Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Autumn Lunch

I've added  to my first pumpkin of 2019...all bought....

a few more....not all of them!!

and a couple bought whilst on holiday on Gower....not for Halloween but for eating over the next couple of months or so.

One of the several butternut squashes was roasted today.  Four slices make up lunch today, topped with braised lentils, pineapple chutney and Roasted Red Pepper and Chili Sauce.  The watercress was locally grown, and dressed with a lemon and olive oil a slice of sourdough to mop up  juices.

It really was no effort to put this together..and whilst the pumpkin was roasting I was out in the garden cutting down the runnerbeans.

I had made up a whole batch of the lentils some time ago, and had pulled out a pot from the freezer last night, and that went into the oven to heat through....The pineapple chutney is one I always have goes with so many things, that as soon as I have just a jar left, I make another batch!

The Roasted Red Pepper and Chili Sauce is a new one for me, and having been made a couple of weeks ago, the flavours have blended beautifully.  I had such a good harvest of chilis from the garden, I wanted to devise a sauce to showcase them.  This is one I shall be making regularly.  I've mixed some with mayonnaise for a dressing, had it splashed on top of 'grills' etc...It makes a great dip for veggies and also on top of hummus.

Monday, 28 October 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Coming indoors

Its always a little surprise when the weather turns cold.  Indoors seems to be the place to be, or is it?  When it is bright and sunny, as it is this morning, the outdoors calls again.  There are however tender plants which could catch a chill. 

Whereas many fuchsias err on the pink side of the spectrum...this one is more definitely towards the coral.  I haven't a clue what its name is, I grew it from a cutting taken from a stem of a bloom which was part of a little posy given to me by a great gardening lady and plantswoman Janet,  in Kenilworth, probably about six years ago.  Each year I have put it away somewhere sheltered away from frosts for the winter.   

Yesterday it had its trim so that the plant can fit on a shelf in the shed...

Its pretty blooms came indoors.....

I am going to have a peep at Cathy's the vase and her use of faded glories, that is where you can go to catch up with other In a Vase on Mondays.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Sea Potato Echinocardium cordatum

Sea Potato Echinocardium cordatum

On our walks along the beach on Oxwich Bay, I found several 'Sea Potaotes' in various stages of decomposition, and brought home this very delicate one for my 'Table'.  I have learnt more about this creature thanks to Jessica's Blog en


Gower Holiday

This is our first time in Gower.  We were particularly lucky in having fine warm weather all week, which meant we went out for long walks each day.  Our drive to and from Somerset was however horrendous as we had strong winds and very heavy rain, with heavy traffic too.

We stayed on the Penrice Estate, and our home for the week was the Towers built in the 1790s as a folly Gatehouse.  Of course now it has been fully upgraded with a very large circular bedroom and living room.  With the warm sunshine it was a joy to sit outside on the terrace with our back to the stone walls soaking in the warmth and enjoying the scenery and the wonderful flock of sheep, and the many birds.

With free access to the whole Estate, we wandered around the garden, enjoying the pleasure garden, the orangery, and the kitchen gardens.

There are some magnificent old Trees which are managed with a light touch these days, with old branches left to better enhance habitat for wild life.  As well as many venerable old Oaks there is a programme of planting mainly oaks and chestnuts...with other interesting specimen plantings close to the Pleasure Gardens.

Just beyond the Estate the lakes and woodland, the views open out but then give way to the dunes and the wide sandy expanse of Oxwich Bay.  With woodland floor carpeted with a variety of plants and ferns, and mosses and fern dripping from tree trunks, we walked down to the coast skirting the lakes. There was much of interest even at this time of the year.

The Dunes were very interesting as was the beach...and during the summer I am sure there would be an even wider variety of wild plants and flowers to enjoy.

The little river crossing is a delight! 

On our very last day we visited Oxwich Castle

...a real gem which after its construction, meant the old Penrice Castle was abandoned.  

Penrice Old Castle is now a ruin and out of bounds to visitors and residents, but it still forms a wonderful and romantic high point attracting the eye.

Roshilli Bay 

Not far away is Roshilli Bay, an absolutely wonderful long stretch of sand, and as we viewed this from the cliff top walk towards Worm Head, we also had views beyond. 

Worms Head

 It was very quiet and not many people around...just the way we love it!  We walked along the rocky foreshore looking at the various rocks, before returning up the steep path back to the car.

To one side of Oxwich Bay is the Old 13th Century Church of St Illtyd 

On one day we tried to get in at the Beach House Restaurant, and was told that we could only book by phoning and no booking could be taken at the bar....what a shame.  In the end, most meals out were taken at the King Arthur Hotel, and an early arrival is certainly wise as the place fills up quickly.  Meals were very good and it was nice to taste local produce including Gower Salt Marsh Lamb.  

Lunch at the Britannia Pub was a little underwhelming in comparison, and Mr S's crumble felt put together from tins and packets. Having looked at the Menu on line, now that we have returned, I do think that the meal we had was underparr for sure, maybe it was Chef's day off, or having won their award were putting their feet up and resting.  Had the little Community Shop at Llanmadoc served savouries that would have been the better option!

Overall a superb place and we shall be sure to return!

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Dropping into Bridge Pottery on Gower

During out week on Gower, on one of our few trips out, we went to see what was on the north side of Gower.  We happened to pass a sign saying Pottery.....We were in luck, the Pottery was open, and the artist 'at home'  I would say no trip to The Gower Peninsula would be complete without a visit to view Micki's Gallery.  Do check opening times....

