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Kefir berry smoothie

So, my kefir making is going well – yey!  I haven’t killed it off!  I was worried that I wasn’t going to do well with it as it requires a little bit of love each day, but I actually enjoy taking care of it.

You might have seen my first post when I received my kefir grains in the post, well since then I’ve been nurturing each evening and this is what it looks like…

Kefir before straining

Each evening when I come to open my jar of grains and milk it looks something like the above.  I think because the weather has been so warm it’s been splitting more than normal, but I just ignore its looks and get on with it.

You might imagine that raw milk that’s been sat in a jar on the counter top for 24 hours would smell pretty rank – but it doesn’t.  I’ve even had some raw milk out on the side for a few days to make it sour (great for making soda bread I’ve read) and I was convinced there would be that terrible ‘gone-off’ milk smell I’m sure we’re all familiar with – but no, barely a smell at all, just a hint of sourness.

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If you ignore the peeling paint in the back of the room (our house is still very much a work in progress) our house is looking quite Christmassy. 

I have hung ivy and holly from most of the pictures, the staircase is wrapped in yet more ivy, the tree is decorated and sparkling, and the mantlepiece is twinkling with jam jars of tealights amongst fir branches.

Today I did the first part of my Christmas food shop – my bags were full of goodies…Morecambe Bay potted shrimp…herb encrusted salami…Wensleydale cheese studded with cranberries…and a few things I can’t mention as they’re for Mr Rigg’s stocking..ssh!

I love Christmas.

On Sunday we entered a couple of items into our local produce show.  Sadly I overcooked my lemon drizzle cake and it came in a miserable fourth…gutted.  My marmalade didn’t even come anything – I won’t be trying that Country Living recipe again.

Thankfully we got three 2nd place awards – for our giant yellow courgette, a pretty arrangement of hedgerow berries, and a plate of fruit scones.  The recipe for my scone’s comes from my colleague and friend Jane – who makes the best scones ever.  No question. 

My version of Jane’s fruit scones had a ‘lovely appearance’ but I lost marks because I didn’t tidy up the edges (i.e. pull off the currants that were sticking out…) and they needed a pinch of salt.  Hmm.  I’m not sure I can be doing with winning 1st prize if I’m required to carefully tidy up the edge of my scones, and besides, I like rustic food.

Mr Rigg, Buddy and I have been out this past week foraging for wild goodies.  We collected a basket of blackberries, cobnuts/hazelnuts and rosehips. 

I’m not sure whether we’ve been gathering hazelnuts too early – I must look it up.  Our little hazelnut tree/bush in the garden has got a few nuts on it for the first year!  My parents have a huge tree which drops loads of nuts – I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll come home with lots.

There are quite a good number of blackberries, although they’re all quite small and I have yet to find one which isn’t sour.  Ours are destined for apple and blackberry pie with apples from the farmer’s market.

And again with the rosehips, not sure if we’re picked them too early, but I want to try making rosehip syrup to make into cordial…turns out the recipe I have requires 800g!  Wish me good luck!

These are the last of the berries from my garden: blackcurrants, raspberries and loganberries.  Although there are a few loganberries still ripening, the raspberries and blackcurrants are all but finished. 

We’re heading off to Yorkshire this weekend to visit Mr Rigg’s family and be joined by my parents.  A restful few days awaits and someone else to do the cooking – and very good cooking it is. 

I will pop this small bowlful of berries into the freezer, and cook with them over the coming weeks (at least that’s the plan!). 

Whilst picking the berries I was dreaming up different ideas of what I could do with them, and my favourite idea so far is a sort of late summer berry crumble or pie

I have spotted blackberries turning deep purple in the hedgerows, so think supplemented with a few of these a crumble or pie would be lovely.  Plus we have a tub of homemade clotted cream ice cream to finish.

Is anyone else starting to feel that summer is waning and autumn is approaching?  Maybe it’s just the warm, wet and windy weather we have had recently in our part of England that has awakened a longing for stews and pies.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope to be back afresh next week to catch up on all that I’ve promised to post – this week has been unnaturally busy and I’ve barely had a chance to breathe.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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