30 Nov 2018

Friday Bliss #12


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.
Linda :)

26 comments:

  1. I'm so happy that you did not break any bones Linda! They need an awful long time to heel (still on crunches after 6 months). I wish the best for your scan too, of course it's nerve wrecking... The story behind the plate is interesting and I love the views from your kitchen - delicious grape jam and a beautiful Anthurium blooming on the window sill. Here very stormy and windy weather, staying inside in the middle of Christmas cleaning and jobs.

    Wishing you a peaceful First Advent.

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    1. Thank you Riitta for the Friday Bliss linkup and your good wishes. I do hope you continue to get more mobile in the coming days. It's best to be indoors during stormy, windy weather so I hope you have a relaxing weekend after your household work is done.

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  2. First of all good luck for your injury: get well soon! Thanks for sharing the grape jelly...it must be delicious and so amiably sweet. Take it easy and enjoy the Advent time!

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  3. Those blackberries look as big as apples!

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    1. I'm sure you meant to say 'grapes' Sandi. Thank you for coming by.

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  4. Oh no! I hope you heal quickly and that the scan doesn't reveal anything nasty. This is a lovely post, I particularly enjoyed reading about Giovanni De Simone, what a good idea to buy those plates. I wish you a peaceful weekend, too. x

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Mrs. Tiggywinkle. Thank you for your kind comments and good wishes.

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  5. oh yum on the jam, mother used to make jam, jelly and prserves. she always made preserves out of figs, as a child I refused to eat it or the figs but now would love to eat it. your view is so pretty out your kitchen window and I love your countertops.

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    1. I love figs so it was good to find a jam recipe. We have big picture windows and I enjoy the view especially at the back of the house.

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  6. Take care and relax. It is so easy to injure ourselves sometimes done in haste because there is so much to be done, or possible because lack of judgement and may be darkness. The times I have tripped and been lucky not to hurt myself, and then thought that I should really be more carefully are many.
    I can imagine that the grape jelly will be lovely.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary. I sometimes lose concentration. I'm thankful that I didn't break any bones as I'm being monitored for having border-line osteoperoris because of the undergoing treatment I'm receiving. I'm being looked after well by my GP re my overall health, for which I'm very grateful.

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  7. Oh no, sorry for the fall. Heal quickly! I will pray they find nothing in the new scan other than what normal things they should see. I love grape jelly and your jelly sounds delicious. Next year I do believe I need to think about making something with grapes. Our church has an arbor full of grapes every year, but no one picks them for anything other than a little eating. I also thought of making a shrub with them. Your other produce looks wonderful. We just pulled the last of our tomatoes out of the garden and have a few green ones we are hoping will ripen. Enjoy preparing for advent.

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    1. Thank you Marilyn. I'm taking one moment at a time right now even though my mind is full of future happenings. Mr P and I lead a fairly quiet life wherever we are, but it's good to be reminded to slow down, appreciate our surroundings and family visits.

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  8. Oh dear poor you and just at this busy time of year. Hopefully you'll feel better soon and let's hope your scan is good too. x

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    1. Thank you CK. The fall did rather shake me up, but I'm thankful that I didn't break any bones and I'm feeling a lot better after needing to rest for a few days. The need for another scan and regular blood tests isn't good news, but I'm grateful for the NHS system and my GP's care.

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  9. Oh dear Linda, I hope you are feeling better soon. I'm so glad you didn't break any bones and that resting will help you to heal, a fall does shake you up quite a bit. I loved reading about your plates and the grape jelly sounds delicious:)

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  10. So sorry to hear about your fall. Hope the results from your scan and blood tests are OK. With the problems we have had this year with health we too are very grateful for the NHS system that we have.

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  11. Oh dear Linda, I am so sorry that you fell and I am glad it wasn't too serious. I think of you often and will be praying that your scan will come back with good news. On a cheerier note, your grapes look just beautiful and I am sure the jelly you have made will taste wonderful. Grace and Peace to you.

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  12. Oh Linda, so sorry to hear about that fall, thank goodness it wasn't worse. Rest up and take it easy.Sending hugs, and prayers that your scan comes back clear. Loved your grape jelly recipe and seeing your produce. Your plate collection sounds lovely. Take good care of you.xxxx

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  13. Lovely to read your post and see your photographs.
    However, I was so sorry to read about your fall. Hoping you are feeling a little better now, and that the scan comes back clear.
    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan. I'm feeling a lot better. My scan is on Monday, so still have that to think about. All the best to you too.

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Thank you for your kind comment which is much appreciated. Have a lovely day.