I love this time of year, slipping from summer to Autumn, ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ as Keats once wrote. It’s not cold yet, but you can cosy up under a big old jumper and enjoy the very last of the nature’s bounty.
We have had such a big crop of grapes this year. They obviously enjoyed the hot summer! However, they aren’t sweet enough to eat or juice.
I offered them on Facebook to see if any friends wanted to take them for wine making but there was no take up. We couldn’t let the whole crop just rot on the vine so I decided to make some grape liqueur.
It couldn’t have been easier. Essentially you just leave them in vodka with a little sugar. I am giving the jar a shake every day and looking forward to drinking this at Christmas.
I am keeping my eyes open for some pretty bottles and might even give some of the grape liqueur as a Christmas present.
Talking of nature’s bounty, we have had two bags of hazelnuts sitting around for months. They were given to us by a neighbour. Some were eaten last Christmas but the others were forgotten about!
I found them the other day and decided to clean off the husks and start to use them. Now I need to find some good recipes 😀. I can make some nut cutlets for the freezer, of crush them up and put them in cakes or biscuits.
Apples and flowers
As I mentioned in last week’s meal plan, I hosted a dinner party for my girlfriends this week.
In the past I thought I had to recreate a top restaurant experience when I threw dinner parties. I would worry about every detail, spend a fortune on ingredients and generally stress out. But when I have been at work all day I just can’t do that and, to be honest, they wouldn’t expect it or be remotely judgemental. So I decided to make a nut roast with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puds and steamed vegetables. I made the nut roast the evening before, so just had to put it in the oven. I also made an apple pudding with custard. It was pretty much stress free, and meant I had time to sit and chat without any last minute faffing about. We all enjoyed it and there were leftovers for Mr S.
It didn’t break the bank either! The apples were from a neighbour’s tree like the hazelnuts. My friend Sara, who also grows lovely things in her garden, brought a beautiful posy of home grown flowers for the table.
Bulbs and compost
Our garden has been a bit neglected this year. We did spend a good few hours out there last weekend, cutting things back and tidying up. Then we went to the garden centre and bought a job lot of compost and some big bags of spring bulbs.
Bulbs are a cheap way to bring colour to the garden every year. I am going to layer them in pots so that the crocuses come up first, followed by the daffodils and finally the tulips for a long lasting display.
I hardly ever buy new clothes and am a veritable second hand Rose. However, I really needed to find a couple of tops for work so I headed to the New Look sale where they had 60% off some items. I got one reduced from £13.99 to £6 and another for £8 that was originally £15.99. I wear a dark coloured skirt and cardigan almost every day so I don’t have to think too hard in the mornings. A bright top stops me looking too drab!
So that’s my frugal week enjoying nature’s bounty and a bargain or two. How has your week been?
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