundance of blackberries here this year. There are lots of Sloes too. Have you ever made Sloe Gin? Try it. Very easy, and lovely to sip at Christmas.

    I love your fooodie and crafty pics!

    Leanne xx

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  13. Lovely. I made bramble jelly last year, and I had a huge piece of muslin attached to an upturned stool and balanced on the kitchen cabinets. It was incredibly precarious, but it did work. We're still eating it now, it's lovely. It was my favourite jam when I was little.

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  14. I expect that Nigella uses her old tights to do the straining - washed of course!! Loving the crochet, I have had my eye on that book, but now I really need it. I understand about the fire thing. When we reno'd our (1950/60's) house 10 years ago we put in a gas fire. It is a pain to light (laying on your tummy on the floor - agggghh) so it gets used once a year when the gas man comes to service it. I wish that we had a log burner or open fire. My parents just put in a log burner - I am waaaaayy envious.

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  15. Thats looks fab! Lovely pictures! Jxx

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  16. Oooh Gillian your bramble jelly looks delicious and I love the pretty piece of vintage fabric on the lid! I would love a real fire, maybe one day :)
    Caroline xx

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  17. Oooh it looks delicious. Love that straining system! And all that crochet too, what a busy bee! x

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  18. Ha, I started a blanket for our bed over a year and a half ago....it's probably the size of a toddler bed at the moment, all rich autumnal wools, but is to 'adult' in colour for the boys room...so will also be plugging away at it for a while. Yours looks more delicate and managable somehow. beautiful

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  19. My "BIG" blanket winks at me every time I open the drawer but gently does it!
    Your jelly looks jewelicious.

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  20. I'm getting so close to having enough brambles/blackberries to make jelly - I just need to stop the kids from gobbling so many on our walks! I have a jelly strainer, but honestly, your method looks easier and more sturdy! Chrissie x ps lovely crochet!

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  21. What a lovely post full of favourite things. I love Bramble jelly, although I've not made my own yet. Luckily Mummy supplies me still! And crochet of course is always agreeable. Love your beautiful flowers and squares, I don't doubt they'll look gorgeous.

    S x

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  22. Yum, that jelly looks delicious. I'm loving those crochet squares, they're so pretty and your tension is so neat.

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  23. What a lovely way to spend an autumnal day, very little beats getting out and going bramble picking, how I miss it. I made some jam with it last year after friends collected some for me and I have to admit I absolutely loved it, so I sent my lot out over the weekend with just that in mind, but apparently ours aren't ready yet, so please enjoy that half a jar, it most certainly doesn't count it is all for eating straight away. Your crochet flowers are looking so very pretty and will make a gorgeous garland. As for your blanket, I think there is something very special about making something over several years, it carries so many memories and therefore makes it a great deal more special. I do however still struggle with wanting it all done now, I have to confess, it is a lesson that is going to take me some time to learn. Enjoy getting cosy, we have yet to sweep the chimney's, just think sometimes a switch comes in very handy!! Sending you much love Gillian xoxo

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  24. I love blackberries! I use them to make tarte, I find this so yummy. I just made one yesterday evening! We had a lovely weather (the summer kind) until Friday, but since then, it definitely seems that Autumn is settling in.

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  25. ohhhhh love the granny square....can I ask what pattern book you are using? looks lovely!

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    1. Hi there. The flowers are from Mollie Makes issue 24 and the squares from the book Granny Squares by Susan Pinner.

      Gillian x

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  26. Your squares look delightful. What a brilliant way to strain the fruit, love it.

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  27. Oh I've learnt something new today, didn't know backberries were also called bramble berries! I love blackberry jelly, it's my favourite, together with quince jelly.. My grandma used to make them, yummy on a slice of brioche or with baguette and slightly salted butter for breakfast!! You make me want to go and buy some!

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  28. I love your blog! It makes me so happy when I read it because it reminds me so much of my days with my two sons when they were young. I stayed home with them, too and it has been the best decision my husband and I have ever made. You create a wonderful, happy home for your two with memories all of you will cherish.