Mr S kindly stopped, pulled up on the road side opposite the pretty Church.  Alongside the Pottery the Burry Pill flows down the hill, under the Bridge, borders the Church Grounds then winds down to the salt marshes beyond, and forms a beautiful boundary visible from the large windows of the Gallery.

We were made welcome, and left to view the beautiful works.  The glazes were eyecatching , subtle and varied.

Outside the open sided kilns with all the paraphernalia is visually appealing too...

Micki Schlosessingk is an accomplished artist who loves her work and sharing it.

Mr S was much taken with the cupping bowls...but looking at the internal surface pattern of this one, and thinking of its many uses, this is the wood-fired salt-glazed pot I brought home:

Studio wood-fired salt-glazed stoneware bowl by Micki Schloessingk

At the moment it is filled with my tomatoes which are still slowly ripening, but are shortly to be roasted.

After that we went a short way and stopped for refreshments at the local Community Shop at Llanmadoc.  Lovely coffee and tea and cake, and other 'vittles' bought.  On the tables were very tasteful arrangements in vases from the Pottery!

Sweet Chestnuts

Chestnuts are great.  I love a big of foraging and preserving. As we watched the Lleyn Sheep move around the park, I noticed there were frequently a couple close by the kitchen under the Chestnut tree.

Under the spreading Sweet Chestnut Tree

Came a nibbling Lleyn three

Out I came to have a look,

Before long I too was hooked

One for me and three for the sheep

Bah Bah thank you, pretty white sheep

Last year I very nearly gave up the Chestnut hunt, on account of weakening and burnt fingers!  I just had to pick a pocketful, straight from the tree, just for their beauty.  There were none on the ground, due to those three sheep who had developed a taste for these nuts.  What to do with them?

I poured some boiling water over them, and had them sitting there whilst I contemplated what I was going to cook for supper.  We only ate at home this once, since I had bought some lovely Welsh Salt Marsh lamb from Tuckers in the Mumbles .  A quick visit to a nearby greengrocer yielded a tight fresh Romanesco and other goodies were the supporting acts.

I found the Chestnuts were very easy to peel with just this five minute or so soak in boiling water, and they were not so hot as to cause finger fatigue...Then I cooked them separately in a frying pan with a little butter, chopped rosemary and thyme, a gift from the walled Kitchen Garden at Penrice.  I chose to add neither salt nor sugar.  Some were served alongside the lamb, and some I had with yogurt and honey....delicious.

A little further hunt yielded a few was a sunny and warm week, and you could almost hear the burrs open.

Back home I experimented further.  After removing the shell, I steamed the Chestnuts.  Not all the pellicle came off, but having nibbled a few, felt thy were quite OK to eat.

Finished off further with a light roasting in oil with added herbs, then into the freezer.  These can then be used in dishes, taking as few as required since they are loose frozen, though stored all together in a box.

From the above one small jar has been bottled with oil...topped up with some of the roasted bay, rosemary and thyme.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Visit to Wells Food Festival

Its been a dreary few weeks, with lots of rain.  If local Farmers and Producers can turn out, then it is only polite to make an effort and get on my bike, and go.  There is always something new and interesting to learn.  Things to be tempted by, and things to be admire but resist, and things that can give one that 'yuk' moment...with a good turn out for locals and visitors, there was a very healthy crowd.

Except from some exceptional sausages hiding in the fridge, bought from The Thoroughly Wild Meat Company...all their Salt Marsh Lamb having been sold, here is my stash from my first visit.  Later I cycled back to buy a large pot of Foxtail foxes have been harmed!

Another lovely wooden board from Hamwood Crafts to join my little  presentation board bought from them previously.  This one is long enough for cakes from my longest tins and loaves from my long oval banneton.  I had to have a good search...but after explaining what I was looking for, some were found under the display...just right, not thick and heavy as for chopping up meat, and made of Olive Ash with lovely colour...

Some delicious very fatty organic free range etc bacon with proper fat which I shall use in dishes that call for pancetta..

There is always that moment that makes the day...There was a lull and this stall was I admired and dreamt of those years when my favourite breakfast at the weekend was a serving of newly opened cornflakes packet topped with fresh gold top milk and of course the cream first!  The helpful assistant asked if she could be of any help.  I replied sadly that these days only goat's or sheep's milk  agrees with me.  She then explained that if I could tolerate goat's milk, then I could have products from Guernsey cows..and explained the science.  We do have a little standard milk when we are away from you can guess what we shall have for breakfast tomorrow!  I bought a 'real glass bottle' of their milk and some sour cream...and was told that there will be milk dispensed at the farm soon....Won't it be wonderful if we are fine with this.

A2 Dairy products suitable to us to have!

And why should I take a picture of the Pickled Egg Bar?  I had my first and last taste of one at our 'friendly' WI skittles matches recently.  As I can't make the first match of this year's league tournament, I am going to send them this picture with a message of support!  I took this one as the festival was closing down, having gone back for my plant.  I am sure they would have been nicer...but once bitten twice shy....


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Excluded by the Drawbridge

Swans are yet to
Disturb the scum

Beauty on all sides of the moat
Scum collecting and wind and current shaped

Feathers Conkers Leaves Scum

On Reflection

Short poem/musings interspersed by pictures taken on a brief visit to the Bishop's Palace, Wells on Saturday 12th October.