Thursday morning

I took this photo to show how much fruit is still on my fig tree.  None of this will have time to ripen which is probably just as well as I wouldn't know what to do with it all.  The first crop yielded about 20 lbs of fruit and there would be at least double that if this lot ever ripened.

After a good downpour yesterday morning the weather dried up and the remainder of the day was fine.  Mike paid a visit to the doctor and was sent to have a chest x ray while he started on some prophylactic antibiotics.   James rented a wheelchair and took Mike in to the hospital and I acted as taxi driver.   The only fly in the ointment was when I went to collect them it was around 11am which means it is all but impossible to get into the hospital as all the surrounding roads are gridlocked. The ambulances cannot get through neither can the busses it is a complete mess and really should be sorted out. Fortunately, I know all the rat runs and managed to get fairly close before joining the queue to get in and we managed to get out via the back exit of the boiler house.  It pays to know your way around.......

Lunch was some pork chops simply grilled and served with buttered leeks and some sage and onion stuffing balls. Now here I must own up to using commercial stuffing mix for speed but I do put it together with stock rather than water and a large knob of butter makes it better experience.  The piece of beef was washed of its dry cure and covered in the barbecue sauce and has spent 6 hours in the oven at 130ºC.  It should be cold by now and will go into the fridge to let the fat set so that it can be removed before reheating for lunch.  Fingers crossed it tastes OK.  Shiona is coming over with loads of apples for Sandi and is bringing a hispi cabbage to go with the beef.    

We have all tried our bottles of apple juice and have been really very gratified by the results the juice is pale pink in colour and very sweet despite my arbitrary use of citric acid which I think in the end I used at one tsp to one litre of juice approximately.  I think we are all agreed that it was a very worthwhile exercise and so much better than leaving the apples to rot on the ground.  Next year we will have to get ourselves better organised with bottles etc so that we can make double the quantity. My huge pan holds 9 bottles for the pasteurisation process so that will limit our ambitions.

I thought today I would use up some leftover puff pastry which I will roll into a rectangle and then spread with the spiced apple butter before layering on some fresh sliced eating apples.  Brush the top with melted butter a sprinkle of demerara sugar and bake.  Sounds OK!!! lets hope it eats well.

Well I am off to check on my beef and get it into the fridge.  I will let you know if the results warrant the work....  If it is a total disaster the meat only cost £5 so not an enormous loss.

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