(Self) Preservation Society

I started to write this post a fortnight ago after I’d made some chutney and then gone out to Cramond Island but it ended up pickled. This weekend I’ve been out in the winter wonderland and made some marmalade. In the beginning of the new regime I found the weekends a bit of a struggle, especially Sundays but somehow, possibly with the lengthening days, they now seem to whizz past in a flurry of household chores (cats will not lift a paw to help with cleaning, laundry, tidying, litter tray management or anything else that suggests staff duties) and long walks.

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I had always wanted to visit Cramond Island but when I lived in Edinburgh before it was allegedly a rat infested drug den. Now it seems to be much frequented by a variety of visitors including happy families with pushchairs (robust all terrain models to get across the causeway), alfresco party-goers and middle aged folk with an interest in wildlife. The perspective is interesting as are the views and the walk back across the sands, under the airport flight path, was quite invigorating. The chutney was the happy result of excess buying by the supermarkets for the festive season – a glut of mangoes and melon that had the special yellow stickies beloved by Adamsons who have well trained eyes for bargains (irrespective of actually needing the items). I had intended to eat the melon but found in to be similar to turnip in texture and flavour. In honour of my frugal mother, who trained us to seek bargains and then waste nothing, it went in with the mangoes, ginger and garlic.

Despite overnight soaking, putting all the pith and pips in a muslin bag and boiling to the requisite 105o C,the marmalade has not set. It tastes delicious, will be perfect on pikelets and next year I shall just out in some magic pectin powder as used by continental cooks. I suspect it was not using the prescribed quantity of sugar and a quarter of the sugar used was dark muscavado. DSCF2252.JPG

Now this post has taken so long to do another week has passed! My excuse (why do I need an excuse – so I can have some self-inflicted guilt to assuage) is that the web site has had a series of technical problems. Automatic upgrades were not, manual repairs resulted in a  corrupted site … but all is now fixed, plugins updated and tweaked.

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