Skip to main content

Old Stones and Light

This week I ran, with Meopham & Malling Ladies Joggers, from Trosley Country Park to the Coldrum Stones and back to the Park's Bluebell Café for hot chocolate and a Bacon, Brie & Cranberry Sandwich. The bread was so fresh and pillowy it reminded me of clouds - the kind of surface you'd like to fall asleep on... if it wasn't filled with bacon and cheese. 

Coldrum is a 3,000 year old burial chamber, or Long Barrow, and its name is derived from the old Cornish word, 'Galdrum', which means 'place of enchantments'. And appropriately for an enchanted place there's a wishing or prayer tree here that visitors tie strips of cloth, or 'clooties', to. We can guess at the intentions - prayers for healing and forgiveness, personal and universal wishes, or simply to honour those buried on the site. 

At the beginning of December a colleague's mother died. A week ago a friend's father died. I tied my ribbon and thought of peace: the type you want a grieving heart to find, and the more complex peace we all wish the world could agree on. 

Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about where you might find peace.

Soon it'll be the close of one year and the beginning of another. What else can we wish each other? Light, perhaps. So here's my recipe for Mango and Ginger Jam, which is less jam and more thick fruit spread as the recipe doesn't call for too much sugar. It's summer in a jar, on a spoon, or spread on toast. It's sings with heat and light. And I wish you all a good song, heat and light, in your hearts and your lives. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Mango and Ginger Jam

what you need:
  • the chopped fruit of 9 peeled mangoes
  • about 4" of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 lb of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

what you do:
  • Cook the mango and ginger in a large saucepan for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and water, allow the sugar to dissolve slowly, then bring to a steady boil and let it bubble until it reaches a setting point. Mine took about 15 to 20 minutes to arrive at the right kind of consistency. I also kept stirring it regularly so it didn't catch and burn as sweet, sugared fruit easily can.
  • Pour into clean glass jars and close the lids tightly. 

Note: I don't have much success setting jams with a thermometer so I rely on the 'cold saucer in the fridge'method: after about 10 minutes put a teaspoon on the saucer then check it after a couple more minutes. If the surface of the jam wrinkles slightly to the drag of your fingertip then it's set. 

But don't stress about it. If your jam still isn't set the next day - and swinging rather loosely in your jars - just tip it all back into the saucepan and boil it up again.

Popular posts from this blog

Pie, pie glorious pie

So often when we talk about food we are talking about family. In fact that was how the hungry writer blog began, nearly six years ago: weekly memories or life stories linked by the theme of food. Food is nurture and love. It can be celebration and anxiety too. It can also be a battleground, as the parents of young children know so intimately! Which is rather a satisfying segue into the family featuring in this week's blogpost: The Radfords. Because if anyone understands the feeding of children, really, really understands, it has to be Sue Radford who, with her husband, Noel, has 19 children. You can read about the family on their website but don't rush off yet as what I really want to talk about is pie. And specifically Radford's pies.
Noel Radford has been a baker for 25 years and opened his own bakery in 1999 in Heysham, Lancashire and makes pies with locally sourced ingredients. That, along with his skill as a master baker, means that the pictures of the 'filled to t…

Eat, laugh, cry, remember: Baked Camembert

Once, on a holiday in Malta, I dressed Tony up in my gypsy skirt and stretchy white vest, used two satsumas for breasts and made up his eyes and lips with the brightest colours I had with me. Then I took a photograph. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact he seemed quite tickled by the fuss and attention to detail, but the quantity of rosé we’d shared at Snoopy’s restaurant on the seafront in Sliema earlier in the evening might have had something to do with that.

This was 1988. There were no digital cameras for instant viewing (and, praise be, instant deletion). The only instant photographs at the time came courtesy of Polaroid, with their packages of square film and box-like cameras, and slid out of the front of the machine on shiny thick card that everyone huddled over and watched develop. But they tended to be party cameras, appearing at Christmas, birthdays, engagements. You captured your holiday photos on a proper camera, one you had to load and feed film into, then unload and drop off…

The Mythic Biscuit: Oreos

My childhood biscuits were mainly plain but had lovely names: Marie, Nice, Rich Tea. Quiet biscuits. The kind of biscuits that would never interrupt a conversation. Polite, not pushy. At the other end of the spectrum, and only irregularly present, probably a result of practical economics, were cheeky Jammy Dodgers, irritable Garibaldis, and self-contented and reliable Bourbons. And even more irregularly, the flashy inhabitants of a Christmas Box of Biscuits: Pink Wafers. I ate them at the same time as not liking them very much, a bit like Miss World Contestants in sparkly dresses, too much eye make-up and a saccharine idea of world peace. 
I'm in the mood to think, and personify, 'biscuits' because the lovely team at Oreo sent me some samples of their new Oreo Thins. I hadn't heard of Oreos until the early 1990s when a friend asked if I would bring him back a packet from a Florida holiday. I forgot and pretended I couldn't find them. 'But they're everywher…