It’s been a while…………..

For the last three weeks I’ve been kept busy planning for the wedding of our wonderful neighbours’ youngest daughter. We offered to have 25 guests to stay and I’m sure you can imagine the house was full to bursting. Interestingly the number of beds actually corresponds perfectly to the maximum size we can extend the dining room table to!

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When we came back from holiday in Normandy we had three weeks to get the house, the Pleasure Grounds and the Walled Garden into tip top order. Meanwhile lots of produce was getting ready and every week I also enjoy delivering the latest deliciousness to Ox in Belfast. So lots of pressure, but nothing BD and I don’t enjoy.

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One of the things that has come into season are the mulberries. I tried to write about the  flavour earlier, but it is really difficult. I have to say I marvel at our culture where we’ve allowed this amazing berry to almost disappear because it’s too much trouble to market for a supermarket. Why do we do this again and again? Our choices, in comparison to our ancestors, are still shrinking! Having now been eating a few mulberries everyday – ehem I can tell you they go very well with Maud’s Poor Bear Ice cream – the richness of the flavour is wonderful. It is, unsurprisingly, nothing like any other berry I’ve ever tasted. I know it looks like a blackberry, but actually that is only until, on closer inspection, you realise that each berry is composed of lots of tiny berries, that can be carefully pulled apart. Unlike the blackberry which is and aggregate fruit composed of many drupelets which can’t be pulled off. Look at it again below and go and plant one of these mulberry trees. I know it’ll be 14 year before anything happens, but believe me it’s worth the wait.

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Tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen and I’ve started to make my Tomato Consommé. It goes from this:

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To this: the yellow liquid on the left!DSC_0020 rs

Via this machine:

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The flavour is that of rich tomato. All you need to add is salt. This wonderful 1920’s invention is very simple. You put water in the bottom chamber. The middle chamber, where the liquid collects, has a hose so you can get your tomato consommé out without spilling. The top chamber has the tomatoes in it. Sometimes I’ll put a little chilli in with the tomatoes to give some heat, and when I make rhubarb juice I put ginger in, as the flavour of rhubarb is much enhanced by ginger. All the juices I make can also be made into sorbet.

DSC_0252 (2) rsSo I think it is fair to say that autumn has arrived. As you can see from the photo above the pergola is on its last legs. There is nothing left, almost, apart from dahlias, but the cutting garden did us proud for our guests last weekend. All flowers through out the house and in all the bedrooms were from here. And still after we’d been cutting for 3 hours, you couldn’t really see it. Thank you Laura Weil you designed it very well.

 

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