Up to our ears in it all. The honey is progressing through the conditioning into jars and we have even experimented with putting some into bag-in-boxes. Should be good for ensuring the honey is stored in the dark and easier for me to dispense into recipe mixes using the tap.
But now we are getting overwhelmed with windfalls. Luckily, another beekeeper produced five large punnets of blackberries so now there are bottles of our own bramble juice (just the apple and berries steamed to release their juices) that should keep for at least a year. It will be delicious hot with a spoonful of honey and a pinch of cinnamon in the winter months. And there’s another huge bucket of grapes: more delicious juice.
Alongside, I’ve started Christmas preparations: raisins, currant and sultanas for cakes, puddings and seasonal mincemeat all weighed out and steeping in brandy.
It sounds very domestic and the major challenge is where to store all the preserved produce when there’s lots more to come. We are starting to view each cupboard longingly and wonder where we can relocate the existing contents. But it is so satisfying to make the very best of what has been carefully nurtured and grown.
Did you know? According to the Daily Telegraph, if a domestic TV Licence is in the name of a blind person, they are entitled to it at half price.
Something much simpler, easy and needs no attention: courtesy of Heston, this is my standard roast chicken recipe. It just needs short preparation and time to cook.
1 litre warm water.
1 fresh chicken, any trussing removed.
1 lemon, juice and zest.
freshly chopped herbs of your choice.
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (optional).
salt and pepper.
a large glass of white wine.
Dissolve the salt in the warm water and allow to cool.
Place the chicken in the water, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Mix the lemon juice and zest, herbs, garlic (if using), seasoning and butter to make a paste.
Drain the chicken and push the paste between the skin and breast meat.
Push the left-over lemon halves and any spare herbs into the chicken cavity.
Place the chicken in a roasting pan, season and add the wine.
Cook in a preheated oven at 95C, Gas Slow or a quarter for 180-210 minutes or until the thickest part of the thigh has reached 70C.
Remove from the oven and cover with foil and a kitchen towel to keep warm and rest for an hour (while you roast potatoes).
Return to the oven at the highest temperature possible for 5-10 minutes to brown the skin.
Serve and enjoy – wonderfully moist, excellent cold and always a winner.