Beautiful Things

29 Aug

Earlier this week I found  Three Beautiful Things, a blog with a glorious economy of words written by Clare Grant, who believes that the most beautiful things are often the smallest things.

In the same spirit, I offer two beautiful things this morning, not too bad considering it’s barely 1pm and I’ve not yet ventured from the house.

1) Toasted crumpets, with the Hampstead Heath blackberry jam I made some weeks ago, for breakfast.  To make the  jam you’ll need a pound of white sugar for a pound of fruit.  Put it all into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the juice of a lemon or two (important this, the lemon will help it set) and bring to a rolling boil, skimming  off the resultant scum periodically.

Larousse, the grandfather of Western cookery, says jam will set and is ready to bottle when the temperature reaches 104 degrees centigrade.  I am amazed that it is such a precise number – how many jars of jam did he make before he reached that figure?  If you don’t have a thermometer – I don’t – put a little jam on a cold saucer and see if it sets. It’s a bit of a gamble this way but much more fun. For watery fruits like cherries and blackberries,  it may help to cook and reduce them a little before adding the sugar; you can always add more water if you need to.  Sterilise jars by washing them and drying them in a hot oven.  Here’s a picture of the dregs that weren’t enough to fill a jar:

Summer 002

2) Sheets hanging on the line to dry. Several things here, in fact:  the sun shining on the linen itself; the faint, pleasing scent of washing in the garden; the singular pleasure of easing into a bed made with linen smelling of wind and sun.

summer 017

Summer 002

The dregs that weren’t enoguh for a full jar.


5 Responses to “Beautiful Things”

  1. maureen September 2, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Do you remember little Grey Rabbit and the clothes pegs that she bought from the, um, traveller woman? How they tinkled when the wind blew? I hear our neighbour’s wind chimes ringing when I hang out washing on a windy day.

    • Vivienne September 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

      Yes, I do! What a super association.

  2. Clare September 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Ah, that’s lovely – I’d forgotten. Can we find the text?

  3. maureen September 15, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    Ha ha! Would have to dig into some boxes of old books, or try and find it in a book shop. Or could one possibly be lucky on the net? Book was by Alison Uttley.


  1. Everything’s Jammy « Earth at Work - September 25, 2009

    […] that use  blackberries, crab apples, damsons and rose hips. Remember, however, that you read about blackberrying and jam-making on this blog first.  (Sometimes I am so on trend I stun even myself.) leave a comment « Wots […]

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