Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I, bee

I've started to co-habit with bees. "Keep" bees is not the right phrase - they are free to go, or come, as they wish.

Miguel gave me my first lesson today, as we transferred a few of his lovely wee black Montseny bees to my shiny new hive:

The place to bee
A few got away and made a sort of mini-swarm (it's in the centre of the photo, though you will have to look closely to spot it):

's warm, here

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Cherry harvest

It's time for cherries at the Croft:

Cherry d'amour
I've made my version of cerise confite. It's built from a recipe by Henriette Lasnet de Lanty and Michèle Parfonry in "Confits, confitures et Conserves", Dargaud Éditeur, 1978.

2kg cherries
2kg sugar
Juice of one lemon

Remove pips from cherries. Crack open at least 12 and preferably more pips and extract the kernels. Cover cherries and kernels with the sugar and warm slightly so that the sugar dissolves in juice. Leave to stand 24 hours.
Remove cherries and boil down the syrup to 107ºC on the sugar thermometer
Add the cherries. Boil and count 2 minutes. Take off the heat for 2 minutes. Put back on heat and boil 2 mins. Take off for 2 mins. Put back and boil for 2 mins - in other words you do the hokey-kokey on-and-off-the-boil thing three times.

Put the cherries into sterile jars. Reduce the syrup again to 107ºC, then fill up the jars. I normally finish off the whole thing by sterilising the jars in a bain marie.

These cherries are really good for using in cakes and pastry afterwards. They are a little like prunes (pruneaux séchées if you are reading this in France...)