I shall have to write a list of Cool Jobs to do as the week continues, for both indoors and out it has been exceedingly warm and airless today. Even the birds were subdued, the only sounds in the garden being the occasional crowing of our neighbour’s cockerel, most human activity taking place inside in front of the tennis. There must have been an occasional light breeze however, as whilst writing this from the sitooterie in the late afternoon a faint tinkle reaches my ear from the nearest windchimes.
The picture above shows some of the crop of berries on the amelanchier, strange though it seems to have berries early on in the year especially when it was only the end of April that it was in full flower . I may just not have noticed in previous years, but the tree is now smothered in them and our local blackbird families are clearly finding them very tasty – how nice for the fledglings to be introduced to such a varied diet so early in their little feathered lives!
The blackbirds are not the only ones picking fruit, as since last Sunday I have been able to pick around a pound of raspberries – these are the Autumn fruiting ones which are being double cropped and it will be the first year I have been able to put this principal properly into practice. Once these stems have finished fruiting they will be cut them down to the ground and the new shoots allowed to fruit later in the year – all looks good so far. The row of established loganberries are later than usual, but I did find a single ripe berry today amongst a mass of unripe ones. My attention however, during the promised sunshine and heat of this week, will need to be focused on the currants, as already the trusses are being weighed down with the rapidly ripening fruit – I love the jewel-like colours of these red and blackcurrants, and the pearly translucency of the whitecurrants.
Meanwhile, although the rhubarb plods along in its own almost old fashioned way, I have recently discovered the joys of poached as opposed to stewed rhubarb and will probably never return to the traditional stewed method again. I have been experimenting with rhubarb cakes, but having tried recipes from bloggers Christine and Annette I wanted something simpler that could be thrown together on a whim – ideally a Victoria sponge mixture with rhubarb added to it. For this I guessed the rhubarb would need to be precooked, hence the poached rhubarb – I shall post instructions for both under the In the Kitchen tab. The rhubarb keeps its shape when it is poached, and both the texture and colour are very different from when it is stewed – I can highly recommend it, and the cake was pretty successful* too!
*the first attempt was less successful, so I reduced the quantity of rhubarb in the second