Happy New Year! Hi there, were here 2022. Don’t know about you but I’m so glad 2021 is over.
For the last few weeks of December the only creative thing I’ve done is making jam, some experiments I had in mind.
I thought it would be nice to have something special to use with Christmas dinner apart from the usual apple and cranberry sauces. In my river cottage preserves book there is a recipe for herb jellies but they all used apples for a base.
I wondered whether quince could be used in place of apples and since I hate to waste the pulp would making a conserve work. (FYI my idea of a conserve is a slightly less set jam)
Quince and Sage Conserve
1lb peeled and cored quince (I’m using japonicas here)
1 medium bunch of sage leaves chopped
Wash jars and place in the oven at 100 degrees, this will warm and sterilize the jars ready for use. The lids I place in a jug of boiled water from the kettle.
simmer the fruit with the sage leaves and just enough water to cover the fruit in a pan with a lid till the fruit is soft.
Add sugar and heat gently till it dissolves
boil rapidly until it reaches setting point – use a sugar thermometer if you can get one to work(i have no luck with them at all) or test on a cool plate/saucer. Drop a teaspoon of jam on the plate leave minute and pull a spoon through the middle of the jam, if it stays separate its set if not carry on and test again. I wanted it a little looser so pulled it off the boil a little earlier.
Put the jam into the prewarmed jars and screw on the lids. Jam is scalding hot be careful not to get any on your skin!
My batch made roughly four and a half 170g jars which is roughly 6oz a decent size for condiments.
We used the quince and sage Christmas day and I have to say it goes very well with turkey and ham, a very tasty experiment indeed.
Sorry about the sad jam pictures, we have poor light this time of the year.
Quince and Lemon Jam
I had three lemons in the bowl that I thought would blend very nicely.
Grate the rind and squeeze the lemons into the pan along with the quince. I neglected to weigh the fruit first, (Doh!).
Simmer the fruit till it is soft.
Because I hadn’t weight the fruit I used a large jug and measured it that way. I use 1lb of sugar to 1 pint of fruit it usually works fine.
Add sugar and heat gently till it dissolves
Boil rapidly and continue on as above recipe till the jam on the plate no longer runs back together.
My batch made seven jars of variable sizes from the small 170g to bigger 1lb jars.
Disclaimer – these recipes are my experiments, I am not a cook, I measure in either metric or imperial depending on the mood my brain is in and as in the quince and lemon recipe sometimes forget to measure till later (doh!)
I put the recipes here because I want to remember them and they won’t be lost on here like the scrappy bit of paper I used last year (again Doh!)
As you may notice I no longer use sticky labels on my preserve jars, I got tired of trying to scrape the old labels off each year so now I use elastic bands and little tags, so much easier.
In other news I did a round up of my favourite artings this year on instagram. I didn’t bother with the algorithm versions as I’m a person not a mathematical equation.
After picking the images I liked it was interesting to see the colours, pink, blue green and orange. Interesting it seems like they were the colours of last year.
Four of the images were watercolour the other five ink. Probably of no interest to any one but me but its interesting to see and notice the direction art is taking me.
Once again happy new year people, I’m crossing my fingers, toes, legs and eyes that this year will be better year than last year. That we will all be healthy, happy and creatively inspired.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun
The weather is all over the place and after a week of sweltering heat we’re back to piddling rain, rotten for us but the plants in the garden are loving it.
It’s certainly doing the japonica quince well as this year they are producing lots of fruit. I may be making jam this year.
Above is a watercolour sketch painted in between down-pours. They look a bit like apples but they are rock hard and very sour. They really need cooking and lots of sugar before they can be eaten.
Below is another quince sketch, this time drawn with black fountain pen ink. Originally the fruit was cross hatched, I didn’t like it so I washed it out with a water brush then pulled ink out of the line work to colour the leaves. I like it much more now.
The poppies have almost finished now, there is one last straggler that has burst into bloom; in a day or so all of the petals will drop and they will be finished for another year.
They’re one of my favourite flowers to paint.
Thinking of poppies the seed pods of the big red perineal poppies have just popped opened. They are so structural and become more and more fascinating as they age and decay.
I’ve tipped a few seeds into a small envelope as Mum asked me to save some for her.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun
It flowers a few weeks later than the other one and is filled with beautiful orange blossoms.
In the first image above I managed to capture some of the sunlight shining on the petals. Since this isn’t watercolour paper I was very happy with the results.
Finding a scrap of watercolour paper I thought I would paint another one and see what the difference would be.
I like the way the colours mixed themselves on this paper and even made a little background; unfortunately the scanner doesn’t like this particular shade of green and it just makes the paper look dirty, it’s very sad because it’s actually a nice pale shade of green.
This next page was disappointing, it was a duller day and the colours had changed, I couldn’t quite mix the right colours and it all looks a little muddy.
