orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria

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Thursday, 13 August 2009

An urgent Appeal

Actually two appeals. Firstly, so far I have always refused offers of empty jars, thinking I've got so many clattering up our cantina already, I'll never run out. However, it has happened, we've run out of preserving jars. The litres and litres of tomato sauce I do on an almost daily basis are ok, I just bottle them in old beer bottles, no shortage of those. But the berry season has started. We already have a backlog of blackberries and elderberries in the freezer, because I don't have any jars to put them into, and the peaches and the second batch of figs are getting ripe and will want using.

So, PLEEEEEEEEASE, PLEASE, anyone reading this living anywhere near us, save us your empty jam jars and all and we will come and collect them!

On that subject, with the last of the jars I tried making a new preserve I have not tried before. I had read a recipe for an elderberry jelly on the internet, but I don't like adding artificial pectins and I can never be bothered with dripping jellies through muslin and all that hassle, so I came up with my own recipe for elderberriy jam:

1.5 kg elderberries (weight after de-stalking)
5 crab apples
1/2 untreated lemon
1 kg sugar

  1. After collecting the elderberries, freeze them. That makes de-stalking them an easier and less messy job. Once frozen, de-stalk them by running a fork through the bunches. Chop the half lemon, skin and all and core and chop the apples.
  2. Combine those ingredients and cook in a large pan over a low heat until the apples are soft.
  3. Add the warmed sugar and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
  4. Now pass the whole mixture a couple of times through a tomato mill or press through a sieve.
  5. Re-heat and bottle in hot jars.

Now to come to our second appeal. My regular readers will remember our cat saga. In November last year, just as the weather started turning unpleasant, a cat turned up on our doorstep, a red tom. Because of his canning resemblance with the cartoon cat, we called him Garfield. He seemed a nice, well behaved cat and we started buying food for him.

Shortly afterwards, he started bringing his girlfriend. She initially just came for meals, but did not stay the night. She was black and white with a black dot on her nose, so we called her Dot.

Now we were getting a bit worried, because she very much looked like a producing female. And right enough, a few days later she brought her kitten with her.

As she must have been born in the neighbourhood, that meant she was born under the shadow of the church of San Michele Arcangelo, who is also depicted on the stone relief on the wall opposite our bedroom window. So we called her Michaela, or Mickey for short.

Now, that we had two intact females in the house, we had to kick Garfield back out again. He has died in the meantime. He had evidently been attacked by a dog. Anyway, cut a long story short, we've had our two girls neutered, and they are still with us. However words has evidently gone around in the cat world that we are a bit of a soft touch for cats.

So a few weeks ago another regular visitor arrived, a very sad skinny looking female. We called her Tigger, because she is a grey tiger type. A couple of days ago she introduced us to her kittens, Rooney (originally Ears, because she is more ears than cat, but re-named after Susan noticed the floppy ears of Wayne Rooney at last night's match of England vs Holland) and NoSi (can never make up its mind, "shall I come, or not. No... si...").

So between them the five cats are eating us out of house and home. So any cat lovers out there, the PONZANO SUPERIORE CAT SANCTUARY welcomes any donations of cat food!


Ralph VAUGHAN said...

Do I understand that you are living in Ponzano Superiore?
The bas relief of St George and the Dragon is at th top of the steps to St Muchael's Church. On the other side of the steps is the shield of Florence turned on it's side. Correct?
Ralph in California

Heiko said...

Hi Ralph,

Correct. It's part of the old castle wall. How come you know Ponzano Superiore so well?