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The Magic of Blackberries and Apples

  • Posted on October 23, 2018 at 12:58 pm
Blackberry and apple jam

I save my jars throughout the year to recycle and fill with my own jam

Welcome back to my Merry Midwinter blog!

The publication of my first book, ‘Merry Midwinter; How to Rediscover the Magic of the Christmas Season’ on the 4th October has kept me very busy indeed.

The beginning of winter may be approaching but, as often happens, I am still trying to catch up with autumn and complete all the things I planned. Regardless of where we live or what occupation we have, we still retain the element of bringing the harvest into our lives and our homes. Many of us have gardens and grow edible veg and fruit. Even if we don’t, we are often tempted by abundant seasonal crops in shops and on market stalls. It feels good to choose fresh fruit with the bloom still upon it and carry it triumphantly into our kitchen to preserve and squirrel away until the winter.

My preserving activities have been gradual and various beginning back in June with blossom from the trees and the first soft fruits from the garden. Thank goodness for the freezer where I can simply store a box of fruit until I have time to deal with it properly or use it freshly defrosted. Here I deposited boxes of luscious fat blackberries until I could marry them with some of the abundant apple crop and send up a boiling of jam.

Over the years I have become particularly fond of blackberry and apple jam. I use it in a lot of my cooking; in sponge cakes and puddings, and a hefty dollop of such sweetness added to a bowl of hot creamy rice pudding redolent with the scent of nutmeg on a cold winter’s day can be the ultimate comfort! Continue reading The Magic of Blackberries and Apples…

A Sauce For Thought

  • Posted on December 16, 2017 at 9:22 am
Biscuit cutters

Snowflake cutters ready to go – picture of finished product to follow!

The mind of a retailer must be a very strange thing indeed, judging by the quirky reasons they give for us buying their products. Yet we are constantly bombarded by their skewed view of the world and, because it is so widespread, it becomes our accepted norm. Our cultural ideas and acceptance of our world is designed and delivered by cleverly trained people who only wish to manipulate and control us. Remember that. Continue reading A Sauce For Thought…

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow…

  • Posted on December 11, 2017 at 8:43 pm
My Snowman

After some serious effort!

Yesterday I woke up to find the lofty mountains of my valley completely white and the snow falling so thick and fast that I could hardly see the houses across the other side of the river. Ever fascinated with falling snow I sat and gazed from my window while I drank my morning cup of tea. Suddenly I heard such a commotion out on the road Continue reading Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow……

Food for Body and Soul

  • Posted on December 4, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Well! That’s the Christmas grocery shopping done! On the way home the car was piled high with bags and boxes containing all manner of treats. I have to add that a great deal of it was contents for me to bake or cook into other dishes: nuts; desiccated, flaked, ground and whole; fruits dried or crystalized; dark cooking chocolate, cocoa powder, little bottles of essences and colourings… you get the idea! Yes, I deplore the consumer excesses of our western winter holiday but I also love the chance to stock up on small delicious extravagancies which often last me the rest of the year and sometimes beyond.

As we drove towards home it was still only late afternoon but already it was fully dark, a near-full moon was gliding in the clear navy blue sky above the snow-capped mountains. Once home there was then the mammoth task of transferring  everything from vehicle to house… Continue reading Food for Body and Soul…


  • Posted on November 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

No disrespect to the colour black, but if I refer to a day as ‘black’ then it usually signifies that something upsetting, traumatic or very challenging has taken place. Perhaps my interpretation still holds true in reference to ‘Black Friday’, the United States’ shopping bonanza which threatens to become a global event?

Surely anything that prompts people to spend their hard earned cash on items they possibly couldn’t or otherwise wouldn’t have purchased – and running the risk of incurring debt which they might find difficult to later pay off – cannot be seen as a good thing, despite the fact that their doing so might bring retailers takings back into the ‘black’ profit margin?  Continue reading BLACK FRIDAY HERE WE COME!…

No Hurry…

  • Posted on November 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm
No Hurry...

No Hurry…

At this time of year the main focus increasingly becomes how much we have to do for Christmas, how much we haven’t yet achieved, and how little time there is left in which to do it. Perhaps it might be better to turn the whole thing around; look at how much time you still have and prioritize what you really like/enjoy about your Midwinter/Christmas preparations. It would be easy for me to sit here and panic, saying to myself, “Oh my godfathers, I only have five weeks to Christmas Day!!!!” But I choose to say to myself, “Wow! I still have a whole five weeks? Wonderful!”

There are those among us who Continue reading No Hurry……


  • Posted on November 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Christmas Apple ChutneyYes, I have to admit it; sometimes I am just as ill-organised and rushed as the next person! But a couple of days ago I rolled up my sleeves (literally) and got down to some serious work in the kitchen. Continue reading HOT AND SPICY!…