Obviously I need to play with the colour mixing more so I can find a better combination. (Learning and growing)
On this day I took only a pencil and sketch book into the garden and made some pencil sketches. It helps to work out the shapes and shading.
I find this type of drawing quite meditative and often loose track of time sitting in the garden scratching away with a pencil.
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x
Spring is here and it’s time to sit outside in the garden drawing spring flowers, whoot!
The pale quince blossom is flowering on max at the moment and the bees are buzzing around frantically trying to harvest the nectar. I’m sure they know just like I do that this weather doesn’t last long here.
We’re still plodding along; we had one big walk down the road this week and kicked ourselves that we didn’t take our drawing stuff along. It was only a mile or so down a small lane to the river, it’s a dead end road with not too many houses so not many people or cars to avoid, crossing to the other side when we became close.
Next time if we’re still allowed out we’ll take a book and pencil case and sit on the riverbank with the cows.
I’ve been drawing in the garden again. I drew some quince flowers; the bush is a little scrappy but it has beautiful orange flowers, its only redeeming feature really since the fruit if we get any at all is the size of a ping pong ball and mostly filled with pips.
I used my fountain pen again. I’m finding it very restful listening to the birds and scratching away with my little pen.
When I’m drawing plants like these and the quince I just pick out the bits I’m interested in,
This week saw in the 1st of April (can you believe it April!) I remembered pinchpunchpost, a twitter challenge I do if I remember. This month’s theme was walrus. I drew a very unappealing walrus, tried to cheer it up a bit in the computer, meh. I posted it anyway, why not.
With walrus’s on the brain I decided to make some sort of pattern. I drew a few walrus in illustrator and next thing I knew I had fish and a seagull too hehehe. Having lots of fun with the cuteness.
It’s not a colour scheme I would have chosen, I mean they are all colours I like but wouldn’t have consciously put them together myself, but I do like it. Illustrator colour changer for the win.
Thanks for taking precious time to stop by. Take care, till next time, have fun x
Hi there, how are you?
In our garden we have three different types of quince.
We have a small tree growing the real quince, they’re pear shaped with a fuzzy skin, we also have two types of japonica quince. They’re all edible sour and very hard, all need to be cooked and sweetened before they can be eaten.
I love to draw the flowers in spring then forget to draw the fruit in the autumn. This year I have rectified that and tried to draw the fruits of our entire quince family.
The quince tree has lots of white/pale pink flowers in spring; one or two fruits start to form then usually most fall off.
It maybe me or the weather who knows but it normally produces one single fruit. Last year we had a bumper crop of two whole fruits, this year we’re back to one.
I’ll cook it slowly in the oven and we’ll eat it with ice cream, one fruit will easily feed four for a dessert yum.
The small japonica bush as loads of orange flowers and looks so beautiful in spring. It gives barely any fruit and when it does they are small, possibly the size of a ping pong ball. This year it has four fruits on one of the branches. Best crop we’ve had for many years, something that needed recording in my sketch book for sure.
The third quince is a cross between a tree and a bush. It grows tall and is mainly branches and stalks. It has lovely white flowers that blush red and pink in spring, almost like a blossom.
The fruit is about the size of an apple.
The last few years they have given us lots of fruit. The fruit grows close to or even on to the branches and don’t have much in the way of stalks.
I leave them on the bush well into autumn till the first one drops off then try to prize them from the branches. Again they are very sour, more so than the pear shaped one and need lots of sugar. I use the japonica quince to make my favourite quince, rosehip and apple jam. I like to grate anything left over and freeze the pulp; it can be used with other fruit through out the year and tastes really good in muffins.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x
I’m still keeping up with the drawing course. This week is about leaf and flower anatomy.
First exercise was drawing leaves, as an overall shape with some information on size and colour (this course is concerned with graphite drawing so colouring is kept to some notes and swatches) also a drawing of how it appears on the plant. The weathers been horrible this week so on the one mild day we had I jumped outside and drew the leaves of the japonica quince. It’s right outside the door and something I’m reasonably familiar with.
It came out better than I thought it would, still mistakes in the actual drawing but I like the overall look of the branch.
The second exercise was drawing a flower including some of the anatomy and notes. I drew a viola, from the front, back etc then pulled one of the flowers apart to see how it’s made up.
Well my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be and I started thinking I should have picked a bigger flower! Enter the magnifying light we bought a while ago and haven’t used much, it has a daylight bulb inside so when you look through the magnifying lens you can see what you’re doing. Worked perfectly and could see all the tidily little parts so I could draw them. Sorted.
I’m enjoying this course; I’m learning loads and hopefully will push my drawing skills forward.
I would like to be drawing and painting lots of other stuff at the moment but this type of drawing takes me so long that I haven’t the time, still there is only two weeks left and then I can get back to normal, maybe even an improved normal who knows.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by today. Till next time, have fun x