Archive for the 'Auntie Ann' Category

Merry Christmas from the Pump House Cottage

The Brand!Merry christmas to all!

The folks here at the pump house cottage are celebrating by decorating the flegling pine growing in the jungle (a mere baby pinus radiata at only 4 metres!) with fairy lights and are planning to eat a christmas dinner of roast lamb, potatoes and kumara (thanks Prestons and Pak n Save) with sides of peas and brocolli and a salad of lettuce, spring onion and radish all (from the jungle/garden).

A small crop of strawberries will be harvested and served with cream and trifle – little will be remembered after this point as the rest of the day will pass in a sherry induced haze. 

I hope the rellies/friends/neighbours enjoy the newly branded pump house cottage elderflower cordial and marmalade.

So, the first festive beer has already been consumed, and pak n save has been cleaned out of $8.99 Lindaur rose. Auntie ann is coming around and the festivities will roll on into the new year if the Lindaur supply holds out.

My recipe for a great christmas – family & good friends, good food, happy smiling bubs, sunshine and bubbly.

Cheers! And have a great christmas!

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Elderflower Cordial & Marmalade!

Hey man! I have turned all domesticated! I have made elderflower cordial and marmalade. It was easy! Any Ex Engineer turned domestic goddess could do it.

We have 10 elder trees at the pump house cottage (and counting) so it seemed appropriate to make use of the produce. Apparently elderflower season is a mere 6 weeks so I took advantage of this transient time and sent the IT guy up a ladder picking flowers – lovely!

Pump House Cottage Elderflower Cordial

40 Elderflower heads – beautiful fresh ones, not a hint of brown, smelling intensely like a cats toilet, collected on a sunny day at midday, turn around three times and touch your toes before plucking, rinse off bugs and place in a big bucket.

Acquire 2 Oranges & 5 Lemons, pare off zest,  cut up the remainder and add all to the elderflowers.

Combine 2.5 kg of sugar with 2 Litres of boiling water – Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble until dissolved.

Using the appropriate face of intense concentration pour the boiling sugar solution over the unsuspecting elderflowers, zest etc.

Quickly whip 100g of citric acid together with a cup of boiling water to dissolve and add to the elderflower party.

Stir, stir, stir… a good 10 seconds of industrious stirring should do it.

Cover the bucket with a tea towel – and leave for 5 days.

At this point the elderflower aroma was quite intense and got me a little bit scared of the potential product – but over night the smell matured and became quite a pleasant background for activities at the pump house cottage. To the left is the mix brewing…

After the 5 days of steeping, sieve through muslin. Keep the elderflower/citrus mulch to the side and bottle the cordial in sterilised bottles – Dilute to taste with water, lemonade – or my favourite – soda water – and enjoy!

The elderflower cordial has been popular – even Auntie Ann took home a bottle – watch out tea lady rellies – there is going to be elderflower cordial all round for christmas presents.

Now for the Marmalade:

Elderflower Marmalade – The Pump House Cottage Recipe.

Now before we begin – a few disclaimers – I am not a jam maker and kinda played this one by ear – but the result was not bad….

Take the elderflower/citrus mulch leftover from the cordial straining and remove the elderflowers (thanks but we don’t need you anymore!) 

Cut the zest and pulp up (I don’t like to have great lumps in my marmalade so I cut it up as finely as I could).

Place the pulverised mess in a saucepan & cover the mixture with elderflower cordial. Cook gently until a test piece of zest is tender to bite.

Weigh the mixture and add the same weight of sugar. Cook until suitably jammy – picking out stray bugs and lemon pips as you go. My setting test was pure guess work  (i.e. hey man it looks like jam now!) You may want to use a more scientific method.

Pour the hot marmalade into jars and ta da! Elderflower marmalade – Yum!

Now the IT guy has caught the bug – and has been brewing elderflower champagne – watch this space to see if he is a fermenting success or all ends in a bomb squad call out.

Mysterious Mail Muncher

Oh the mysteries of the pump house cottage. Yes something is eating the mail. Over the last week the most disturbing phenomena has been observed, the mail, has been nibbled. The odd creature that is finding sustenance on our bills and bank statements has the most discerning of tastes too – It always eats away the name part of the address away, it looks like a blunt hole punch has been randomly pummelled across the writing … makes for confusing allocation of the mail – sorry auntie ann – I accidentally open you mail – your student loan is HOW MUCH! The perils of getting your mail forwarded to your big sister…

Anyway – I had a few thoughts about what it might be, my hypothesis was based on the consumption pattern, mostly official letters, some junk mail and the fact that the accountancy journal was not touched (hhhmmm – some amount of taste displayed there – poor accountancy journal – nobody is interested in you) – I ruled out the postie (not into junk food) and prankster kids (too subtle) and settled on a slug – only such a gross and base creature could be capable of such mindless munching. But I was wrong!…

Eventually the villain was discovered, it was a stately snail – caught in the act – demolishing a high gloss picture of a mallowpuff on the new world catalogue. D Bob (one of the cats) is pointing to the damage in the picture below.

Mallowpuff Anyone

He was disposed of (the snail! Not D Bob) – not so humanely – I gave him to Pax – not a pleasant end for any bug. Never Mind!

This morning I collected the  mail and it was munch free – so no chance of accidentally breaking any privacy laws any more – all is right with the world.

NB – I have found the spell checker! Though I think the new found correct spelling is just not me…