    I also love your granny squares!

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  29. I was going to say I love the look of the jelly, and the granny square and the flowers - in fact - it's a very pretty post. Thank you! :) x

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  30. Gillian you are quite the lovely home maker with your gorgeous jelly and pretty crochet. I love your squares and the pastel shades you have chosen. Wrap up, it certainly feels like Autumn is on its way xox Penny

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  31. Oh I do love Autumn! And I have a wooden burning stove or fireplace on my wishlist for a home if we ever take the plunge and buy again. Your crocheting is gorgeous by the way! x

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  32. I would put a wood burning stove in a 1940s house as it would have originally had open fires anyway, you can get so very modern looking ones if you are worried about it looking odd with a more modern decor. We have a wood burner in our house (late 20s terrace) and it is the best thing we have spent money on in the house. It heats the whole house in winter! Love your crocheting and bramble jelly, you have reminded me that we need to go blackberrying too :)

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  33. Love the strainer got loads of blackberries at the weekend and set to make jelly tomorrow .went to Lakeland today all set to buy a jelly bag ,then saw the price for what looked like a net curtain! I have fished an old muslin cloth and you have solved the hanging problem ,thank you .jenny

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  34. Oh your jelly looks beautiful Gillan. The crochet is looking pretty spiffy too. I like having a couple of projects on the go, keeps me interested..I do so love your posts, always beautiful x

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  35. your crochet looks lovely.

    There is something so inviting about blackberry jelly/jam isn't there. the colour begs to be eaten.

    we have a stove in our 1930's house. We wanted it as you can light it and leave the house and no wood or sparks can fall out and start a fire in the surrounding area. plus apparently they are more efficient than an open fire.

    Our logs also arrive this weekend. Guess I will be stacking them all weekend. ...

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  36. Jewel coloured jelly, perfect on toast.
    Your friend will be thrilled with her garland I bet, lovely colours.
    We put a blanket on our bed the night before last as it felt nippy but our teenage son slept with his window wide open!
    Lisa x

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  37. Your bramble jelly looks so delicious! Clever you!! Can I suggest you stick with your pretend gas log fire -having had both, the pretend is soooo much easier, less mess, less fuss, and while not quite as good to look at, it heats very effectively!

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  38. The jelly looks gorgeous ... it almost sparkles ... and your crochet squares are beautiful ... I love the colours of the flowers for the garland ... you will have a happy friend ... Bee xx

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  39. Hi Gillian, I love making jams and jellies. I have never made bramble jelly before, now I will definitely do so. What is the ratio of sugar to juice for jelly?

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    1. Hi Susan,

      I think the general rule is 1 lb of sugar for every 1 pint of strained juice. Hope that helps.

      Gillian x

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  40. The jelly looks delicious... the color is amazing! The flowers for the garland are darling! And the crochet squares are so pretty and will make a beautiful blanket for your bed. You are so talented!

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  41. Oh I love bramble picking! Your bramble jelly looks lovely, such a beautiful deep colour. Your current crochet projects are really lovely too.
    Marianne x

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  42. I thought it was a north south thing... Our dog (blackberry) gets called bramble 'up north'

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  43. I made two gallons of blackberry wine and didn't have enough for jelly this time - but wine is more important!! Jo x

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  44. oh that jelly looks lovely and sounds delicious... on top of rice pudding too... now you've got me thinking! We picked tonnes of blackberries last weekend, and we'll pick some more tomorrow too. I usually make blackberry jam but was thinking about making blackbrry curd this time too (I'm sure this exists, though I haven't checked). I love those little crochet flowers too, gorgeous colours x

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  45. I've been pigging out on mulberries.....my good friend has a giant tree, and has furnished me with a big container full. Not the same as black berries, but equally stain worthy and juicy sweet!

    Your jelly looks so yummy. I'm coming over to yours for sunday brunch;)

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