Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Raining and pouring

Wish I was snoring....

It is perfect stay in bed weather.  Autumn seems to have given way to winter a tad early.  We have had hard frosts already and everything has gone into hibernation - animals and plants. This week has seen heavy rain, and more heavy rain.

The fire has been lit from lunchtime every day.  The cats are most appreciative of this.  It does make the house lovely and cosy, and I like the look and feel of a fire as opposed to electric or gas heating.

No real news.  I am still working away at my photography course as well as my other projects.  Wayne is still working hard and travelling from time to time.

Looking forward to our Christmas in Australia.  Eight years is far too long.  Also to see all the family - including all new children in the family - and to catch up with old friends.  We have less than three weeks together in Australia, but cannot complain.  It will just be good to be there.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Saffron season

It has been a busy few weeks.  Working away from home, catching up with friends, studying and - of course - watching the rugby.

With the change of season I am embarking on new adventures in the garden.  Our first autumn and our first time clearing the leaves and cutting back trees and shrubs ready for winter.

One exciting thing is that my saffron crocii have bloomed!  I planted them a few months ago and carefully mulched the spot so I would be able to remember that I had planted there.  Whilst I was away the bulbs sprang forth and bloomed. 

It is painstaking work, but I think the end result is worth it.  The hardest part is getting up really early to pick the threads before the sun hits them.....supposedly the best flavour and colour that way.  Each red thread must be hand picked from the flower, which contains three threads in total.  A few petals and stamen did fall victim to my picking, but were easy enough to discard later.  To process the threads I placed them for a few minutes on paper towel to absorb any early morning dew, then into a jar and semi covered to dry for a few weeks.

I have a few ounces of saffron threads drying slowly, and am hoping that I will have more flowers in next few days.  There are a few gaps in the spot where I planted, so hopefully they are just late bloomers - not dead bulbs.

How perfect that the saffron is harvested at this time of year when warming casseroles, rissottos and other hearty meals are craved.  I am looking forward to using it to add colour and depth of flavour to my autumn dishes.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


Well, autumn has arrived and with it the crisp cool days and grey weather.

We lit our first fire in the fireplace yesterday.  Took a bit to get it going.  These european woods are not like the Aussie ones.... a different tactic is needed.

This is my effort of today.  Not perfect, but it has been burning all afternoon and the lounge and dining (as well as our bedroom upstairs) are toasty and oh so comfortable.

The boys are discovering the delights of a wood fire too.  Eric has not left his post on the armchair beside the fire since he realised how warm it was.  Guy keeps enticing me back in to the lounge so he can toast in front of the fire.... but being my shadow, he has to leave it each time I do.

Off for work for the next week, then back home and time to get on with the autumn chores in the garden.  The apples are ripe and I have already had a bucketful from the wild tree in the wood. Delicious, crunchy and tart.  Makes fabulous compote too!