Sunday, 12 October 2008


After a weekend of beautiful sunshine, I am ever hopeful that my squashes will ripen before the first frost.

I am still pulling carrots for yummy home made coleslaw but apart from that, my veg plot is starting to look bare. Gardeners' World on Friday, showed Joe planting up onions, so I need to look at what I can plant up now, which will over winter successfully.

As there is not much to do in the garden at the moment, I turned my attention to all the raspberries I have picked over the last couple of weeks, which have been sitting in my freezer.

I consulted my Preserves book by Pam Corbin to find an easy recipe for making raspberry jam, as I had never made jam before. I came across a recipe for raspberry fridge jam by Hugh FW. It's called fridge jam because it has a lower amount of sugar than regular jam, so once opened it needs to be kept in the fridge. (The sugar acts as a preservative, so therefore the shelf life is shorter but if kept in the fridge, it lasts 2 to 3 weeks)

It's really easy to make and tastes amazing. As the amount of sugar is reduced, you can really taste the raspberries rather than just sugar. The consistency is more like a conserve being quite soft and absolutely delicious on home made bread.

Although I haven't got a glut of produce to turn into preserves, (this year anyhow) I like the idea of making chutneys and sauces. It has a homely comforting feeling about it, plus you know exactly what goes into your preserves, which has got to be a good thing!

Watch out for Hugh's new series River Cottage Autumn this week.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

River Cottage Duck Fair

Today was a good day for ducks. Raining!

As we travelled through the clouds to River Cottage HQ aka Park Farm, for the Duck Fair, I thought that everytime we have been over to West Dorset this year, it has rained.

I started the day by picking a punnet of raspberries for the bring and barter tent at the Duck Fair. The idea is to bring some home grown produce, home made produce or home baked cakes, pies or biscuits and then swap them for someone elses goodies.

The swap started at 12.30 but it was very busy in the tent so I decided to come back later and see what was left.
I went to the next tent where Hugh was serving up Duck Wraps with cucumber and Hoisin Sauce. When I got to the front of the queue. Hugh asked if anyone would like to stay and to be filmed eating the wrap. Well if you know me, you will know that I am a huge fan of Hugh, so I thought I would stick around. Hugh asked me to come over and talk to him about the wrap, for the camera.

The point of the piece to camera was that the wrap was half wild duck and half domestic duck. I had to say which I preferred. To be honest I couldn't really tell, which was which. One was a bit more gamey than the other so I winged it a bit. I will have to wait until the show is aired to find out if they will use my piece.

There were lots of Duck themed attractions; Splat the 'duck', Hook a Duck, Rubber Duck shie and Duck air rifle shooting. (Not real ducks!)

To wash the duck wrap down I had some home made cider.

When River Cottage have an event, you can see the people who Hugh has had on his programmes. In the events barn we saw Fraser Christian, fishing expert, do a cooking demonstration and John Wright explain the joys of mushroom foraging. He was very entertaining and fun to listen to.

On the way out I asked Hugh if I could have a photograph with him. "Why not", he said.

I have watched Hugh since his very first programme, when he arrived from London and rented a little cottage called 'River Cottage'. I have always enjoyed watching his programmes and was not disappointed when I spoke to him - he really is a lovely chap!


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