My mother has completed her house move, and now she, cat & dogs have moved to Mary Tavy (a small village at the bottom of the Western slopes of Dartmoor). Everything seems to have gone OK: I went and helped unpack on Thursday, taking with me an attempted apple and cinnamon cake, which turned out to be rather heavy. I think I should have added extra baking powder to the self-raising flour, and perhaps a bit more water too - cakes with more water in seem to rise more, though it wasn't a dry cake, so maybe just the baking powder. Hum.
We found a great quantity of stuff that really should have been chucked out before the move, but I suppose she had lived in her previous village for 25 years and accumulated a lot of junk. I drove home via the recycling place where I got rid of the junk, and many of the unpacked boxes too.
Friday night, philmophlegm & I had a last-minute impulse evening out at Percy's. Lovely place, and trying hard on the food, but a lot of the stuff they serve they grow/rear themselves, and I think they'd grown some rather mustardy leaf vegetable which they'd used rather more of than was really required. I grew some of that stuff (or similar) in the greenhouse, and I'd noticed mine had got rather pungent with the hot weather: I think perhaps the same had happened to theirs. This is why chefs should always taste the food they cook, I suppose!
This morning I met up with my mother again, for a morning dog-walk on Dartmoor:
Dartmoor Cross (with dog)
Dog (with Dartmoor Ponies)
She told me that she had accidentally let Blott (the cat) out yesterday, having only been in residence for about 3 days, which was a bit hair-raising. Fortunately Blott was sensible and came back after half an hour's exploring. Obviously my incompetence in keeping cats inside is genetic.
Today I ignored the needs of the lawns, hedges, greenhouse and various other garden bits that are all looking terribly shaggy and really needing cut, and made 4 and half jars of blackberry and apple jelly. It was surprisingly easy, though it took longer to start to set than I was expecting (or the recipe suggested). I think possibly I should have used the apples from the cooking-apple tree, rather than the sweet apples from the eating-apple tree. I used the eating apples because they don't keep at all, but I think they may have been a bit low on pectin. Hope I haven't overdone it and it doesn't become hard when it cools. It's a nice clear deep purple though.
While waiting for the jelly to get to the setting point, I surfed on the topic of yeast. I do think yeast is magical: the smell, and the way it makes hugely more of itself, and the whole mysterious rising / brewing thing. Apparently you shouldn't eat uncooked yeast. Poot. I do love uncooked bread dough. Still, it's not killed me so far.
I was wondering if there was any information on how long yeast(s) had been in use, and where it was discovered, but the information I found was slight and contradictory. I suppose it's the kind of thing that doesn't make much imprint of itself much in the archaeology.
The Great British Duck Race is next weekend. I love the idea of an attempt to break the world plastic-duck-racing record: could there be anything more delightfully pointless? If you want a duck or 2 you can buy them via the Oldies Club and make a donation to help old dogs (not ducks!) here: http://www.thegreatbritishduckrace.co.uk/charitypage.php?charity=426