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Posts Tagged ‘fall’

The raspberries have continued to come in so I’ve rl3 been working through some baking options. Considering how happy we were with the apple fritter loaf recipe from Tess, I thought it was worthwhile to see if it could be adapted to use the raspberries. Since I didn’t want to kill their flavour with the cinnamon, we decided to go with chocolate. Once they are cooked raspberries can be a bit more bitter than apples so I also needed to increase the sugar just a little. What I went with was around a tablespoon of hot chocolate powder and a bit of the ground vanilla in addition to listed sugar. That seemed to give us the chocolate accent we wanted as well as balancing the sweetness a bit better. I also added a teaspoon of corn starch too. The berries were a bit more liquid than apples and the cornstarch thickens them just enough. (sugar, cornstarch and chocolate were mixed together, then added to the fruit) We cooked it around 10 minutes longer and that made sure it was fully done, all the way through. (the parchment paper liner is also pretty necessary) The raspberry flavour came through strong and clear, but they weren’t bitter or overpowering and were a good balance to the vanilla cake that makes up the bulk of the loaf. I did go a bit overboard with the amount of raspberries on the first attempt and had a catastrophic structural failure. (4 cups was too many) At least it tasted good, but staying around or under, 2 cups of the raspberry mixture is needed if you want a loaf instead of a baked pudding. We like lots of raspberry, but sticking to 1 to 11/2 cups of fruit would make the chocolate more noticeable and the loaf much more solid. I also stuck with the vanilla cream glaze, but you could drizzle the top with melted chocolate to increase the chocolate aspect.

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As the temperature dropped this past week, the insects were getting sluggish. mon1 I had a bumblebee get tangled in my hair while raspberry picking and didn’t even notice her until she had warmed up a bit and made some buzzing noises, once we were back in the shop. She was still slow enough that I was able to pop her into a dish and take her back outside without a problem. I also found this Monarch in the new bed around the wellhead. I think it is one of this years crop, since it was so perfect and clean. The older ones I’ve seen look a bit worn. It had come in for one of the flowers and seemed to be trying to warm up a bit before heading off. In the late season insects we also had this extremely pregnant praying mantis pm3 show up in the back garden. She could barely walk and was clearly looking for a place to lay her egg sack. I’m hoping she found a suitable spot on the property since predatory bugs are something we want more of. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a herd of little mantises next spring!

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It’s been a good year for quite a number of fruits and a local friend fritloaf let us pick a bunch of apples from their feral tree. The tree is huge and probably in the 100 to 150 year range. The apples, while small and with the typical deformations of untreated fruit, are clearly Macintosh’s, or closely related. I chopped up a few for a trial run with them and made this apple fritter loaf. It was a quick and easy recipe and does satisfy the fall apple fritter cravings. I didn’t do much modifying for this, the first attempt, but did add some vanilla bean powder to both the loaf fritslice and the glaze and was happy with the depth it gave to the flavour. I also went with a parchment paper liner and I think it helped the crust as well as making sure the whole thing came cleanly out of the pan. I’d like try it again with a higher quality cinnamon, since I just used the generic stuff we have on hand.

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While the fall supply of raspberries is always a thrill, rasp we have been a bit frustrated the last couple of years with the pest problems associated with them. Last year there were huge numbers of ladybugs that we had to fight with over them. This year the picnic beetles were just being awful. We’ve always had a few of them around but this year, even with my going for a complete no tolerance policy on them, (any that are found are killed, not just brushed off) they were still causing a lot of damage but seem to have stopped almost completely as soon as the temperature dropped. Even better, they didn’t reappear during the warm stretch! Now we’re just losing a few to the earwigs and birds but we’ve still got quite a bit coming in. It does look like we should get our biggest haul yet. With the warm weather this past week it’s been close to 2-4 cups a day! There are enough that mother is even letting some get used in baked goods, but not many. I’m amused by how many fresh raspberries she can manage to consume!

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So, I feel like a bit of slacker, with this, the second pumpkin clock.

Steampunk pumpkin clock, 2012

The face is likely to be from the 20’s and I liked how well it went with both the feet and the little goddess figure. The hands are practically new, in comparison to the rest of the parts, but they don’t look it and were the right scale. I’d intended to carve a very Art Deco clock case outline around the components but the incredible toughness of these pumpkins put me off. I could have taken the Dremel carving bit to this one as well but it’s actually not that much fun to do. All these tiny, slightly sticky flecks of orange and yellow flying everywhere and ending up all over me! Ick! Anyway, I’ve left this one as a more spare design and I think it still works. (of course, I could have not mentioned any of this and just said it was my plan the whole time, but oh well, too late now:)

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It was a stunningly lovely day here yesterday. Well into the 20’s and sunny,  with just a light wind. I had the door open and tried to do as many things as possible outside. Near the top of the list was getting this years pumpkins done. I decided to go with the hot design trend, and used assorted antique clock bits that were around to make some Steamy pumpkin clocks. I’ve been using lino cutters, to scrape off the outer skin, and they usually work really well but these were the toughest skinned gourds I’ve ever come across! In the end, I admitted defeat and used one of the carving heads on my Dremel tool. Even with a power tool, it still took a while to cut off the rind on this one. I’d had plans to detail the columns more, but gave up on that. I have slightly larger set of the column top and bottom pieces, but they are two different colours so I went with these, the smaller set. The clock face is set in and I lined the back in tinfoil, so it wouldn’t be damaged by touching the fruit directly. I have to wonder how well the nails will hold, between now and Halloween.

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While there has been a great deal of rain, (it feels like every day, we get at least a little)

miniature pink rose, October 2012

the temperatures have been warm for this time of year. Since it’s been nice to be working outside, I’ve been trying to get the teapot garden all emptied and ready to be put away for the winter. The annuals, like the petunias, that have already died are just being disposed of with the soil but I do try to save the perennials. The hens and chicks just finished their third summer. They get dug into the tomato bed and then I’ll pull them back out, before prepping the bed, in the spring. I’ve also had the miniature roses successfully overwinter so they’ll be dug in too. I’m just holding off on doing them all since a couple have put out a last round of flowers. It was an unexpected surprise, but so pretty!

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