Friends, this is my last recipe in my blackberry collection for this year, and this is one that takes a bit of time to come to fruition. It takes a fine drink to a new level of enjoyment.
2 kg washed blackberries
250 g sugar
1 bottle of blended whiskey. (It can be made with a bottle of Vodka instead of whiskey if you prefer this as a drink)
Put the blackberries in a large glass jar that can be sealed. Eg a Kilner jar, or glass sweet jar.
Chop up lemon and add to mixture
Pour in the whiskey
Put in a cool dark cupboard
Every couple of days give it a shake
After a couple of weeks, or when the sugar has completely dissolved shake then once a week
It will be just about drinkable after three months but improves greatly if left for a year. It makes a fine Chr
Strain through fine sieve and bottle.
Drink sensibly and enjoy
Friends, this continues my mini series of a meal that uses blackberries, we have had the main course of venison with blackberries and red cabbage and half the desert of blackberry and apple cake To go with this we now have blackberry ice cream.
This is a very easy recipe, and produces a very rich tasty ice cream, that goes well with the cake … This requires an ice cream machine to make it.
500 g blackberries
150g sugar (icing sugar makes it quicker to make)
300 ml double cream
Up to 3 tablespoons of port
Wash blackberries and lemon.
Put lot into liquidizer and whisk to a pulp
Put liquid through a fine sieve or muslin bag (Make sure squeeze all juice out) collecting the juice in a microwave proof jug/bowl
Warm juice in microwave for about 30 seconds
Add sugar to warm juice – make sure fully dissolved (If did not use icing sugar may need to warm for a few more seconds)
Allow to cool
Turn on ice cream machine
Add cream to bowl in ice cream machine
Add blackberry juice with dissolved sugar.
Add port if going to.
Leave machine to do its work freeze churning the mixture
When made serve with blackberry cake or fresh fruit and enjoy.
Friends continuing on my theme of recipes using blackberries. This is one of Paulines and is a great favourite. It works just as well with frozen blackberries if there are no fresh around.
3.5 oz butter
2 medium eggs
5 oz sugar
2 oz ground almonds
4 oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 chopped cooking apple
4 oz blackberries
Beet butter, eggs and sugar together in a large bowl
Fold in flour, baking powder and ground almonds
Peel core and chop apple into small bits. Gently stir apple and blackberries into cake mixture
Put into a loaf tin
Bake at 180 centigrade for 45-60 minutes (test with skewer if comes out clean then cooked)
Let to cool and enjoy.
This year we have been very fortunate with our blackberry harvest and have picked over 10kg so far. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of our more favourite recipes that use blackberries.
This is the recipe for venison with blackberries and red cabbage. It is a very easy recipe though it does take just over an hour to prepare and cook.
1 medium chopped onion (can be red if prefer)
½ a red cabbage, chopped to same size as a blackberry. - There should be around 1.5 times the amount of red cabbage to that of onion.
1 teaspoon mixed spice
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
175g washed blackberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
300g venison either venison stakes, sausages, or burgers
4 to 6 sliced potatoes (You need enough sliced potatoes to cover the casserole dish)
2-5 teaspoons sugar – depends on how sweet your tooth is
up to 1 glass red wine
This makes a generous amount for two.
Chop and prepare all the ingredients
Fry the venison on each side in a large frying pan in the olive oil, to give it colour. Roughly two minutes per side
Take these from the pan and place in a large oven proof casserole. (This should be large enough to put the meat flat on the bottom )
Warm the oven to 180 Centigrade
Next fry/seal the onion in the frying pan for around 5 minutes
Add the red cabbage and mix well with the onion. Sprinkle the mixed spice over the mixture. Fry for a further 3-4 minutes stirring continuously so the cabbage is completely mixed with the onion.
Add the blackberries to the pan and mixture and stir round for about a further minute
Poor the mixture over the venison
Add the balsamic vinegar to the frying pan to take the oils and spices from it and then pour this and the wine into the casserole
Add sugar if required
Add up to 100ml hot stock. The liquid should be up to the top of the mixture.
Cover the whole surface with sliced potatoes
Put in the warm oven for around 45 minutes. (Time does depend a bit on size of casserole used)
The potato top should be crispy brown and the liquid will have thicken up to a lovely rich gravy.
