Wednesday, 4 September 2013

When I'm cleaning windows

Anyone over forty-five will remember Windowlene. A thick pink stuff that was rubbed onto windows and then rubbed off again to get them clean. I think it was the only thing available at the time. I hate cleaning windows and I'm sure it was because my Mum, who was extremely houseproud, was often window cleaning and we would be inside the house telling her where the smeary bits were and then she would spend ages going in and out trying to get rid of all the Windowlene marks. So boring!
Cleaning the house windows has always been my job and I would have started out with Windowlene, and  moved onto a spray stuff when that became available. I've tried all sorts of things over the years but now I just use hot water and white vinegar and lots of old rags.
Anyway, I'd put off doing them as long as possible so got on with it after doing other jobs this morning. Him Outside came home after finishing the field rolling job and volunteered to do the insides while I was outside- he can reach across the kitchen worktops easier than I can. As I had help I carried on all around the downstairs outside, so he had to as well! He reckoned it was the hardest physical work he had done since he came home from hospital - poor old thing! As for the upstairs windows, they will have to wait a while longer.

First thing this morning I got on with some more preserving. This time I made 4 jars of Marrow and Ginger jam, and also made 2 loaves of bread. Home made bread and jam what could be better. At lunchtime I had a look at the blogs I read and there was Karen at Chelmarsh Chunterings also making bread and jam yesterday, strange coincidence.

My way of making Marrow and ginger jam differs from any recipe I've seen, putting bits of two recipes together- I do that a lot with jam and chutney making.

Marrow and Ginger Jam
3lb Marrow flesh cubed. ( Chickens will love the middle seedy bit and the skin)
Ginger. - Can be a piece of root ginger grated, 2 tsp ground ginger or some stem ginger preserved in syrup whichever you want.
2lb Gran sugar
Either the juice of a lemon or few tablespoons of bottled lemon juice.
1 sachet of pectin

Cover the marrow cubes with water, bring to boil  and then cook gently until they are starting to go soft and translucent. About 10 - 15 minutes.
Tip into a colander and leave to drain well for several minutes.
Into a preserving pan put 3/4 pint water, lemon juice and the sugar and heat gently until sugar is dissolving.
Add the strained marrow and cook until thickened. Keep stirring frequently as there is not much liquid.
I usually mash the marrow cubes up a bit as I'm cooking it rather than leave cubes.
Add sachet of pectin and boil for 4 more minutes.
Pot into sterilised jars and cover.

There are variations to this. Like using preserving sugar, grated zest of lemon and rest of lemon cooked in a muslin bag in the jam, instead of a sachet of pectin. Also one recipe where you use more water, the cubes are left quite big and then strained out into the jars with a slotted spoon. Then the remaining liquid is boiled hard to reduce and poured over the cubes in the jars.
I've had years when this has gone a bit mouldy.  It needs keeping in the fridge once opened.
Just realised that as this only makes 4 jars there is half a pound of sugar in each jar!

  This afternoon we sat out catching the lovely sunshine for half an hour but I got driven nuts by the noise of a loud whining tractor ploughing over the road. He then went off to pick up chicken feed before going to the first farm sale of the Autumn. It's unusual to have a sale starting at 4.30pm, I don't think there was anything we wanted up for sale but he will look for smallholder stuff going cheap which we can sell on via the Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter.

It's supposed to be very hot tomorrow and we've just heard that there might be muck spreading on the field all around us. That should be nice and smelly- we may have to go out!