When we got back from our time in Italy there was a lot of our own produce to gather. The tomatoes were brought in from the covered yard to ripen. In fact we've only just finished using them to make fresh tomato sauce. There were some heads of broccoli and a few runner beans in the veg plot and some lovely apples to pick.
We left the grapes growing on the wire supports on the wall to ripen during our time away and when we got home they were ready to gather. Our daughter D had made hers into grape jelly and I thought I would have a go at doing the same this year.
This is the method:-
1 kg red grapes stripped from the stalks
450g jam sugar or sugar and a sachet of pectin powder
the juice of 1 lemon
Tip the grapes into a large saucepan set over a low heat, then cover and leave to gently cook for 5 minutes until the juices start to run. Mash the pulp and cook for another 10 minutes whilst continuing to mash every now and again. Place a clean cloth in a sieve set over a bowl and pour the grape pulp into this and leave the mixture to drip through for at least an hour.
Measure out the juice (you should have about 600ml) and pour it into a pan along with the sugar and lemon juice. Set the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Skimming any scum as it boils let the mixture bubble until the temperature reaches 105c on a sugar thermometer. If you don't have a sugar thermometer put a small plate in the freezer for 5 minutes. Put a little of the juice onto the cold plate and after a minute run your finger through. If the jelly wrinkles it's ready. Pour the hot jelly into sterilised jars and close with lids that have vacuum seals.
We've only just finished the fig jam that was made earlier so we plan to open a jar of the grape jelly when our daughter D comes to stay in the Christmas holidays.
Continuing with the grape growing theme, below is one of my collection of vintage plates.
Mr P and I would take our young family to Italy during the Summer holidays and drive down from England stopping off in different, interesting locations along the way. As I like ceramics I would buy a plate at the Italian motorway shops where we stopped to rest. I have plates from four different outlets showing a typical scene from that region. They're all done in a particular style and recently I did some research to find out more about the artist whose signature is on them.
Giovanni De Simone was born in 1930 in his hometown of Natale in Sicily. His parents were local aristocrats and as a young child he travelled to Somalia. The experience must have influenced his later artistic creations. During the 1950s he founded his workshop in Palermo where ceramic items were painted by hand. His later designs were inspired by the primitivism and cubist movement popularised by artists such Picasso, Matisse and Klee. De Simone's style often included images depicting traditional rural life and folklore in bright colours reminiscent of traditional Sicilian art.
De Simone relocated to Emilia-Romagna after WW2. (His family had been placed in a concentration camp during the war - another aspect of his life that I would like to research). In Faenza he studied pottery designing and making pottery at the Instituto d'Arte. On completion of his studies he returned to Sicily where he married Eliana and together they had three daughters. He died in 1991. The Ceramiche De Simone Company located in Palermo continued, but in 2008 it was taken over by the Vanadia family.
My week has been a mixture of experiences. On Monday I went to my book group meeting at the library. On Tuesday our grandson came after school before going to do some voluntary work football coaching the younger members of his team and then our daughter M came by after work and had supper with us. Earlier in the day I went to the GP to get results of more blood tests and have been referred back to the hospital for another scan. That evening I was walking too quickly from the store cupboard in the garage back to the kitchen and tripped on the kitchen steps. I fell forward, but thankfully, despite a swollen left wrist and little finger bone, a cut on my chin I didn't break anything. I applied a bag of frozen peas onto the swelling. Now the swelling has gone down, but I'm feeling stiff and aching where I pulled a muscle in my left shoulder. It could have been worse. As you can imagine, I'm resting as much as possible, enjoying some reading and planning for a visit from our granddaughter who is coming back from university for the weekend. Hopefully, the scan, when I get the appointment and then the result, will show nothing serious. I'm sorry I haven't been able to leave comments on many of your recent posts. I managed to prepare much of this blog post before my fall. Next week I hope that I'll feel a lot better.
Sunday marks the beginning of Advent and for me it will be a time of quiet preparation leading up to Christmas. I wish you a good day and a peaceful weekend.