Here we are, a month on from my last entry and three big shows now completed and achieved! For total novices, Hartpury was quite scary- our tent took off one day and needed four adults to get it back again- fortunately it was NOT raining and in hindsight was probably quite entertaining. It was a really friendly and appealing introduction to the world of shows. We met some delightful people, most of whom were horse enthusiasts and had had their lorries targeted with leaflets by our kind and hardworking children.
All the hard work and early morning starts certainly paid off and we finished feeling delighted with the way it all went. It taught us to be organised and keep the same formula for displaying stock, to invest in a much bigger and better marquee and take plenty to drink as you can never leave your stand, let alone stop talking to customers!
We have had a very successful August, we went to Monmouth Show on 31st (http://www.monmouthshow.co.uk) and found ourselves packed into a large but long marquee- we had to work out a new formula for display, but again met great customers and came home happy with having been there. We also attended Frampton Show (www.framptoncountryfair.co.uk) This is a traditional country show which offers great entertainment for absolutely everyone and which will definitely be part of our priority list for 2007.
Our new brochure is imminent, it will look stylish and gorgeous. A lot of discussion has taken place over the front cover which is, of course, key to the whole look of any Company. Finally we have plumped for a repeat of a stunning New Zealand panorama, which for us, sums up the beauty of New Zealand and has become our brand image. The brochure is due to be sent out at the end of October to all our existing customers and we hope it marks a fitting 1st anniversary of trading.
Discussion is on going with Ellis (our manufacturers in NZ) as regards new products and packaging- plans are afoot for the whole of our family (minus blog dogz, sadly) to visit NZ next July on a fact finding mission. Reminds me, must get middle son’s passport renewed and updated!
This weekend I have been making copious amounts of damson chutney and tomatoes bottled in olive oil. Fellow food enthusiasts, read on for detailed recipes!
Damson and Ginger Chutney (with added figs)!
21bs stoned damsons
1 1/2 lb mixed sultanas and raisins
2 medium onions
1 pint spiced malt vinegar
1 lb demerara sugar
1/2 oz ground ginger (I also included cut up chunks of preserved ginger)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 oz salt
Make sure you have enough clean/hot jam jars before you start!
Crack a few damson stones and keep the kernels. Peel and chop the onions, place the damsons, kernels, dried fruit (including optional extras!), onions and vinegar into a large pan and boil until soft, about 30 minutes.
Add the sugar, ginger, cayenne and salt and boil until the mixture thickens. Stir every so often for 30-40 mins. Ladle into sterilised jars and seal with non-metallic lids.
Great with cold meats, cheeses or stirred into curries.
Home dried Tomatoes (Recipe no.2!)
1 kg ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1 bunch thyme (I also used basil leaves)
Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a wire cooling rack. Brush the tomatoes with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sliced garlic, seasoning and thyme. Place the rack onto a baking tray and then into a low oven (warmer oven of an aga is ideal) for five to six hours.
When ready the tomatoes should be soft and chewy, but not completely dry. Allow to cool before placing into a clean air tight jar. The tomatoes will last for at least two weeks if refrigerated and longer if covered in olive oil. (I added extra garlic and herbs whilst filling the jars with olive oil.
HEY PRESTO the perfect antidote to a non-stop working life- great fun doing the preparations and such satisfaction eating your own produce. Get bottling and give yourself a break from the office.
Here is MOG BLOG keeping me company on a Sunday evening, after a hard weekend of coping with two visiting dogs!