The green and rolling countryside of Worcestershire, England, is home to the cider apple orchards which surround the gardens of Pear Tree Cottage. They enjoy a sunny south westerly aspect with sweeping views across to Martley Hillside, Woodbury and Abberley clock tower. The Teme Valley lies just over the hill and, not far away, is the Herefordshire border. Although our climate is temperate, our seasons are often uncertain and always a challenge to a gardener! This began in 2010 & follows the weekly ups and downs of garden work chronicling both successes and failures but, above all, demonstrates the fun enjoyed by three people who regularly garden in all weathers


29 November 2012

More squirrel jobs

When pickling red cabbage, 
1 cabbage = 3 jars.
don't wear purple nail varnish!!  

Apart from that it's just so easy.  Just slice (minding the nails!), salt, leave overnight, pack into jars, top up with vinegar and add some pickling spices - now that's easy!

Waiting for Christmas Day

Another seasonal job done (but hardly gardening) 3 plumcious Christmas puddings made.  They're only getting a mention here 'cos for the very first time I've cooked Christmas puddings without turning the kitchen into a sauna!  With such l-o-n-g cooking times; usually the condensation is running down the window panes - if not the walls too.  This year, I turned to the Queen of Aga: Mary Berry and steamed them all gently in the simmering oven for 12 hours.  Result - 3 perfect puddings and not a hint of steam anywhere at all!  I did think about another type of pud for Christmas but what else can you bring to the table flaming in brandy that's so traditional?  I know it's not a favourite but I couldn't bring myself to buy a supermarket cheapy and these are so full of such delicious ingredients.  I wonder how much will be eaten by the Swiss delegation???

Just a footnote about the pudding cloths and how to tie them.  Two of these were made by a friend a few years ago.  She was the school seamstress when we had boarders.  Each one is circular and has its own ties with a strip of tape across the top from which to hang them.  The last one is tied in the traditional way by placing a square of pleated cloth (to allow for expansion) then tying the string tightly around the basin close up to the rim.  Old sheets or pillow cases are ideal.  The corners of the cloth are brought together and tied in opposing pairs.  Traditionally, they were hung from the beams in old farmhouse kitchens and will almost keep indefinitely.  Even after a year, they are still delicious!

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