We are on the Journées du Patrimoine website!


where there is an interactive map!

Much to do before then.


Pleuvill’Art 2017

Only a month to go until the WEEKEND DU PATRIMOINE in France (16 & 17 September) , and we are preparing for our art and craft exhibition in the barn that weekend.











We are planning a sculpture path through the “wood”, with masks made by people who have been to stay this summer, or people who live nearby, and there have been some amazing creations. Some of the makers have been as young as 4 or 5.










“encaustic” tiles made for hearth


Fired but not yet glazed. Off white slip on grogged red earthenware, 10 cm square, all patterns having significance for the owners of the property. Awaiting honey coloured glaze.


fired encaustic

These are now fired with 2 transparent earthenware: 1 bitter honey (both Potterycrafts) and fired to 1030˚C. The new parquet floor is almost finished, and then we should be able to lay the tiles. They show less warping than some previous projects, possibly because of the use of grogged clay.

well well, time for marmalade again

So here is the 2017 recipe, a bit late, but you could view this as being early for next year.

Preparation and cooking took the best part of 2 days, as there is so much chopping, and I do tend to simmer rather than boil the preserve. This amount keeps 2 people happy for about 12 months.

4 kg seville oranges

4 kg sugar

4 lemons

4 inches of fresh ginger

seeds from 12 green cardamom pods

Water, quantity -as much as you need, most evaporates off anyway.

Clean jam jars, sterilised with boiling water, about 8-12, depending on size.

So, choose some good music, and begin.

As last time, I did 2 kg of oranges at a time, as my pan is not big enough to take 4 kg oranges+water+4kg sugar in one go.

Wash the fruit. Cut the oranges in half and juice. Ditto lemons. Put the juice to one side. Put the pith from the juicer into a bowl.

squeezed oranges







Arm yourself with a small sharp knife, cut all the orange peel halves into 4 quarters, then using the knife horizontally, cut off most of the pith. Save the pith in the “pith” bowl, and the thin skins in another bowl. Do the same to the lemon peel.

Knife horizontal



cut carefully








Put the pith in your big jam pan, add water to cover, and simmer slowly to extract the pectin. Add more water if needed. After about  90 minutes, sieve this, or drain it through a jam bag, and save the fluid. You can stir more water into the pith debris, to wash out more pectin.



“thinned” peel








While this is happening, cut up the peel into small pieces, according to your preference. We usually cut it fairly fine. Put the finely cut peel in a bowl. Do this to the lemons too.

ready for cooking


cut peel in pan








Now we are ready for the final cook. Put the thinly sliced peel in your jam saucepan, add the ginger, peeled, and cut in fine matchsticks, and the cardamom seeds. Pour over the pectin fluid, and orange juice, and simmer gently. After about 30 minutes, add the sugar, and stir until dissolved. Then continue cooking at a gentle rumble, with fairly frequent stirring. Put a plate in the freezer for checking the gel.

There will come a time when a rim of gel starts to develop in the pan at the edge of your marmalade. This is the beginning of gelling, and from time to time you need to put a smear of your marmalade on the cold plate and check for adequate gelling by “pushing” the surface of the cooled sample with your finger to see if it wrinkles. I always find it difficult to decide the right moment to stop cooking, this is something that you must develop a feel for yourself. Use a sterilised (boiling water) polythene jug to pour the marmalade into the clean jars, I have stopped using a jam funnel.

I tend to seal the top of the marmalade with a layer of paraffin wax, a habit I picked up in France, which keeps the conserve free from mould or drying out.

The usual description by the family of marmalade made by this recipe  is “stonking”, and it does have a nice orangey bitterness.


It’s Dulwich Festival and Open House again!

May 13/14 and 20/21 are the days to look out for, the programme is already available, with more venues than ever before, we are on page 36, and our venue is number 61. As usual, there will be tea, coffee and biscuits on offer, and the garden will be lovely to sit in , in the (cross fingers) sunshine. We would be delighted to see you.

I have been playing with porcelain for the last few months, including paper porcelain, and

close up of stamps



using home made stamps to alter the surface. These respond nicely to celadon type glazes.

clay stamp 2







stamped porcelain, blue glazes

stamped porcelain

stamped porcelain


And as a result of a green heart project with the WI for Valentine’s day, there are some heart themed bowls, made of many individual hearts


celadon, green hearts

and you can never have too many dinosaurs

dinosaur bowls



We look forward to seeing you!!

Stuffing for the turkey

We have never had traditional stuffing. This one is an amalgamation/simplification of several found on the web. The new feature for me was how everyone said,-Gosh what a wonderful smell- when I was soaking then cooking the porcini mushrooms, and more stuffing than usual was eaten.

Ingredients:-1 pack of dried porcini mushrooms, about 150-200 gm, reconstituted in hot water

300 gm of chopped mushrooms, of which 100 gm could be wild, if to hand.

200 gm peeled chestnuts, chopped

125 gm each of brazil and hazel nuts, chopped/crushed

100 gm breadcrumbs/cubed old bread

2 eggs, beaten

a heaped tablespoon of soft butter

handful of chopped parsley, some sage, salt, pepper, some red wine, stock from the bird to moisten during cooking


Mix all of these, and put into a bread tin lined with parchment. Use most of the porcini soaking water too. Cook long and slow in the bottom of the oven, moistening when needed. This can be done a day early, so there is less to do on the big day, and it can be reheated and further cooked in the microwave (in a non metallic container) on Christmas day, thus leaving more space in the oven.