I thought it was a lovely idea and decided I'd love to participate
As you may well imagine, running Go Free means that I am surrounded by cakes nearly every day of my life! So, I decided to do something a bit different. Being the country girl I am, I have a very soft spot for foraging. I take so much pleasure from finding and cooking beautiful fruits, flowers and leaves growing wild. Yes, I did spend half my summer holiday on what came to be known as an elderflower "drive by". I discovered our holiday cottage had some beautiful rose bushes growing in the garden, and with the elderflower in season, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some elderflower and rose syrup. I think we must have visited every chemists shop in Cumbria trying to track down the citric acid. We drove miles scouring the hedgerows to try and get enough elderflower. I ended up making 8 litres of the stuff and driving it back to London in used mineral water bottles to decant when I returned.
High Ground Cottage: our beautiful Lakeland retreat above, and High Ground Cottage's garden below
Over the August bank holiday, we spent the weekend in Oxfordshire. As we cycled around the beautiful countryside, as we often do, we managed to stumble across an impressive haul of fruit. Rhubarb, victoria plums and wait for it....damsons! I had poor Tony climbing through the nettles to reach the plums, and we both managed to collect an impressive haul of damsons - five kilos! Unfortunately, we had a seven mile cycle back to the house, up hill, with the backpack full to bursting with fruit. It was a challenge, but I was so pleased with my haul, I powered through. We ended up spending most of bank holiday monday making jam, using the pressure cooker pan amongst others to accommodate the vast quantities of soft fruit. All in all, we made over 60 jars of jam.
So what, have I done with all this jam? I've actually given it all away. To friends, family and colleagues, as a little treat. Everyone has been so thrilled to have received their little gift - my way of saying how great I think they are. So, as I type, I am back in London. With one lonely jar of jam left. I'll have to make it last!