Serve with fresh steamed vegetables and enjoy
Friends, this is my add hoc record of how we are developing the garden @ Trostrie Cottage. The observant will have notice that I have not provided an update for a few weeks due to time pressure. This lack of time has also contributed to the subject of this entryBlackcurrant Bush
We have around half a dozen blackcurrant bushes and a few weeks ago they were covered in slowly ripening currant. Every few days I would go out and look at them, tasting the odd one to see if they were ripe.
The last time I tasted one, I thought well it will be a couple more days and they will then be ready for eating as they were ripening nicely in the sun. But evidently the birds, mice and other small mammals think that they are ripe slight earlier than me.
No blackcurrants left
When I next went out with a large bowl to pick them, early in the morning before breakfast. My mouth was watering as I thought about them crossing the lawn to get to the bushes. Imagine my horror to find that there was not a currant left on the bushes.
So the wildlife had got there first and stole all of the currants. I have learnt my lesson. Next time I will find the time to put up some netting to keep them away.
A few days later, still feeling a little sore that they had all been stolen. I was pleasantly surprised that our neighbour Janet rang to say that she had a glut of blackcurrants which she could not deal with before she went away on holiday, and would we like some. Yes I said...
So we did get some blackcurrants after all, but ours will have to wait till next year.
You can see the garden for yourself if you book a self catering dog friendly holiday @The Shieling which is attached to Trostrie Cottage http://www.trostriecottage.co.uk
Over the last couple of days we have noticed our latest new residents – the fox family wandering around the garden. Now I am not sure if they have moved in because of the snow, or just think they have found some easy food.
Mr Fox on the look out
But we do seem to have a plague of rabbits at the present and anything that will help keep them down is a good thing.
Mr Fox killing the rabbit
Pauline says I should not show the images of the fox ripping the head off the rabbit and pulling on the gut so I have put this one in instead.
Mr Fox making sure it is dead
We were sitting having our tea when bold as brass Mr Fox walk passed the window with a wiggling rabbit in its mouth.
Mr Fox making sure no-one is watching before taking the food home
Evidently he was worried that it may get away as he stops to kill it by removing the head, then has a look round to make sure everything is ok before carrying it off to his home (his earth)
Mr Fox taking the food home to his family
Finally placing it down the burrow for the rest of the family to eat
Its dinner time!!
This is my ad hoc update and diary describing how I am developing our garden at Trostrie Cottage in Galloway. You can see the garden for yourself if you book a self catering dog friendly holiday @The Shieling which is attached to Trostrie Cottage
I had a friend who used to answer when asked what shall we have for tea, “Jump at the fridge door”. They meant that they would look in it and see what jumped out at them. Well the recipe was so inspired.
Normally when I record a recipe on the blog I have tried it a few times, and even sometimes remember to have a camera at hand so can take some shots, but this time this is not the case. Though it was invented, we thought it tasted so good that it should be recorded before forgotten, and as such it may as well be put on the blog.
The idea of the recipe was one that could be made very quickly, and cooks as being prepared. The ingredients given below make a quick meal enough for two. It took the length of time to cook the noodles – I also prepared and lit the fire whilst doing this at the same time so it is very easy!
PS This will give a slightly crunchy texture to the broccoli (The more it is cooked the less good it does you as cooking breaks down the good bits of it). If you add it before the green pepper it will cook a bit more.
So finally after 18 months of pain and diet, having lost around 70 lbs in weight. (This equates to a good few inches round the waist and over a shirt collar size) I have finally got back a set of blood results that are normal. My liver has finally settled down and is working normally again.
My doc has said that I am now allowed the occasional treat, and this seemed a good excuse to show a picture of a distillery from Islay.
Pile of Sticks
But I still have to be careful and watch my diet. The docs software (always blame the system if one is giving bad news) says that I still need to loose a few more pounds and have an average weight that hovers around this lower level. I feel as if I will end up as a bag of bones – a bit like this pile of sticks. The good thing about all this is that I have learnt to appreciate and understand a lot more about what I am eating and the affect food has on our bodies. Lets hope that the next test in a few months time is just as positive.
Fig and Walnut Bread
This is something that I have been experimenting with over the last few months as eating bread is something that I enjoy, but have to be careful about as so often it is either full of fat or calories. So I have been trying to perfect a healthy loaf full of goodness that tastes lovely. Hopefully you will agree with me
Dough - being knocked out.
