Last year we were really, really late getting a supply of logs because it had taken an age to get our woodburner installed and we had to rely on our gas central heating. This year we wanted to be in good time. Towards the very tail-end of August we spoke to the wife of 'our man in the village' explaining that we'd like 10 stere of wood [10 cubic meters] delivered in September. We figured this would give us plenty of time to stack it while the weather was still mild.
Of course this is France, and things are a little 'flexible'. Madame phoned back mid September to say that things were now in the planning and our wood would be delivered either the weekend of the 1st or 8th of October, but we'd get a call a day or so before.
Thursday the 6th we duly got a quick call and at 8:15 last Saturday morning the first of the 2 trailer loads of wood arrived, followed by the second about an hour later. Although overcast, the weather has been mild so it was pretty pleasant working outdoors and we were able to fill the woodshed to the rafters--it will take about 4 stere and stack the rest into a neater woodpile than last year.
|botanical drawing of 'marmelo'|
October is the season for quinces. We have a very elderly quince tree and although rather spindly, it still produces fruits. Last year we got very few, but this year the tree gave us 2kgs worth. According to Wikipedia quince jelly is the original marmalade as the Portuguese word for quince is marmelo [from Latin melimelum (“sweet apple”)].
We have made various jams over the years: cherry, bramble, damson, and raspberry; but never jelly. We didn't have the 'kit' and it seemed too much palaver with bags having to drip overnight etc. In the past we have had a very prolific medlar tree--another fruit which makes great jelly. We used to give friends of ours who were very keen jelly makers the bletted [softened by frost and decay] fruit and got a few pots of medlar jelly in return.
Having a reasonable number of quinces this year we decided to give it a try ourselves as we know quince jelly is delicious. We found a simple recipe on a blog called the cottage smallholder.
|some of our quince jelly|
We still don't have the 'proper' kit but created an improvised jelly bag using a sterilised mesh bag [one of those you can use in the washing machine to keep delicates safe] to line a collander. We then drained the fruit pulp through this into a large mussel pan [nice and tall]. It seems to have worked. Although the jelly isn't crystal clear, it is jelly and not jam. We also got far more jelly than we expected and ran out of jam jars and had to press a large preserving jar into service to cope! It should go very well with lamb, pork and blue cheese.