Dough rolled in flour
A brief scan on the internet lists numerous health benefits from the ingredients. I have listed just a few below-
Oats - Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fibre. This fiber contains a mixture of about half soluble and half insoluble fibers. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fibre which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
Olive Oil - Using olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, rather than a saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats can:
Walnuts - More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol)
Dried figs are excellent source of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Pumkin Seeds - They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.Improved Bladder Function. They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression. Prevention of Osteoporosis Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis. Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies. They also Lower Cholesterol as they contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
Make a hole in the centre of the dough
I use a bread machine to make the dough putting the yeast in first and the liquid ingredients in last. Use a fruit setting and add the chopped nuts and figs when the machine beeps or when the first kneading has finished.
Cut with a knife
When the dough cycle has finished place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knock back slightly
Lightly oil a baking sheet
Shape the bread into a ball
Make a hole in the centre with ones finger
Cut with a sharp knife
Brush with Milk
Sprinkle with pumbin seeds
Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes
Brush with milk
Cut the crust and enjoy
Put into a preheated oven at 200 degrees centigrade
Bake for around 35 minutes (30-40 mins) – It burns very quickly so need to watch and check – ready when hollow sounding when tapped.
Place on rack to cool – and then enjoy - with a nice healthy salad
_ This is part two of my blog on how I have lost over 50 lbs in weight over the last few months. Part one covered incentive, portion size, and meal frequency.
This blog looks at exercise, hydration, and setting realistic targets. Part three will cover the foods consumed themselves.
Even Fishing is Excercise
_ Exercise – In my case due to my illness if I pushed myself with excessive exercise, then I got pains from my liver as it did not like it. Now even after 11 months I can still only do around 3 hours walking in any one go and jogging / jumping / in fact any form of excessive abdominal muscle work is still not possible as my body is not strong enough yet.
So surely one needs to do lots of exercise to loose weight. Well yes and no. It takes around 90 minutes to burn off a 68g mars bar containing 300 calories. A Quarter pounder (Without the fries) is just under double this. Other examples can be seen at these two sites
In essence one needs to do a lot of exercise to burn off a little energy, and what do you feel tempted to do after all that exercise – go for a drink or have a snack bar to give you more energy – replace that energy you think you have just lost. In all probability you will then eat more than you have just burnt off.
In my case I do a reasonable amount of exercise, gradually building up stamina. So three hours of walking is currently about my lot. (Prior to being ill a 12 mile hike was fine) I do try and go for at least 45 minutes walk every day, but don't then come in and immediately eat to replace the energy I have just burnt off. There is lots of advice on how much exercise one should do each day. The key point is to do some, everyday, if it is just housework, (or even fishing) rather than the odd session here and there.
_ Hydration – This is one of the key areas, of the diet. I aim to drink somewhere between 1.5 to 3 litres of liquid a day. Very roughly a 250ml glass full (or it's equivalent) per waking hour. There is lots on this on the web, and if it is cold and sugarless eg chilled water, then it will help you loose a bit of weight as well, as the body has to expend heat in warming up the cold liquid once you have drunk it. What you do not want to be doing is to drink high sugary drinks as they will not help you loose weight. I currently drink black coffee, green tea, juice and squash (though am very careful as to sugar content and type of these and normally no more than 150ml of juice) and chilled water. Drinking the liquid also helps fill up the stomach so you do not feel so hungry between meals.
_ Targets – Setting a realistic target is one of the most important factors of the diet. The target should be achievable, but stretching. For example aim to loose 2lbs a week – Say a target of target 1 and ¼ stones in two months. But the thing to do is to weight oneself every day at the same time of the day (I do it first thing in the morning) and then realistically you know how you are doing. It is very easy to know if you have lost 2lbs a week. If you achieve your target give yourself a treat for example a small bit of high coca – low fat chocolate or something similar. You will then feel encouraged to carry on the process. What you must not do is say my target is to loose 4 stone because you just won't do it. It is too much, and you will probably give in. That can be the ultimate target but the process of getting their needs to be broken down into smaller achievable steps. Probably a weekly target plus a monthly one.
The final point is Food and this will be covered in part three of this blog.
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.